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steve

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About steve

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    Who is Betty Ford anyway?

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    http://www.tellusventure.com
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    Monterey, California

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  • Year of first Tri race?
    1995

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  1. steve

    Fastest Ironman branded race

    It's hard to beat Challenge Roth for smooth surfaces. Swim is in a locks-closed canal – a 1,900 meter, two lane swimming pool – the roads are German-smooth and much of the run is still on a canal path that's better groomed than a 400 meter track. That's where I did my PB, by more than half an hour (it's measured correctly – also to German standards). The bike course has a lot of rolling hills -- for me, that's the best kind. Challenge Venice also has good, smooth roads and is about 99% flat. The run is on reasonably groomed park paths. The swim is a straight, point to point shot in very salty water but reasonably smooth water. Tides can have an effect, though. Edit: just checked the website. The Venice bike course was changed again, to a 7 lap, mostly out and back, circuit through a port area. As I recall, it's dead flat – make it 99.9%. Given the level of draft busting (99.999% flat), it'll be a crit. Fast, if that's your thing. The Challenge Taiwan bike course is also largely flat – a little more up and down than Busso or Venice, but not by much. The swim is in a concrete drainage pond – looks like a giant pool. It's fresh water in the same sense that Arizona is fresh 🤔. I'd say water quality (or lack thereof) is about the same. The run is weird, though. Mostly on city streets with dodgy traffic control, with one section on a wooden boardwalk.
  2. steve

    Bike Bag Recommendations

    I have a Trico Iron Case I've used for 20 years, on more than 100 flights. One of the straps is showing some wear, other than that only maintenance was replacing the wheels (standard hardware store item). Never had a problem with airline handling. Twice, though, it was opened and improperly repacked by airport security, both times resulting in a damaged rear derailleur. They might have less trouble with a soft bag. Soft bags are a lot lighter, too. I just barely make the 23 kg cut off if I put my bike, helmet and wetsuit in it. Pedals, seat bag, shoes, everything else go in my carry on.
  3. steve

    Busso 70.3 swim cancelled

    Asia doesn't have a swimming culture like Australia or California. The swim at Challenge Taiwan is in a concrete catchment basin (think of a pool 1 km x ~200 meters, with really opaque water), but even there some athletes had problems. Some even swam (if you want to call it that) with noodles.
  4. Challenge Venice was a great race. The swim was awesome -- best part of the day. There are no cars on the island, except at the end of the causeway. So you walk about a km from there to the start. Walking through Venice with the sun coming up is pretty damn cool. It's a time trial start, you line up with your age group, walk across the timing mat and go. It's a straight shot across with pylons marking the course – supersized buoys, really, no problem with sighting. I had my best swim time ever in an IM there – it wasn't short (I checked it on Google Earth and people with GPS devices said the same). Tide might have been a factor, but I also finished way further up the swim ranking than usual, so maybe it was just my day. Didn't notice any diesel or other pollution, but given that my warm up races were in drought-whacked Californian lakes – mud puddles mixed with 50 years of accumulated garbage – anything would have seemed clean. But no one else mentioned water quality problems either, so maybe not so bad. I did it the first year, in 2016. The bike course was a lollipop – about 30 km out, three loops around a 40 km circuit, and then back. Except those distances were a little short and it was 175 km on my bike computer. Completely flat except for a freeway overpass and a couple of small bridges. Total draft fest – afterwards, the head technical official said his refs didn't make any calls because athletes were yelling at them. Shocking, in Italy of all places. IIRC, they changed it to two loops on the lollipop last year, to cut down drafting. Doubt it did much good. This year, they haven't posted the bike course yet. They say they're still working it out with the police. Whatever it is, it'll be flat – it's what they have there. Bike course support was good. Plenty to eat and drink, they even had mini-paninis. The course was completely closed to traffic, and well marshalled (other than draft busting). At one point, a car came up behind me and some guy starts shouting at me. I only speak a little Italian but it was enough to know he wasn't complimenting me on my cute butt. Then he pulls up alongside me, sees my race number, and starts apologising just as loudly and profusely. Since I was riding a 20-year old road bike with no aerobars (as I do) and wearing a t-shirt (it rained briefly), he just naturally assumed I was a bandit. Given that everyone else looked like they were ready for a photo shoot for Bike Porn di Italia, it was reasonable. On the whole, I liked the run. It was completely within a park that was less than 2 km end to end. They designed a five loop course that wound back and forth on the paths inside the park. It was clever, and well marked – no confusion about where to go. Plenty of aid stations with plenty of stuff. On the one hand, it was a bit wearing to run on the same ground over and over again. On the other hand, there were plenty of people out cheering and there were always other athletes around. It was definitely worth doing. I stayed on the mainland, near race HQ, like most people. Afterwards, though, enjoyed being a tourist in Venice. I traveled solo, but athletes who brought family along thought it was fantastic – plenty for them to do, and the run course set up brought them into the fun. If you're thinking of doing it, do it soon. It's one of only five full distance Challenge races left.
  5. Yeah, but I didn't feel right including it with New Zealand.
  6. Good to meet you! Don't assume retirement is forever -- you never know. I've been on trannies since the beginning, but sorta fade in and out -- still have an original trannies cap. I think we did those for IMWA in 2004. By continent: Africa - IMSA (Port Elizabeth) x2, IM Lanzarote (by geography anyway). Asia - Challenge Taiwan, IM Asia (what Korea was called in 2000). Australia - Triathlon 226, IMWA. Europe - Challenge Roth, Henley-on-Thames, Venice; IM Austria, Elbaman, X-Man Romania. New Zealand - Challenge Wanaka x12 (nearest IM to Antartica, too 🙂), IMNZ x4 (not counting 2006). North America - Challenge Penticton, Vineman x3. South America - IM Brasil. Still plan to add to the list. Thinking about Israman next year, now that Wanaka is a half, although I'm signed up for that too. Kangaroo Island would be nice, might even work that in this year – 50/50 odds. The list of full Challenge races is shrinking – only five on the schedule now – so I'm looking around for independent IMs.
  7. I've done 6 out of the 7. Tried pitching Antarctica to a couple of race directors and they thought I was crazy. Still think it's possible, and still crazy too.
  8. steve

    Greatest American triathlete of all time

    Mark also won the first ITU olympic distance world championship in 1989. BTW, his (and Julie Moss's) son Mats is racing triathlons now, was 12th overall in the Wildflower olympic distance race on Sunday.
  9. steve

    Challenge Wanaka Full just got canned

    There were 105 registered for the Wanaka full this year, and 88 finishers (including Repeat Offender Jim Goodwin, who finished after the cutoff but still got his medal :-). The difference was about evenly split between DNF's and DNS's. There were also 25 teams in the full relay. That was an improvement from 2017, once the pros are factored out (they did the half this year). After the race, Bill Roxburgh, the race director, said that they wanted to keep doing the full so long as the numbers showed improvement. IIRC, 200 was the goal. That wasn't happening though. In the email he sent out yesterday, he said "Challenge Wanaka Full had 105 individuals this year and the trustees were wanting to continue running this event but entries to date are very low for 2019". They offered those of us who had already registered for 2019 a full refund and, if we wanted, half-price entry to our choice of the half or the aquabike. I can't fault them for trying, and I think they treated us very fairly, including making the decision when it needed to be made. Too many times, other organisations have strung out decisions to the last minute, creating heartache for everyone.
  10. steve

    Challenge Wanaka Full just got canned

    The first couple of years, the one lap bike course was a treat. Then Year 3, the wind hit -- up to 50 km headwind for the 70 km back from Cromwell. So they sent around an email asking us what we thought about making it two laps. Absolute opposition -- how dare you violate the ancient traditions of the race! A couple more years of wind, and they asked us again. Much different response -- it's about time -- been saying it for years -- glad you finally came around to our way of thinking! Wind aside, making it two laps actually made it tougher -- more climbing. But the scenery and, even more so, the community turned the pain into pleasure. I'm going to miss the full, but still plan to go back for the half next year. Bonus -- I'll finish before the bars close.
  11. steve

    Taking a wetsuit to NZ

    You'll go through the agriculture inspection, which usually involves an xray machine, so the easiest thing is to declare the wetsuit on the customs form. They'll ask when was the last time you used it and where and that kind of thing. I've never had a problem coming from either California or Australia. But if they're worried about it, they'll deal with it. Just don't try to slip something past them -- if they find something they don't like, it's a $200 spot fine. No sense of humour about that. Johan is right about the precautions while in NZ. They're worried about didymo, aka rock snot, which is spreading in fresh water lakes. But if the only place you're going to swim is Wanaka, it's not a problem. At least not until you get back to Australia :-).
  12. steve

    Transitions Run Visor

    I'd like to buy a cap too, please. Thanks!
  13. steve

    Airline sports equipment

    I have an IronCase bike box that weighs 14kg, and I get my bike, wetsuit and helmet in it, although without the pedals and frame pump, and stay within 23kg. The rest, including bike and run shoes, goes in my carryon - I can keep that to 7kg (Air NZ's limit) if I have to, but I usually go to 8 or 9 kg, with plan B to stuff pedals and other small heavy stuff in my pockets if I have to. Never had to do that though.
  14. steve

    First Ironman - NZ or Aus?

    That's it exactly, at least comparing Wanaka and Taupo -- haven't done Port. Both lakes are beautiful, but one loop beats two loops. You'll get the amped up mdot experience at Taupo, a prettier, more challenging course and more relaxed atmosphere at Wanaka.
  15. steve

    Ironman AG Champ Gets 4yr Doping Ban

    The RD doesn't know and it's not his/her responsibility to do a background check on every registrant. It's up to the athlete to follow the terms of any ban, or face additional penalties. In this case, a lifetime ban would be a real possibility. It's different for elites, particularly when prize money is involved – officials are supposed to verify eligibility for every elite registrant – but no pre-checks are in place for age groupers. Cosmically, it's not a big problem. Very few age group athletes are suspended for any reason and, so far, doping bans are extremely rare. Rare enough that when one happens, it's high profile. Like this one. Nowhere to hide.
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