Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Warm Threads - my favorite cottage industry endurance sports/outdoor clothing company is having a Thanksgiving Weekend sale. Col d'Lizárd , formerly known as Gekko Gear, run by Kathy Brassell, has great arm & knee warmers, tights, tops, and other cold weather gear. They're in Winter Park Colorado, and have great customer service for web customers. The name is a play on the name of a great French cycling peak, the Col d'Izoard perturbed into "Cold Lizard" - because they used to be Gekko Gear until somebody snaked the name from them, and Gekko's a kind of lizard - get it? OK, whatever, the point is - free chocolate with every order and everything on sale for this weekend. So if you need some warmers or other fuzzy stuff, drop in, or at least get your address on their email list to find out about future sales - one year they had a sale where the percent off was tied to the low temperature in their town, if you were patient but knew when to pounce you could get some killer deals!

Arghhhhh... so I have been playing with the Forerunner 201, and it's the ginchiest - stone dead accurate and lots of features, and it does speed as well as pace so it will be fun for cycling, kayaking, cross country skiing etc. as well as running. BUT, now I'm hearing from some posters on rec.running that it's being recalled, something about moisture accumulating in the display. Furthermore, Amazon now no longer has it as a direct sale product, it's a ($25 cheaper) Office Depot affiliate item now. So I've got to contact Amazon to find out about the recall, whether I should ship it back, to where, and at whose expense, and gripe a little bit about the $25 price drop shafting the early adopters. Annoying, because the item itself is sah-weeet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Sad news... Irongent Norton Davey has passed away at age 85. I spent some quality time with him on the run course at the Ralphs California Half last spring, escorting him (in an official capacity) on a MTB while he worked his way toward the finish line late in the day. When his legs started to give out, two volunteers began to walk alongside to steady him for safety, but he continued under his own power. He was friendly, quick witted, and appreciative of the volunteers and spectators. Will we all be testing our limits, striving for fitness and loving every minute of it when we're in our 9th decades of life? I hope so. Norton's obituary can be found here .

Thursday, November 20, 2003

So - all the domestic (US) WTC-branded Ironman races produced by Ironman North America are full - but you want to do the distance next year? A few possibilities exist, foremost among them Great Floridan and Vineman. The year of the (first) Utah fiasco, Vineman was given "real Ironman" status, but that was a onetime deal. Other possibilities include the virgin Californiaman, the fairly well reviewed Duke Blue Devil (for a great cause and tax deductible to boot!), and the ambitiously named yet still slighly obscure UltraMax. The Colorado 5430 race has reverted to Half Iron distance. If you like flat fast loops, and lots of them, the Esprit race in Canada is for you (practically a pool swim too, in a rowing basin). Another boutique event in the great white north that might appeal to those in the Pacific Northwest is the Bigfoot Triathlon. Finally, joining Californiaman in the first year category is Chesapeakeman...which might end up pretty short-lived if IMNA pulls the plug on Panama City Beach in 2005 and moves to Virginia as the folks in Williamsburg hope they do. Thumbs down to abandoning PCB just because they don't want to or can't cough up as much up front cash. It's a good venue...but that falls into the category of putting the athletes first and we all know that ain't happening. Yes, I know I missed the two viable off-road Ironman distance races - more on that later.

Speaking of CAF our buddy Steve Diggs, who was recently honored by that organization for his substantial contributions of time and coaching expertise as well as fund-raising efforts, was himself hit by a car while cycling recently. The driver took off, but her license plate was dislodged (by Steve's leg which was flayed open in the process). She then dumped her car and later when confronted by authorities claimed it had been stolen the day before (but that she hadn't reported it). The hope is that Steve's injuries aren't permanent (and that the DA will bring some justice down on the perpetrator). Stay tuned - and ride safely!

Got home and my new Garmin Forerunner 201 was sitting on the porch. This thing looks no bigger than a box of tic-tacs - well, maybe a little but still, pretty tiny. Charging it up now. I'll let you know how it works, in the meantime for those who can't wait here's a link to snag one on Amazon - this is currently a direct amazon link for $115 and free shipping.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

And now on the positive side - a very thorough writeup on the Florida race at Xtri. In particular, check out the second to last paragraph on the last page. Jay Rosenfeld, you are the man.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

A few acts of moderate to extreme lameness observed at last weekend's Ironman Florida:
  • A very rotund gal headed for the swim, lamenting that she had "left her can of Red Bull in her hotel room". Good gracious, girlfriend! Do you really want your heart muscle to burst from your chest at the end of lap one like that creature in Alien?
  • A guy heading out on the bike at around 1:10 (read: crowded), one arm in the aerobars, the other hand down by his fork tip trying to adjust his computer pickup, as he's swerving all over the road. Dude, if you want to face plant or slice off a fingertip and end your own race early, fine, but please wait until you are in an area where the chance of ruining someone else's day in the process is a little less than 100%!
  • Later, as cyclists are returning, a cheerful mom-wife putting her two rugrats under the barrier tape and onto the race course so they can wave their signs for daddy, simultaneously blocking the view of 7 other spectators and putting themselves at risk of a permanent Vittoria tattoo on their precious toes, if not worse.
  • Out on to the run, where a guy takes off with a very crisp turnover, sporting a "cadence120.com" singlet. Quite impressive until he started (permanently) walking at the end of lap one, with cadence 50 (dot com).
  • Around that time, starting lap 2, a euro age grouper had his girlfriend positioned 800 meters into the run, and not just for a peck on the cheek and a friendly shout of Hopp Hopp. She's got a backpack full of whatever and he's asking for this and that, swapping gear, getting new bottles of his secret nutrition, etc. I'm surprised he didn't sit down and have her rub his feet. Hey dumbass, special needs is 100 yards behind you, just like it is for everybody else! You are not special and this is not the crew area at Foresthill in the Western States 100.
  • Still on the subject of run rule violations, outside assistance and otherwise, I actually saw a couple embarking on the run frantically sorting out a bunch of headphone cabling so they could listen to the same walkman while running together. I'm not entirely sure they were even both in the race, his number was not obvious, but even giving them the benefit of the doubt on that aspect, and setting aside the flagrant violation of the no headsets rule, what happens when one of them drifts to one side to grab a cup of Gatorade just as Bella Comerford comes through on her lap 2 and decides to run between them? If whichever of you two is that mentally weak that you can't make it through the Ironman alone like everybody else, whether that means your Yanni tapes or your spouse spoon feeding you GU, here's a thought - maybe you aren't ready!
  • Then there was the guy who just had to run through the finish line with his newborn flopping around in his arms like a bobble-head doll. Fine, if that's what you need to do to excuse all the time you spent training when you could have been interacting with your kid - I'm sure looking at that photo when he's old enough to actually focus on complex objects will make up for it - but then the guy won't hand the tyke off to the volunteer catcher assigned to keep the kid safe, and seconds later he stumbles and nearly pile-drives junior's head into the Ironman carpeting. Where is the common sense?
  • Finally, in the fashion department, Raynard Tissink's green hair and excruciatingly passé Oakley over-the-top shades. Man, first of all Cam Widoff beat you to it by about 5 years and those things are so damn ugly there should only be one pair in circulation at any one time, and B) if you are going to pose that hard you really ought to be winning the race! Of course he did win Ironman Canada, so maybe we can cut him some slack and just chalk it up to somewhat justified unadulterated enthusiasm for this great sport.

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