Thursday, April 30, 2009

Triathlete Diva Erin Beresini Featured in Triathlete Magazine

If you didn't get your copy of this year's steamy swimsuit issue of Triathlete Magazine, go get one now!

Yes, the models are hot.

But there's also an article on Body Image by yours truly.

And a little article on the AZ Biltmore, the hotel at which the swimsuit shoot magic happened.

Then, if you like what you read, write Triathlete and tell them you think I'm super cool and that you're just itching to hear more from me! :)

Thank you for your support!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Letter to All Homicidal School Bus Drivers (Cycling and Road Rage)

Assuming your homicidal tendencies are spur-of-the-moment, and not premeditated, please read the following in an effort to tame your unpredictable road transgressions in order to keep your job, and to not profoundly screw up the lives of the kindergarteners you seem to think will be in deep shit if they are not at school at exactly 8am.
  1. Your school bus is big. Maybe you're pissed because you haven't graduated to driving the superlong bus yet, but it's still big. Too big to pass cyclists on downhill turns with no shoulder without crossing the double yellow lines. Wait your turn.
  2. If you do not wait your turn, you will kill someone. Someone cute and blonde who is hell bent on living to 100 years old, exactly, and still has a good 3/4 of her life left to do so.
  3. If you kill this girl, who was responsibly wearing a bright colored vest, and even a blinky and reflective tape, your kindergarteners will see it all happen.
  4. If your kindergarteners see it happen, they will be traumatized for life. And their loaded parents (you were picking kids up in Palos Verdes, after all) will see to it that you'd have been better off being suicidal rather than homicidal.
  5. If you don't hit this girl, but come within a hair of doing so and run her off of the road, she will scream obscenities and raise fingers at you in front of all of the kids when she catches up to you at a red light. You will be responsible for explaining why little Timmy is now calling everyone an "asshole" and raising his middle finger while waving his forearm back and forth for emphasis.
  6. If the girl does catch up with you at the light, isn't that proof that simply waiting for a big old straight away wouldn't have put you behind schedule, negating the need for your temporary homicidal tenancies, and the conversation you'll be having shortly with Timmy's pissed off teachers?
Driving a school bus must be tough. Kids scream and stuff. But they'll scream more if a bloody body is splattered across your windshield. Promise. Plus, as much as you, the homicidal school bus driver, want to loose your job, do you really want to at this moment? You certainly won't graduate to "personal limo driver of the stars" if your homicide is carried through.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

5 More Signs You're a Cycling Addict

If you find yourself agreeing with one or more of these signs, you're certifiably bicycling brained!
  1. When the Balneol commercial that makes your friends squirm appears on TV, you think to yourself, I wonder if that would make a good lube.
  2. You've realized that chain grease on your right calf is not a "newbie mark", like those cocky crit racers once told you. You are not a newbie, but you still spend a significant portion of your shower time rubbing the grease off.
  3. You have a mental inventory of which flatulent friends you will not ride behind in case of a headwind, or in front of in case of a tailwind.
  4. You spend $100 at REI--just on PowerBars and Gatorade.
  5. The frequency at which #4 occurs is ≥ 1x / month...and the checkout guy knows your name...and asks you what your favorite flavor is every time you go.
Maybe it's time to start making pb&js...

Monday, April 27, 2009

10 Signs You're a Cycling Addict

  1. A 40-mile ride with 2000+ feet of climbing is a "recovery" ride.
  2. You refer to Mondays as "Monday Gras" because you're usually too swollen to fit into your pants comfortably.
  3. You are concurrently grossed out and proud when you cover the entire kitchen table with the food you will consume in a single day on a long ride.
  4. Your body still pedals long after your brain stops thinking about cycling.
  5. You enjoy watching your in laws squirm with equal parts disgust and amazement at how much you eat for dinner.
  6. You can sleep on anything--including a snoring spouse.
  7. Your parents have accepted your obsession and tell you to put your feet up and to eat something when you're done with a ride instead of directly questioning your sanity. (Even when they know you rode all day on a fractured foot.)
  8. Everything on the road--cars, dogs, people, pebbles, squirrels, cracks, bark--is your mortal enemy.
  9. Head winds don't bother you anymore because you're riding for time--double digit time (in hours).
  10. You no longer obsess about the quality of your ride--if it's a bike, you'll happily ride it. Far. (Saddle quality, however, will always be a concern. Cycling's not all about the legs, you know!)

Happy cycling!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RAGE in the Sage Triathlons- They Cracked Me Up

BBSC Endurance Sports gets it. Like really gets it.

For a mere 160 bucks, I got to participate in the most idyllic, yet challenging, half ironman-distance event I have done to date.

Being a poor future-grad student, I appreciate not getting gouged on entry fees. Or on anything that goes along with racing. (Please, oh please stay down, gas prices!)

Coachubby and I picked the RAGE Half in place of Wildflower. Both courses are known to be difficult. But Wildflower has not only a longer drive, on top of a whopping $270-ish entry fee, it costs the most money an athlete could ever pay to sleep on a patch of dirt and share a few bathroom stalls with thousands of people.

For $50, we stayed 3 minutes away from RAGE's race start in the Hacienda Hotel and Casino, allowing for a little nappy nap after a 4:15am shove-breakfast-down-the hatch call.

A quick little descent led us to the freakishly long transition area, where about 100 of the 800 people there were setting up to do the Half. (Other options: Olympic and Sprint triathlons. Fun for the whole family!)

The charmingly humorous announcer guy then said something that cracked my cloud-9 feelings about RAGE: "The water is a lovely 56 degrees, folks!"

56! That's colder than it was at Coeur d'Alene...and I wore booties! Coachubby, did you hear what he said?!

"He said 65, right?"

I prayed the announcer was verbally dyslexic, not coachubby. But one toe in the water, and I ran back through the tall and skinny transition to grab another cap.

The start was chill. (Pun intended.) We all rounded one green buoy, then took the announcer's word for it that there was another green buoy out there marking the turn around. My inability to breathe to the right was rewarded, as the buoys had to stay to the left, and the chop created from the wind would've only flooded the mouths of right-side breathers. Sorry coachubby!

Just when I got sick of swimming, it was over. And I wasn't a frozen Erincicle. In fact, the air temperature was so pleasant, I couldn't have have been happier.

I set out on the gorgeous bike course, ready for the advertised 6000+ feet of climbing, with my original Ironman motto humming through my brain: Just chill. Add a little "spin to win" and that's pretty much all I thought about the whole way out.

I saw coachubby was in 5th place. Apparently I was, too. When I saw other women on the "back" section of the out and back, I wanted to get 'em. A few had passed me, but I wasn't about to blow my motto in an effort to catch ladies who may just blow up on the run as a result of pushing too hard on the bike.

Another woman passed me on the way into T2, so I threw Pinky on the rack, shoved my feet into vaselined running shoes, and bolted out ahead of her.

This is where the magic happened.

A 42 year old member of the Las Vegas Triathlon Club, whom I will 95% positively identify as one Geoffrey Clark (in case he Googles himself, as James Vicente did last week.), ran next to me at a pace I felt was perfect.

"What pace you goin'?" he asked.

I saw he was pacing himself with a Suunto.

"Don't tell me! I don't want to know! I go by how I feel!" I exclaimed like a psycho.

"This is a good pace," said Geoff.

Then I proceeded to run a few paces back of him for approximately the first 6 miles uphill. Geoff made conversation, and flexed his biceps for all of the middle-school girls womaning the aid stations, until coachubby ran the other way.

"That's my husband!" I exclaimed.

Coachubby told me I was in 5th place.

"Does that mean I'm fourth woman?" asked Geoff.

He took off a little faster. Then, right at mile 6, he told me to go forth and conquer. "If you shave :30 off of each mile back, you'll catch them!" he said. Then, according to his race results, he died, while I powered on, knowing gravity was on my side--it was mostly downhill the entire way back.

I crossed the line in my best half-ironman time to date, only to find out later I went 2 minutes slower than I had thought, because, according to the timing people, "the clock isn't synched with the chip system. It's just an approximation." Quelle bummer. It was still my best half time, even with 2 added minutes, and my best half-marathon ever. (In all fairness, the bike course was really more like 53.7 miles, not 56.)

Free massages awaited broken people at the finish. As did the most massive blisters known to mankind. Yes, foregoing socks was a brilliant way to get into the top 5. But now I'm paying for it. I couldn't walk right after I finished because of the massive blisters on my left foot.

I only realized yesterday that the blisters, once popped, were not to blame for my lame footedness.

I broke my foot.

Not broke broke. I fractured--hairline fractured--a sesamoid bone. It was evil enough to make my foot swell, and hurt to walk, and to make me go to the doctor to get an xray so I could see the tiny white line in the bone.

I believe the closest thing to what I've done is called "turf toe", only I did it without turf, cleats, or any football maneuvers.

So just after my most glorious run ever, thanks to the pacing efforts of Geoff, and the most beautiful, engaging run course known to mankind, I can't run anymore. At least, not for a while.


IN CONCLUSION: Do RAGE. Just make sure to bring your own Gatorade, because they use HEED on the course, and if you've ever had HEED, you probably know it tastes...unforgivably disgusting. Barf-inducingly disgusting.

If you have gastrointestional issues race morning, you'll be happy to know there was never, ever a portapotty line.

And they had very cool technical race shirts...unfortunately they ran out of my size before I arrived at packet pick up. I am eternally bummed. Normally, I'd think, "who needs another race shirt?" but these were truly neat-o.

And if you're really, really into awards ceremonies, you'll be gravely disappointed. The "ceremony" was conducted when only 5 people were still around to receive awards. However, the age-group awards (if you're coachubby and you get 3rd overall, you get a big ass trophy), are marvelous vouchers for a personalized plaque--complete with your choice of photo, your name, place, and time. Snazzy.

The course is stunning, the people fun, and the run course is fabulous. You'll run on what used to be an old railroad track, through several tunnels, and have great views of Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains.

And when you're done, you can ice bath in the freezing lake, then take the fam to see the Hoover Dam and the crazy bridge they're building just South of it.

Wishing you fractureless racing fun this season,


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bicycle Commuting Sans Helmet--Cool?

Apparently, one reason potential bike commuters still fire up their engines every day is an aesthetic aversion to wearing helmets.

In this recent NYTimes article on the fashion of bike commuting in the Big Apple, dummy court attorney James Vicente declares, "Riding a bike should be normal, and you shouldn’t have to wear a funny Styrofoam hat."

He clearly has never handled a dooring case. Or a "T-boned by a fat lady" case. Or an "I fell over the speed bump" case. Or a "I clipped in and then ate it in front of all of my friends" case.

These events may seem harmless enough, but think of it like this: Picture yourself standing up. Now fall backwards without extending your arms, or stepping back to catch yourself. Your big fat head just struck pavement from an average height of 5' 1" if you're a dude, or 4'almost 8" if you're a lady. (Given a head length of 8".)

Even if you've been diligent about your calcium intake, your cranium is heading for a Humpty Dumpty moment when you fall off of your bike. You don't even have to be moving. It's a big drop for a very unbouncy, and quite important body part.

The NYTimes author concludes that not wearing a helmet, à la Dutch bike commuters (who have enviously made bike commuting a simple fact of daily life), is a "style perk" afforded by riding a stately Dutch bike.

If a point of the article was to examine ways, like introducing Dutch bikes to the city, to make bike commuting hip and fashionable to people who don't self-identify as "cyclists", the author should have more responsibly jump started the "wearing your helmet is cool, yo!" initiative in the process.

Because people fall--and not only when descending Alpe d'Huez in a pack of 20 cyclists going 50 mph. Even a fall from 0mph can have dramatic consequences.

Drooling on yourself for the rest of your life, Mr. Vicente, is far less fashionable than wearing a "Styrofoam hat".

Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Oceanside 70.3--The Ultimate Mullet-Race Video

Check it out!

Note: Eating before watching is probably not a good idea...some sections are molto shaky.

And the titles that were hard to read:
-Jimmy finished in 4:48. Freaking fast. He then ate a ginormous bowl of Cold Stone ice cream while being ogled by US Marines.
-Matty Reed dances a jig for Andy Potts.

Wishing you rad races and haircuts in 2009,

Recession Egg

Because everything--even Easter--has to be a competition if you're a triathlete, egg-bashing takes precedence over egg-coloring in my family.

(Plus, if you're a triathlete, art, even in the form of egg dying, may not be your thing.)

Now, you can get the need for Sunday competition out while simultaneously masking your inability to make that perfect, rainbow-speckled egg, by introducing "Recession Egg" into your household.

Don't forget this new, recession-cool way to dye your eggs! It's a post-modern art form! A revolution!

Step 1:
Find a Sharpie somewhere in your house. Everybody has one.
Step 2: Draw on your eggs.
Step 3: Have an egg bashing contest. The egg left uncracked at the end is the winner!

(P.S. If you want to get all 100 % recessionista on the eggs, don't boil them to conserve energy--and win the contest. In egg bashing, unboiled eggs have traditionally been crowned champion. Somehow, they're just harder to crack on the end than the boiled, I-have-an-air-bubble-in-my-bum eggs.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saving the Fish

I didn't want to run today.

In fact, I didn't want to move at all today. Usually this happens when it's tremendously depressing outside, but it was a beautiful, sunny day. My brain has recently been unusually antagonistic against my body.

But a baby 25-minute run was on the schedule, so after doing everything I possibly could this evening that was not running--reading every online newspaper, magazine, and even, beginning to edit a FinalCut video, and kissing the cat--I got my cookie-dough-filled butt out the door.

And boy, was one little fishie happy I did.

I chose a loop that would bring me for a stretch on the beach, and right in the middle of it, a little fishie was flippity floppiting in the surf. He beached himself. (I say he, because, honestly, girl fishies are probably better with directions and hazard avoidance.)

Ignoring my gag reflex, I picked him up and hucked him back into the ocean, soaking my shoes in the process.

I didn't wait to see if he'd simply beach himself again, but I like to think I saved one little fishie's life today.

So there you have it.

Even if you feel like your workout schedule is all about you, and therefore extremely selfish, think again. Your workouts benefit your community more than you think.

Maybe you have a Tuesday morning run that you do religiously, and so does some little old man on your street. Maybe, just maybe, your guaranteed Tuesday morning smile and "howdy do" are something he looks forward to every week.

Maybe you're more fun to be around because you will actually eat ice cream with your kids, knowing you've earned it today.

Or maybe, just maybe, you could save someone's life. I rescued someone's cell phone just last week from almost certain death in a mulch pile along a running path.

And today, I pulled a solid for the marine world and returned one of its missing fishies before his family had to start postering anemones with his slimy, silvery face.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rockin' the Mullet at Oceanside 70.3

If you see this man tomorrow at Oceanside 70.3, you'd better run faster.

He's going to kick some mega ass; recent wind-tunnel tests have proven that mullets are, in fact, the most aero haircut a triathlete can have. Something to do with turbulent flow.

Even better than bald guys with dimply heads.

See you out there! I'll be documenting the race, if I don't freeze standing around.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ultracycling Words of Wisdom from Race Across Oregon's Terri Gooch

If you’re looking into doing your first ultracycling race, there’s no doubt you have questions. Lots of questions. Some of them, you might even be afraid to ask. When races go over 24 hours, things chaffe, pop, swell, and do other ungodly things that would make anyone who’s naturally introverted wince at sharing his or her issues.

Lucky for you, Terri Gooch, two-time RAAM finisher, and co-race director with her husband George Thomas (6-time RAAM finisher), of RAAM qualifier, Race Across Oregon, is full of useful information. Whatever your ultracycling goal, she’s been there, done that, and is happy to share her knowledge.

Let’s say for argument's sake that your ‘A’ race this year is Race Across Oregon, a 48-hour, 527-mile extravaganza now entering its 12th year. Unlike the first 9 years, when RAO was held in the beginning of June, actually went across Oregon, and was plagued with snowstorms and terrible weather, RAO will begin on July 11th this year. The route has been redone for 2009 to keep cyclists off of busy throughways, and the weather, goodness willing, will be more favorable. Maybe even hot.

Do you sleep? How do you fuel? How should you pick your crew? What gearing should you have on your bike?

You (and I) have questions. Terri has answers.

Me: RAO is 48 hours. So, about sleeping--
Terri: No sleep.

Me: And the crew?
Terri: Good planning by the crew is essential.

Make sure your crew knows what you want. Make sure that they’re nice but not too nice. Really nice crews can waste a lot of time just trying to make you comfortable instead of just saying, come on, just suck it up! You wanted to do this.

[Your crew must] make you be responsible for it. This is your dream, this is what you wanted to do. Because everyone’s gonna hurt during the race. Everyone’s gonna have a down time, everyone’s gonna have an upset stomach. Everyone’s gonna have a sore knee. Everyone’s crotch is gonna hurt. It’s gonna happen to everybody. It’s hard to ride 500 and something miles and not feel bad. You just don’t want to give up. You know, everyone’s going to throw up, so throw up and get back on.

Maybe that’s the most frustrating thing is when the crew just doesn’t have it together. They could effectively loose the race for the rider.

Terri: It’s helpful to have an Excel spreadsheet wiz. Look at your training data, and try to have this person or you or both of you look at the terrain and how you’re riding and extrapolate the information to make time goals for all of your time stations.

That will help you too to stay motivated—making time goals for check stations.

Me: We’ve all read about ultracyclists sticking to an all-liquid diet in an effort to promote intestinal flow, and keep the cyclists system from backing up. So is that true? No solids? I love to chew.

Terri: [re: all liquids] If it works for you.

I think it totally depends on your constitution and what you do well with and how much it slows you down.

Whatever you choose, you have to have a pretty good variety in the car, because you never know what’s going to happen. You love Gatorade, for example, and after 12 hours, maybe you’ve never gone on a training ride longer than 12 hours, so then after 12 hours you have total stomach mess and it’s not working. Now what?

The main thing is to try to find those foods that work for you that don’t make you slow down, don’t make you tired, and are easy to digest.

You gotta figure, it’s going to take you 36-48 hours, and you have to get in 250 [calories] an hour and if it’s really hot, and it’s pretty dry here, so what’s that turkey sandwich gonna taste like? Like sandpaper with some little slimy thing in there?

Me: My bikes both have a double and a 12-25. Am I gonna die?

Terri: I don’t think anything’s wrong with a double—I did RAAM with a double, but I had probably a 12-27 on it. Are you a masher or a spinner?

Me: Mashed potatoes.

Terri: This course does, off the top of my head, have three 8-12 mile 6-8% climbs and those are all gonna be on the second day. So think about it that way. If you’re happy doing that…

(I shield my quads from listening to this conversation. I don’t think they’ll be happy climbing anything after having already ridden 300 miles. Then again, maybe they would. I’ve never done it before.)

On RAAM when we were climbing through the Appalachian mountains, there were sections I knew that had five million feet of climbing and it totally freaked me out. So I got a compact crank and I put on a mountain bike derailleur on the back and I got a 12-32 or something like that. I was probably going like 5 miles an hour, but it was nice to be able to spin sometimes, and go slow, and not crush myself.

So do I think you could do the whole thing with a 12-27? Yeah, I do. Or even a 12-25. Some people do it with compacts, some with triples.

(My quads heard. They now want me to buy a new cassette. Or two or three.)

Me: I have an 18-hour ride planned. How should I maximize that training time?

Terri: Set up your van exactly like you’re gonna have at RAO. What I’ve found is really good is I get those little four drawer pull tub things and put all shorts in one and its marked and all jerseys in one and all of your arm warmers leg warmers and hats and whatever in another.

And have your nighttime sunglasses and have your cooler and have everything set up so [your crew] can get used to getting you stuff in the dark, giving you handoffs. Keeping track of the food that you eat and stuff like that on a spreadsheet or however you want to do it because that is really really great.

Work your light system and make sure all of that stuff is set up.

Test whether eating solid at night makes you sleepy. You might not want to have any caffeine all day long, start your ride at noon, and ride all night and see how the caffeine works.

Me: What’s the best thing about being a RAO race director?
Terri: It’s really fun to meet everyone along the way. It’s really cool to see people not give up.

Me: What’s the worst part about being race director?
Terri: What’s the hardest is people that you know should just finish, and you want to help them and give them some positive words of encouragement, and they don’t finish. It’s such a drag. It really is.

It’s also frustrating when I see people who brought crews who want to go for a ride or go for a run and I’m like, “You’re just here for 48 hours to help this person finish, so just focus. Don’t leave ‘em for an hour with no water!
TriDiva's final thoughts:
If you think, like I did, that someone who can complete RAAM as a 2-person mixed tandem with her husband, and again as a 2-person team with her husband, is superhuman and has superhuman focus, you’re right. She is, and she does.

But even Terri has her moments, which is encouraging for the rest of us ultrawoman wannabes.

Says Terri about her first RAAM, “I remember riding the tandem somewhere in Colorado and I was just like, why did I want to do this? And George was like, 'This is way too early to start having existential crises about why we’re here.'”

Of course, by the time she was in Colorado, she had to already have ridden 770 miles.

For more on Terri and George, click here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Triathlete Diva Goes Straight to Video

Doing my part to help a friend create a kick ass run-coaching website, I agreed to let him film me running on a treadmill and doing a bunch of funny looking core exercises last October.

Behold the results at, under "video gait analysis".

It's a pretty spiffy website all around if I do say so myself. And that has nothing to do with my pigeon-toed stint on the treadmill.