It all began with a selfie…

Lesson learned: not all selfies are bad. Well, at least not the end result of them.

Last weekend we were at Kevin & Amanda’s wedding. Having fun, and coming up on our first anniversary, Steph decided to send a selfie to Angie, our wedding coordinator from last year.

Angie was busy coordinating another wedding that night. Not being one to be left out, she replied.

The next day we headed down to the Broadmoor for a couple of nights to celebrate our own anniversary. Monday morning we were sitting out on the patio enjoying breakfast when we saw a couple out walking a pair of very large horses, er, I mean, dogs. Dogs that looked very familiar. What followed, for the other couple at least, was what we’re pretty sure was a rather awkward conversation:

Me: “Excuse me, but did you both just get married on Saturday?”

Woman: “Uh, yes.”

Me: “Congratulations! Did Angie happen to be your wedding coordinator?”

Woman (now clearly the Bride): “Well, yes. How did you know?”

Steph: “Oh, she was our wedding coordinator as well! We were at a wedding ourselves on Saturday and were texting with her. She sent us a selfie and we recognized your dog.”

Bride: “Wow! How neat! When is your anniversary?”

Steph: “Yesterday!”

Bride: “Well happy anniversary!”

We kept on running into them all day: while out walking the dogs, they were heading in for a massage as we were leaving, etc. By the end of our visit we had exchanged friend requests on Facebook with the newlyweds saying they’d love to have dinner when they come back next year for their first anniversary. Fun times!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

The opening of a daily newsletter I’m on neatly sums up what today has become:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, America. On behalf of Irish Americans everywhere, I invite all of you to share our cultural tradition of soda bread, corned beef, and drinking way too much, just as our Mexican-American brethren have watched Cinco De Mayo become de facto Drink Too Many Margaritas Day, our German-American friends have seen Oktoberfest become Drink Beer Outdoors Week, and our French-American brethren have seen Mardi Gras turn into Remove Your Top for Beads While Inebriated Week. Don’t let anyone tell you America is xenophobic; we’ve always been a big-hearted, joyous people willing to reach out and fully embrace any other culture’s annual excuse to drink.

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That makes it official…

Got this in my email last week:


I wanted to thank you for your dedication to IRONMAN and to our sport. I continue to be inspired by the devotion, determination, and incredible spirit displayed by you and other IRONMAN athletes. The IRONMAN Legacy Program was designed with athletes like you in mind. In return for the commitment you’ve made to IRONMAN, we will reward you with the opportunity to race at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.

Although you were not selected for participation in the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, you are guaranteed selection for the 2018 program provided you maintain your eligibility by following the three steps below:

1. You will need to complete an IRONMAN (140.6) race in 2017;

2. You will need to register for an IRONMAN (140.6) race that takes place in 2018; and

3. You will need to re-apply to the Legacy Program after it opens in the fall of this year

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you qualify separately and compete in the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, you will no longer be eligible for the program.

If you have any questions about your status or the process for securing eligibility in 2018, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Thank you again for your loyalty. Be strong and race safely.


Given that the “IMPORTANT NOTE” isn’t likely to ever apply to me, this gives me 19 months to properly prep. Kona, here I come.

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Fly Fishing in Russia…

Last month Dad & I headed over to Russia for a spot of fly fishing. Specifically, the Kamchatka Peninsula, just across the Bering Sea from Alaska. Interestingly enough, getting to Russia wasn’t the exciting part. (The flight from Denver to Anchorage was longer than the flight from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk, in fact.) Since the camp we would be fishing out of was actually on a Russian military base (a rather large missile test range) we had to get creative. So, after two flights and a decent bus drive, this was our ride:

The camp was actually not as basic as one would think. We actually had electricity for the evening and warm showers, if you can believe it.

And a bear dog in training:

Being on a missile range, the river was largely pristine. Only 70 or so people get to fish this 100+ mile stretch of the Ozernaya River every year. The benefits of the camp owner being a former colnel with the KGB. The fishing was absolutely phenomenal.

We caught numerous rainbows…

Although one was a little disappointing…

We also caught a few graylings…

…Dad landed a king salmon…

…and even a silver salmon.

For me, though, the highlight was the grizzlies we saw. Amongst them a mama and her cubs.

And a youngster…

…who decided to chase some ducklings.

Overall, an excellent time was had.

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Heading Home…

A wonderful time away fly fishing with Dad. We had great companions and superb guides. Unfortunately, time to get back to reality…



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Independence Day

I think President Coolidge’s speech 90 years ago provides one of the best summations of what’s celebrated today. One of the best quotes:

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

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Dangers of a GoPro…

Or, to be more specific, the dangers of a GoPro and a dog harness mount. Kompetitive Edge, my bike shop, from Abby’s point of view.

Welcome to KE – Abby's View from Joseph Vrablik on Vimeo.

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This past Saturday was the Ironman 70.3 race in Boulder. I haven’t raced it in several years for various reasons, not the least of which being the course. There’s not an inch of shade on the run, and very little on the bike. Come mid-day it can be absolutely brutal. With it hitting the 90s that day, well, you get the picture.

So, instead of racing Steph and I went out and shot some photos for the team. We found a great spot on the bike course where we could get some perspectives you generally don’t see in race photos. At one point, a racer had to pull over due to a flat. Almost immediately after, another racer pulled over to help out.

This is something I love about the sport. You don’t often see this level of support from other competitors. Sure, the guy helping out may not have been in contention for a podium spot. But for all we know, he could have been on pace for a PR. Rather than go for that, he opted to pull over and help out a fellow racer. That’s a fine example of sportsmanship.

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Snorkeling in Bora Bora…

One of the things Steph and I were most looking forward to was a snorkeling excursion in and around the lagoon surrounding Bora Bora. The boat and our guid, Nani, picked us up at the resort’s dock at about 9:30 that morning. The tour was going to circle the island, with 3 stops to see the life (two on the southern end, one just outside the reef just west of Vaitape) and then a short rest stop for snacks.

To start, we made a stop just past the Intercontinental Resort on the south end of the lagoon. Here we were going to see some stingrays (albeit with the barbs removed). What surprised us was how they started to circle the boat. Apparently they know they’re going to be fed when the boats show up.




Ray Swim from Joseph Vrablik on Vimeo.

As you can see, one of the other guests on the tour wasn’t so sure about the rays to say the least. After that, we went a little further around the southern end of the lagoon, just south of Matira Point. There we saw coral and other reef life.

The highlight of the excursion had to be the swim we had with a school of black tip and lemon sharks. This was just outside the barrier reef surrounding Bora Bora to the west of Vaitape.

Shark Swim from Joseph Vrablik on Vimeo.

Following the swim with sharks, we made a short stop to relax up north of the island near the airport and had some fruit and coconut. When we got back to the resort in mid afternoon, we just reverted to type and hung out around the pool.




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Touring Bora Bora…

You’d think there isn’t much to see on such a small island. To be honest, with only a single road running along the perimeter, you wouldn’t be far off. Having said that, there are some things worth checking out. So we spent a morning on a tour.

We started off in a small village. It had one of 3 churches on Bora Bora (2 Protestant, 1 Catholic) and one of the few primary schools.



Interesting side note: they only have up to the equivalent of our middle school on the island (of which there’s only one). For high school, the kids have to take a ferry over to Raiatea. That’s a 2.5 hour trip each way. Suffice it to say, they go for an entire week and come home for weekends. On top of that, parents have to pay for both the ferry and for school: they’re not free, and not cheap.

After some more touring around the island, our guide took us to some relics from World War II. The US Army and Navy built the first air field in French Polynesia on Bora Bora during the war. It’s still in use today. They all installed 4 large gunnery emplacements, 2 each for the cardinal directions, along with bunkers for support.






The guns were never fired in anger, apparently.

After that, we finished our circle around the island. Along the way, we passed some bungalows that, apparently, Marlon Brando lived in for a time. At the end of our tour, our guide dropped Steph and I off at the main town on Bora Bora, Vaitape. We decided to have some lunch at a small cafe with a decent view.


Following our lunch, we did a little shopping. We of course had to drop in and see some of the famed Tahitian pearls.


Once done with wandering Vaitape, it was back to the harbor to catch our boat. While out, we had met a gentleman from the UK who was sailing the Pacific on a “working boat”. This was his ride, as we came to find out.


Not a bad gig, I suppose. Just not sure I’d pay to go on a “working vacation”, but hey…

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