Sunday, June 26, 2005

Calling Buster Brown

I need new sneakers - er, I mean "running shoes". As a kid, shoe-shopping was relatively easy. All you needed to do was go to the store and figure out which ones looked coolest. But as grown-ups we suck all the fun out of it.

There are tons of buying guides out there which are supposed to make it easy to find the perfect shoe for you. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions to determine your running style: Do you supinate? Are you underpronated? HUH?! What the foot are they talking about?! Here's my running style: Left foot forward. Right foot forward. Repeat.

I miss my old Nike's with the velcro straps.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Multiple Choice

What is the worst possible equipment failure you can have while training for a triathlon?

A) Shoelaces become untied
B) Spring a leak in your goggles
C) Flat tire
D) iPod battery goes dead

As I discovered today, the correct answer is "D".

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Meet Nat

Hey everybody, this is my new friend Nat:

I met Nat during the bike ride today. I was zooming down the hill after visiting Mr. Griffith and all of a sudden WHAM! Nat (the gnat) decided to do a belly-flop into my eye. I think of myself as a pretty conservative rider, and I was fully prepared for every obstacle I could think of: cars, loose gravel, potholes... But I have to admit, meeting Nat took me completely by surprise. So now I'm whizzing down a winding mountain road half blind. Great. I was able to stop and tried to give Nat a bath with my water bottle, but he was perfectly content just hanging out in my tear duct. About another mile down the road I was able to coax him out on to my sleeve.

I notice that a lot of people wear sunglasses during the rides. And not just any sunglasses, these are ultra-hip triathlon glasses I suppose. I sort of figured that I'm mostly riding in the evening when it isn't very bright, I'm not going to impress anyone with my fashion sense anyway, so why bother? Now I realize that everyone else is just being anti-social: they don't want to meet Nat. They're smart.

Crap, now I have yet another thing I need to buy.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Be afraid... Be very afraid.

Well I never thought this day would come, but it happened: I've been buying spandex. Believe me, I'm just as unhappy about it as you are. But the reality is that's the best stuff to wear. Just takes some getting used to. And there is safety in numbers, since we're all wearing the same stuff basically.

I do feel a little uncomfortable shopping for shorts though, because it's tricky understanding how it's supposed to fit. You need something tight enough to wear under a wetsuit, loose enough to run in, and padded enough to bike with. And of course you don't want to look TOO ridiculous. I was looking at one pair of lightweight shorts, which I assumed would be good. But I held them up to the window and saw that the material was a very fine mesh; I could see light shining through the entire thing. It's a very humbling experience to have to ask underwear advice from a 20-year-old punk kid, but I embarrassingly asked the salesguy "um, am I supposed wear something under this?" "No". "But I can see right through it." "Nah, you really can't see anything when you're wearing it." Yeah. Right. I don't think so.

Spandex is like life insurance: the older you get, the more coverage you want.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hair today, hair tomorrow

I learned an important lesson Saturday: If your wetsuit is scratching you, let it. We had our ocean swim, and the arm opening on my (sleeveless) suit was a little tight and kind of chafing me. So I naturally stopped swimming to try to reposition it. What happens when you try to move a watertight seal when underwater? Well, all that freezing water that your suit is protecting you against comes suddenly rushing inside. Fortunately it doesn't take long for your body to acclimate to the water, but woah did that wake me up quickly.

On Sunday Coach Gareth gave us a bunch of pointers to help us with our training. He spoke with a British accent, so therefore he must be smart. One of the discussions involved why men shave their legs. Some of these reasons I knew already, some were new to me:

1. When you crash on your bike and all your skin rips off, being hairless makes it easier to clean. I knew that.
2. Smooth skin is easier to massage if you have knots or cramps. I did not know that.
3. Being smooth can accentuate your leg development and make you look more buff. I knew that.
4. Hairless legs are cleaner if you want to pee on yourself during the bike ride and not waste time stopping at a port-a-potty. Not only did I not know that, I didn't WANT to know that.

As compelling as these reasons sound, I think I'll be passing on getting my legs waxed. As I enter my late 30s, I realize I need all the hair I can get.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Hills are Alive, With the Sound of Wheezing

Everybody grew up knowing a kid who lived at the top of a hill. Nobody wanted to go over his house to play, because to get there you had to do this:

Well, I made a new friend yesterday. His name is Mr. Griffith, and he lives here:

We did a ride in Griffith park and it was uphill. Both ways. In the snow. I have to say I feel I did rather well, except for my back. Oye Vey was my back killing me. I used to laugh at the stupid Doan's Back Pill commercials as a kid but man what I wouldn't give for a bucket of them now. I need to get my bike adjusted.

Most of the reason I survived the hill was because my bike has a third front gear, the "Granny Gear". I had read some buying guides that said the 3rd gear wasn't needed and even that REAL triathlon bikes don't have them. Blasphemy! LOVE the Granny Gear. EMBRACE the Granny Gear. In fact, if you can find a bike with a fourth "Great Granny Gear" go for it.

The highlight of the ride of course was seeing Dominic Keating, Lt. Malcolm Reed of Star Trek Enterprise, leaving the golf course heading for his car. How cool would it have been if I had smashed into his car with my bike?! Or better yet, if I had run him over! He was standing in the middle of the road when I was racing downhill, so he was fair game.