Category Archives: Uncategorized

St. George 70.3

I’ll preface this for my grandmothers since Adelaide told me that this post comes off as depressing. Let it be known that it was actually a great trip.

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Getting good and pissed off a few days from the start. I didn’t ride the Speed Phreak at St. George since my bike is still being built, up but it will be ready for Raleigh.

The Drive

The drive out to Utah started with a painful moment of panic as Adelaide accidentally slammed Maybellene’s tail in the car door. Maybellene yelped and frantically lurched away from the source of her agony, her claws nearly scratching my eye out in the process. With Maybellene’s tail a little crooked and a bloody scratch mimicking a teardrop tattoo under my right eye, the 10-hour car trip officially began.

We left late in the day because Adelaide had an appointment at 1PM, which put us just east of the Wasatch Range at dusk. In the fading light with peaceful rolling desert terrain passing by, I watched a rabbit bolt from the right side of the road out towards the center. I quickly took my foot off the gas and kept the car in a straight line, hoping that the little bunny would reverse its direction mid-stride like prey animals will do when confronted with uncertainty in the direction that they are currently headed. The rabbit kept running straight and our car passed over it, me now willing it to miss the wheels. I looked in the side view mirror a half second later and saw it summersaulting in the road behind us as we sped off at 80 miles per hour, my spirits instantly and temporarily plummeting, the rabbit’s life instantly and permanently over. Another innocent creature killed by a fucking car, driven by a person too uncaring to stop and help, or at least remove it from the middle of the road where its gut-filled carcass would inevitably be flattened to an unrecognizable sheet of sticky fur.

I see nothing good in humanity or myself, no way out of our current and certain path of total self- and planetary-destruction. Most of Earth’s animals are doomed. The environment is plummeting towards mass extinction and it won’t be set straight for millions of years. In the short term, maybe as soon as a hundred years, future human generations will engage in pathetic squabbles over crumbs because we couldn’t stop breeding like rabbits and spreading the disease of man-kind to every square centimeter of this abused planet. I hate people. I hate cars. I hate everything.

Then I got a milk shake.

And I was alright again.

At the Host House

Our host house was sick, to put it bluntly. We arrived just before 1AM to find a large atrium in which speckled colored lights shown from a small box, covering the walls, furniture, and ceiling of the entire house with a neon Milky Way. In the back yard there was also a rope swing, hammock, and a gazebo built out of an old Army plane.

We spent Thursday riding, picking up packets, and hanging out with AJ and his dad at the A2 Bikes tent. The temperature pushed into the upper 90s, perfect weather for a Kennett. I hoped it would stay like that for the race, though in the end it would cool down a good 10 degrees.

The day before the race I noticed that the hallway toilet of our host house was flooding all over the floor, and that there was also a deep puddle spanning the entire laundry room as well. The previous night the same mysterious flooding had happened and Adelaide and I had to wake up our hosts, John and Shalena, to let them know what was going on. But neither of them were home on Friday morning, and certain bowels had to be emptied.

I plunged the toilet until the water level was a few inches lower than the rim, though I suspected that most of the water had just ended up on the floor from all the sloshing around I was causing. I did my business and didn’t flush, since that would only make matters worse (as I found out the previous night). I told Adelaide not to use that toilet so she tried the other bathroom in the laundry room area.

Now there were two toilets filled to the rim with shit, a flooded bathroom floor, and a flooded laundry room. We needed to head out to train and go to the pre-race meeting. I didn’t want to leave things in that bad of a state for our hosts to come home to, so I attempted to plunge my toilet. The water quickly churned into an angry dark brown and the plunging was having no affect on the water level. Due to the violence of my thrusting, I was splashed in the face and mouth twice by the vile liquid. I decided to call it good at that point, still having made no progress on the water level, and left the plunger sitting in the putrid-smelling mess since there was no way to clean it off without causing more flooding. Adelaide, now onto poop number two of the day, took a dump in the back yard. She cleaned it up with a doggy bag.

A plumber came by later and removed a napkin from an outside pipe, which had been causing the blockage. But enough prelude. Onto the race.

The Swim

The gun cracked and we set off at a pace that I couldn’t hold for more than 15 meters. I quickly fell behind a pair of feet to my left, got dropped from that pair of feet and moved right. My goal for the swim was to leave no doubt of whether or not I could have gone faster. A lot of my swims have felt like I could have held onto the group up ahead if only my start was better and I’d pushed it harder in the opening 400 meters. I didn’t make that mistake this time, and eventually found someone to draft off of that was the perfect speed: faster than me but not so fast that I couldn’t hang on. We swam through a small group about half way through, and I let myself believe (for a few seconds anyways) that we’d just passed the lead pack. I continued sitting on the guy’s feet as another guy tried to push me off. He wouldn’t let up and continued slamming me with his arm, pushing me down and back. Reaching out awkwardly with my left leg, I kicked him a few times in the side when he refused to give up the fight. I hoped it wasn’t someone I knew. Me and the original guy broke off from that pack and pushed on towards land, coming in just under 26 minutes, my best swim yet.

The Bike

I knew coming into T1 that I had just had the best swim I’d ever had and that I could probably make it into a good group if I pushed super hard for the first 20 to 30 minutes. Unfortunately, my legs failed me. The past month of training has been very sub-par, as I’ve been dealing with a lack of motivation and depression. I put forth as good of an effort as my body could muster on the bike, making my way through a few groups as I held onto Ben Hoffman, Cameron Wurf, Brent McMahon, Josiah Middaugh, and Trevor Wurtel’s wheels. Wurf got away from our group mid-way into the ride and I still hadn’t taken a pull. I felt that by the time I got up to the front I’d be blown and actually slow us down, plus I was still holding out hope that there were only 10 guys up the road and that I should save what little I had in my legs for the run.

At the turn around with 15 miles to go, and after we’d ridden through a group of four, I saw that there were still 11 guys up the road, with varying leads on us of two to eight minutes. At that point, Brownlee, Sanders, and Kienle were so far gone that they were essentially in a race of their own. My legs were pretty much shattered at that point, but I decided that if I could, I would try something on the climb up Snow Canyon, despite feeling like a prick for doing so since I hadn’t been helping with the pace-making.

I put in a big effort, triathlon-wise (mind you there was still a 13 mile run to consider), up the second half of the climb, hoping that I could at least make up a little more ground towards 10th place, the last place that paid and the last place that I would be somewhat satisfied with. McMahon stayed with me, and on the headwind descent we caught Matt Charbot to come into T2 in 11th and 12th. There was still hope.

My bike time was 2:07:49 thanks to a cross tailwind for most of the day, and my average power was 290 (NP 309), which showed how shitty my legs were. That was the same exact power that I did two years ago here on this course as my first ever triathlon…in the midst of some severe Hashimoto’s symptoms. So yeah, I was not at the top of my game today.

The Run

Further proof of my shit legs, and self-doubting mind, was evidenced in the first few miles of the run, which were uphill. I lost sight of McMahon instantly. My legs were bricks. I tried mustering up a few more seconds per mile, looked at my watch, and saw that I was almost at a fast jog. I was passed by three more guys in the next few miles and I had little desire to attempt holding on as they came by. I was mentally defeated, and decided that there was no point in destroying my legs if I wasn’t going to be in the money.

At mile eight or nine into the run, which had somewhere around 1,200 painful feet of elevation gain, I decided that I’d at least not get passed by anyone else and hold onto…”16th?” I thought. I kept a pace that I assumed would satisfy that low goal for the next four miles. On the descent back into town I picked up speed…because it was downhill. I passed two guys in the last mile, blowing by at a pace that I shouldn’t have been able to do if I’d put forth my best effort earlier on, further proving to myself how weak and cowardly I’d been. I came in 14th with a 1:26 run, three minutes slower than the run I’d done here two years ago as an amateur when running 30 minutes a week was high mileage.

I went to the food tent.

And suddenly, all was right with the world once again.

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That time is not accurate.

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Adelaide had a fantastic race, finishing in 5:02 and 5th amateur woman overall. She’s on the verge of qualifying as a pro and with some serious training before Raleigh, will have a good shot there or at Coeur d’Alene.

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Ben had a great race also and came in at 4:48.

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There was unlimited Mexican food just behind me, by the way. Also behind me is Mormon Space X.

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Maybellene on her way up to the stage during the awards presentation.

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Sniffing around for her prize.

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It must be up here.

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“Whose dog is that?” There were a couple hundred people watching, so this was slightly embarrassing. Not for me though.

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Mid sneeze.

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Hot hound.

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Partnership with A-Squared Bikes for 2017

I’m super pumped to announce a partnership between myself and A2 bikes (pronounced A-Squared). They’re a brand new company out of Oregon that has a goal of giving triathletes a solid deal on a super fast bike without causing them to get a night job, take out a second mortgage on the house, go into bankruptcy, lose the house, get divorced, spend three weeks on a friend’s couch trying to sort out life, lose both jobs, move into their car full time, get addicted to crack, sell their car for crack, sell their overpriced triathlon bike for crack, start turning tricks for crack, and die on the streets with no teeth, no friends, and most importantly, no bike. Yeah, it’s a slippery slope, paying too much for a triathlon bike. Luckily, the guys at A2 are here to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Thanks A2!

About the Speed Phreak

A2 has one bike: the Speed Phreak. After looking at it in person, I was pretty shocked to discover how well it’s priced. $1,899 for a full bike with a set of training wheels and $2,899 with an extra set of race wheels thrown in. It’s sleek, it’s slippery, it handles as well as a road bike, it’s everything you could want and for literally less than half the price of a comparable frame and groupset combo (my guess is that the company is a laundering front). Anyways, that’s enough selling on my end through words. The rest will be done with results.

Check it:

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AJ, the owner, trapped inside a blank white room.

How the Sponsorship Happened: Thank You Adelaide

The last thing on my mind after crossing the finish line at Oceanside 70.3 a few weeks ago was walking up to an expo booth and chatting about bikes with a stranger. Things that would have come more naturally to me in that depleted state include eating the free post-race food, getting a free massage, and sitting down and not moving because I had a blister that took up one entire quarter of my foot. I did all of those things. After I got back from the massage, Adelaide excitedly talked me into going over to a black tent of a bike company. She had struck up a conversation with who she believed to be the owner, and talked me up apparently. “They’re a new company and I just told them how well you did! You should go over and introduce yourself,” she said, similarly to how a mom might entice their small child to go introduce themselves to another little boy at a playground.

It turned out to be a good thing that Adelaide came to the race, because I ended up getting a bike sponsorship out of it. AJ Alley, the owner of A2 Bikes, was just in the beginning stages of having their first batch of bikes produced, and had linked up with Ironman to be the official bike partner for the race. He didn’t know it before he talked to Adelaide, but he was looking for additional marketing, which is where I came in. A week later, after a few more conversations over the phone, we’d come to an agreement. From the beginning, it was clear that AJ was just as enthusiastic about this partnership as I. He has been dead set on hooking me up with the best components and gear to make the bike as fast as any other fully decked-out pro’s bike, and it has been incredibly encouraging to feel that sort of support from a sponsor. I’m excited to pay A2 back 10 times over in the races to come this season. Check out their Facebook page and website. I think there are a few bikes left to reserve for this first order, and the next shipment should be available soon.

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AJ and I discussing important aerodynamic shit.

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The first batch hot off the press! Get em while they’re hot.

Smoothie Bowl Recipe

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Smoothie:

1 cup frozen fruit (blueberries, mango, pineapple, papaya, blackberries, etc)
The bowl pictured is a mixture of blueberries, pineapple, and papaya
2 scoops of Hammer Whey Chocolate Protein
1 banana
Almond milk, just enough for desired consistency
1 spoonful of peanut butter (or use as a topping)
Blend and put in a big bowl

Toppings:

Pictured is hemp seed, cacao nibs, peanut butter, and coconut flakes. Others:
Granola
Fresh fruit
Crushed macadamia nuts or pecans
Chia seeds

To make these smoothies, I cut up two pineapples, a papaya, and mangos beforehand and freeze them. To keep the fruit from freezing into a solid clump, periodically break it up 3 times within the six hours after putting it in the freezer.

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Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

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This post is dedicated to Krista.

The week leading up to an event, my hypochondria tendencies become drastically intensified. I don’t touch door handles with my bare skin, if I hear someone coughing in the grocery store I’ll exit the area immediately, and I wash my hands every time after having human contact (meaning every time I venture outside the house). At the airport, traveling to a race, I wash my hands constantly, use hand sanitizer, and refuse to touch anything that I don’t have to. I’ll risk falling over on the DIA terminal train before even thinking about reaching out to steady myself with a railing. After the race is over, all of this changes. For example:

On the flight home from Oceanside, I put a chocolate bar (still wrapped) in my shoe to keep it off the ground after taking my shoes off on the plane. I took a piece out of the wrapper, still placed carefully in my shoe, every now and then. By the end of the flight I’d eaten the whole thing and threw out the wrapper. I went to put my shoe on when the plane landed and realized there was something loose in there. I shook out a loose piece of chocolate, which landed on the ground at my feet. I picked it up, and quickly contemplated the following:

  1. I distinctly remember standing in a puddle of urine in the airport bathroom, which my shoes had undoubtedly tracked into the plane and onto the very carpet that this chocolate had fallen;
  2. These were shoes that I had previously peed in during races. However, they had been retired some months ago and were now just my walking around shoes;
  3. I had a horrible blister on the ball of my left foot, which happened to be the shoe I’d put the chocolate bar in, and the festering blister, combined with general foot sweat, stank something fierce at this point;
  4. Chocolate tastes good.

I ate it after a two-second pause of contemplation. The build up to a race, especially the first of the year, takes a considerable mental stress toll, and getting everything right (or as much as you can) during that period is wearing. Once the race is over, a weight is lifted and being a normal(ish) person for a few days feels right.

Now onto the race.

The swim was the most chaotic I’ve experienced, which doesn’t say a lot since this was my 11th race (excluding two small local sprints). My level of inexperience constantly shows, as witnessed later in the bike leg, but back to the swim. The first 500 meters was just madness. I took a few blows to the head, gave out some of my own, swam over the backs of people, and had the same dished out to myself. At one point I had to stop for a second to put my goggles back on. Usually the madness like this only lasts for 200 meters. After 500 meters it let up and I found myself on the feet of a guy who seemed to be going hard at a pace I could follow, so I stayed on him for the rest of the swim. I came out in 26:46 and 28th out of the water, which, for me, was a decent time considering I was only a minute down on a big group and four minutes on the leader.

I went pretty hard for the first 12 miles of the bike, averaging 346, and found myself catching up to Justin Rossi, another ex-bike racer who I knew would be a good ally. He quickly bridged the gap to one more in front, Ronnie Shildknecht, and put in a very long, extended effort that almost dropped me. I struggled staying seven lengths back, constantly finding myself drifting back to 15 seconds behind the two. At one point I lost Shildknecht while eating. Focusing on maintaining that 7-8 bike length sweet spot was definitely a mental struggle throughout the bike for some reason.

Justin (with the two of us in tow) caught and passed more guys until there were about six of us, still just Justin working, by the time we came to the first of the hills. By this time I was finally feeling okay, and began taking some pulls. I was hesitant to go off on my own because I wanted Justin’s help on the flats and was worried that I’d get a lung cramp on the run if I dug too deep. I sat up a few times on the rollers throughout this middle section of the race to ensure that Justin, who had done a ton of work at this point, and the others weren’t dropped. I wondered at this point why my right hand was sore, and realized it was from smacking someone’s head during the swim.

By the last 20 miles it was just Justin, myself, and Shildknecht, who never took a single pull the entire time. Justin was rolling along pretty fast in the last 10 miles of the flat run in to T2, and I felt good about the progress we’d made until I looked at the results after the race. In hindsight, I wish I’d been less conservative on the bike and taken more pulls or as least attempted to go off on my own right as the hills started to bridge the gap to the main group up ahead, which at that point was only about two minutes.

Shildknecht came by Justin and I right as we entered T2, which felt like a big Fuck You, and it was. He took off on the run, fresh as a Swiss daisy from lack of working on the bike, and ran though most of the field to take 3rd. Justin and I exchanged a few disgruntled complaints running our bikes to the rack about that, then set to work on the most miserable part of triathlon. Peeing in your running shoes.

At least, that’s what I did, I won’t speak for Justin. After a quick pee, I got some trotting farts out of my gut. I was demo-ing a new Cuore of Switzerland race kit, which was super comfy and fast, but I’m not sure they’re going to want it back. With my intestines and bladder cleared out, I set to work. I kept my pace consistent and controlled throughout the whole run, never putting myself in the red until the last kilometer. At the turns I could see who was up the road in front of me, and knew that a big risky effort wouldn’t do much good. The gap was too big and most were only gaining time. I was also worried that if I dug super deep early on, I’d get a lung cramp or my hip would go out, two issues I dealt with in most of my races last year. Instead, I played it safe.

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Adelaide and Krista found a painted rock by the race course.

I picked off a few guys as they blew up, moving to 9th by the second lap. Adelaide and her friend Krista (and Maybellene) were out there cheering, which helped me remember to keep perfect Craig Curly form, or do my best impersonation. PS if you don’t know who Craig Curly is, then shame on you.

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I came in at 4:01 something with a 1:16:33 run, 9th place, and about a minute behind 8th, which was the final place that got paid. 2nd place isn’t the first loser, 9th is. Speaking of 2nd, Chris Leiferman took 2nd, which was a huge result considering the size and depth of the field. Let it be known that I knew Chris back before he was a big deal. It’s sort of like seeing a band before they blow up. “Yeah, I used to hang out with the Pearl Jam crew back in 84.” That sort of thing.

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Left to right: Shildknecht, Lionel Sanders, Chris.

Afterthoughts:

I wish I’d attempted a bigger effort on the bike to put myself within shooting range of the group up ahead. I had the 4th fastest bike, but it didn’t feel like my best effort. It was the first time I’ve really played it safe, and although 9th in this field was a good result, it left me wanting quite a bit. Next up is St. George. Thank you to my sponsors Cuore of Switzerland and Hammer for providing awesome support!

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Ingredients for an awesome smoothie bowl.

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Click here for the recipe.

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It was a long weekend of travel for some.

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Krista, Adelaide, and Kristen.

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Everything is Fucked

It’s just one of those days where you don’t wanna wake up. Everything is Fucked. Everybody sucks. Yes, I’m quoting Limp Bizkit’s, Break Stuff, which as lame as that is, seems appropriate. In fact, I have it on repeat right now as I write this. In my last post I wrote about wanting to keep more up to date on the news. Turns out that may have been a mistake, because when absolutely 100% of the news you read is totally fucked, it starts to get to you. No matter what source I turn to (Mother Jones, Wired, Economist, Slate, NYT, ProPublica, CNN, Forbes, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, or even Fox News), it all paints a disgusting picture of American greed, lies, and contented ignorance. What happened to us that we let made this happen?

Some much more disturbing reading I’ve done brings me to realize that nothing has changed over the decades or centuries, but that we’ve always been this way: destructive, uncaring, small-minded, and short-sighted. Even tens of thousands of years ago.

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert is a deeply troubling, nightmarish novel that kept me awake at night for two weeks as I slowly and cringingly made my way through it. And by novel I mean non-fiction. Over the course of five or six years, the author followed various groups of scientists as they investigated dwindling numbers of frogs, bats, insects, coral reef, forests, etc. The gist of it is that we’re sending huge numbers of species into extinction every year through deforestation, climate change, overpopulation, introduction of invasive species, overfishing, and other human-caused problems. But we haven’t even glimpsed the devastation to come.

By the end of my life, assuming I don’t prematurely get run over by a car on my bike next week, I will witness the extinction of elephants and most other large land animals, all large cats, almost all amphibians, coral reef and god know’s the number of aquatic life that depends on them, huge numbers of the bird population, and untold quantities of insect and plant life. The total populations for a lot of these animals are currently at a fraction of what they were just 25, or even 10, short years ago.

75 percent of all current species will be extinct in a little over 150 years, if not sooner. But cheer up! Some of the larger animals’ existence will be “saved” by zoos, while the DNA of others will be kept in lab freezers across the globe for that nonexistent time when we are able to fix the world.

By the end of this century, climate change will also wreak havoc on humankind as well, and I find it hard to believe that society will continue to exist as we know it. Sea level rise of up to two meters is predicted by 2100, the acidification of the oceans will wipe out most sea life, crops will fail from drought, forest fires and tropical storms will worsen. War, disease, forced relocation, and famine will wipe out hundreds of millions of people and today’s chaos of the Trump administration will, in comparison, seem like a time of easy peace and prosperity. 

I have little hope that things will change, for one because of America’s ignorance and shortsightedness (not to mention Europe’s), as seen in this past election. We have to take action now, and we’re not doing that. We’re taking measures to make things even worse. More so, I think it would be against our human nature to change for the good. Ever since humans have existed, we have invaded other lands and, in so doing, wiped out other hominoid species and most large megafauna. Mammoths, giant armadillos, moas, aurochs, megatheriums, smilodons, giant beavers, giant rabbits, giant elk, woolly rhinos, and hundreds more large to small animals were wiped out by tiny, pitiful numbers of humans. We’re only talking about tens of thousands of Homo Sapiens in an entire continent wiping out animals 50 times their size over the span of a few thousand years. These people were living as “green” as you possibly could. Virtually no carbon emissions, no agriculture, no pollution, no hunting to excess by wasting meat. But even their seemingly small presence and the slow process of each clan taking a few big animals a year was enough to force most of the earth’s large animals into extinction over a relatively short time frame.

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All the cool animals are dead. Stupid cave men.

So what hope do we have now, with soon to be eight billion people crowding the world, all farming, polluting waterways, driving cars, dumping plastic in the ocean, eating meat, using coal-powered electronics and HVAC systems, flying to bike races, etc? In the last 50,000 years, humans have caused extinction rates to rise, aside from other mass extinction periods, to unnatural levels. In the past few hundred years, that rate has multiplied by hundreds of times. Now, species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they should. That extinction rate will continue to increase to 10,000 times faster than normal in the coming years. There have only been five other mass extinctions since multi-cellular life formed on earth 600 million years ago, so this is rare, to put it lightly. Assuming that humans wipe themselves out in the next thousand years, it will then take millions of years for the planet to heal from the greenhouse effect if carbon dioxide levels come anywhere near the worst mass extinction of the end Permian, and tens of millions more for life to fully return. 

Apparently 70 percent of Americans have never talked to their friends or family about climate change. This doesn’t make sense to me, because one would assume that the 50 percent of Americans that doesn’t believe* in anthropomorphic climate change would discuss it with their fellow bible thumpers, arguing why they believe it’s a hoax or a conspiracy theory perpetuated by Google and Apple.

*I hate the word “belief” when discussing science. If you’re not a scientist you should have no belief or opinion on the matter other than what you’re told by the scientific consensus, if there is one. Why? Because the general public does not participate in research. The general public doesn’t even have an understanding of what science is or how it’s done.

Even if we were to somehow get everyone on board with the fact that climate change is the single greatest threat to our existence, and we began making drastic changes immediately, most animals would go extinct over the next few hundred years anyways. Maybe not 75 percent, but given that so many animals were wiped out by tiny bands of hunter gatherers, there is virtually no hope that a planet full of billions of us can have less or equal impact as them. But maybe we can work to make the wold at least habitable for most animals, as well as ourselves.

This would require a monumental shift in power away from industry and to the people/environment. Our carbon emissions would have to be cut to a fraction of what they are, we’d have to stop eating animal products or at least create them from yeast or other less environmentally taxing sources, and we’d have to stop reproducing at the rate we’ve been going at. Population control in China was seen as a horrible human rights violation by some, but it worked (though many aspects of it were certainly horrible). Some animals have a way of keeping their population in check so that their resources don’t become depleted. Humans apparently do not have this ability. We consume until everything is depleted, then move on.

None of these environmental issues can be tackled without first addressing and fixing income and other inequalities among races, genders, religions, and nations. People in this country will not agree to fix something they can barely comprehend when they can’t afford healthcare or college, and don’t have a chance at a decent future. Poor people in Africa or the Middle East will never care about animals in a rainforest they’ve never been to when they don’t have clean drinking water or are living in a refugee camp. We will never work together when the majority of the world’s wealth is held by a handful of old white men.

Disaster pulls people together. The most recent example in my mind was the huge success of Women’s Marches world-wide. I have to say that partaking in the Denver march was the first time I’ve viewed humanity in a good light for some time. But will the neccessary social and political changes happen before it’s too late? I truly doubt it.

However, futility should never be an excuse for not trying. The Polynesians wouldn’t have been populated by insane people on balsa would rafts from South America with that kind of rational defeatist thinking. Giving up before trying to address climate change, the environment, and inequality would be selfish.

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“I have a good idea. Let’s leave this perfectly good, safe tropical beach, hop on a raft, and head randomly out into the ocean with zero control of where we’re going! What have we got to lose?”

The end.

PS I have been reading Fox News, and I could see how if you only read (or even worse, watched it), you’d have absolutely no idea what the fuck is going on.

PPS I did not write this with the intention of offending anyone, even though I’m sure it is not what many of you would like to hear. This topic is important enough that it needs to be discussed by everyone, regardless of personal political opinion. Because unlike politics, the facts about climate change and the destruction of the natural world should no longer be debatable. There is only time for action, not thought. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…you know what I mean. And my next blog post will be about something positive!

Rage for Change

Over the years I’ve come to believe that anger is one of the most crucial emotions to harness for energy. It has helped drive my will to train in the snow, rain, and shitty conditions that would have turned me back if everything in life had been just fine and dandy back at home on the dry, warm couch. Getting comfortable is dangerous. While you sit on the couch, others are out there murdering themselves in the cold to get that extra few percentages on their FTP. Come spring, they’re going to fuck you over.

During the Bush administration, eight years of varying levels of personal furry, I read massive quantities of news. I vowed to never own a car (climate change and the Iraq war). Even after college I lived an incredibly utilitarian life in order to do more than my fair share in conservation. I did these things, in part, out of anger and frustration with the US and the way our country raped the world and its people of resources. When that era came to an end, I got too comfortable. I certainly didn’t agree with everything the Obama administration did, but it contrast to the previous president, it was pretty damn nice.

I stopped following the news as vigorously, got a vehicle two years ago (only because Adelaide got hit by one), and own way more possessions than can fit in two large duffle bags. Part of that is growing up and settling down I guess. But if I really think about it, I feel like I’ve settled in other ways as well. I let the fire go out. Sure, my temper is worse than ever when it comes to confrontations with drivers, but I just realized a few days ago that I haven’t felt truly ashamed to be an American in years. One should always feel some shame in their country, otherwise there’s no need for growth. And there is always need for growth.

Sometimes it takes a certain amount of rage to light that fire again. I don’t know what I’m going to do to help make this country and world a less shitty place, but I guess I should start by improving on what I’m already doing. I want to continue getting more involved with Boulder school district’s BLAST program, for starters. BLAST goes into elementary and middle schools in the district to teach kids bike safety and riding skills. I started volunteering with them a month ago and need to continue, for my own riding sanity in particular. Every time I get buzzed by some fuck hole in a pickup it calms me (a tiny bit at least) to think that maybe in the future there will be one or two less people like that because I encouraged them to ride a bike as a kid. Adelaide and I, though mainly Adelaide, are pursuing bike advocacy in other ways as well.

We do a lot of the small stuff like recycle, compost, stay away from plastic bags, do 80% of our errands and commutes by bike, and live in an energy-efficient 700 square foot apartment. There is room for improvement though. There’s always room for improvement. I make an effort environmentally but I don’t know if I’m doing enough, or anything, to create the social change I want to see take place. Sometimes I try to trick myself into believing that as an elite athlete I have a positive impact on other people by helping them live a more healthy, and therefore happier, lifestyle. I don’t think I have a big enough following for that to be as true as I hope. Sometimes I like to think that my ranting blogs will help create change as well. Most likely not.

Like I said earlier, I’m not sure what my next steps will be politically or socially, but I need to find some productive outlet for the immense amount of anger and frustration that I’m bound to have during this republican senate, republican house, and psycho presidency. For starters, I need to really follow the news again, because somewhere deep down I feel responsible for letting this catastrophe take place. Maybe I could have done my tiny part to help it from happening. I just wasn’t self-informed enough to see it coming. Did any of us realize just how racist and hateful our country is? I didn’t, and that was a fatal mistake.

I’ll leave you with the wise words if Katy Perry, “After a hurricane comes a rainbow. Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed. So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road.”

Whoa…….Blows my mind every fuckin’ time.

2016 Season Review

I came into the year with expectations that, deep down, I knew I could not meet. I think I wrote down that my goals for the season were to 1) to not get injured, 2) to win a race, and 3) to get on the podium. I did not accomplish any of those goals. Not by a long shot. However, if I’d written “have a good learning experience!” like every glass-half-full newby pro, I’d have had to slap myself in the face. I’ve yet to meet a major goal in sports, so the day it comes, it will be all the sweeter. If it doesn’t come, well then I guess I’ll be bitter.

Training started much later than ever this season. At the end of 2015 I took a full month off after Los Cabos (and a month before actually). After that I took an additional two months training very, very easily. After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s early that fall, I wanted to make sure that my thyroid medication had time to take hold before I dug deep. That huge quarter year of rest took me to the end of January, when I was lucky enough to be partake in a trip down to the Tucson Cycling House for a five day block of big rides in the sun. I got back and immediately began training with Michael Lovato and his group of triathletes, including Adelaide. We both benefited greatly from having someone to wake up with at 5:30 for morning masters workouts, wolfing down second breakfast, kitting up for rides afterwards, and getting to bed early so we could do it all over again the next day. Somewhere in there was work. For the time being, we’re both lucky to be able to work part time, otherwise this training load lifestyle would not be at all sustainable.

It took a while to get used to those early mornings and the all too common three-a-day workouts, but I could tell it was paying off a few months in. Unfortunately I got sick forever in March/April and missed my first planned race in Texas. Then I injured my back from swimming and missed another race in Utah. Despite seeing some decent swim and run gains, I was not off to the stellar start I was hoping for by May.

I won a few local sprint races and a bike race in mid May and early June, before completely flopping at my first half-distance pro race of the year, Boulder 70.3. Last year I was 9th without nearly as much training, so I was confident that I’d be able to pull off a top five this year. Ha. The field was super stacked, and on top of that I wasn’t able to run faster than a jog due to the first of the year’s crippling lung cramps, a feeling I’ll describe as hyperventilation, constriction by a 30-foot boa, and being repeatedly stabbed in the chest with a jagged spoon shank in the prison cafeteria.

That takes us to late June, where I came in 6th at Coeur d’Alene and earned my first paycheck in triathlon (still haven’t received it though). Any profit I came away with was spent on physical therapy for the hip injury that resulted from that race. The hip was my second injury of the year and took over two months to heal, causing me to miss two more races. I rode and swam throughout the summer, and even did some easy running in the later weeks, but the lack of competition got to me by late August and I had a few moments of lost passion.

Thankfully Santa Cruz was just around the bend and my hip made the last of its recovery in the week leading up to the race. I came in 10th in another stacked field, out of the money but the best I could realistically hope for. I had a solid swim and an even better run, and the race left me with confidence leading into Cozumel, which was three weeks later.

 

I sucked at Cozumel. I had a bad swim, my glutes cramped on the bike, and I had to jog the first seven miles of the run. My last hope of the year was Los Cabos, four weeks after.

Going into detail about Los Cabos isn’t necessary since I just wrote about it. I had a good swim, great bike, and horrible run due to the dreaded lung cramp.

Training with Michael has been better than I could have expected. I thoroughly enjoyed his humor and the energy that he brings to every workout. It rubs off on the rest of us, and at 6am it’s a necessity. Another thing that I didn’t expect was the intensity of the workouts and the lack of recovery days/weeks. It was game on from day one to day 287. During that time period (just over nine months), and including all those sick and injured weeks, I averaged 19.2 hours a week (788 hours). The entire year will be 900 counting all the easy months last winter before I officially started training. This apparently isn’t very much for a triathlete because 1) I only spent nine and a half months training instead of 11, and 2) I skipped or shortened multiple workouts pretty much every single week this year due to physical or mental fatigue. It will take time to build the stamina needed to do 25+ hour weeks, week after week with only race weeks in between as “rest” to break them up. I wouldn’t have thought that this quantity and intensity of training would be beneficial, but the proof is there if you look at the huge progress I made and the quality of Michael’s other athletes.

Triathlon is all about having the patience and mental fortitude to put in the time, and to make that time high quality by achieving pain…without overdoing it and cooking yourself for the next training session. I struggled with that balance, as well as adapting to the new strains caused by running and swimming. One hour on the bike does not equal one hour in the pool or one hour slamming the pavement with your feet, especially if your body is not accustomed to anything but hunching over a set of handlebars. I was not very consistent this year, in racing or in training, and I was constantly plagued with injuries, which killed my morale at times. I’ve finally come to realize that next year I need to focus on stretching, a lot of gym work, and regular massage or at least foam rolling.

I guess this year was about learning. Damn it.

Something I like about triathlon is its simplicity. It’s a sport for dumb missiles. Compared to bike racing there is almost no strategy, there’s no teamwork, there is no conniving within a peloton, and there is no peloton to hide within. If you do well or if you do poorly, there’s only yourself to blame or congratulate. The same cannot quite be said for the training involved, and for that I have my coach Michael, Adelaide, Chris, and all my other training partners to thank. Thank you for helping me permanently deform my toenails.

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