Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Teacher's Pet

I went for a run in Griffith Park on Sunday, and one of our Tri-Team leaders drove past and saw me. Bonus points! It was like being in elementary school and having a teacher catch you studying in the town library over the weekend. Um, not that I spent my weekends in the library as a kid. Not me. No. I was out doing things. Cool things. Like um, sports...and stuff.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Wheel Wisdom

When mapping a bike course, if the path takes you along streets whose names contain the words "Mountain", "Canyon", and "Hill", you know you're in for a tough ride.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


"Andre and Nabil, you just finished Ironman Brazil... What are you going to do now?"
"We're going to Disneyland!"

Two friends and Tri-teammates conquered Ironman Brazil this weekend. Absolutely amazing. Congratulations to them both.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Zoot Suit

I bought a new wetsuit.

Last season I swam in a sleeveless suit, because nobody seemed to be able to find a sleeved suit that fit my - shall me say - "distinctive physique". I was always cold and I got stung on the arm by a jellyfish and I hated it. I tried a new store, and the experience was much less emotionally scarring than the first time I went shopping for a wetsuit. It was less traumatic than the second time I went shopping for a wetsuit.

It's all about the euphemisms: rather than telling me "you're built like a little girl", this new salesguy told me "we'll put you in a European cut." (We 'Mericans know that "European" is typically a euphemism for "wimpy", but sometimes it can mean "sleek". I'll leave it to the reader to decide which meaning he was using.) The first suit he had me try on (the manly Ironman) didn't fit me at all, but the second one (Zoot) seemed to be OK. My only regret of the day is that a certain someone who shall remain nameless (Annie) had to walk by and watch me trying to squeeze into the suits. So undignified.

Wetsuits fit very differently in the water than they do in a store. I tested the suit at Venice Beach on Saturday, and it wasn't quite right. Maybe I just had the sleeves twisted a bit, or maybe I just wasn't used to actually wearing sleeves, but it just felt awkward. However, I was not cold at all. Not even a shiver. Nothing. I'm not going to the Olympics; I'll sacrifice some comfort for warmth if I have to.

I had forgotten how tiring it is to swim in the ocean. And what I was doing was barely swimming at all. Since I was by myself I didn't go out too deep, I basically just went through some waves and back to shore a few times. And I was wiped out. Exhausted. It not like having tired legs after a run, this was just a complete drain of energy from my very core. I need to get back to the beach.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

World's Greatest Triathlete

Friday, May 19, 2006

Follow the leader

Remember back in 4th grade... whenever your class needed to go someplace, the teacher assigned a Line Leader. There really was no need for a "leader"; everybody knew exactly where the cafeteria was. Yet it was an important responsibility. You were going to make sure that all 47 of your classmates (public school) would make it to the playground.

Well last week I was asked to be a leader for one of our bike groups. Me! A leader! I was very excited about it. My responsibilities basically entailed telling people "turn here" and "don't turn there". As far as I know, everyone in my group made it back safely. But then I never got a full count so who knows. Maybe there are still a few stragglers out there. Doesn't matter; the coyotes will deal with them. The important thing is that I got to be Line Leader for a day.

Some of the people there may have been wondering why I was wearing an ankle-high sport sock on my left foot, and a mid-calf sock on my right foot. Did my right leg need extra support because of an injury? No. Did the sock somehow prevent scrapes from the gears and chain on that side of bike? No. The truth is, I change in the car while driving to the park and simply forgot to switch out that sock.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


For several months now, Triple T (Tri-Team Tim) has been trying to get me join him on a bike ride with the Midnight Ridazz. Once a month, a group of cyclists get together for a late-night ride through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. And by "group" I mean five-HUNDRED people. Last night, I finally went.

A little history: when Mister P. first joined the triathlon team last year, he felt like he didn't belong. He went to their workouts and saw a bunch of really in-shape people wearing spandex and he felt pretty intimidated. But a lot happened over the past year; Mister P. put a few nice accomplishments under his belt. He even bought stretchy-shorts. And this year, Mister P. definitely feels like he belongs. So when Mister P. went out to meet up with a new group of cyclists, he felt OK. He knew the rules of the road, and since this was a night-time ride he put on the brightest, most reflective shirt he owns, his Orange County Half Marathon shirt. He put on his stretchy shorts and went to the meeting place in Echo Park, where he knew he would fit in.

Well...The Midnite Ridazz is not your typical bike club. Most people were wearing black, goth-ish outfits or long hippie pants. Probably 75% of them (*gasp!*) didn't have helmets. Of the 500 people there, I think I saw one other pair of bike shorts. And hardly anyone was wearing white. Once again, Mister P. didn't fit in. I felt like I was wearing a tie to a Gwar show. Impressed that I knew who Gwar was?) There were road bikes and mountain bikes and beach cruisers. One guy towed a little trailer with a car battery hooked up to a portable stereo to blast music as we rode. People had neon strips and blinking LEDs covering their bikes. It was awesome. I really need to pimp my ride.

We started out around 10:30pm and headed towards downtown. Homeless people would get out of their boxes to cheer us as we rode by. We went through Chinatown and Alvarado Street. We rode through the 2nd street tunnel. We criss-crossed several bridges spanning the L.A. river. It was just an amazing way to see the city.

Mister P. is many things, but he is not a rebel. Mister P. believes in playing by the rules. And if there are no rules, he makes some. And follows them. The Midnight Ridazz events aren't exactly USCF endorsed. One of the first things I thought as I watched 500 of us head out on to the streets was "shouldn't we getting some sort of permit to be doing this?" Bicycles are vehicles, and are supposed to obey all traffic signs. But not the Midnight Ridazz. At each traffic light, a team of "blockers" would park their bikes defiantly in the path of cross traffic until all of us rode past. It probably took several minutes for the entire chain of bikes to ride by, and I'm sure some very unhappy motorists had to sit through more than one light change before they could drive forward. I felt guilty, but it was very cool.

We came upon a place called "Mariachi Plaza" in Boyle Heights. I had never heard of the place. It was a small courtyard with a Mariachi Band playing which suddenly got overwhelmed with 500 bicyclists like a swarm of locusts. We all stopped for 15-20 minutes and listened to the music and danced (well, jumped up and down) and then we disappeared as quickly as we arrived. Freakin' sweet.

The entire ride was about 16 miles and we finished up on Sunset Boulevard around 12:30-1:00. We pretty much blocked one lane of traffic with of our bikes in the middle of the street, until the SEVEN police cars and 1 police helicopter were dispatched to tell us to disperse. The Man is always trying to keep Mister P. down.

The Midnight Ridazz meet the second Friday of every month. You should totally go. But leave the stretchy shorts at home.

Heading downtown, A blocker, Chinatown, Mariachi band, Mariachi Plaza, 2nd street tunnel

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

That's what's happening

There are famous swimmers (Mark Spitz). There are famous cyclists (Lance Armstrong). There are famous runners (Steve Prefontaine). But are there any famous triathletes? Turns out the answer is "yes", and YOU know one! In fact, he was a triathlete a year BEFORE the first "official" triathlon took place in Southern California in 1974. Who is this world-famous athlete? The kid from the Verb Schoolhouse Rock video.

How do I know he's a triathlete? He literally sings this line: "When I'm feeling really active, I run, I ride, I swim, I fly!" Although technically he is riding a horse and not a bicycle in the video, he more than makes up for it by flying at the end. Now THAT'S a tough brick. Let us all be inspired by this true man of action.

Here's a quick movie clip of the pioneer triathlete:


Monday, May 08, 2006

Friends like these

I have a group of college friends who do an anuual ski week in Park City Utah; I've gone 8-10 times. This year it was just 2 weeks before the L.A. Marathon so I, not wanting to risk catching a flu or doing something stupid on the slopes, skipped the trip.

My friend D spoke with K this past weekend. (both are Utah regulars.) D relayed their conversation to me:

K: "So, what was Mister P.'s time for the marathon?"
D: "Just under 5 hours."
K: "He stayed home for THAT?!"


Thursday, May 04, 2006


This weekend is the big Wildflower Triathlon. I have never been, nor am I planning to go, but I know it's big news in the triathlon world. I'm sure I'm not the first person to make the comparison that Wildflower sounds like Woodstock Triathlon.

Wildflower is famous for two things:
1. The festival atmosphere
2. The difficulty of the course

I think these things are directly related. If you make me sleep out in a tent the night before a 5k, I'm going to think it's a very tough race. I think that next year, I'll just get a good night's rest at the Wildflower Hilton and then I'll be able to win the event because everyone else will be hunched over with sore backs. Unfortunately, I think the closest hotel with running water is 45 minutes away.

I wish I was the kind of guy who could enjoy Wildflower. But I'm not. I'm always nervous before a race, and I need to at least try to sleep well. And I don't want to wake up and shower with 5,000 of my closest friends. You hippies, go and have a great time at Wildflower. Good luck!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Living Large

My friend Neil is this hot-shot web-designer in New York. He worked on a project for GE Healthcare where people submit photos showing how they are "the picture of health". The images get displayed on a GIANT screen in the heart of Times Square in Manhattan. He told me I should send in one of my marathon photos. I did, and through the magic of the internet Mister P. became a temporary spokesmodel for GE Healthcare.

I had a less-than-pleasurable experience the day of the marathon, so this is now my coolest memory of the event. It rocks.

They are still accepting photos, so put down the cigarette and snap a photo!