That one word seems to sum up this picture. Lance Armstrong is the absolute man when it comes to the cycling world, and to think he came back from a 50/50 chance of surviving cancer...it is quite remarkable. In case you hadn't heard, as could be the case if you live in the U.S. since cycling isn't that big there, he won his 5th consecutive Tour de France yesterday afternoon. It was basically his closest race since he started his streak 5 years ago...only winning by 61 seconds over Jan Ullrich, who is a German. The German radio stations were going nuts a little while back when Ullrich cut the lead of Armstrongs and had a chance to win the whole thing, but they seemed to forget why Armstrong is who he is. So...congrats to Armstrong who over the 23-day, 2,125-mile event, averaged a ridiculous speed of 25.38 mph -- breaking his own record, set in 1999. I try to average 20mph for 50 miles if that you gives you any indication how fast he is going.
By the way, next year Barbie and I plan on heading to France to see Lance set the record and win a 6th straight title...so make your reservations now.
Here are just a bunch of random cool things that have come my way recently that I thought I should finally share:
- Dolphin Stress Test
- Advice on Emails
- Dunk Video
- Bay Area at it finest...Make sure you watch the video first, then go to the second link
- The Walking Man
The triathlon that I did this past weekend had a little bit of everything…from cow bells the size of watermelons to having my running shoes stolen. I must say this was the hardest triathlon I have ever done, although not because of the distances, but because of the Alps. I expected hills, but nothing where I felt I would feel as if I had to get off my bike and walk up. Anyways, on to the details.
First of all, I decided to keep track of my heart rate throughout the race, so that I could see what was happened, and of course so you could also see. Click here (HR Graph) for a picture of the graph, and I will refer to the times so you can correlate back and forth.
Thank goodness for my friend Wolfgang and his friend Stefan, b/c I would have been lost otherwise. Just to give you a little background, they mail all the newsletters for the triathlons in Deutsch (German), so needless to say I can’t/don’t read them and just have to rely on google translating services to translate their websites for me. I expected the race to be about an hour outside Munich, but I came to find out it was 2 hours away and there was a meeting Friday evening. Well I didn’t make the meeting, but I did manage to get a hotel room and all the information I needed, including my racing numbers (thanks to Wolfgang).
So, the morning of the race we are warming up getting prepared to start the swim when 5 people (4 men and 1 woman) bring out their “alpen horns” and start playing. I had only seen these things in the movies or in pictures so it was pretty cool to see live…plus the music was very impressive since there all notes have to made by the lips instead of covering holes like a saxophone or trumpet.
The Swim (1.2+ miles or 2000 meters):
So this was my first time in my new wetsuit, which I had to buy b/c the movers didn’t ship my other one out. The rule is never try anything new in the race, but I had no choice. The good thing is I was able to get the same exact wetsuit, so things worked out fine. As the swim started I felt pretty good…probably b/c of the wetsuit since it helps you stay buoyant and swim faster. After about 15 minutes I noticed I was still in a pretty good pack of people…which is unusual since it usually thins out after a while. Anyways, I’m right behind some guy when he decides to do a frog type kick (you the know the kind you do during a breast stroke). Well, my left arm just happened to be extended fully and he kicked my left pinkie finger and dislocated it!! Are you kidding me? Luckily this is the one finger I have dislocated before, although the last time was a few years ago, so I didn’t freak too much, but I couldn’t pull it back into place b/c I was all wet and my hand kept slipping off. I had to call for a boat to come over and pull it out for me. (Check out the HR Graph to see my HR drop during this time). Well the swim was pretty uneventful from then on, and I managed to get out of the water at about 36 minutes…which is 4 minutes faster than I wanted and included a minute or two stop over to have my finger relocated.
Pretty much uneventful…get your wetsuit off, bicycle shoes and helmet on and then take off.
The bike (56+ miles or 90Km)
Now this was the part of the race I had no idea what to expect. I was told by Stefan to take it easy on the first lap (2 laps total), but that is pretty much all I knew except for the fact there were supposed to be hilly. Now I had done plenty of hill training in California, but not much this year…but I figured I could wing it. So the bike starts and I’m whizzing by people on the first mile. Then we came to the first hill (45 minutes). Now this is no normal California hill…we are talking 15% grade climb…which basically meant I would have gotten off walked if there weren’t hundreds of fans on each side of the street screaming things at me in German. I knew at this point I was in for a long day if this was the first of many hills, and the first of two laps, and I was completely exhausted once I reached the top. From then on it was a struggle…which included having my bike chain fall off, having to look at my speedometer as I went 3 mph up one of the hills (about 2:50)…which is bad, but that wasn’t the big hill I just talked about (about 2:25 I went up the big hill again), and finally, as was the case in the last triathlon, watching all these German guys go flying by me. The only good thing about this is I knew I was doing well in the race at one point in time. Here are some cool things about the ride though. First was the great views from atop the hills…nothing like looking across the Alps from high above. Second were the fans in all the little villages around the course. We must have gone through 5 or 6 small villages, and they all had there cowbells out…some of which had to be hung on a post b/c they were to big for any one to carry. The kids would basically push these things back and forth and go nuts…pretty funny. Finally I got to go about 50mph down the hills (2:20 and 4:00). As they say, what goes up must come down. I’ve never been that fast before…and it is just a rush.
So the bike finally finished over 3 1/2 hours later…which means I averaged about 16 mph for the ride. Now comes the fun part…a 13.1 mile run.
Drop the bike off, put on your running shoes and hat and go.
The Run: (13.1 miles...or 21Km)
So my goal for this was under two hours…which means about a 9 minutes per mile pace. Normally I thought I could achieve this even after a 56 mile ride, but when you ride in hills it is a totally different thing. After about the first mile of running I started to get the dreaded cramps despite having eaten about 6 bananas during the course of the bike. The cramp was not in my calves as I would have expected prior to the race, but in my quads…specifically the inner quad muscle just inside your knee. For those that don’t know, this is the muscle that seems to get the most sore after doing a lot of hill riding, so needless to say why it was acting up. This basically started my trend for the next 13 miles as I would run for about a mile…walk for a little while, then run again (not to mention a restroom break in the woods . You can see my HR go up and down as I take these little breaks. This seemed to prevent the cramping for the most part, but my legs and I were done, and the finish line couldn’t come soon enough. I even got passed by a girl in the last 500 meters, although she did start a 1/2 hour before the guys did…so Ha! I ended up finishing the run in about 2:15…and finishing the race in about 6:30.
So, what would be the normal thing a person might want after a triathlon…WASSER (Water). Now, as was the case at the last race, I was able to find the beer stands and mineral water…but no freaking normal water. I literally had to walk back onto the course to one of the aid stations to get some normal water. That is out of control. After I finally got my water, cooled down and felt somewhat OK, I decided to get a massage. They were free..so what the heck. Obviously you need to take off your shoes so they can massage your feet…so I followed suit and left my shoes where other people had left there shoes…which was about 10 feet from where I was getting massaged. When I was done, my shoes were gone!! Someone had literally taken my shoes. Normally I would say they made a mistake and just grabbed the wrong shoes, but there weren’t any extra shoes lying around…so now I am left shoeless and sockless (yes, they took my sweaty socks also!). Eventually I make it back to the hotel, still with no shoes, and pack my stuff in the car and am ready to head home…one problem though, I need to pay. I start walking around the hotel, still shoeless, looking for someone that works there or an office or something. There is literally no one around to pay. It was only 26 euro, so I wouldn’t have felt to bad just leaving, but they were nice enough to not force me to check out early b/c of the race. Eventually I spot the owners on their balcony just hanging out and am able to pay…but this is a good 1/2 hour later…just enough to wear out my feet (still shoeless) and legs some more.
All in all the race was great…although it kicked my A$$. I’ll probably try to do one more 1/2 Ironman this year and another Olympic distance race…although I doubt any of them will have all the crazy/odd things that happened at this. If you want to know, I finished a miserable 480 out of 536 male finishers. You can check out all the results at the Altenried.de website. I know it is bad, but those hills were deadly and just killed me. Next time I should do better…although there is not much lower to go.
Well this was a pretty taxing weekend on my body...mainly due to the fact I did my first 1/2 Ironman race on Saturday, but I will post more about that later on. I'm just posting now to say thanks to that Barry guy for inviting Barbie and me to Ammersee for a little fun in the sun yesterday. Ammersee is a lake about 40 minutes outside Munich, but is a very nice place to hang out in the water b/c it is like Daytona Beach in the fact that it is very shallow a long ways out. Barbie, myself and Barry threw the football, not soccer, around and also tossed around a frisbee for a good 4-5 hours or so. The lake is also much better suited for Kymba since dogs are allowed everywhere and it is not that deep until way out. I'm sure we'll have to get some pictures of that and show you someday. As for yesterday evening, Barbie and I headed over to Myrka and Lars' house for a good ole' fashioned Bavarian BBQ...which means Bratwurst! Nothing like a good Bratwurst every now and then. We also ended up taking Kymba over there since they have a 4 1/2 month old flat haired retriever. Let's just say the two dogs didn't stop playing for 2 straight hours, then we couldn't wake them up to go home. They absolutely wore themselves out, but it was fun watching 'em. Anyways, I'll post more on the triathlon tonight or tomorrow...including a graph of my heartrate throughout the race.
Apparantely there is a lot of meanings in a name, and some people actually get offended if you don't call them by their correct name (Barry). However, I think Shakespeare once wrote "A rose by any other name is still a rose"...so you would think an Irishman by any other name (perhaps Ian) would still be an Irishman. However, if you meet an Irishman at a bar...and your wife's name happens to be Barbie, and the Irishman's name happens to be Barry...and they are trying to introduce themselves over the background noise by saying "Hi, I'm Barry", and your wife responds "I'm Barbie", but the Irishman confuses himself by thinking your wife thinks his name is Barbie instead of the fact that she is introducing herself as Barbie...then you are in for a long line of inside jokes. If you have no idea what I am talking about, don't worry about it, just enjoy the rest of the post.
So Barbie gets a lot of questions about her name, but the last couple of weeks I have had my fair share as well. First, at our first doggy obedience school one of the teachers slightly laughed when I introduced myself as Don...she said her dog was named Don...geez, now I have a dog named after me. The second instance was when we went to an Italian restaurant down the street and I paid with my credit card. The waiter, who didn't speak English, came back and asked if I was in the Mafia b/c my credit card had Don on it. It was kinda cool, and he couldn't understand that I wasn't until the other waiter explained to him that Don is a first name in America. I should have just played along with it, but I was having a hard time not laughing.
This past weekend Barbie and I, along with Kymba, went to Frankfurt to watch the IRONMAN Germany race. What a great spectacle the entire race was. There were absolutely tons of fans everywhere I went, and everything seemed to be very well organized. Anyways, we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, supposedly the official IRONMAN hotel of the weekend, but the staff really didn't know any of the event details...but the place was nice. Race morning I headed out to the start of the swim...which is no where near the hotel...but got there in time to hear the starting shot go off, but just couldn't see the swimmers. Eventually I made way to where the swimmers would be transitioning to the bike...and some of those guys literally just run up to their bike, take off their wetsuit, put their helmet on and go...all within about 20 seconds...it's amazing. I didn't try to head out to the bike course and see them fly by, instead I met Barbie and Kymba back at the hotel and proceeded down to Transition 2 where the would go from the bike to the run. It was interesting checking out all the different type of bikes that come in...and also to see who was going to struggle on the run and who still had a little left. The run course was very specatator friendly b/c it was 3 loops around downtown Frankfurt, so you could see whomever you wanted multiple times.
The finish line was amazing b/c there was a huge Grandstand...were talking about sitting thousands of people, plus people were lined up 3 and 4 deep along the last 500 meters or so to cheer people on. As great as all this was when the winners came across, the best part was the end of the race at night...when the last few people were struggling to make it across. They would put the spotlight on them (b/c it's 11pm now) and the grandstands (still packed) would go absolutely nuts...louder than when the winners came acroos. It was a huge party during the last couple hours of the race...nothing like seeing a bunch of Germans going nuts listening to AC/DC.
Anyways, next year is my turn...so mark your calendars for july 11, 2004...as that is D-Day for me. By the way, the next morning at the hotel I was on the escalator and saw a girl who had obviously raced the day before...so i asked her how she did. She responded with a German accent..."Good...I won". I didn't really think she understood what I asked so I let it go...but later on I came to realize it was actually the girl who won the women's race...Nina Kraft. Kinda cool...but I feel pretty dumb for not knowing what she looked like.
According the Olympic Stadium Website here in Munich...there swimming pool is supposed to have the "fastest water" in the world. They claim this b/c Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals in swimming back in 1972. Anyways, I swam there this morning and I sure wasn't any faster...then again it could be b/c I am out of shape and don't know how to swim properly. Either way I'm thinking about suing for false advertising.
Well...here is another link from my former boss' website (mugly.com) that is really cool. Not sure where he finds this stuff, but I normally like to share some of his cool findings:
So we have all had it happen to us at one time or another, and we are somewhat upset when it does...but have a good laugh about it later on. It usually happens the same morning after Time changes...you know, when you wake up b/c the alarm went off...go about your business only to find out sometime later that your whole morning is an hour off. Well, that is what happened to me this morning, and it was not a good time to happen. I decided last night to get up early this morning (5am) to go for a long run (10.5 miles) since my free time seems to have disappeared since starting work. Anyways, the alarm goes off...I get up (somewhat notice that is darker than I expected outside), play with the dog, start stretching, doing whatever...then I see the clock in the kitchen says 4:25am. Well, I just figure it is off and continue on with the morning. Then on TV I notice CNN is saying it is 10:30 Eastern Standard Time...so I immediately look at my watch...and sure enough Barbie had accidentally set the clock one hour ahead while setting the alarm last night. Grant it, there is nothing wrong with being up earlier usually, but knowing the fact that you are up before 5am hurts...especially if you are about to go on the longest run of your life. I could have let the joke play out and have Barbie get up an hour early and see how long it took her to figure it out, but I know she needs her beauty sleep so she was spared...this time.
By the way, I finished the run in about 1 hour 27 minutes for the 10.5 miles (avg. pace 8:30 minutes/mile)...and now my legs are killing me, and it is only 9:30am!
This story happened about a month ago in a little town in Louisiana, and even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's real.
This guy was on the side of the road hitch hiking on a very dark night in the middle of a storm. The night passed slowly and no cars went by. The storm was so strong he could see hardly a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly he saw a car slowly looming, ghostlike, out of the gloom. It slowly crept toward him and stopped. Reflexively, the guy gets into the car and closes the door, then realized that there was nobody behind the wheel.
The car slowly starts moving again. The guy is terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running. The guy sees that the car is slowly approaching a sharp curve. The guy starts to pray, begging for his life, sure the ghost car will go off the road and he will plunge to his death when, just before the curve, a hand appears thru the window and turns the steering wheel, guiding the car safely! around the bend. Paralyzed with terror, the guy watches the hand reappear every time they reach a curve. Finally, the guy gathers his wits and leaps from the car and runs to the nearest town. Wet and in shock, he goes to a bar and, voice quavering, orders two shots of tequila, and tells everybody about his horrible, supernatural experience. A silence envelopes everybody
when they realize the guy is apparently sane and not drunk.
About half an hour later two guys walked in the same bar. One says to the other, 'Look Boudreaux, that's the idiot that rode in our car when we were pushing it.
Unfortunately there didn't seem to be much going on for the 4th here in Germany ... understandable, but still kind of sad. The one thing that did make it feel like home was Top Gun...just a great movie. Anyways, on Friday we went to New Orleans style bar that was supposed to be having an American BBQ. The place ended up being completely reserved, so we had to sit at a small table near the bar. The food and place ended up being really nice so we'll probably head back to there someday soon.
Saturday is school day for Kymba. Although she is the youngest one in her class, I would have to say that she is the smartest. The instructor actually likes to use her as an example for the other dogs since she learns the tricks the quickest. Basically she has become teachers pet, just like Barbie used to be.
Although this is all good, she is an absolute wimp when it comes to playing with other dogs...which is the complete opposite of Timber. Kymba loves to bite us, but has no desire to bbite (playingly) the other dogs. Barbie loves this, but it drives me nuts.
Saturday night was spent at a bar with a German, a Canadian and a Irishman. Sounds like the beginning of a joke doesn't it? Actually, they are some friends we met back when we first came to Munich for our house hunting trip. They were speaking English in a bar (not the same one), so it wasn't too hard to strike up a conversation. Anyways, it was Gordon's (the German...actually half German half English) Birthday party...and he had a bunch of friends join him at a bar for celebrating. You can go here to check out all the pictures from the night...Gordon's B-Day Party. If you want to know who the German, Irishman and Canadian are...use the following links:
- Curtis the Canadian (the guy on the right)
- Gordon the German (the guy on the left)
- Ian the Irishman (actually his name is Barry but Ian works better with the Irishman)
There will be more on these three clowns later...but I had to mention them since they got upset that they were not mentioned on my site earlier when Barry and Curtis came to dinner last Wednesday for some good home cooking by Barbie. Otherwise, I don't really care about these guys
As for Sunday, we didn't do much...just hung out in the afternoon and went to the Hard Rock Cafe to finish off our American Weekend. The food was good but the Long Island Iced Tea was better. First I ordered a Budweiser...just to get the American taste, but it wasn't cold so I ordered up a Long Island that was one of the best I have ever had. The Hard Rock has to be the most American place in Munich...some waiters/waitresses don't even speak German. All in all a good weekend...and next weekend we head to Frankfurt to watch IRONMAN GERMANY.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY to all you Americans out there. If you are not American then feel free to join us in celebrating. Today is actually the first time in my life that I do not have today off...kinda strange. But I have made arrangements by working from home and having Top Gun play in the background...what a great movie...and she just lost that lovin' feeling. Anyways, Barbie and I are looking for fireworks and such but no luck as of yet. We are heading to the American Bar/Cafe this evening to try and celebrate with people...although I don't know if they have anything special planned for the occasion, but we'll have a good time. So...enjoy your holiday and don't forget to have an extra bbq'd hamburger or hotdog for us.
So I get up this morning at about 6am so I can do some training before I head to work. I slacked off yesterday mainly due to the rain, and today was going to be my "make-up day". First I wake up with the intention of doing some swimming followed by a 8 mile run, then I realize I don't have time for all that if I am going to leave work early to get home for our "Date Night" this evening. So I decide to just ride my bike to work (about 18 miles), and then I will ride home followed immediately by my 8 mile run...which basically just leaves my swim training for the day out to dry (ha...you gotta love the pun on that one
Anyways, the ride went fine and I arrive to work around 8:40am. Supposedly, although I had never seen them (which should have tipped me off in the first place), there are showers in the building that Barbie works in. So I politely ask the secretary where they are and she does her best to give me directions..."through the doors, go left, down the hall, then on your right". So I proceed to lock my bike up in the garage, and then follow her directions, only to find myself lost and no showers to be found anywhere. So I ask another lady and she takes me back out to the lobby (where the secretary is sitting) and points to a door where the shower ...notice I didn't say showers ... is located. This door is in plain view of where I just asked the secretary, so who knows what she was thinking.
Now this is a bathroom built for handicap people...you know the ones with bars everywhere. I figure it's OK, and proceed to try and get the hot water going. However, there is absolutely no hot water, the drain doesn't work and remnants of shampoo/soap left. We are not talking about your Miami cold water...this is Munich cold water. Anyways, after the shower, the thing is about to overflow b/c the drain is clogged...but I am not about to stick around and ask questions. So, on my way out I politely ask the secretary if that is the only shower (thinking to myself there has to be another place that she was directing me to)...but alas there are no other showers and I was left to wonder what everyone is talking about when that the building has showers...when in fact all they have is a cold, handicapped, clogged drain, miniature of a shower. Hopefully the afternoon gets a little better.
Well this will never be a problem for Barbie and I since Barbie hates cats and will never allow a cat within our humble abode as long as she live...BUT...for those of you with cats and a computer this may be what you are looking for...PawSense helps you catproof your computer.