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steve

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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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  • Year of first Tri race?
    1995

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  1. Thank you for being out there that day. One thing the race didn't lack was enthusiasm from the community volunteers, before, during and after race day. Everybody thought it was going to be a great thing, and it didn't turn out that way. I'm sure it was a disappointment for the community and probably money out of pocket for some. It was a mess financially, and there were a lot of things that were supposed to happen that didn't. But I don't know anyone who did it who regretted it, except maybe the pros who got stiffed. Lot of good things followed from it, like IMWA, Wanaka and this chat board -- cheers🍻
  2. I didn't think the course was unsafe – bike circuit was closed (except for the extra 2km to the arch and back), the run was off street (except for the connector between the lake and the park, and the bit to the finish of the arch, which was also extra distance they didn't charge extra for πŸ™‚ ). If you ran into trouble on the swim, you just stood up. But remember the bike turnaround, where the kids running the aid station were cooking hot dogs on the asphalt? I did not need a graphic reminder of how cooked I was. Yeah there was a lot that went sideways, but it was absolutely worth doing. Made some great friends that day.
  3. Penticton Forster The original IM California at Camp Pendleton, the one with the 2.4 nautical mile swim course, measured to within millimeters by the U.S. Marine Corps (it never occurred to the Marines that anyone would want to use statute miles on water, and no one thought to tell them :-).
  4. Video here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47415803 Then there's: World number one bridge player handed one-year ban for doping https://www.bbc.com/sport/47420065
  5. I take 100 mg of magnesium glycinate a day, to prevent cramps. It's supposed to have less of a laxative effect than other kinds of magnesium. I went through a period where I was cramping regularly in races, and magnesium seemed to help. There's 50 mg of magnesium in Endurolytes, and I usually take two before races (in addition to the 100 mg), then two every couple of hours. I used more (~400 mg) in a couple of races, and it didn't end well – made a lot of portaloo stops. I think I've found my balance point, though.
  6. Ditto on the beer! One hack worth trying with someone who learned English at one point, but hasn't used it much is to write it down. Students can spend years learning to read English, but almost no time practicing speaking it.
  7. I did the full there in 2014, and I would do it again if get the chance. It was a good race and well organised. I didn't stay in the HQ hotel, but if it's within your budget that's where the action is pre and post race. The swim is in what looks like a giant rectangular pool – about 1 km long and about 50 meters across, with a lane line down the middle. The year I did it the water was murky and warm, although people who have been there since have said it was crystal clear – I guess it depends on the day. The course is four laps of the "pool". It was well marked and seemed to be well measured. They said the water temperature was a hair under the max for wetsuits, but I don't think they would have dared running a no wetsuit swim. There was a diverse set of swimming skills on display – some wore lifejackets or swam with noodles. It was nice not to be the slowest guy in the water. From the website, it looks like they moved the transition area. When I did it, the TA was right next to the "pool". It looks like they moved it a little away where there's more room – probably an improvement. No changing tent in 2014, you did everything at the bike rack like you would at a shorter tri (or some independent IMs). The bike course looks like it's the same – it's flat to gently rolling with an excellent surface. It's just two out and backs along the coast. Fast and simple. Aid stations were fine. They weren't big into draft busting though, and I did see some packs. It was well marshalled and there was no problem with traffic. I didn't do a recon before the race, but it didn't matter – the route was pretty obvious. I don't recall wind being a particular problem, but it wasn't calm. The run is completely different now, and that's a good thing. When I did it, the main part of the run was a loop that went through town, with a couple of dodgy (in all respects) road crossings. Now, it looks like they're maximising the use of park trails. I'm not sure about the long out and back – it might be on a road, but if it's the road I'm thinking of, there's less traffic and it's more controllable. It looks like it's been significantly improved. Aid stations were fine on the run too – all as advertised, but if you're planning ahead you should pay attention to what they say about what's where. Not every aid station was stocked the same. There were a couple of places where the course wasn't well marked and I was uncertain about where to go, but those segments aren't on the course anymore. I'd suggest doing a recon of the run course ahead of time. It might not be obvious where it goes until the day, but at least you'll be familiar with the area. The finishing area was well laid out and there was a lot going on. But it was all temporary for race day, so you won't see it until the end. Other days, everything was at the hotel, including a pretty decent expo. If you like basic Chinese food, you'll like the post race refreshments, otherwise make other plans. There's the usual western fast food outlets – pre-race I ate a lot at McDonalds, and saved the culinary exploration for afterwards. The only odd thing about the finish was the massage. It wasn't really a massage, it was some guy who was demoing some kind of super duper wet wool wrap that was supposed cure whatever ails you. You can get a really good massage in Taiwan if you go to one of the blind masseuses – it's a tradition there and the guy I had gave me one of the best workovers I've ever had. They weren't at the finish, unfortunately. BTW, you will see a lot of other "massage" places around town – you can work that out for yourself :-). I took a taxi from the finish line back to the TA to pick up my bike, and then went to my motel. I had the names of places I wanted to go written down in Chinese, but explaining what I wanted to do took some effort. If I did it again, I would have asked someone at the motel, where they spoke reasonably good English, to write down complete instructions. Do not expect taxi drivers to speak any English at all. They're very helpful once they figure out what you want, though. PM me if you have any questions. Good luck!
  8. 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 πŸ˜€) 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.
  9. Big marquee is up, transition is set, so far so good. Swim the Course is tomorrow morning at 7am -- any trannies gonna be there?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. steve

    All things IM NZ

    I think it was even colder out toward Reporoa. Yeah, gloves and sunblock.
  14. 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.
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