Monday, December 24, 2012

Photo: 60-minute run, 60-minute ride, 8:00 a.m., 6 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,600 yds (ytd 200,800 yds.)
Bike: 60 miles (ytd 4,825 mi.)
Run: 17 miles (ytd 1,176 mi.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Photo: 90-minute fixie ride, 40-minute run, 8:00 a.m., 26 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,600 yds (ytd 194,700 yds.)
Bike: 69 miles (ytd 4,706 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 1,139 mi.)

Monday, December 03, 2012

Photo: Christmas at Luther, 7:30 p.m., 50 degrees, Decorah, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,500 yds (ytd 191,100 yds.)
Bike: 41 miles (ytd 4,637 mi.)
Run: 21 miles (ytd 1,119 mi.)

Still thankful for dopes and dorks. Coming to PBS 12/23 7pm CST

Monday, November 26, 2012

Photo: 3-mile run, 9:00 a.m., 56 degrees, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,700 yds (ytd 188,600 yds.)
Bike: 50 miles (ytd 4,596 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 1,098 mi.)

Thankful for dopes and dorks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Photo: 6-mile run, 8:00 a.m., 34 degrees, Decorah, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,600 yds (ytd 185,900 yds.)
Bike: 35 miles (ytd 4,546 mi.)
Run: 17 miles (ytd 1,078 mi.)

Kids these their video games, their downloads, their phones, their apps. As a child, I loved to take off for the woods, running out the back door of my childhood home, up a deer trail, into the woods. Every now and again, I visit home and find that same pause button necessary.
The saddest day of the year for any good Norwegian.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Photo: Shoot, 10:00 a.m., 70 degrees, Scottsdale, Arizona

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,500 yds (ytd 182,300 yds.)
Bike: 57 miles (ytd 4,511 mi.)
Run: 10 miles (ytd 1,061 mi.)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Photo: 28-mile gravel ride, 4-mile run, 9:00 a.m., 38 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 180,800 yds.)
Bike: 68 miles (ytd 4,454 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 1,051 mi.)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Sometimes you need to share what friends send...

Greetings from a ravaged and powerless Jersey Shore. First, let me thank all of you who emailed, sent texts and called (repeatedly) throughout the storm and its aftermath. I was very touched and remain grateful for your friendships. Forgive me for sending this group email, but we've only just seen cell/Internet service restored and it remains spotty. I wanted to get to everyone as quickly as possible since many of you have been awaiting word from me for 3 days. I am quite humbled by your outpouring of support and concern and remained inspired, via technology, to keep the faith throughout the hurricane and the long days that have followed without power, water (some have no running water, others have only ice cold water, no pleasure to shower in I assure you), no access to gas to run generators or additional food and water. I took the warnings about the Hurricane seriously and stockpiled gasoline, water, food, candles, batteries and such to last for two weeks. Many of us who have generators are powering neighbors and friends who don't own one, and turning out meals while everyone charges up cell phones and laptops, comparing notes, boosting spirits and reminding each other that despite the widespread damage that will surely bring the state to its knees for some years to come, we have our health and the ability to start over.

We'll need it. For those of us in our 30s and older, Gov. Christie is correct. Everything from our youth is gone. There is an emotional and cultural pall hanging over us in the wake of this storm. It's a feeling I can't describe. While I have lived in Manhattan for the past 20-plus years and consider myself a New Yorker despite maintaining a home in Jersey, I, like everyone else who grew up on the Jersey shore, have this past that's hard to ditch. It's like being in a relationship that only you can understand. Well, you and everyone else from Jersey. It's the only place where when asked where you live, you say "Jersey" and before you can get the second syllable out, the person asks: "What exit?" (as in off the Garden State Parkway) and you simply respond "109" (Red Bank/Lincroft). It's our short hand—we know by exit what type of Jersey guy or girl you are, and, when dating as a kid, it's a GPS of sorts for determining how far you reside from that person of interest.

Long before the rest of the world worshipped The Boss, we knew him as Bruce (Springsteen), a local musician we thought was pretty talented. He played the Stone Pony, which, for anyone who was ever into music on the Jersey shore, was the place to see bands. And many, many decades before The Sopranos returned Asbury Park to the mainstream as a worthy destination, we had grandparents and parents who lived there and knew it was the shore town to visit. Every Easter, you dressed up and went to Asbury Park, or Atlantic City, or one of the many shore towns in between, walking the boardwalk, riding the amusements, buying salt water taffy and parading your Easter Sunday best (my sister and I were always made to wear matching plaid Easter coats over our dresses with white gloves). Yes, the Jersey shore culture has always been about beaches, bands, boardwalks and better days.

The devastation on the Jersey shore is overwhelming. While it's not Katrina, it's not something you're ever prepared to live through or see. My house sustained very little damage, mercifully, as none of the many 200-year-old oak trees on my property fell during the high winds. My 1988 Red Camaro with T Tops took the bullet for me, for which, at 6 am on Tuesday morning, I found myself grateful, if not a little saddened. It was the first car I ever bought and, while I haven't driven it in years (I'm not kidding), I haven't been able to part with it. Make all the jokes you want, but as a kid on the Jersey shore it was only natural to aspire to own a muscle car or a motorcycle, or date someone who did (or both). There was nothing like cruising Ocean Avenue from Sandy Hook down to Asbury Park and then back again and across the Sea Bright Bridge and down the long, winding streets of Rumson and Fair Haven in a 5 speed with the tops off. So with a shattered windshield, ripped off side mirror and plenty of body damage compliments of the storm, the Camaro and a piece of my youth were gone, but I felt pretty lucky and, by the looks of things on my street, my neighbors fared pretty well, too.

It was a short-lived illusion. By 9 am, I began to learn that the Camaro would be the smallest, least significant part of my childhood destroyed. Because cell and Internet service died for many of us during the height of the storm, we got news the next day by word of mouth—and each piece was more shocking than the last. Friends and neighbors on other streets and in nearby towns lost half or entire houses, every beach club on Ocean Avenue was smashed to pieces, every boardwalk from Long Branch down to Atlantic City was torn apart and strewn about, the amusement rides at Seaside Heights washed out to sea, including the roller coaster. Every bar and restaurant along the beach either largely or completely devastated or washed away, including most in Sea Bright, Long Branch, Belmar, Point Pleasant and Asbury Park, the famous shore town where my Dad was raised and which has spent the past 30-plus years rebuilding itself after terrible race riots in the late 60s ushered in a dark period of economic decay, corruption and abandonment. Only in recent years had the city finally risen from the ashes, thanks to the concerted efforts of many to restore the shore town to it former glory. Almost all of that rebuilding is now a pile of ruins. Ironically and as if a beacon of hope and a sign that we must rebuild, the Stone Pony, the musical venue made famous by Bruce and other local musicians, survived. But everywhere you look there is devastation. Boats tossed into the middle of parking lots and roads, stretches of beach that are no longer recognizable, rows of beach houses entirely gone. Long Beach Island—our version of the Hamptons—is completely underwater. Atlantic City is flooded and its casinos damaged.

The impact on the shore's businesses is hard to assess at this point, but suffice it to say that many establishments which we all frequented over our lifetimes—bars, restaurants, clubs, hot dog and concession stands on the boardwalks, and Mom-and-Pop small businesses—are gone for good. For most of us, a lifetime of memories has been washed out to sea. While we remain committed to rebuilding, it will be different...another new normal to which we must adjust.

With power expected to be out for at least another 5-10 days, I will remain on the shore. I am reachable via cell and email now. Again, many thanks for reaching out before, during and after the storm and for indulging my trip down memory lane in this note. I hope at some point you had a chance to experience the Jersey shore that I've always known. It was something, and I'm sure we'll do our best to make it something again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photo: 32-mile road ride, 8:00 a.m., 32 degrees, Mt Vernon, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,800 yds (ytd 180,800 yds.)
Bike: 68 miles (ytd 4,386 mi.)
Run: 16 miles (ytd 1,031 mi.)

32 miles, 32 degrees, brrrific

Monday, October 22, 2012

AGGI v3 Recap

Thanks again to everyone this year who arrived, who rode, who got lost (ahem), who conquered, and, in Jared’s words, who sucked.

The weather was Xtreme(ly beautiful) and the course Epic(ally perfect). Both sunshine and dogs were in abundance. Three cheers to Jeff Goldblum’s Fancy Banana Hammock for taking this year’s title, leading the way from nearly beginning to end. Thirty lashes to Jeff Goldblum’s Fancy Banana Hammock for turning down the Hamm’s Beer (there’s now a 12 in my garage…first come, first drunk).

In the tightly contested women’s division, Jenny (Jenny, who can I turn to?) brought her A-game (and a serious tan) from Kona to dominate the field.

To those of you who couldn’t make it, I hope you had as much fun answering phone calls from your favorite political pundits as we did riding the American Gothic Gravel Invitational v3.

Until next year when we promise more gravel, more weather and an even freer entry…

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo: Team-building, 2:00 p.m., 55 degrees, Dubuque, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,100 yds (ytd 174,100 yds.)
Bike: 72 miles (ytd 4,229 mi.)
Run: 22 miles (ytd 1,000 mi.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Photo: 7-mile run, 5:00 a.m., 28 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,100 yds (ytd 170,000 yds.)
Bike: 78 miles (ytd 4,157 mi.)
Run: 19 miles (ytd 978 mi.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The best 50 minutes of your day...

Aaron James Draplin

from CreativeMornings/Portland.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The American Gothic Gravel Invitational™
Sunday, 21 October 2012, 12:00 pm – High Noon
A good-ol-timey, FREE-OF-CHARGE 60-mile bike race across the gravel roads of Linn County, Iowa. Yes, IOWA!

Everyone gets: A mouthful of dust, satisfaction, a nice view, camaraderie, the attached cue-sheet keepsake (makes a great re-gift just in time for the holidays), and grub at Zoey’s at 6 pm post-race (bring a few bucks if you're hungry and interested: ). While I can’t guarantee romance, a flat tire or saddle-induced hemorrhoids, if the fates are with ya, you may leave with a story to tell (who said you can’t use ‘romance’ and ‘hemorrhoids’ in the same sentence?).

One person gets: The grand prize, IF:

1 He/she is indeed first,
2 He/she signs in when done with his/her finish time,
3 He/she also includes his/her email address and the phrase “I’m #1, you pathetic losers”.

This year’s grand prize includes the now-traditional 12-pack of Hamm’s (from the land of sky-blue waters), plus a Twin Six short-sleeve jersey of your choice (check ‘em out at

Rules: Sign the notebook before the start (just like last year). We roll out as a group at noon (just like last year). Once we hit gravel on the other side of Highway 13, the race is on. (You turds that jumped the gun in 2011 have each been given four demerits to be doled out when you least expect it.) Follow the cue sheets until you hit the finish. Once there, sign the notebook with your name and finish time (using the cheap Timex next to the notebook). No aid stations. No outside help. Don’t cheat. Ride safe. When you cross the highway(s), look and then look again. The roads are open and the farmers are working harder than you, yeah YOU. Stay outta their way. And don't, don't, don't litter.

Cue sheets: Attached. These are the only directions you’ll receive. No one is bringing extras… NO ONE. Print ‘em. Bring ‘em. Lose ‘em and you'd better find someone to ride with. If you bring a buddy, make a copy for him/her or make sure your pal doesn’t get lost.

Start/Finish: Indian Creek Elementary School parking lot (by the OLD football field), 2900 Indian Creek Road, Marion, IA.

Fine print: You’re receiving this because you’re one of a select group (okay, not select…just a friend of a friend of a friend…chances are, I don’t know you and we’ll never meet again). If you want to bring along a kindred spirit, great. In fact, I encourage it. If he/she is a jerk, you and only you will be held accountable in the court of public opinion, in which case I fear for you and your jerk friend.

Finer print: In the event of a tie, the 100-yd Grant Wood Dash of Death will be held at the adjacent track.

Finest print: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN. There is no sag wagon (though I will again ride ceremonial DFL to chat it up with the slow-pokes). If you get a flat, fix it. If you break down, work some magic or start walking. No one is coming to save you (unless you have a very forgiving spouse, child, parent or domestic partner). You got into it, you get out of it. Offer a helping hand if someone needs it.

For more information: There is no more information. It’s all written above.

See you soon,

Photo: 3-mile run, 6:00 p.m., 100 degrees, Scottsdale, Arizona

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,000 yds (ytd 161,800 yds.)
Bike: 97 miles (ytd 4,079 mi.)
Run: 17 miles (ytd 959 mi.)

30 degrees for the morning run...100 degrees for the evening run...go figure.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Photo: 3-mile run, 30-mile ride, 9:00a.m., 50 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,200 yds (ytd 160,800 yds.)
Bike: 45 miles (ytd 3,982 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 942 mi.)

...which is why you're spray-painting backroads 15 miles from nowhere.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Photo: 6-mile run, 30-mile ride, 9:00a.m., 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,100 yds (ytd 156,600 yds.)
Bike: 60 miles (ytd 3,937 mi.)
Run: 22 miles (ytd 912 mi.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Photo: 2,400-yard swim, 60-mile bike, 12-mile trail run, 11 transitions, some cold, some wind, some rain, 8:00a.m., Up Nort'

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,800 yds (ytd 152,500 yds.)
Bike: 106 miles (ytd 3,877 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 890 mi.)

Swim, Bike, Run...
Swim, Bike, Run...
Swim, Bike, Run...
Swim, Bike, Run...

Photo: post-run fetch, 80 degrees, 11:00a.m., Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,800 yds (ytd 147,700 yds.)
Bike: 103 miles (ytd 3,771 mi.)
Run: 35 miles (ytd 870 mi.)

Patience is a virtue, for dogs and humans. Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photo: 38-mile gravel ride, 3-mile run, 65 degrees, 8:00a.m., Bertram, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 144,900 yds.)
Bike: 71 miles (ytd 3,668 mi.)
Run: 26 miles (ytd 835 mi.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Photo: 12-mile run, 30-mile ride,  1-mile swim, 70 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,200 yds (ytd 144,900 yds.)
Bike: 99 miles (ytd 3,597 mi.)
Run: 29 miles (ytd 809 mi.)

I’ve been wanting a new bike. A road bike. A brand-spanking-new-look-at-this-and-be-jealous-of-the-paint-job road bike. It’s been a while. My kids are grown and gone, I have a good job, I deserve it. Sure, I have a tri-specific bike I race on, but I’m one of those weenies who doesn’t want to spend all his hours training on, wearing down and dirtying up a bike that’s fast, clean and always race-ready.

I also have 12-year-old tri bike that takes a regular beating and has served me well, but also begs me daily for just a little chain lube. Really, I hear it begging, and so does everyone around me. Listen for a moment. Hear it?

I have an older fixie I take for shorter rides (no, I don’t own capri pants or a messenger bag, but I do love the workout that the one fixed gear provides) and a single-speed mountain bike I enjoy on gravel and dirt. There’s even a unicycle I ride occasionally. (I can also juggle, but not at the same time. Baby steps.)

But still, no road bike.

So I started shopping, combing the Web, grabbing magazines in checkout aisles (the ones with bikes on the cover, not celebrities and their makeovers), even talking to a manufacturer’s rep or two.

PUT-MY-WALLET-IN-THE-WASH-MACHINE-AND-HIT-RINSE! Upper four and even five figures for a road bike?

Now I know I’m old and it’s been 40 years since I bought my first bike in the back room of a gas station for a whopping $47 after five weeks of delivering newspapers, but I didn’t realize I was THAT outta touch.

So I started thinking.

What if I took that beat-up, tired tri bike, chipped off the bubbling paint, stripped away the aero bars and shifters, set aside the base bars for my fixie, chucked the cracked carbon aero seatpost, removed the tri-specific saddle, scrapped the bent derailleurs, took to the landfill both outta-true wheels (unless you want them or happen to be the local guy who makes lawn ornaments out of bike wheels)…

And then started asking around?

It turns out I’m not the only one with a home that’s full of bikes, parts, tools and grease.

So after tearing down and cleaning my bike (Simple Green, best stuff ever!), I took the wheels that came stock with my racing bike (but were immediately shelved right outta the box); drop bars that once belonged to a friend; STI shifters and derailleurs no longer used by a riding partner; a stem that has a story, I just don’t know what it is; a favorite saddle still with some miles left on it; and…

Loaded the whole mess into the car and headed to my LBS (Sugar Bottom Bikes, try ‘em if you’re in the Midwest).

Two days later and I have a road bike… one that isn’t “new” but new enough, one that fits, one that rolls true and shifts smooth, and one that cost me a whopping, wait for it…


Think our sport costs too much? Pffft, only if you let it. Open that shed, look in your garage or your neighbor’s, talk during the next group ride, and give the local shop some business. Your new bike is out there, waiting, and you CAN afford it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo: After the workout, 72 degrees, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 142,700 yds.)
Bike: 103 miles (ytd 3,498 mi.)
Run: 37 miles (ytd 781 mi.)

There are worse places to bond with your father and son.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Photo: 6-mile run, 30-mile ride, 1-mile swim, 9 a.m., 80 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 6,100 yds (ytd 142,700 yds.)
Bike: 104 miles (ytd 3,395 mi.)
Run: 36 miles (ytd 744 mi.)

Not in race shape, but trying to look the part.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Photo: 30-mile fixie ride, 9 a.m., 80 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,200 yds (ytd 136,600 yds.)
Bike: 82 miles (ytd 3,291 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 708 mi.)

RAGBRAI or this...I chose this.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another small waste of your time from C.P. on Vimeo.
Video: 15-mile run, 50 degrees, Summit County, Colorado

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,500 yds (ytd 132,400 yds.)
Bike: 89 miles (ytd 3,209 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 678 mi.)

One last run before leaving home for home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photo: After the workout, 74 degrees, Red Rocks, Colorado

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,200 yds (ytd 127,900 yds.)
Bike: 37 miles (ytd 3,120 mi.)
Run: 34 miles (ytd 648 mi.)

There are worse places to bond with your daughter.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Photo: After the workout, HOT degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 6,000 yds (ytd 125,700 yds.)
Bike: 111 miles (ytd 3,083 mi.)
Run: 31 miles (ytd 614 mi.)

Here we go again… to whom it may concern,
The softening of our sport continues. When I first got into endurance sports, I often worried whether or not I would finish, but I never worried about the cancellation or shortening of an event due to heat. Until now.
I got into this lifestyle because it was a challenge, because it took effort, because it was HARD. I wanted to see if I had what it took to get into real shape, toe the line, suffer, and finish something that few people could.
Now marathons are being cancelled because it’s too hot. Triathlons are being shortened due to the heat. Swims are being stopped because the water’s too cold or there’s too much wind. WTF?! Nut up, people.
If you want easy, shuffle your way through a county fair fun run. If you want to be a marathoner, a triathlete, an Ironman, then do the work. Yeah, it hurts. It’s supposed to. It’s not for everyone. It wasn’t meant to be. You want perfect weather? Bowling is great, I hear. And you can do it all year long, indoors where you’ll be safe and pain-free.
Hell yeah, I’m pissed. I don’t train hard to show up on race day and find out the race was cancelled or shortened because the RD was worried about some pansy throwing down a lawsuit that blames the universe for his/her own laziness.
Years ago I did a tri where the weather was so hot, the road tar stuck to my racing flats. My head felt like it was going to explode on the run. I toughed it out and finished… everyone did. It was hot, REALLY hot. So what?! The whole idea is to conquer your demons and prove that you are tough; tough enough and in shape enough to kick the race’s butt, AT YOUR OWN RISK. That race, once an Ironman qualifier, was cancelled years later due to some lawsuit-happy jerks.
Have some pride, people. Bust your tail and get into shape. Deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at you. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. If you’re only in it for the finisher’s shirt and bag of swag, buy a T off eBay and brag to someone who cares. The rest of us will earn it…in any conditions. I’ve run in -30 degrees and 100+. One was cold, the other was hot. Nothing more, nothing less.
Hot, cold, rain, drought… it’s weather. Deal with it. Read the waiver, sign it, shut your yap and compete.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Photo: 39-mile gravel ride, 2-mile run, 1-mile swim, 8:00 am, 75 degrees, Waubeek, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,100 yds (ytd 119,700 yds.)
Bike: 99 miles (ytd 2,972 mi.)
Run: 27 miles (ytd 583 mi.)

Are you my mother?

Photo: 8-mile run, 10-mile fixie ride, 1-mile swim, 11:00 am, 90 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 6,100 yds (ytd 114,600 yds.)
Bike: 113 miles (ytd 2,873 mi.)
Run: 22 miles (ytd 556 mi.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo: Office kitchen, 8:00 am, 69 degrees, Hiawatha, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,600 yds (ytd 108,500 yds.)
Bike: 100 miles (ytd 2,760 mi.)
Run: 17 miles (ytd 534 mi.)

Bowl cleansing anyone?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo: 30-mile fixie ride, 2-mile run, 1,300-yard swim, 7:00 am, 70 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,600 yds (ytd 104,900 yds.)
Bike: 102 miles (ytd 2,660 mi.)
Run: 7 miles (ytd 517 mi.)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Photo: 5-mile run, 7:00 am, 60 degrees, Venice Beach, California

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,500 yds (ytd 100,300 yds.)
Bike: 42 miles (ytd 2,558 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 510 mi.)
Junkies to the left, surfers to the right.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,700 yds (ytd 96,800 yds.)
Bike: 112 miles (ytd 2,516 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 490 mi.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Photo: 7-mile run, 9:00 am, 70 degrees, Decorah, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 6,300 yds (ytd 91,100 yds.)
Bike: 91 miles (ytd 2,404 mi.)
Run: 26 miles (ytd 470 mi.)


I recently received the following from a close friend:

     Day 29.

     I had time for a short visit with Dad this morning so I grabbed a couple of coffees and stopped down
     to see him.

     He was finishing dressing and was waiting for the PT to come and work with him when I got there a
     bit before 9 am. He had on a favorite broadcloth Oxford shirt, this one had a Labrador embroidered
     above the pocket and khakis that he had gotten on a hunting trip with my brother and nephew a
     few years back.

     I walked down to PT with him and he rode a Star-Trac arm/leg ergometer for 10 minutes while the
     PT, Dad and I talked of dogs we had all had in our lives. He had a brief rest and then he worked
    on balance skills, which included walking backwards down the hall.

     There were no t-shirts worn proclaiming "my warm-up was your workout" and there were no
     fancy supplements consumed post-workout to make expensive urine.

     Instead of giving him a participation award I will head back later to the hospital with some
     carry-out BBQ ribs, slaw and a fresh fruit plate and have dinner with him and my brother.

     And look ahead with them to tomorrow.

Perspective is good. Being involved in sports where words like epic, extreme, courage, warrior and fail are tossed around in every other sentence, it’s good to step back regularly and see what’s really important.

I started down this endurance road about the time my son was born 8 weeks premature. Up until that point I’d been fit, I’d raced and I’d done well, but I’d trained mostly for the fun, the friends, the party. Standing in the neo-natal intensive care unit, holding life and death in my hands gave me much-needed perspective and I vowed I was going to appreciate life, live it and be around for my son (and now also for my daughter) for a very long time.

I’ve had many moments like that, when I’ve realized what’s really epic, extreme, courageous and tough. What is a failure and what isn’t. When I make a list, it doesn’t include a finisher’s medal:

• Seeing my 18-year-old son fight through a botched surgery. He could’ve given up… he didn’t.
• Choosing to euthanize a dog… because it was the right choice. And then years later, making that choice again.
• Witnessing a teenager hold a needle to his vein… and opt not to push it.
• Skipping a race because my daughter needed me. Not an epic decision… a really, really easy one.
• Watching my father handle prostate cancer with dignity. I hope to do the same when my time comes… and it will come.
• Finding out over the weekend that a young co-worker decided to end his life… and succeeded with his decision.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Photo: 2-hour fixed ride, 3-mile run, 9:00 am, 50 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 6,000 yds (ytd 84,800 yds.)
Bike: 121 miles (ytd 2,313 mi.)
Run: 19 miles (ytd 444 mi.)

A sky like that.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Photo: 2-hour road ride, 2-mile run, 9:00 am, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,900 yds (ytd 78,800 yds.)
Bike: 108 miles (ytd 2,192 mi.)
Run: 16 miles (ytd 425 mi.)

Clutter or necessity...depends who you ask.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Photo: 2-hour fixie ride, 2-mile run, 9:00 am, 38 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,100 yds (ytd 74,900 yds.)
Bike: 94 miles (ytd 2,083 mi.)
Run: 16 miles (ytd 409 mi.)

Fun begins.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photo: 2-hour fixie ride, 10:00 am, 45 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,100 yds (ytd 69,800 yds.)
Bike: 127 miles (ytd 1,189 mi.)
Run: 0 miles (ytd 393 mi.)

Professionally, I work in marketing. Over the years, I've been directly involved in helping to raise billions of dollars for a very successful, global organization. Privately, I dabble in endurance sports, where over those same years, I've achieved a modicum of success.

Combine the two and I'm in an interesting spot. I see the marketing tactics of the various manufacturers in our sport and understand their methods. Some have honest ambitions and sincere intentions while others are simply looking for my/your money. They promise faster, stronger, fitter and healthier, knowing that our greed for bragging rights wins out over common sense. If a magazine or website advertises it, we must need it. If your buddy, or worse yet, your competition, races with it, you'd better do the same. While very few of us are out-n-out cheaters, most of us are always on the lookout for ways to cheat hard work.


Don't be a sucker. Don't fall for slick marketing, empty promises, over-hyped hype.

Do you know why Dave Scott was fast? Because he worked harder than the rest of us. Tim DeBoom, same deal. Macca, him too. Chrissie, duh. They'd kick your tail riding any bike, in any shoe, downing any drink. They want it worse than you and are willing to pay the price for it… and that price isn't 'retail.'

Before you go begging your spouse for the next whatzit you saw on the roof rack at the club, ask yourself, "Is it really going to make me a better athlete?" Odds are, the answer is no. Don't believe me? Go to eBay or craigslist and search for bikes, frames, wheelsets, wetsuits, etc. You'll find plenty of "only used one season" from people who fall for the sales pitch year after year… after year.

Equipment won't put you on the podium, hard work will… really, REALLY hard work.

I've been around some of the world's best athletes. I've trained next to them. I've shared their lap lane, their draft line, their time at the track. They sacrifice, they show up early and stay late. I've never been willing to drop everything to be that good. They are willing and able. But one thing I've noticed… they rarely if ever talk about equipment - they're too busy working harder than the rest of us. They ride what they ride. They know a good bike is a good bike, a good shoe is a good shoe, goggles are goggles and a great work ethic is what counts. I once asked an Olympian friend what running shoe she wore. Her reply, "whatever's on sale at the outlet mall," and then she ran me into the ground.

But wait, you say, what about that quote from the superstar that you saw in the glossy magazine? Someone like me wrote it for them. Don't fall for that schtick. If you want to be faster, stronger, fitter, healthier, save your money and work harder than the person next to you.

Think you need a new bike? Convinced it will add 1, 2, 5 mph to your average speed? It may "feel" fast when you bring it home, but compare your times from this year to last and they're eerily the same. Instead, take the bike you own now and actually ride it more, work harder and train smarter, suffer with the big boys in your locale and see serious results. The best part, you'll start burying all those people who spent their off-seasons shopping for "faster" instead of truly paying for it.

Next time you're at the cash register, ask yourself, "what's it really going to get me?" If the only real answer is credit card debt, think twice. Sweat is free and pays huge dividends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Photo: 11-mile run, 16-mile ride, 9:00 am, 50 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,100 yds (ytd 64,700 yds.)
Bike: 55 miles (ytd 1,062 mi.)
Run: 33 miles (ytd 393 mi.)

Thanks, fellas.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Photo: 11-mile run, 35-mile ride, 9:00 am, 40 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,800 yds (ytd 59,600 yds.)
Bike: 74 miles (ytd 1,007 mi.)
Run: 31 miles (ytd 360 mi.)

Good Friday indeed.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Photo: 2-hour fixie ride, 9:00 am, 70 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,500 yds (ytd 54,800 yds.)
Bike: 81 miles (ytd 933 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 329 mi.)

One-speed ride followed by a six-speed ride.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Photo: 2-hour gravel ride, 4:00 pm, 70 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,100 yds (ytd 51,300 yds.)
Bike: 72 miles (ytd 852 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 289 mi.)

Marvin Cone would be proud.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Photo: 2+ hour fixie ride, 1+ hour run, 11:00 am, 75 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,500 yds (ytd 46,200 yds.)
Bike: 93 miles (ytd 780 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 259 mi.)

Simple pleasures.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Photo: 2-hour gravel ride, 1-hour run, 8:00 am, 38 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,500 yds (ytd 42,700 yds.)
Bike: 89 miles (ytd 687 mi.)
Run: 27 miles (ytd 229 mi.)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Photo: 6-mile run, 6:00 am, 50 degrees, Scottsdale, Arizona

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,200 yds (ytd 39,200 yds.)
Bike: 58 miles (ytd 598 mi.)
Run: 16 miles (ytd 202 mi.)

All work and no play makes C.P. a dull boy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Photo: 1-hour single-speed ride, 60-minute run, 1-hour single-speed ride, 8:00 am, 13 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,200 yds (ytd 36,000 yds.)
Bike: 66 miles (ytd 540 mi.)
Run: 27 miles (ytd 186 mi.)

Spoke too soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photo: 2-hour single-speed ride, 30-minute run, 8:00 am, 28 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,400 yds (ytd 30,800 yds.)
Bike: 73 miles (ytd 474 mi.)
Run: 24 miles (ytd 159 mi.)

Hard right turn toward Spring.