More NZ Photos…

Just because I can, really. Well, and some people have asked for more.

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Lady Knox Geyser erupting, Wai-O-Tapu, just outside Rotorua.

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Lake Ngakoro Waterfall, Wai-O-Tapu.

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Rock formation at Wai-O-Tapu. Just me attempting (not well) to be creative.

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Lake Ngakoro, Wai-O-Tapu.

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Mt. Ruapehu shrouded in clouds, just south of Taupo.

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Mt. Ngauruhoe to the left, aka Mt. Doom, just south of Taupo.

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Rock formations in Ruakuri Cave.

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More rock formations in Ruakuri Cave.

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Another attempt at being creative. Ruakuri Cave.

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New Zealand Teaser…

So, I figure I owe a few posts on my recent trip to New Zealand. In addition to a race report, that is. I’m still combing through all the photos I took (over 1k, at last count). So, unitl I get all that sorted, some teasers from what I’ve processed so far.

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River leading down from Lake Taupo to Huka Falls.

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Huka Falls, just north of Taupo.

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View on the drive from Taupo to Rotorua

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Mountain view on the road to Napier and Hawkes Bay.

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Te Mata Peak, just outside Hastings.

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Marokope Falls, outside Waitomo.

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Uh, do I really need to tell you what this one is?

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Or this?

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Or how about this?

More photos coming in the next few days, I hope. And hopefully even a race report soon!

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Tel Aviv Runaround…

One of the things I find most fun about traveling is running in new locales. Being in Israel this last week and next, I’ve definitely had some good runs. I started off my first day in country with a run. I figured it would help force me into the local timezone. The next day I went for a run right as the sun was setting. Here’s some shots I got while out and about. Enjoy!

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More vistas…

Clearing data off my iPhone, I came across some photos I had completely forgotten I had taken. When Dave and I flew home from Baltimore the day after Christmas last year it was overcast and rainy. These views greeted us once the plane had flown above the storm. Enjoy!

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Cycling vistas…

I’ve said for years that one of (if not THE) best ways to see the world is from the saddle of a bike. Nothing profound in this post, just some views that I was able to capture while riding the last few weeks.

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Golden eagle in a tree at the top of Lookout Rd. Lot of photographers that day.

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Snow-covered field just north of Boulder Res as the sun was setting. Was getting chilly at that point.

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Snow-covered Indian Peaks last Saturday.

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Longs Peak and RMNP last Saturday as well.

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Old homestead north of Boulder. Know I’ve posted before, but it’s one of my favorites. The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag at the gate is priceless.

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Well that was fun…

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8107/8493193737_92631d69b6_n.jpgSo I went out Wednesday afternoon a little later than I had planned to try and squeeze in a ride before the snows hit. The forecast said I had plenty of time. Snow wasn’t supposed to start falling until around 6. Leaving the office at 4 for a 90 minute ride, I thought I was golden.

The ride started off quite well. Temps were around 35, no wind to speak of and the roads were dry. With a couple of layers on I was quite comfortable, actually. On the road, I noticed I wasn’t the only one with this idea. I must have seen at least a dozen other cyclists trying to squeeze in their rides before the storm hit. Besides, every time this year they’ve told us a big snow was coming it amounted to much ado about nothing, really. Well, Mother Nature decided to teach us a bit of a lesson it seems.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8085/8493194615_428d801a5d_n.jpgAbout 10 miles into my ride, I noticed some small flurries coming down. Pellets, really. Nothing was sticking, roads were staying dry. The wind had picked up just a bit, but nothing too bad. Regardless, I decoded to cut the ride a little short and turn back a little earlier than I had originally planned. Discretion being the better part of valor and all that. Turning east and coming down a hill was when I noticed things were going to get interesting pretty soon as off in the distance I saw the telltale low clouds of snowfall. I hoped I could beat the storm back to my truck.

Unfortunately, such was not to be. About 5 miles out, the little snow pellets turned into big, fat, sloppy flakes. Within a mile of that the roads went from dry to completely soaked. Despite constantly saying as much you easily forget how quickly the weather changes in Colorado. By the time I got back to my truck, my bike was covered in dirt from the sand that had been put down mixing with the melted snowflakes on the road. Amazingly enough, I was quite warm. Well, apart from a couple of fingertips and toes, at any rate. All the more shocking when you look at the ice encrusted to my bike’s rear end.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8385/8493192889_9a5d6540ab_n.jpgSo, I guess that’ll teach me. (Not likely, as I’m sure the peanut gallery is saying.) Still glad I got the ride in. It actually was rather fun, aside from worrying about all the typical Boulder drivers leaving town. At least I was going against the traffic. Of course, when all is said and done, I was back on the road for a ride today at lunch. Snow on the found, but the roads were dry. Ah, Colorado.

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That’s a wrap…

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8217/8336170438_1335e67d84_n.jpgI meant to finish writing this and post it yesterday. I mean, what better day than New Year’s Eve to post a wrap-up to the year that was? Well, best laid plans of mice and men and all, but I decided it would be more fun to have dinner with some new friends and then enjoy the festivities down on the waterfront in La Paz. Can you blame me? I didn’t think so…

So, 2012 is done and in the books. On the balance, it was a helluva year. But as with all years, it had its ups and downs. And boy were they high highs and low lows. The good:

  • PR after PR during race season, ending with an 80 minute PR in Madison. IMMOO time: 12:22:21.
  • Ran 937.93 miles.
  • Rode 3729.83 miles on the bike.
  • Swam 238,653 yards.
  • Raced a total of 210.9 miles.
  • Completed my Rescue Diver certification and 4 of the 5 specialties I need for Master Diver. That’ll be done by the time I get home from La Paz.
  • So long as we’re talking diving, started volunteering at the Denver Aquarium.
  • Again on the diving theme, logged 32 dives.
  • Welcomed, my second godson, Teddy, into the world.
  • Saw an old friend get married. This, truly, was an earth shaking event.

PC300182.jpgAs for the negatives, I’d rather not list those. Let’s just say we had to say goodbye to some sooner than we should have, amongst other things. However, the year ended on such a high note as to remind me how blessed so many of us, myself included, are. To see the beauty the world has to offer, both beneath the surface and in everyday life. So, 2012 ended well. Let’s hope and pray that 2013 continues on as well as it has begun. Happy New Year, all! And because I still can, Merry Christmas as well! (Hey, it IS still Christmas, don’t ya know?)

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Back in Madison…

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8449/7959312808_c03754af9d_n.jpgSo I’ve been back in Madison for the last few days now gearing up for another run at MOO. Being here is always interesting. This morning I was taking the bike out for one last checkout ride to make sure everything was working before dropping it off in transition. On the way down the elevator I met another racer making his first run at IM. He and his two teammates asked if I’d like to ride along with them. So we spent a half hour or so scoping out some of the minor changes they’d made to the bike course in the first few miles. So I have a few more racers to keep an eye out for tomorrow on the course.

Aside from the town itself, which is fun and I love, the emotions and my state of mind are always all over the map. Yesterday was mostly the excitement of race day approaching. I was just amped to be here again and ready to get out and race. Today, the pendulum swings back and forth between that and the “holy shit what am I doing AGAIN” thought.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8462/7946597432_4b1b1f8385_n.jpgNow I’m just settling in, mellow and ready to crash. Tomorrow will bring what it will bring. You can never be ready for everything, you just have to take what race day throws at you and roll with it. Having said that, the weather here has been nearly perfect since I got in and tomorrow should be as good a day as we can hope for. This season has been better than any I’ve had yet. Here’s hoping tomorrow is a good cap for it.

(If you want to follow me online, racer #1566. IronmanLive.com)

Posted in Ironman, Racing, Triathlon | 1 Comment

The Joys of Traveling With a Bike…

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8316/7927579666_722ed4371b_n.jpgThe many joys of travel in today’s day and age are only amplified when traveling to a race. Flying with a bike means you have to rethink a few things. Among them the car you rent (have to get one large enough to carry not just your suitcase but bike case as well), protecting the bike, logistics related to getting around the airport and the ever increasing luggage fees the airlines charge you. The first is easily enough handled assuming the airport you’re flying into has a reasonably sized SUV or minivan. The third you just get used to (I’ve become a pro at getting from the shuttle lot to check-in with a minimal of hassle over the last few years). It’s the second and the fourth issue that cause most people headaches.

The issue isn’t just protecting your bike but also weight. Most airlines see a bike case and immediately try to gouge you. (Sort of like the old cartoons where the character’s eyes turn to $$ at some point.) Some people get around this by using a soft-sided bike case. Since it looks like just a large bag, albeit of an odd shape, you’re often able to get it past the check-in people without notice. The downside is these cases don’t offer much in the way of protection. I’ve had too many issues with cheap hard-sided cases over the years to seriously consider this when taking into account the value of my bike. So I have a pretty heavy-duty case that I know will survive the flight that can also fit a fair amount of my race gear. Since I primarily fly Frontier for races, I’m also set since they consider bikes normal luggage. I just have to pay an overweight fee most of the time (happens when the case weighs more than the bike) which is still cheaper round-trip than most transport services or other airlines. (Although today I scored. They went to weigh the bike and I was upfront and told them I’d have to pay that charge. Never even asked for a credit card. Have I mentioned I love Frontier?)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8442/7927580394_3ef0e38765_n.jpgSo the bike is in a durable case that I know protects it from the luggage gorillas and what-not. What about the various things I throw into the case with it? I used to just wrap the frame in old towels to try and protect it as much as possible. This trip, though, I took the advice of another blogger, Ray. I went by Home Despot Monday evening and picked up several lengths of various sizes of pipe insulation and some of those reusable zip ties. I then proceeded to make foam clamshells that would wrap around as much of my Cervelo’s farm as possible and be fairly reusable for future trips. It worked well, at least it seems to. We’ll see how it looks once I get to Madison.

I did find amusing the printing I noticed on one of the pieces. “NOM WALL”. So, does that mean it’s eating the bike opt preventing it from being eaten? Let’s hope the latter. Anyhoo, off to Madison!

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Sing us a song…

It’s amazing the tangents your mind goes off on on some of these longer rides. Some of them can be fueled by the music that happens to come up in the queue. The other day when I was climbing to Ward, I got hit by a series of Bill Joel songs. (Not a set playlist, simply had it shuffling through what I had on my iPhone.) It occurred to me how much of life can be summed up in the lyrics to some songs. Or is it just me?

Posted in Cycling, Musings, Training, Triathlon | Leave a comment