pre Vineman 2010

I love to swim.
I love to bike.
I love to run.
I love to do things for a really long time.

This is the answer I give when folks ask me about triathlon. I am most definitely not a triathlete and I’m going to shy away from trying to convince anyone that triathlon is ‘cool’. It’s like arguing that Korn is a seminal punk band or that Del Taco really has Mexican food down. I’m glad people enjoy these things, but they will always just be what they are. And that’s fine! I’ve been known to deviate outside of the norm (norm, as always, is relative here. It’s normal in my world to not know anyone with health insurance or who eats at McDonalds. Or anyone who isn’t pro-choice or who hasn’t hung out with their favorite band). Like listening to Downset, paying for a mattress and working a job where I have to wear a button-up shirt (occasionally).
That’s the long intro to say that tomorrow is the Vineman, full-iron (fuck you Ironman-TM for trademarking both ‘ironman’ and ‘iron-distance’ you money-hungry fuckers) triathlon.

2.4 mile swim
112 mile bike
26.2 mile run

I’ve watched two bloggers I follow each race their first this year- Punk Rock Tri Guy and Vegan Heart Doc. Their rightful sense of accomplishment is very motivating.

Yay! But I’m nervous. More than usual. I’ve swam 5 times this year. Maybe 2.4 miles total, but probably less! Since reading Total Immersion I’m confident in my theory that swimming is way, way more skill than fitness, but still! I haven’t practiced that skill very much in the last two years (the last triathlon I did was Vineman 2008, which is also the last time I’ve worn my wetsuit).

Whoa. Deep breath. I won’t drown. I just don’t want it to slow my bike down! Running that half marathon July 4th was awesome, but I haven’t run much since. Oops.

You know what is fucking awesome though? Vineman recycles everything-including a special process for energy bar wrappers-and composts fruit scraps. The finish is powered by solar panels. New this year- paper cup-free run! They are using Hydra-pouch refillable cups that each runner carries. So fucking awesome. When we rode through the SF marathon on Sunday on our way to Rough Riders there was litter EVERYWHERE. It was disgusting. So this rules.

Well, goal time….I’d love to beat 12hrs20min from last time, but I’m not sure how the swim will pan out and slow the rest of my day. Also haven’t ridden my road bike much at all and I just put my aerobars on and haven’t ridden them yet. Is a four-hour marathon possible? I’d love it, but we’ll have to see. Holding back on the bike is near impossible for me.

Thanks to everyone who helped get me here and make this happen!

Mt. Tamalpais

As part of the Rough Riders AdventureCORPS event we rode from the
Mission in SF to Mill Valley and then to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais
on dirt. Well, you have to hike the last 0.3 miles.
Team Swarm! and others made up the late group each day but we still
rode with some great folks. At the Saturday night bike show Megan Dean
of Moth Attack! bikes won second best bike. Rad.

More info with links and photos later in the week, hopefully.

Boggs 24 hour mountain bike race

“People should learn endurance; they should learn to endure the
discomforts of heat and cold, hunger and thirst: they should learn to
be patient when receiving abuse and scorn; for it is the practice of
endurance that quenches the fire of worldly passion which is burning
up their bodies.” -Buddha

I love mountain biking. Most non-cyclists fixate on time and/or
distance with these events, but really, Im just stoked to be out there
jumping off rocks, railing turns and bombing hills. Sure, the
endurance athletic stuff comes into play and I do enjoy that as well,
but man o man riding bikes is fun.

So. It was hot as shit. 100+.
The dude who won single speed (and overall!) lapped me when I was on
my 5th lap. Wtf?
I rested at 130am, changed kits and rubbed my feet. Did a few laps
then chilled at sun up. Some stomach weirdness! Maybe from the old gel
flask I took from the fridge.
I ate bananas, apples, clif bars, lara bars and peanut chews. Plus
MaxoMax, the Swarm! homemade electrolyte drink courtesy of Max.
New bike is nimble, fast and responsive. Rode the whole course, no
pushing, on my last 2 laps.
Lap times and other numbers below.

Now heading to the Bay area for Rough Riders Multi-surface Cycling
Festival. Vineman next weekend! Shit, I’ve only swam 4 times this
year. Should I be nervous?

17 laps, 2nd/4 in SS, 6th/22 overall.

Oliver’s market

I've come to look fwd to this place as much as the races I go to
Sonoma County for! This bin was empty; hopefully next week they've
some. They also have a taqueria and I ate possibly the largest burrito
in my life. And I've eaten thousands of large burritos! Next time I'll
weigh it and take photos. It may approach two pounds.

The 24hr race went well! Fell short of the 200 mile mark, did 17 laps
on a tough, hour-long-ish 9.3-mile course. Second in single-speed, but
there were only four of us. This fireman dude from Santa Rosa has won
every race I've been to up there and this one he won overall! Beat
pros on geared bikes. I'll have to check my overall. Bike is DOPE. And
now I have 100 packets of Hammer Espresso gel.

Idleness and dissipation breed apathy

24 hours of Boggs today! 11am to 11am. With new bike, awesome. Without
any crew or friends racing, less awesome. It was a great course last
year and suuposedly there's even more single track. As my first 24hr
race last year I got 4th out of 8 single speed, but something like 9th
out of 45 overall. I like the time and the looped course rarely feels
repetitive, but it's hard mentally to push when there's no 'end'. It
got me at Cool 24 this year when I stopped cause I was cold (haha) and
fell asleep…

Maybe I'll shoot for a distance to keep me going? 200 miles? A double
century on my mountain bike would be a first.

I'll try to update the Swarm! Twitter occasionally. Also, a prize if
you can name the album the title of this post is from. Hint: I had the
t-shirt in high school.


Yes, I’m posting more often! Very stoked too. Now that it’s summer I’m still busy, but in ways that are more interesting to post. After I finish up here with Badwater, I’m home for 36 hours or so before heading up to 24 hours of Boggs. Can I get a road ride and mountain bike ride in before? Then back to LA for a few days of work before the Rough Riders Multisurface Cycling Festival in Marin County. The week after? Vineman (The People’s Ironman!) in Sonoma County. Getting nervous! I really need to swim a few times. What a month.
See you out there on the trail, on the road, in the water or on foot.

Badwater Ultra-marathon

I’m here helping with the Badwater 135-mile Ultra-marathon and the top runners are finishing- just over 24 hours after they started. I’m updating regularly on the Swarm! twittersphere and there’s always the AdventureCORPS webcast (run from where I’m sitting right now).

The distances these runners cover and the landscape they cross…there really are few words to describe it. Driving the course at 4am and seeing folks running up hill, so touching! I get all choked up seeing people look confident and smiling after running 100 plus miles. In Death Valley. In the summer.

Yep, a pink tutu. He rules. Pennsylvania native and past finisher!

Los Angeles native and past champion Jorge Pacheco running up Townes Pass

Last years champion Farinazzo getting the full pit crew treatment on Townes Pass
Jorge descending Townes pass

A top five racer gets an ice bath before taking on the last 13 miles to Whitney Portal

Sauvie Island half marathon

I can’t remember the last time I did a running event! At least two years. When I was mapping out my training for Vineman I thought it’d be a good idea to run a half marathon in late June or early July. And what better place than near Portland, Oregon? The Foot Traffic Flat takes place on Sauvie Island (Sauvie means delicious berries) 15 miles north of Portland.

So we, as in famous artist Lacy J. Davis and I, decided to ride our bikes there, duh. Yes, I love to ride bikes and I’m an environmentalist blah blah blah…but there’s only one bridge onto the island. Lots of cars. It just made sense to ride! The last 3 miles we rolled past bumper to bumper traffic. AND it was a great ride and a good way to warm up. I suggested this to the race organizer but he didn’t think it likely anyone else would ride…

The blue behind us is part of the un-ironic background but the blue behind that is real sky blue.

After locking our bikes to a barn and eating some fruit, the half was ready to start. I started with my friend Eben, who works at the 7th Friendliest Store in Portland, who just ran a fast half the weekend before. Needless to say I let him go after the first mile. By mile two I realized that the majority of my running races have been the LA marathon and this race is the exact opposite, in a good way! Since I don’t have a watch and only recently began pacing at a track I was nervous about my time. Was I going too fast? Too slow? I set the timer on my iPhone and checked it at mile 3 and mile 6. Turns out I was running just about 7.5 minute miles, as I hoped.

St. John’s bridge, looking south.

There’s no coasting in running! I’d find myself lost in my thoughts and my pace slowing…and I’d have to catch myself and see where I was. Runners may be worse than cyclists in avoiding hills, but the monotony of the flat course was getting to me. I like hills! I felt good at mile 10 so I picked it up and finished in the punk rock time of 1hr 38min. Eben finished about 4 minutes ahead for 107th place overall. If he knew, he probably would of let that one person pass so his time could be punk and 108. Lacy finished the 5k, her first running race, in 28min30sec, not to mention the 30+ miles of riding. Awesome!

After some lounging and watching the fast marathoners come in we headed back toward Portland, but took a detour over the St. John’s bridge to eat at Proper Eats, which is basically a restaurant in a health food store. The service and smell are like you’d expect from a restaurant inside a health food store, but the food was terrific. Tempeh breakfast scramble!

French fry salad

Inagural ride on the new mountain bike! Shocks. Something else. Also amazing? Four pounds lighter. A smooth, fast bike that fits. Wow!

Aidan is still in town post-Tour Divide, all 4th place finish, 1st single-speed (10 hours off the course record?!), 1st rookie. Took him for a spin in the Verdugos. June gloom (still) in effect on this side, but the climb up from La Tuna was HOT. The opposite of his next adventure, which is the 1100-mile Alaska Iditarod Invitational early next year. Nothing like perspective on what is possible.

Post-ride Indian buffet. Duh. A spot I had heard about in Pasadena near Lake and Colorado. The food was good, weren’t a ton of vegan options, but there was this:

We thought maybe it was compost. Delicious compost. Beans, curried broccoli and…..french fry….salad? Whaaa? We asked what was up with it and our server just told us it was a mixed-vegetable salad. Okay. I’m down no matter what you call it.