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About steve

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    Who is Betty Ford anyway?

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    Monterey, California

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  1. steve

    Any other trannies in Wanaka?

    The lake was much calmer this year. The wind came from the south all day, which is heaven. Flat water for the half, which started at 7am, with a little chop building for the start of the aquabike at 8am. Lake temperature felt like it was 17 or 18 – warm by Wanaka standards and by mine. Perfect visibility and easy navigating the first three sides of the (diamond-shaped) course, but the last 600 meters is directly into the rising sun. But if you swim toward the sun and keep an eye on the marker buoys on your left, you get in fine. Cool start to the day (about 9 degrees), which made for a very nice ride. There was a steady headwind for about 15 km of the bike – between Hawea and Luggate – otherwise it was a cross wind or, between Wanaka and Hawea and from Luggate to the finish – a tailwind. As mentioned, the road can be rough – NZ chip seal is what it is. I thought the course was well-marshalled – saw TOs several times, more than I've seen in the past. Didn't see any drafting. It was sunny all day, the forecasted cloud cover didn't develop, but it didn't feel like it was more than about 25 or on the run. The first 8 km are along the lakefront, which is sheltered from the southerly, so it was warm there, but once we hit the outlet track the breeze made it pretty pleasant. It was different sort of event this year. With the full gone, the half was in the spotlight and got proper attention. That was a plus. It was well organised, with no glitches. Aid stations were fully stocked, course was well marked and marshalled, everything was professionally done. There were about a dozen or so triathlon-related companies at the expo, plus food vendors. It was a first rate production. I forget the exact numbers, but as I recall it was something like 450 individuals registered for the half and 200+ teams, plus about a hundred doing the aquabike, which was the NZ national championship. So there were a lot of athletes out there on the day. On Thursday and Friday, there was a junior race (about 1,100 kids) and a secondary school race (about 300). It was nice to see so many kids having fun with the sport. On the other hand, there's not as much going on with a half as there is with a full. No carbo load on Thursday, although there was a reception with free beer (Speights is a sponsor) and catered munchies for any registered athlete. Both it and the swim-the-course on Thursday morning were not as well attended as in the past. A lot of athletes participate, but not as many show up early. The awards (one for the aquabike, one for the half) were on Saturday afternoon, and were done outside at the finish line, like most races. No big breakfast ceremony in the marquee the next day. The post race (no host bar) party was on Saturday night instead of Sunday. Once it got going, it looked like it was as well attended as past years though. Overall, the event had a different, lower intensity feel to it, but that's a subjective judgement from those of us who used to do the full, so take it with a grain of salt. I had a good race. 47 minutes on the swim, felt good the whole way. Faster pace for me on the bike than usual, and loving every minute of it – it just felt so good to not have to think about a second lap. Same on the run – went at about a 6 min/km pace when I was running. Walked Gunn Road as usual, and spent some time talking to volunteers at the aid stations – lots of familiar faces and I wasn't so worried about my time. There are four of us who have done all thirteen (or twelve and half 😀) Challenge Wanakas, and I led that pack, so finishing DFL in my age group didn't hurt so much. I'm sad that the full is gone, but that's the way the sport is going –even IMNZ hasn't sold out this year. There are only four full distance Challenge races left, and two of them are Roth and Almere, which began long before the Challenge brand was born. On its own merits, the half is a great event in a beautiful place.
  2. steve

    Any other trannies in Wanaka?

    Big marquee is up, transition is set, so far so good. Swim the Course is tomorrow morning at 7am -- any trannies gonna be there?
  3. steve

    Experience with Prostrate Cancer

    I had a borderline high PSA - 4.1 - and decided to do all the tests, including a biopsy. Everything was negative, except for one inclusive biopsy sample (out of 14), which was non-positive, non-negative. Been doing annual tests and exams with a urologist ever since, and everything has stayed stable. My prostate is somewhat enlarged, but not to the point of being a problem. It's good to know what you're dealing with and what you need to keep an eye on.
  4. steve

    Rottnest Sufferfest Cancelled

    Course design could be part of the problem. If you send runners on paths that are also open to the public in a resort area, you'll cause grief. Same with bikes on public roads, particularly near transition, which is going to be near the water and likely high traffic. Second year of the Pacific Grove tri, a wedding was scheduled in a grassy area on the shoreline, and the run course went right through it with predictably bad reactions on both sides. It was because of miscommunication with the city – the RD made sure it was fixed in later years, but that requires a certain level of professionalism by both race and city staff.
  5. steve

    All things IM NZ

    Since Challenge Wanaka is a half now, you can do both in the same trip (if you're Jim Goodwin, then you do both fulls, every freaking year). I had that half planned out for this year, until the real world intervened. If you only have a couple of weeks, I'd say pick one island or the other. Otherwise it's too much travelling and too little enjoying. Plenty to see and do on both.
  6. steve

    All things IM NZ

    I think it was even colder out toward Reporoa. Yeah, gloves and sunblock.
  7. steve

    Is drafting cheating or other?

    If the TOs are doing their job well, competitors should have significant uncertainty about whether they're in the crosshairs or not. They should have no uncertainty about whether the TO will pull the trigger. Rigorous enforcement eventually leads to fewer infractions (observed or not) and fewer penalties. Given the costs involved, that's about the best you can do.
  8. steve

    Is drafting cheating or other?

    Drafting is a rule violation, subject to time and, if done repeatedly, DQ penalties. It is determined objectively (as objectively as possible given the circumstances) by time and distance. Cheating – i.e. a premeditated rule violation with intent to gain an advantage – can get you suspended or expelled from the sport. In theory. Two separate, albeit sometimes related, infractions. Theory doesn't hold up in practice, though. In 20 years of reffing (I retired from it last year), I don't how many thousands of drafting penalties I documented as an assistant ref or assessed as a head ref (the USAT system is different from the TA other ITU-based rulebooks). There isn't a single one where I could have made a cheating infraction stick, and I would have been rightly laughed out of the officials' program if I had tried. The only time I was involved in trying to prosecute (that's the term we use) a cheating infraction was with a serial course-cutter. It got bogged down in paperwork and never got anywhere. I believe it was eventually resolved through the mental health system – course cutting was apparently just one of her personality quirks. The last thing TOs should worry about out on the course is intent. X seconds closer than Y meters and, boom, that's a penalty. Period. If you're running down field with the ball and put a foot out of bounds, does the ref ask why you did it? Does he wonder if you were trying to deliberately gain an advantage? Does he care that the big, bad man pushed you? No. He just blows the whistle. Do you spend half an hour arguing with him? Do you demand to see the evidence? Do you spend the next week pleading your case on social media? No, you get on with the game. That's the way drafting, or any other bike position rules, should be enforced. Treat it as a technical time and distance violation of the rules and just make the call. Athletes will get the message and start riding legally – partly out of fear of a penalty and partly out of confidence that they won't be at disadvantage if they follow the rules. When I started reffing, we were just implementing the system. It was common for more than 10% of the field to receive a bike position penalty. Within ten years, that figure had dropped to 3%, and over the next ten years dropped to 2%. That's in USAT-officiated age group races, which doesn't include WTC or similar races. (Technically, those are referred to as self-officiated races, we just call them draft legal :-).
  9. steve

    So what type of courses suit you

    Swim - 1900 meters or less, surf is fun. Longer than that, salty and flat is preferred. Bike - rolling hills, like Roth or the old Vineman, are perfect. Agree with rory-dognz that the old Wanaka course was the best. The older the better -- love single loop courses, although the wind at Wanaka could be a killer. When it was converted into two loops, it got steeper. Fun, but not fast. Run - hills and dirt tracks are great. Wildflower and Wanaka (particularly the original run course) are great. I think too many RDs wimp out on run course design.
  10. steve

    How long have you been doing tri's for?

    She was autographing these posters at Wildflower one year. Mine got lost during a move -- still heartbroken.
  11. steve

    Modifying a triathlon

    Allowing scooters or rollerbladers out on the bike course would create safety issues. It's the same kind of thing as allowing a recumbent bike. You might be fine – knowing what you're doing and taking it easy, and able to convince the RD of it – but what about the second, third, etc. guy who wants to do it? That's what the RD will be thinking of. That and the liability. If the RD wants to have a go, though, there are ways to deal with it. We had an athlete with cystic fibrosis at a race I head reffed. She couldn't put her face in the water. The solution was to let her do the swim leg on a SUP, starting after the last wave, with a kayak escort. It was a rules violation, but that's a separate issue from insurance coverage – the insurance covers an athlete even when they break the rules. In the US anyway, race insurance covers everyone any way, including volunteers. So long as the RD isn't found to be negligent (that's the fear), everything is good. Unless someone at HQ hears about it and gets bent. Then it could be an issue the next time the RD tries to sanction a race. OTOH, if the RD could work it out ahead of time with TA, it's not a problem. Given the downward trend in participation, they might (should be) open to ways of broadening the appeal of races. As far as the rules violation went, I was marshalling the bike course when it happened, so couldn't do anything about it at the time :-). She was dead last in her age group. The RD included her in his results (online and posted at the race) but reported her to USAT as a DNF on the official results. Everyone was happy, particularly those who were none the wiser.
  12. steve

    How long have you been doing tri's for?

    My ultrarunner girlfriend (at the time) came to Busso with me in 2004. To make it a romantic togetherness trip, we came home via NZ and did the Kepler Challenge the weekend after. It only hurt for the first 10 km, I was numb after that.
  13. steve

    Another swim cancelled Waco 703

    Janet Reno is firing the starting gun.
  14. steve

    If you've done a 13 hour Ironman tell me why.

    Yep, do it with purpose. Walking is just a tool in the kit. When you're going up a hill and running as fast as you can walk, then walk. It's a good way to deal with nutrition issues too. I ran out of gas on the run at Busso, walked a couple of k's, ate what looked good and recovered. Ended up with my third best IM finish (but still more than 13 hours – 13:19 :-).
  15. steve

    NYC Marathon or Kepler Challenge

    I've done Kepler twice - what Paul said is absolutely true. Everybody raves about it. It's a spectacular run and a well organised event. I've never done New York but a lot of friends have, and they love it. But yeah, those are two very different races. You can't go wrong with either one. The only logical choice is to do both :-). Ask your doc about Ambien. My doc prescribed it for me – he's a IM competitor and uses it himself. It's a high tech sleeping aid that clears your system in 4 hours, plus or minus. I use it before races to get over jet lag (doesn't cure jet lag, but at least I get some sleep), and on long flights. It's a first class seat in a bottle.