Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vicodin, Take Me Away!

AKA - "I think I broke my coccyx."

Not really, but it felt that way last night. We had an incredibly busy Saturday that culminated in birthday dinner at one of my favorite steak restaurants followed by a holiday party at the house of my friend M. It had snowed the day before creating an idyllic winter wonderland (and making it ridiculously slippery.)

My wife bought a new dress and accessorized it with some black "hooker heels" (very hot - really.) Admittedly this was not the best combination for a winter night, but we like to live dangerously. At the end of the night I suggested my wife wait in the driveway while I go retrieve the car. Damn, it was chilly. Especially since I decided to leave the winter coat at home. I trotted quickly to the car, opened the driver side door, went to step in and ended up flat on my back.

I landed on my ass so fricking hard it knocked the wind out of me. There I was rolling over and over in the snow-covered road, in my sportcoat and dress pants. I couldn't call out to anyone, so I just lay there, trying to get my shit back together and wondering how in the hell I was going to stand up and get in the car with a broken coccyx.

I got myself up to hands and knees, got my hand on the door handle and gingerly climbed into the driver's seat. I still didn't have my breathing back to normal and when my wife got in the car she immediately knew something was wrong. (She might have known something was wrong when she was waiting for 5 minutes for a trip that should have taken me 30 seconds.)

Driving home, wondering how I'm going to get out of the car, I started to get a damn migraine. I don't know if the fall triggered it or what, but it started coming on fast and that's never good.  When I finally got home it was straight to the medicine cabinet for "Vitamin V."

So now I sit here, feeling like I'm hungover, but without any of the fun usually associated with this feeling.

"Honey, will you please get me a couple more Vicodin?"

Monday, November 22, 2010

It was just like "A Christmas Carol" without all the ghosts and Victorian crap

For the first time that I can remember, I had an Ironman dream. Most of my sport related dreams are swimming dreams, but I think I've turned a corner with this dream.

I was in Hawaii and MM, FL, Bree, GG, Kerrie, Ian and Charisa were all there. I'm sure you'd all like to know who is associated with the various characters in "A Christmas Carol" but, as I stated in the title, there were no ghosts and no "Victorian crap" including "Victorian people."

Anywho, I was in Hawaii and there was an Ironman race the next day. It wasn't Kona, it was another IM distance race at another time of the year (it's a dream, people. I know it doesn't make any sense.) Everyone was there to do the race so everyone was encouraging me to sign-up and race. (Again, I know you can't sign up for an IM race the day before. Can we all just suspend disbelief for awhile here?) I explained that I hadn't been training, but they all assured me that I was in plenty good shape to finish it. I explained that I didn't have any race clothes and suddenly people were offering to lend me stuff. I had no excuses. Against my better judgment I agreed to do it. Then, as I was walking over to sign up I realized, "I don't have a bike. I can't do this without a bike." And then everyone agreed, "Yes, you would need a bike to do this. I guess you can't do it. That's too bad."

Then I woke up.

This morning I received a reply to an email I sent my coach. I am giving myself about six weeks to get back in shape so we can start training for the 2011 race season. She has a lot of work to do. Let's get started.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

OK! Now, I really AM Angry!

(That title was again for Kiet, but I actually mean it this time.)

I swear this time I have a legitimate reason to be angry. Look at my house!

What the FUCK!? Where did this come from!?

It came from this son of a bitch! We can hear him pecking and it's driving us insane. (Some of us literally insane as my wife repeatedly answers the door thinking someone is knocking and then she blames it on some kids playing "Ding Dong Ditch" but replacing "Ding Dong" with "Knock Knock" even though it doesn't have nearly the same alliteration. The dog is not fooled and makes no move when he hears the pecking - "Stoopid humans.")

He has his fricking head in my house!

Here's the damage he caused in about 20 minutes of pecking.

(OK, truth be told we have tremendous dry-rot in those locations of our trim and it really needs to be replaced, but does nature have to rub salt in our wounds by making our place look so painfully ghetto that our neighbors are giving us dirty looks? Apparently so.)

I swear I can hear him as I write this.

Monday, November 8, 2010


(That title is for Kiet.)

I'm not really angry. I am actually quite happy. Actually, I might be a little angry that I don't have anything to be genuinely angry about. I was in San Diego last week doing more recon for my little tri-store endeavor. It was pleasant, fun, enlightening really, really, REALLY hard work that left me physically and mentally exhausted. It was, in fact, like working in a salt mine and doing the New York Times crossword all day.


(Not really, but what am I supposed to tell my wife? Again, she's going to Haiti. I have to make it appear that I have a cross to bear.)

Even all my flights and airline employee interactions were pleasant and helpful. It was kind of surreal, but I'll take it.

Again, I won't bore you with the businessy stuff or the stores I visited. I'd rather write about the fun stuff the left my hands blistered and my head aching.

Thursday, I stopped by Hi-Tech Cycles and met Beth. She was helping with a beginner triathlete seminar, so we only really got to say, "Hi," to each other and didn't really get to talk. I have to say that I had an incredibly cool conversation with the owner, Hank, this guy really knew every detail about all the bikes on his floor. I think he was a little irritated that I was there doing recon and I sincerely apologize for that. He is an incredible wealth of knowledge. (If anyone knows Hank, please send my deepest apologies if I offended him - it certainly wasn't my intent to waste his time or "steal" any secrets or ideas.) 

I played FB tag with Noreen Howard and in the end didn't get a chance to meet. Next time. (Because there will be a next time.) Charisa and I played Twitter tag and then she mentioned that she was going to go for a swim over lunch. I was excited because I thought it would be an ocean swim, but alas it was masters in the local pool. Not at all disappointed when I got there - it was outdoor, 25 meter and salty. I don't think I mentioned, it was 85 - 90 degrees there. And BEAUTIFUL! horrible and miserable.

I find the pool and am signing away my life and paying my $6 and there is this cute chick standing next to me. The receptionist asks what city I live in and when I say "Edina" the cute chick says, "TODD!?" (Who the fuck are you? Am I that famous/notorious?) "I'm Marit!"

So super fun! I got to unexpectedly meet another FB/Twitter/Blog friend. Marit is from St. Paul so we talked a little about Minnes-OH-ta. We also talked about her Afghanistan based helicopter flying hubby who is now done flying and will be home for the holidays! Yeah, baby!

I then hopped in the pool and proceeded to swim 4,000 meters when I haven't swam in about a week and the last time I swam 4K was probably four months ago. I did a surprisingly good job keeping up.

Later I went to dinner with Charisa, her husband Steven, Ian, Marit, their buddies Kevin and Brian. We had awesome Mexican food. (When I told my wife we had Mexican, she said, "I thought you didn't like Mexican," "I don't like bad, Minnesotan Mexican," Truth is, we're too lazy to find a good Mexican place in town.)

The night was about to get fun. First, five adults packed into Charisa's Mini Cooper. It was a like a clown car. I got to sit next to Charisa (she smells nice. At least I think it was her - it definitely wasn't me.) We were a little early for the reservation and stood talking on the sidewalk waiting for Marit to arrive. Ian was telling some story and we were all laughing and some guy walks up, sticks his face in the group and says, "witty, heh heh heh." We all look at him like, what the fuck!? Then he looks at Ian and says "Air Force." Ian looks at him and announces, "MARINES!" The guy mutters something, steps through the group, between two parked cars and proceeds to skip across four lanes of busy traffic. It was surreal and hilarious. Ian's response was priceless.

Dinner was fantastic. There was much laughing and discussion/descriptions of various Marine airborne gun platforms. We learned a lot about Ian's dad Vietnam experience, Marit's husband's helicopter and Steven's budding competitive eating career.

After dinner we went back to Charisa and Steven's place and sat around while Ian told hilarious stories. Actually, the stories may not have been so hilarious, but Ian's way of telling them sure was. I've always been a fan of Ian's but after a few hours with him I requested that the next time he's over just sitting around shooting the shit, I need to be called and put on speaker so I could listen in and laugh my ass off.

This concludes my store recon and my travel for the year. I am still amazed and incredibly grateful to everyone who has been so helpful and supportive. As I move forward I'll continue to provide updates. I'll also try to be less angry in future posts. There really hasn't been much to be angry about, let's see if the momentum continues.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I have been overly cryptic in the last few posts about what I am doing, but I finally am willing to make my plans public. I am going to open a triathlon shop in Minneapolis in the next six to nine months (that's the schedule now anyway, things are bound to change.)

As part of putting my business plan together I am visiting some cities with large triathlon communities to talk to tri-shop owners about their experiences getting started and to see what I can learn from those who have gone before me. My first stop was Chicago. My second stop has been Seattle and next week I am heading down to San Diego. 

I could bore you all with my concept, the brands I want to carry and junk like that, but that is generally uninteresting and pales in comparison to the crazy, serendipitous, coincidental contacts I have made through the few people I have talked with about this. The saga will be out of chronological order, but I really need to tell you about my unbelievable experience in Seattle over the last 48 hours. 

I flew into Seattle on Thursday, early afternoon. The plan was to meet up with Jen and her husband, Duncan, mid-afternoon, see some sites around Seattle, do this "Underground Seattle" tour and then get some Vietnamese for dinner. Driving from the airport to Seattle is beautiful. It was cloudy and rainy (as is to be expected, I guess) but much warmer than when I left Minneapolis. 

I was scheduled to visit two stores in Seattle and meet two FB/Twitter friends - Jen Huffman-Swift (AKA @ultragrrl) and Teresa Nelson and Mark Webb (AKA @tnmultisports.)

I got around Seattle surprisingly easily considering my complete lack of a sense of direction. My hotel was nice and right in the middle of the university area. I had a beautiful view of Mt. McKinley Mt. Ranier.

I met up with Jen and her husband, Duncan. They drove me around town in the rockin' Element. Duncan is an endless font of Seattle trivia. It was really cool to have a full-on tour guide telling me genuinely interesting stuff about the city. Jen did a great job driving.

We headed down to Pioneer Square to take the "Underground Seattle Tour." Let me tell you, if you've been to Seattle (or not) and you haven't done this tour, you really should. It's not super long, but it's really interesting and you get to learn a ton about early Seattle and more recent history like the largest mass murder connected to a robbery in US history.

Totem at Pioneer Square

Jen & Duncan

Under the sidewalks of Seattle


Skylight from sidewalk above


Creepy view into old bank

Old bank vault

Apparently this area is haunted.


After the tour we went for Vietnamese. I love Vietnamese food, but we don't usually get out of our bubble to get it, so it was nice treat. During our conversation I found out Duncan had run his own retail store for awhile and it was great to hear some of the lessons he and Jen learned about retailing.

Jen and Duncan are great people and I had a fantastic time talking with them. They get added to the Christmas Card list (don't worry, we don't send out stupid letters, just a picture of our "adorable" kids.) Jen, email me your address (or not, if you're Jewish or Muslim or anti-Christmas card or just plain hate me now that you've met me. The latter happens more often than you'd think, so I'm OK with it.)

Friday was store visit day. I drove around a little while I waited for stores to open. I saw Pike Place Market - decided to just drive by as I imagine it's a little more fun or interesting to visit with someone. Drove by the first Starbucks, too. Then by the Space Needle and EMP. Again, way more interesting to visit with someone.

The first store I visited was Speedy Reedy. Won't bore you with the details. Brooke was very nice and extremely helpful. Then I hiked it out to Redmond to check out Mr. Crampy. Also, very nice and helpful. Speedy Reedy has been in business for, like, 10 years where as Mr. Crampy has been in business for, like, 10 months. It was interesting to be able to compare the two and to recognize where they are similar in their core business philosophies.

Jen had time, so I invited her to meet me at Mr. Crampy's and then we went out to lunch. We talked a little more about my business and some of the avenues I was pursuing. She really did a great job of playing devil's advocate - something that is considerably more valuable than a bunch of cheerleaders. Thanks for that.

I cut Jen loose and headed back to the hotel. The evening plans called for meeting up with Teresa and Mark at a dark track to witness a beer mile.

Bunch of people I didn't know.

Same people - still don't know them. 

Then we went to a local bar with their 14 closest friends and had dinner and watched the beer run festivities continue. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. Teresa, Mark and their friends are super inclusive and very funny. I had a fantastic time. (They probably think I'm super quiet, but my voice was so shot from a cold I battling that I could - and even now can - barely talk. That was probably all for the best since my words tend to get me in trouble.)

Teresa and Mark was super fun. Mark is very funny with a few beers and several vodka tonics in him. (How'd pacing your athlete on your bike go, buddy?) They also get added to the Christmas Card list (see disclaimer above.)

To learn about Saturday morning, read the post before this one.

All I have to say is I really like Seattle and it's people very much. The PNW is a wonderful place and I'll be back with the family sometime.

This week - San Diego.


I walked into Portage Bay Cafe in Seattle this morning and it was packed - 10 AM in a university town on a football Saturday will do that. I was alone and the hostess asked if I minded sitting at the bar facing the window. No problem - I got to sit right away. As is human nature in a situation like this I chose my seat with insulation between myself and the strangers around me - there was a single empty chair to my left insulating me from the line of people waiting to sit and a single chair to my right insulating me from the couple at the end of the bar. 

Midway through my meal an older woman asks me very nicely, "What are the chances you would be willing to slide over a chair to allow me and my granddaughter to sit down?" I gave her a lighthearted look like I was really considering her request and then in my croaky voice from the stupid cold I have I said, "The chances are very good. I'd be more than happy to move." I asked if she had a preference of direction but ultimately I decided to move to the left toward the line of waiting customers to give the two of them a more comfortable experience. 

I ate my meal and overheard a little of their conversation. It was nothing particularly interesting, but the fact that these two had such a friendly relationship made me smile. I decided that I was going to pick up their check - the giant rock on "grandma's" hand said she could afford it, but I just really felt like it was something I needed to do. 

I finished my meal and the waitress cleared my plate and I sat and waited for my check. And I waited. I was getting a little annoyed. Finally, the waitress comes back, asks if I need anything else and leans closer to my ear to tell me that "the two women to the right of me had picked up my meal." 

I could not believe it! First of all they beat me to the punch, so to speak, but it perfectly capped off my incredible visit to Seattle. I thanked them profusely and walked out to my car feeling like I had just been given an incredible gift. ME! A stranger did that for me.

So, for the grandmother and granddaughter at Portage Bay Cafe on Roosevelt  in Seattle, Washington at about 10:30 AM on Saturday, October 30, 2010 who did me such an incredible kindness I am sending two pairs of brand new shoes to my friend Bree to help the Marshall Islander community she has adopted in Hawaii for Christmas.

There is something about the venture that I am pursuing right now that feels so incredibly right, to me this is yet another indication that I am on the right path.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finnism (written)

It probably doesn't fully qualify as a "Finnism," but I get to make the rules. I'd like to point out one item that makes me laugh, but there are just too many. My kids are something "special."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Trip

I am embarking on a few weeks of travel for "something I'm working on." First trip is to loverly Madison, Wisconsin - site of the most epic of Ironmans and impetus for the most "Dickensian" (as in lots and lots...and lots of words) of Ironman race reports (in case you missed it, your "grueling ordeal" starts here.) For what fantastical and magical reason are you visiting the glorious capital of America's Dairyland and Minnesota's Special Needs neighbor, you inquire. Well, if you must drag the details out of me - I am meeting with my accountant.

Don't you worry, I'll provide a detailed explanation of every tax shelter and potential deduction we contrive, because, hey, it's never too early to start thinking about your taxes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just You Wait

I have been remiss in posting, but there is a good reason. Unfortunately, I can't reveal that reason right now. I will know more at this time next week and then I will have much to say. This has been keeping me busy and I'll be doing some travel in the next few weeks that will be blog worthy. (All you people I'll be visiting, you better make it funny and blog worthy or these relationships may not work. ;-)  )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


My sister: "F, which singers do you like? I bet you like Miranda Cosgrove, Demi Lovato, Salena Gomez. I bet you even like Justin Bieber."

F: "Just because I have long hair and I'm a boy does not mean I like Justin Bieber!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Steed Has Returned to the Stable

I picked up my Cannondale Slice from the bike shop yesterday. I had them strip it down so when I get a new frame I can have it rebuilt. It was sad to see the old girl all stripped down and especially sad that after all the time I spent sweating, spitting and GUing all over her we didn't get to finish the deed. (That sentence could probably be in Penthouse Forum. Sorry.) It's also sad that I won't be riding a Cannondale again. The "deal" they were offering me was no "deal" and didn't instill brand loyalty. So, I found a better ride for way less money (more on that in a later post.)

The question remains - what to do with this frame? I have included some pics of the crack. I could probably have it repaired and keep it as a spare frame or sell it ultra cheep. Suggestions appreciated.

Stripped. Sad.

The Crack

It's a pretty big crack, but I can't believe bad packing caused it.

A different angle.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Cost!

MS kept track of her costs for IMWI. I guarantee my costs were higher, mostly because I ate a lot more GUs.

I pulled my training data from Garmin and here is what I did for my training over the last year.

(Some of these totals might be a little light as I did a lot of treadmill, elliptical and stairmill training while recovering from injury.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - The Final Gasp

After the finish all I wanted was a Coke. The volunteers helped me find one. Then I just wanted to sit down. They got me over to the athlete's food tent and I found a prime spot.

I look extremely thin (for me anyway.) It took me about four days post race to get back to my pre-race weigh-in weight. (If you look very closely at my arm you can still see my "612" number from Honu burned into my skin over four months ago.)

My wife handed me the phone and told me to call my coach. Apparently she had some words to say to me.

She was extremely pleased with me. (She later awarded me the "Badass Award" for my performance.)

Hey, look I can still walk. I'm waiting to see how CS & MS are finishing. The finish line is to my left. Obviously, I'm still a little disoriented.

MS came through first. I caught up with her in the "food corral."

CS came in shortly after. I caught up with her right after the finish line.

Here are the three of us. The one thing we were all so happy about is that we ALL had a great race. We could all feel happy for ourselves and for each other. And we all trained and succeeded in our separate ways. It was an unbelievable feeling!

Eventually we all caught up with our family and friends. MS had some more training partners to cheer on and CS had to catch up with her kids. I had one thing on my mind.

And this:

I haven't had a drink in over three years (I had a little wine in Italy, so I guess that isn't an entirely true statement) but I wanted a beer. A big, cold beer.

I enjoyed it! A. LOT.

And then, my real motivation.

That's a bone in Porterhouse, folks. (Porterhouse = New York Strip and filet mignon.) And the hashbrowns were the perfect compliment.

Look at the concentration on my face. I'm in "the ZONE."

I finished the whole thing!

I really wanted to come back to cheer the last finishers at midnight, but when I got back to the hotel to drop of A and my mom my meat coma had set in and all I wanted to do was go to bed. So, I did.

The next morning we got packed up to leave. MS and I took the opportunity to turn the "Yes, we are MEAN" sign around.

When I got home my in-laws and sister came over for dinner. And I got cake.

Thanks for taking the journey with me. You can now return to your lives, families and jobs. (Now that I'm done with my race report I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all this free time. Maybe I'll start training again.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - Your Prayers are Answered (We're finally to the run and the light at the end of the tunnel.)

I am thinking this will be the last epic post of the IMWI 2010 saga. I think I will have one short last post to wrap things up, but I have made empty promises before, so believe what you will.

T2 was crazy in that it was fricking fast. At least as I remember it. It could have been faster had I not stopped to fill up my water bottle, but that was probably like 45 seconds even thought it felt like an hour. Everything went according to plan and visualization. I got my bib shorts off without taking my top off, got my running shorts on and my shoes on without any hiccups. Hat on and fresh, clean sunglasses (a good call on my part) and I was gone.

My legs felt absolutely fantastic! Fresh, no "weirdness," light and fast. I busted out my first mile in 7:45 WAY too fast. Reigned it in and dropped it to a little over 8:00. I kept telling myself to pull it back. My first 6 miles averaged 8:38 which was right where I wanted to be, but it meant I really dropped off. Here's what happened.

I was feeling so good coming out of T2 and on those first few miles that I kind of freaked myself out a little. I was thinking, "there is no way I can hold this pace for the rest of the race and the last thing I want to do is blow up at mile 20 or 21," (in previous marathons I've had that problem.)

Nothing hurt. There was no cramping. Nutrition and everything was going well. BUT - I decided to err on the side of caution. To make sure I got enough fuel and enough water I started walking the water stops. Quickly, just so I could get a GU in when I needed to and plenty of water. Then I would get back on the horse. Considering my 1/2 marathon split, when I was actually running I had to be on an 8:30 or faster pace. I made the turn and was still feeling good. "Hey, there finish line, see you in a couple hours."

I clicked off a few more miles and then, as I was heading up a long shallow incline, my brain showed up. It said to me, "You really need to take a nap. You're tired. See that grass. Just lay down and take a nap. You're so sleepy." SHIT! My brain believed my brain and the other part of me had to do a little negotiating. "I'm not stopping, but I'll walk." So I walked for about a block and a half - got my shit back together, kicked my own ass and started running again.

The water stops started to get longer. I wasn't walking them quite as quickly. And then I started pulling out all the stops. I couldn't eat another GU. I started shoveling handfuls of pretzels in my mouth. I started drinking the "Gatorade." And then, against my better judgment, I started to down Cokes. Well, those Cokes and the pretzels did the trick. It was just something different and something to think about between water stops. I felt like I had trouble with Coke at Honu, but I was having no problems this time. My actual running pace was picking back up.

In hindsight I realize how much I like this run. I like the two loops and all the switchbacks because you get to see people. I saw Charisa twice and Cathy twice and Ian once. The first time I saw Charisa I yelled at her even though she was about four feet away from me. She shot me a huge Charisa smile and that made me feel good. Then I saw Cathy. She yelled something like, "HEY - Todd! Looking Good!" My response was something coherent like, "Cath. hey. good......looking." IDIOT! I missed Ian on the first loop but saw him on the second. I yelled at him to - "IAN! Looking Strong!" His response sounded a bit like this:

He may have looked strong, but obviously he was feeling like hell. I saw Charisa and Cathy again on the second lap but they were both working/suffering as was I, so I don't recall what I said if anything.

Time for some pictures. Some of these were by pros. Some of these weren't.

I was coming up on mile 20 and 21 and I am starting to realize that I feel pretty fricking good. Again, no cramping, no bonking, no super speed, but I really felt like I could keep going. It was at this time I started to think about finishing time. My goal to finish in daylight was secure. Now, if I could just figure out more accurately. I didn't swim or bike with my watch so all I had was my run time with me and no idea how I done on the bike. Then it struck me. I can totally figure out my potential finishing time by the time of day on my watch.

So I started to do math (not my strong suit) based on the 7:00 AM start time. I figured I'd be around 11:15 or 11:20 at the pace I was going. I redid the math after another mile or two and realized that I was going to be closer to 11 hours. And then something else struck me - I had about three miles left, wasn't close to being dehydrated or under-fueled - if I ran the water stops I might barely break 11:00. My body had gotten used to it's little respites so I had to be an asshole to myself and not let my body stop.

Heading up State Street I got behind a woman and a man who were running about the same pace as I was. I stared at that woman's back the entire way up State Street and around part of capital square. The two of them started to pull away, but I knew I was going to easily be under 11 hours so I let them go so I could get a nice clean finish line photo. I wanted a good photo so I tucked my sunglasses in my jersey pocket and made the turn into the finish chute.

Here's my finish line photo:

WEAK! It looks like I'm the Pope blessing the crowd. WTF? I had something so much more heroic in mind, but went with something more reserved. Never again.

Just after I crossed the line. I am an Ironman! (That's pretty cool.)

I'll wrap it all up with one more post showing what I did immediately after the finish and lots of pics.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - DUDE! Really!? (Yep, we're only to the bike.)

I bet you thought this part of the race would never come. (Actually, I know you were secretly praying it would never come so you wouldn't have to continue with these ridiculous race reports.)

I ran to my bike with my shoes in hand. Maybe it wasn't the quickest option, but it's what I had decided to do. I hadn't been practicing my shoes-on-the-pedals-flying-bike-mount so I opted for the slow, safe and infinitely more dorky step-over-push-off method.

Down the helix and on the course. (I will try to keep this short - don't laugh - how much can I say about pedaling my bike? Oh, just you wait.) As we recall, I had forgotten my sunscreen so when I came running out of transition I shot by the sun screen "slatherers" and had to go back to get "applied." I had the presence of mind to have them slather my forehead so I didn't end up with a stupid "vent burn" from my helmet.

About two miles into the course we get on a section of narrow, bumpy bike path. It's a "no passing" zone and it lasts for what, maybe, like 3/4 of a mile at most. I get behind someone who is kind of poking along - doesn't bother me, I need to get my heart rate down a little bit. Some total douchebag is yelling a couple of people behind me, "GET MOVING! C'MON, PICK UP THE PACE!" Dude - really? Going slow for this short section is not going to make an once of difference in your day. If it really means that much to you, perhaps you should have swam a little faster or not dicked around in transition so long. Seems to me the only person you have to blame for your position is yourself. Prick! Once we got through the "no passing" zone I got around the guy in front of me, but I don't recall anyone jetting out and around me as they tore up the course. Hmm, perhaps D-Bag isn't as fast as he believes himself to be.

Shit happens, right? So here is some shit that happened. The tape holding my handlebar tape started to come off and it was getting my hands all full of black sticky stuff. That was annoying. I kept trying to tear it off without completely undoing it and kept almost going off the road. I tried to ignore it after awhile with varying degrees of success.

On the first little climb that required me to shift to the small ring, I slammed the shift lever down and dropped my chain. FUCK! Half way up a hill on the side of the road is not where you want to be fixing your chain. 30 seconds, fixed and done. Now, I have dirty hands. I hate that.

My nutrition plan was to take three salt tabs every hour. Here comes hour one. I pull out the canister with my salt tabs, try to flip it open with my thumb (done a hundred times during training) and proceed to drop the unopened canister. FUCK! In a flash of brilliance I had placed an identical canister of salt tabs in my "needs especial" bag. I could easily do the first half of the bike without salt.

The bike went along without major incident (this is good for you, because if a MAJOR incident had happened we might be here for weeks.) At water stops I was grabbing water bottles like a pro. Kept my speed up, but reasonable. Pointed to the bottle I wanted - grabbed it - squeezed as much in my mouth as possible - tossed it - pointed to and grabbed a second to carry on my bike. At one particular stop I came in way too fast. I went to grab the bottle, but it careened off my hand flying through the air and more than likely striking an unsuspecting volunteer in the face (or I like to think so.) I slowed down and grabbed the next two bottles. Nobody's perfect.

On the bike I had to pee. But I just couldn't actually "pee on the bike." I had never practiced it and although I did try - I have a horribly bashful bladder and it wasn't my bike - I just couldn't do that. I made a port-a-potty stop. It was actually a welcome break.

I also stopped for my special needs bag, got my salt tabs and another bottle and soldiered on.

About 3/4 of the way through the fact that I was riding a borrowed bike with a less than perfect fit started to become apparent. My shoulders were starting to get tight causing my neck to stiffen up and I started to get a screaming tension headache. I started to sit up a lot more, coasting down the hills instead of attacking them and standing to pedal slowly up the uphills to try and stretch out some. I could see it reflected in my computer data. My guess is it probably made about a five- to ten-minute difference. But, hey - I'll take it.

Coming down John Nolan Drive back into Madison I really found myself looking forward to the run. Not necessarily because the bike was so bad, although I really wanted to be able to stretch out my back and shoulders, but because everything was really feeling so good.

Up "the Helix" - much easier than I had expected - and off to transition. Legs feeling good.

Here are a bunch of pictures. Some are obviously me as they were taken by professionals. The others are probably not of me as they were taken by A and my mom. I'm SO glad I made my helmet so ugly and visible, but you still couldn't pick me out.

I really hate the way I look on a bike.