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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

    Congratulations to the Prince

    Yeah, but you'd still nail him on the Beer Mile.
  2. steve

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

    As of today, I've been training for IMs for 20 years. Began my first IM training program with a sunrise 20 km run along the Seattle waterfront 17 October 1998 (I was on a business trip). First IM was Lanzarote in 1999, came DFL at 16:51, my slowest result to date. 34th (start and finish) IM was Wanaka this year at 16:15. I've gone under 13 once – Roth in 2004, at 12:34. 2004 was also the year I did my second and third fastest IMs – Taupo at 13:14 and Busso at 13:19. I was training hard and doing ultra runs as well. But I couldn't keep that up, because of wear and tear, but also because of work and everything else. Why? I enjoy it. I love the races and the travel. My social life is training with friends (except for my friends at our local :-). My training cycle is pretty consistent over a typical year, and in the past 20 years I've taken exactly one month off completely, because of family matters. I haven't been seriously injured – worst was a twisted ankle a month before Busso. If I had focused on faster times, I would have left the sport a long time ago, either because of injury or burnout. I'm 61 now, and I'm finding myself finishing further up in my age group, even landing on the podium every so often. There are still fast guys in my age group, but not so many as there used to be and even fewer doing IM distance. My goal is to outlast them, and if that means never going sub-13 or sub-14 again, I can live with it. I've managed sub-15s in two of my four IMs, and figure I have a least a couple more in me. Regardless, I'm planning to still be doing this 20 years from now.
  3. steve

    Not just another course cutter

    Looks like she made good on the threat: http://www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps I guess we'll have to take more water from Arizona to put it out.
  4. steve

    Insurance for Kona WC

    The USA Triathlon one-day membership does qualify you for insurance coverage. That's about the only benefit of it. Info from the USAT site is pasted below. It's secondary insurance – if you have regular medical insurance, that kicks in first. It only covers injuries in the race, though. If you fall off a barstool at Sam's and break your drinking arm, you're on your own. Good luck! --- Athlete Excess Medical Policy For Athletes Athletes must file with their primary healthcare provider (i.e. United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, traveler's insurance, etc.). Athlete completes a medical claim form. Athletes can contact the race director for the form or email eventservices@usatriathlon.org. The medical claim form along with all explanation of benefit documents should be sent directly from the athlete to the insurance company as indicated on the claim form. Athletes will pay a deductible. All athletes using USA Triathlon insurance will pay anywhere from $250 (two-hundred and fifty U.S. dollars) to $1,000 (one thousand U.S. dollars) out of pocket and possibly more for uncovered expenses. Coverage limitations. Be advised that coverage may not apply to each and every claim. Additionally, coverage only extends to participants that have purchased a USA Triathlon annual or one-day membership and were injured through participation in a USA Triathlon sanctioned event. USA Triathlon has a full-time risk management team available to answer any specific coverage questions. Athletes or race directors can call or email the group benefits department at 770-449-5559 and ask for Sean Lankie.
  5. steve

    FTP & Ironman power

    Boulder is at 1,600m elevation. Takes at least 3 weeks (or a pint of EPO) to acclimatise and build up red blood cell count. Without sufficient time at altitude, power output is going to be significantly lower.
  6. steve

    Challenge Venice (7 lap bike?) Wurf

    It was a draft fest when it was only three laps, and that was on loops. It's seven out and backs, which makes it even harder to marshal – motos can't move freely. Won't matter much, though, there was zero interest in draft busting.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Yeah, but I didn't feel right including it with New Zealand.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.