Monday, October 23, 2006

Ironman World Championships

It all started off with the typical 4:45 am alarm signaling this would be a great day of suffering… maybe one the of the greatest. Like most pre race nights, I wake up a lot and check my watch multiple times throughout the night to make sure that I did not over sleep. But then 4:45 am comes and it seems so easy to stay in bed. Like you could easily get a few more minutes to rest. Breakfast race mornings always seems like it would be easy, but it never is. I don’t know if it’s because of the ridiculous wake up time, or if the nerves are in full swing. Regardless, I was able to muster down a Kirkland chocolate shake (Slimfast like) and a PowerBar. I sipped on a water bottle throughout the morning as well. But it felt like nothing was settling in my stomach. But I also knew that this is pretty typical.

Kevin Best came over at about 5:15 am to take me to the race. Now there’s a friend. He has done this a lot in the past. Like IM 2005 for Tomppa, IM 2006 for Jessi and me. I’m not too sure why he likes to do this, but he always comes over showered and ready to go with more spark in his eye than anyone else. We drove down to the race site looking for the best place to park. In some ways I would have been happy if we would have jut simply drove around. Race day morning I normally move at turtle pace. I drag my feet, wonder around, sit and stare… you name it. I have always done this. I even missed the start of a duathlon because I was fiddling with my shoes in the parking lot once. Mark was there for that one. It’s never been about not wanting to race. It’s just that I am never in a hurry. I am normally the last one out of he changing tents in the morning at IMs (Greg Gallagher can attest to this as well).

So this day was no different. I knew that I needed to go and get body marked, which I had no clue where to do. I’m sure they mentioned it somewhere at the pre race meeting that I did not attend. So I just casually wandered in the direction that most the other people were going and eventually found it. I knew they used some pretty slick numbers to body mark with in the past, and this year would be no different. They are like huge stamps. No permanent pens here, each station had their own set of giant stamps. Unfortunately I had a long number, 1258, so that would mean that my number would run the length of my upper arm. The people are always very nice when they do this and are pretty cautious in making sure they get it right… there is no second time. I then meandered back to the transition area where I checked my bike, filled my water bottles, and aired up my tires. I normally run about 115 psi when I race, but I decided to go with about 125 this time. Don’t know why, just to create a little more anxiety knowing that my chances of flatting just increased potentially.

Now it was time to start getting serious. I walked over to the changing area (i.e. bathroom) to get changed into my race gear. Faris Al-Sultan (professional male winner from last year) was right there too getting dialed in as well. I thought that I must be in the right place. I got my new Ironman Activewear suit on and then applied a ridiculous amount of sun screen (spf 30). This is pretty big for me. I am normally not one to apply sunscreen… especially spf 30. It was now time to head to the swim start. This was pretty easy to do since this was where the masses were. I eventually got down to the water and it was like being on the field of the Superbowl. I looked up and saw people all over looking down cheering and trying to get people’s attention. I took it in for a minute and even looked for some familiar faces, but realized that it would be pretty tough no matter how hard I squinted. The swim start line is about 100 meters out in the water so I swam in that direction. When I got there I was pretty congested with people treading water and speaking a lot of different languages. I did my best to get as close to the start line as I could, But I would have to settle for about 3 rows back. I figured this would not be too bad since these were some of the fastest Ironman swimmers in the world… wrong.

The cannon went off about 2-3 minutes early. I think they actually planned this to keep people on their toes. After that, it was whitewater chaos for a long time. I swam with my head above water to navigate where I was going. People were hitting, scratching, clawing, grabbing, punching… you name it. I think some of this comes instinctively when people are in water and trying to stay afloat and get air. But I also think some people are just jerks. I then realized that I should have lined up on the front line like I do in all races. It never really settled down until about the ¾ mile to 1 mile mark. People were all over the place and did not want to edge one way or the other. I kept passing people the whole way out. Which again told me that I should have lined up in the front. After we rounded the 2 sailboats that signify the end point of the far end of the rectangle, we started to head back. I was able to find a lot of open water and took advantage of it. I was still passing people and saw people start to fade that had gone out way too hard. The way back in was a bit more difficult. The swells seemed to be a little more challenging for some reason and sighting was more difficult as well. But I normally just follow the general direction of the splashing arms. When you can hear the announcer, you know that you are close and people typically speed it up a bit. I ended up coming in with a pretty big group of people in about 1:01. My slowest Ironman swim ever, but I hear that all times were about 4 minutes slower. I don’t know what the means other than I swam a 1:01.

I knew that this would be a quick T1 since there was not a wetsuit to peel and carry. I grabbed my bag and headed to the tent. I rolled on my socks, put on my shoes, shoved my gels in my back pockets, grabbed my race belt, and headed out. It sounds like a lot to do, but it happens very fast. After being miss directed by a volunteer as to where to go to get my bike (I ignored her after I passed her) I was there at my steed. My helmet was on the bike so I threw it on and shoved my sunglasses somewhere in the direction of my eyes. Getting out of transition fast is something I like to do. I think a lot of people dilly dally and waste time.

I ran out with my bike and got to the mount line where people where getting on their bikes in a variety of ways. I like to run with my bike about as fast as I comfortably can, and jump on. I normally like to run past everyone that are trying to get on their bikes because that way I can mount in a clear area and not have to navigate around them as they swerve around trying to get their feet clipped in. I was on my bike, feet locked in, and off and riding. This is always a good feeling for me. I feel very comfortable on the bike… kind of like being in your own car. I don’t really feel like that on the swim or the run.

The first ½ mile is all uphill. This hill is totally lined with people. If they were yelling my name, I would never know it. But I did notice that the people were a little quiet, so I took my hands off the bar and waved my arms up and down to signal ‘let’s hear some noise here.’ And sure enough, they responded. The announcer at the corner announced my name and said something else too, I can’t remember. Now it was off for the 112 mile ride through the vicious lava fields in the Hawaiian desert. In the first couple miles I saw my support crew: Kathi, Kevin, Tim, Kris, Anna, John, Cindy, Mark, Lorie, Jessi, and of course Emma. It’s always a great uplifting feeling to see people out there that you know cheering you on. It brings this race that is so far from home a little closer to home.

The first 10 miles is a sort out and back in Kona. There were a lot of cyclists around me. I was passing some, and some were passing me. I watched my heart rate to monitor my effort. It is so easy for me to go too hard in the first 2 hours, and then I pay for it later. So my goal was to keep things in check and ride a controlled bike. I was now headed out to the lava fields. I knew a lot of this road, but in a race it looks a little different. The first aid station came quick. I discarded my one bottle and took on 2 new ones. I was staying settled in to my pace and started to notice ‘groups’ of cyclists passing me. Not one or two, but trains… yes trains of cyclists. I knew that I did no want to get caught up in the, ‘don’t let then pass me’ mentality, but these were groups… large groups. Now, I understand that there are times in a race that tings get congested, and people end up in ‘drafting’ situations. I knew this would happen in Hawaii because when you assemble so many people with similar abilities, people are going to be going the same pace some times. But what I saw was not a result of that. What I saw where people riding together, as a group, taking advantage of one another’s draft. Again, I am not talking about 2 or 3 people. I’m talking about 20-40 person groups. If you know anything about drafting, it’s about a 25%-30% advantage. For example, if I were to ride at 22 mph, and my heart rate would be about 135. Now, if I were to be tucked in a group of people going 22 mph, my heart rate would be about 115. Think about that… 135 effort or 115 effort. Which one would you like to finish a 112 mile bike with when you have a 26.2 mile run to follow? So it was pretty discouraging to see these great athletes cheating. I don’t know of any other way to put it. On the way back from Hawi, there was not as much drafting going on because the long 7 mile hill broke things up as well as the headwind. But there was a few people I saw that were literally right behind another rider. I mean literally right behind. It was so bad that when this other triathlete that was coming past me, he accelerated up to a guy that was drafting and started yelling at him. I started to laugh, but he did have a point. I think you either make it legal to draft (which I don’t think would be a good idea), or you get more officials out there and start making an example. I saw the same 2 officials the entire time. Presumably they were the same ones for the entire course. I’m sure that there would be a few pissed off people, and even people that might get a penalty that did not deserve it. But bottom line is that people would start to think twice before doing it. That was probably the most disappointing part of the entire race was seeing that.

So, back to MY race. I was so fortunate to have a lot of friends and family out on the course cheering and giving my high fives. It sure breaks things up a bit. Some of my crew was actually able to get out on the course and drive by me with the van door wide open so they could cheer, take pictures, and even video tape. It was pretty cool. I have got to hand it to my crew, they get out there one way or another. When they are told that ‘It can’t be done,’ they get it done. My legs were feeling a little fatigued at about the 3 hour point on the bike. This is pretty common, but I now notice it earlier and I am able to make some adjustments. I was able to get a little recovered and as a result, I was able to pick it up quite a bit towards the last 25 miles. At about the 80 mile mark it started to rain. The rain wasn’t all that great, but it was nice that the sun’s vicious rays were blocked a bit. It made the road feel a little less draining. I came in to T2 feeling pretty good. I figured I did about a 5:15, which is what I did in Cda and close to what I did in IM Canada, so I thought I was where I needed to be. I felt good too.

T2 went fine. I had to pee, so I went into one of the Honey Buckets in the transition area. If I gotta go, I try and do it in the transitions that way it is not reflected in my marathon time. Most of you know the wonderful experience we all have when going into on of those plastic septic systems, but let me paint another picture for you. 95 degrees, and 90% humidity. Oh wait, these are used by triathletes that have pretty much a liquid diet 24 hours prior to races and very uneasy stomachs the day of the race. So to say that these bathrooms are a little ripe would be like saying the Kennedys might be a little afraid of guns… very understated. I managed to stomach the odor and not pass out from the Honey Bucket sauna as I got most of my pee in the general area of the toilet seat. One piece suits are very difficult to go to the bathroom in quickly.

I left T2 in pretty good shape. I felt like I had legs for the run. I waited a bit before I looked at my heart rate monitor so I could let tings settle in. So at about the 2 mile mark I started looking at it. First 2 miles were 14:40… a little fast considering there were some pretty big up hills. I knew that I needed to slow down a bit but my effort seemed to ‘feel’ okay. My heart rate was about 5 beats too high from what I wanted but I thought that might have something to do with the heat as well. So I just kept it going at the same intensity. Oops, big mistake. I was able to keep things going until about the 13 mile mark when you again return to the Queen K, or in other words, the lava fields. It was hot, hot, hot. The heat was not totally trashing me. I still felt okay, but I knew things were going kind of downward. I made it to mile 18 where you are in the ‘Energy Lab.’ It sounds like a good place to be… it’s not. It’s a slight downhill all the way to the ocean and then a short out and back. I would say about 2.5 miles total distance. The nice part is that once you hit the turn around you are now headed back to Kona, which means the finish. The downhill into the Energy Lab seems like a 1% grade going in and about an 8% coming out.

We had a slight tailwind and the sun was in full force. There is a place ½ way out of the Energy Lap that they have set up which is called the Motivation Zone. I can’t totally remember because the guy sounded like he had been in the sun a little too long as well. I was having a hard time focusing on what I was doing as I attempted to seek any little piece of shade I could. I started running closer to fatter people thinking that their shadow would be larger. I also ran close to cars as well hoping that the sun that was straight above us would somehow create and angle to create just the smallest piece of shade. It was like a grizzly bear jumped on my back. I started to walk for a bit just to try and get some perspective on what in the world was going on with my body. But it seemed hopeless. Like I was trying to wring out water from desert sand. It took me a few miles to regain a little composure. I felt like everyone had passed my by this point. It was hard mentally, but I knew that if I pushed myself too hard, I would end up being transported to the finish in an ambulance. And if that happened, no t-shirt, no medal, no way to spend more money on Ironman paraphernalia that would have saved me about $500.

The last 1.5 miles is mostly downhill. Down one section, that I was looking forward to, it’s about an 8% grade. Unfortunately it was harder to run down this ¼ mile section because it did no feel like my legs were going to hold me up. I felt like the brakes were totally on. But I knew that I would make it even if I had to roll the whole way. But I have to say that one image in my mind kept me going more than almost anything else in that last 5 miles, and that was the thought of bringing Emma down the finishing stretch. I was so excited to share this moment with her. I knew that it would mean so much to her and she would remember it for ever. So as I made the turn on to Alii Drive, I started looking for her. I slowed down my pace because as most people know, I don’t have the best eyesight. In doing so, a few people passed me, but I really did not care. Then all of a sudden, I saw Jessi and at her side was Emma reaching one hand out in my direction with her fist pumping. I was so excited to see her. Before I arrived, Jessi told her that she may not be able to run with me in her flip flops (or ‘Flick Flocks’ as Emma calls them). So Emma took them off and was prepared for the challenge. But I wanted her to see what was going on and enjoy the ride. So I picked her up and carried her for the last 200 meters. She was reaching out giving people high 5s and taking it all in. I don’t know where I got the strength, but bizarre things happen in that last 400 meters. I think it’s when everyone runs their fastest splits, have the biggest smiles, muscles pump just a little harder… it’s the finish of an Ironman. And in this case, the World Championships. I think the athletes absorb some of the energy of the people lining the street in the last 400 meters. It’s truly something that you have to experience. The more Ironmans that I do, the more that I try and take in that last 400 meters. It’s something that you cannot go back and re-do. You have earned that last 400 meters. I think you have two choices: you can absorb it and feel like you are the only one out there, or run straight on through and your overall time will be about 5 seconds faster. I would encourage everyone to run it slower, and try and connect with every set of eyes that are there to celebrate your accomplishment. Because after that, you are a name with 2000 other names in black and white in a result book. And in all honesty, the only thing people look at in those is their own names. My name is in it this year, and yes, I’ll look for it. But I also hope that it will be in that book again and I will be able to talk about that final 400 meters again.

I have to say that this event was a lot of fun and was probably the least stressful race I have done at this distance. Though it was a tough day, it was a good day. I had fun. But I also need to let people know that it’s more than just me that is out on those streets. I have a lot of family and friends that have been cheering me along the way in Hawaii and even at home stuck to a computer for the entire time. I thought of all of you often and wanted to get to all those time checks so that you knew that I was still going and doing well. When I would cross the mats, I knew that there were many people at home getting the data and some of you calling Jessi to let her know where I was. I thank you all for that. I know there were a lot of you who wanted to be there, but couldn’t. Know that there will be another time hopefully and also know that I felt your energy Sunday. I also want to thank my coach, John Phillips, who has been along in this journey since November 2003. It’s been quite a road full of twists and turns for me as an athlete, so thanks for being patient and giving me the feedback I need, and don’t necessarily want. I also want to thank my coach, John Phillips, who has been along in this journey since November 2003. It’s been quite a road full of twists and turns for me as an athlete, so thanks for being patient and giving me the feedback I need, and don’t necessarily want.

As most of you know I had a large contingency there to cheer, encourage, cater, and assist all week. I know they all had fun because of where they were, but they also made a time and financial sacrifice to be there as well. I thank you all for that and I often feel a bit guilty of the sacrifices you made this last week. It will be a trip that I hope will never be forgotten. From the welcoming earthquake, to the fine dining service at Rios… it was all sandwiched in to an amazing trip.

I hope that though you all have been there for me along the way that through this journey you have learned something as well. Whether it’s about your own goals, challenges, dreams, hopes, ambitions… whatever it may be, I hope that you too make things happen in your life. We tend to remember things that we have to work hard for. It’s through those challenges that we see deep within ourselves of what we are made and realize later it’s not what we originally thought. So reach, reach way up high for those dreams. And once you have them in your grasps you will soon realize that there is another one out there just a little further away that you will soon be going for. It reminds me of Emma at the pool this week in Kona. She would push the air mattress out in front of her and jump on to it. She was pretty nervous at first but once she jumped and got it, she went for it again and wanted me to push it a little further away. Granted, not really a dream, but a little goal. Even Emma isn’t content with what is, she is after what can be.

I have to say a huge THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU to my number one support crew/team/manager/cook/sponsor and that is Jessi. This year has been an amazing year for both of us and it’s through our commitment to one another and our respect for what each other does, and dreams of doing, that we can make this all happen. She has been there for me during some tough times…and not only triathlon. We have had to weather some good storms, but one thing is for certain, we will always have our family.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This is called the Gatorade Swim because Gatorade gives you a water bottle and a bottle of Gatorade after you swim. They also hold on to your clothes while y swim. Pretty cool. As you can see, hundreds of people take advantage of this opportunity.

This is what it looks like where the start of the race will be. I have gone out and swam the course on Tuesday and Wednesday. As you can tell there are a lot of people doing the same thing. Today (Wednesday) the waves were pretty tough. They don't look too bad in the picture, but out away from shore I had trouble seeing where I was going because you could not see in between the swells. The water is warm though, and very buoyant. It feels like you have a wetsuit on, but you don't.

We were also able to spend some time on a little beach that had many sea turtles. I personally did not go snorkeling, but everyone else did. To see the turtles I could just stand in knee deep water and they would just feed on the greenery on the coral reef. Pretty amazing. Emma tought every time that the turtles head popped up, it was saying 'Hi Emma.' And whenever one of its flippers popped up, she thought it was waving at her... pretty cute.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I'm writing this post while sitting under a glass table to protect me from any thing that may fall on me.

Yes, we all survived here in Kona. I do not want to understate the quake, because it was pretty scary. We woke up to the entire room shaking. It honestly felt like there was a bulldozer trying to push the place over. Then it came to me what was really happening. Being from Spokane, I wasn't too sure of what I was supposed to do... stop, drop, and roll... play dead... act big, run downhill...dig a hole... what do I do? I ran out of the room to see Mark was just getting out of the shower and said, "That was a big one." We were a little concerned because we were on the 2nd floor in the condos, but then I thought that would be better than being on the 1st floor. We had water spraying out of the hot water tank and pictures fell off the wall.

There was an aftershock that was pretty big too. Fortunately we were outside and watched the windows of the buildings near us flex around. I don't know how they did not break.

We went up to a coffee shop to see if we could get some breakfast or something since we did not have anything to eat in the morning since we had just arrived the night before. For some reason, we thought that a coffee show should be immune to power outages and the earthquake in general. I don't know why. It's kind of like know that the power is out in your house, but you still turn on the light switch when walking into a room. You know... but you act like you don't. I think those behavior are housed in the 'idiot' portion of the brain. Somewhere near the 'asking for directions' portion I would imagine or the 'remembering anniversaries.' Regardless, we were there with a bunch of other locals who had their theory on what was happening. The biggest fear was that the volcano was erupting. The other fear was that a Tsunami was well on its way. Both theories were dismissed shortly by the news that someone was able to obtain. Don't know how since all the radio stations were down as well as television. After we had some coffee, donuts, and orange juice, we were able to start thinking more rationally. So most of the group headed for the pool. I, however, unpacked my bike and went for a 2.5 hour ride.

The ride went well. The moment I got out the door, I think my body started sweating. I headed down the infamous Alii Drive where the marathon in the race goes and just about everybody seems to run or ride at least once a day. The road, that follows the ocean, is packed with people doing some form of exercise. It's even worse during the weeks leading up to the race because you have all of the obsessive personalities in one city who all feel like then need to be training all the time since it looks like everyone else is. I headed out Alii drive and then to the Queen K highway. This is he stretch of road that the bike is on. It travels to the town of Havi (pronounced ha-vee) through the lava fields. Now, when I think of a 'field' I think of a place that you could play a softball game, have a picnic, walk a dog. There is not way you could do any of that in these 'fields.' These fields are all about rock... one continuous rock that is black and absorbing all the heat from the sun it possibly can. Then the 30+ mph winds come blowing through and blow the heat right into you. There is not escaping this hair drier effect since there is not any shade either since most vegetation does not grow too well in rock. I headed out the Queen K for about 1 hour and then spun it around. I don't know how it is possible to have a headwind on the way out, and then a headwind AGAIN on he way back, but it happened.

I started to feel the sun a bit and did a quick 'tan line' check. Yup, I was darker. But being from Spokane, I knew that my body was immune from the high UV rays here in Hawaii. I was actually getting a little concerned about getting burned too badly, so I picked it up a bit. I ran into some other riders out there and chatted with them for a bit. Everyone had the same story about the race...how they have done it before... how you have to drink a lot... how they had all of the answers.. blah, blah, blah. I don't want to sounds like I know everything, because I really know I don't, but come on. It's hot, I'm working hard, and you are telling me to drink fluids? No kidding. I never thought about that. Good idea. Duh! Kind of reminds of the old Snicker bar commercial that started off with the person saying that they were hungry, then they ate a Snicker bar, and then their hunger went away. I also have that same feeling when I do that... it's called eating. Anyway, I eventually made it home and relaxed.

Most of the people that are here with us were spending time down at the pool and eventually made their way back. We all took a short nap, had lunch, and headed back to the pool for a short bit.

Tim and Kris Seppa made dinner for everyone and we also invited over Tomppa, Tulla, and Severi Soderdahl for dinner. Tomppa was the professional that stayed with us during IM Cda in 2005 who got 2nd. He is back again here in Hawaii to race this year and is looking very strong. It was great to connect with them and hear all about how their year has been going. The life of a professional triathlete is pretty tough one. They are amazing athletes that work very hard and only have a few opportunities to really 'test' themselves and make the big $$. Here in Hawaii, this is the Superbowl, the World Series, The Olympics... this is the one. So people come out here and pull out all of the stops. It was great to talk with Tomppa about his race, the course, and what he was doing before. Pretty cool. That is one thing about professional triathletes, or at least most of them, they are pretty down to earth and friendly. Jessi went out on a run today and Faris Al-Sutan (winner last year) ran up next to her and they chatted for a little bit. Crazy! Here you have the winner of the race last year, chit-chatting with the locals... and enjoying it. I think this is one of the things that draws people to this sport. If you are a pro, and arrogant, you probably have had only one good race in your career. Those guys are far a few. It seems like in triathlon, the more successful you are as a pro, the kinder and more approachable you are. Just a quick observation.

That's it for now. I'll attempt to load up some photos soon.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday Morning Ride

Due to the fact that most people are not up from a night of binge drinking, Sam was flexible enough to move back the ride time today to 9:00. He showed up in his pimped out Honda CRV with the custom neon green and pink fade paint job. However, he did not come alone... he had his entourage as well. Another fully loaded Tahoe with 4 people in it to make sure he had everything, i.e. wife and kids.

I was informed that Gregg "Casper" Gallagher would be there, but I never seemed to see him. I'm sure he was there in spirit. Rumor has it that he and Scott decided to go on their own solo mission and try and get in some serious training rather than hanging out with us hackers. I'm sure Scott just did not want to be made fun of again because he did not have a helmet.

The day started out sunny and fairly warm. As we both turned on our MP3 players the tempo immediately picked up while climbing the 8% grade out of my neighborhood. I'm sure Sam was listening to some of his music from his mullet wearing days like Motley Crue or Poison... maybe even Twisted Sister. Whoever it was, I knew they had big hair, makeup, and worse of all, they were men.

We ended up riding about the same loop as we did last week. Out towards Deer Park and then back along Hwy 2 and then out Greenbluff and then to the Valley and then home. I took a pretty hard 1 hour pull passing many roadkills including a big chocolate Lab that pulled at my heart. Always sad to see those big dogs on the road. Somewhere there is a family wondering if their family friend will be coming home. Someone will eventually have to tell them.

After about an hour, Sam went to the front after careening down a descent at about 50 mph. I sat on his wheel for about 30 minutes trying to match his pace on the climbs as he got out of the saddle and powered up them. We eventually go to the Greenbluff loop where Sam started to use some interesting strategies to get rid of me. He started throwing his CO2 cartriges at me as well as some other tools. I picked them up and we got them back onto his steed.

We completed the Greenbluff loop after narrowly missing a dump truck who seemed to think that he needed the entire road for his fat ass truck. I was surprised that Sam did not huck a full bottle at his head through the window. We were hoping that we would run into the Colbert 1/2 marathon to cheer on Kim, a Tri Fusion member, as she took on this 13.1 mile challenging course. We got the report that things went well and she kicked butt.

Argonne was next. We kept a steady tempo up it and came smokin' down the other side. We eventually go to Plants Ferry where we fueled up again and shared some stories on how we could win Ironman CDA... that lasted about 10-15 seconds when we realized that it would be easier to change the weather. We headed further east and eventually ended up at Fitness Fanatics and chatted with Robin about the bike show. Looks like new bikes are on the way... don't know if there will be one under my Christmas tree though. If you have not been out there, I would recommend that you take a visit. She has some great cool weather clothing there right now that would be great for the upcoming chilly months. I showed Sam some things that he might like since hig long johns that he was wearing under his Russel sweatshirt seemed to showing its age.

With the wind at our face we headed towards town. We eventually got to Monroe where we headed up the dreaded hill. That thing is always a bear, and you never seem to make the light at the top either. Maybe that's good to rest since you can typically feel your pulse through your eyes. But after that, it's pretty much smooth sailing. We made it back in about 4 hours, not counting the stops. The weather was perfect and I think we have had it easy this fall.

That was my last big ride before Hawaii. Now it's pretty easy going.

Thanks Sam for hanging out with me today and making the ride a little more entertaining. Not quite as entertaing as this video that Tanya (Sam's wife) gave me of him riding his mountain bike a few years back. Check out the slow motion... it's a wonder he has kids:

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Thursday, October 05, 2006