Monday, May 19, 2008


'83 Trek Singlespeed
Worland is a fairly small town in North Central Wyoming. We don't have a bike path, we don't have an outdoor pool, we don't even have a Walmart. OK, that last one we could probably continue to live without. What we do have though, is a great Local Bike Shop (LBS). Larsen's Bicycles is fastly becoming my home away from home. Last Saturday I spent a couple of hours hanging out, working on a rim had been bent in a recent race. In those few hours I saw a perfect cross section of the community. There were young kids looking for the first ride or their next upgrade. Parents were looking for graduation gifts, while others were searching for a way to spend more time with their families. Older couples were finding a way be together outside. It was like sitting in a coffee shop, with a twist. The occasional out of control youth was bouncing off the walls, while old timers stopped by just to provide sage wisdom. Lisa, the owner and sole full time employee, spent the time visiting with customers, wrenching on bikes (new and old), and slimming the heck out of tires (If you've never heard of goat heads read, Bolder in Boulder's blog.)

I purchased my last two bikes from Lisa. My most recent purchase is the beauty seen above. I went fishing for a road frame to build a singlespeed commuter and brought home this baby for $10. What she had just laying around was a 1983 Trek 560, that was originally sold by Larsen's Bicycles in Powell, WY. The thing was in excellent condition for a 25 year old steel racer. I ordered all of the parts necessary to turn it into a modern singlespeed worthy of a big city messanger from my LBS. I received the care and concern that you would expect from your best friend. For that she has a customer for life and I have a bike for hopefully that long.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Springtime in the Rockies

Another Crazy TriathleteMy first open water swim of the year was just under a month ago. I swam in Boysen Resevior on April 19th, the water temp was 48.6. The looks on the fisherman's faces when I pulled up, put on my wetsuit, placed a life vest on my dog Winnie, and hopped in, was priceless. They watched me the whole time through a set of binoculars, I know it wasn't out concern for our well being, but morbid curiosity. I then did my first race in Boulder, CO where the water was a balmy 56 degrees. At least, a couple hundred other crazies chose to join me for that one. Other than a chilly swim the rest of the race took place on a bluebird day.

The next race was in Gillette, WY, last weekend. I braved 4 inches of newly fallen snow just to drive the 160 miles there. I awoke on race morning to find snow on the ground, the wind blowing around 20, and a rain/snow mix falling from the sky. I was up for whatever mother nature could throw at me. As everyone was sitting around the pool trying to psych themselves up for the challenge, another athlete asked me if I was a local. I let him know that I had driven in the night before, to which he asked if I was crazy. Maybe I was, but then we all must have been since all 45 athletes that showed up, raced. When I placed my running shoes out in the snow for T2, I threw a towel over them, just to keep more rain and snow out. Then when I flatted 4 miles into the bike leg, I struggled to pry my tire, which had frozen to the rim, off. It took almost 8 minutes to change the tire, with wet gloves on. Those are the scenarios that you don't exactly practice for. The rest of the race was more a battle against the elements than each other. I loved it, I had a great time. Not everyone was happy after the race, I heard quotes about frozen feet and the worst race ever. I bet if you asked to same people today, they would have a whole new perspective. Triathlon is the greatest sport ever and I will be there come rain or shine.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Family Affair

First triathlon of the year, over and done with. The season started out with the Tri For Your Cause Early Season in Boulder, CO on May 4th. My brother and his wife came along with me for support. The only time my brother has done a triathlon was in 1995 at a Bud Light Series race in Marshall, MN. I remember he, myself, one or two more athletes, and our high school swimming and track coaches made the trip accross South Dakota to olympic distance race near my swim coaches home town. Thinking back, it was an open water, lake swim and I flatted twice on the bike course for a DNF. I spent the rest of the race cheering on my brother and the rest of our team. This time it was his turn to cheer me on. Nothing is more exciting than having your own personal cheering squad. Exiting the water, they were there. When I tried to do a Superman running bike mount and flopped out of T1, they were there. When I came a across the finish line, they were there for me.

Now it is my turn to be there for them. Upon returning home from the race I talked to my brother. He told me they had gone swimming yesterday, the first time in almost a year. Now they are planning on doing the Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon in July with me. I was so enthused to hear that I was bringing someone back into the sport and as for my sister-in-law, a rookie. I am far from being an expert, I am simply a student of the sport. If I can only give them a small piece of the education that this sport has given me since my return, I know they will do great.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Back in Wyoming

The Jefferson Monument during the Cherry Blossom FestivalToday was my first full day back from the nations capital. Back to work and back to training. I can't say that I won't miss DC, but it's always nice to be back home. A little vacation at the beginning of Spring is always nice and seeing the District during full cherry blossom bloom is amazing.

The race went better than I could have ever imagined. I had a pretty solid goal for myself going into the marathon and I accomplished that goal easily. The SunTrust National Marathon took place in Washington, DC on March 29. The day started out fairly chilly, somewhere around 32 degrees, and never made it very far above 40. That kind of weather is just fine with me, that was the stuff I'd been training in, all be it at a lower relative humidity. I went out a little slower than I wanted to, but it didn't take long for me to find my rhythm. By the third mile I was sitting right where I wanted to be and I could take in some scenery as I cruised along with 1,300 other marathoners and almost 3,000 half marathoners. I found the course to be a bit hillier than expected; however at over 4,000 feet lower elevation I could handle anything the course would throw my way. By the halfway point I was running right on pace to achieve the 3:30 goal that I had set for myself.

The half marathon was where I met up with a young man from Staten Island, NY. We ran side-by-side for the next seven miles. It was great being in the company of another athlete, we pushed each other along. Finally, we hit a breezy stretch along the Potomac and I just kept pushing until I was on my own again. With less than a 10K to go I let the thought slip into to my mind; there is a wall out here and I am going to hit it. For the next three miles I kept my eyes peeled for the wall and repeated my mantra, "keep smiling". By the time I was to the last 5K I figured it was too late to hit the wall and so I just as well go for it. I had stuck to my nutrition plan all day, I didn't have any significant pains, and when the final hill to the finish line came. I gave it everything I had left. I finished in 3:21:25, running the second half less than a minute slower than the first. I am truly pleased with my performance.

I was even more excited with my wife, who went 3:54 and met her goal of going under four hours. All of the competitors were incredible and I have nothing but the utmost respect for each one of them. I will definitely run another marathon, the word "Boston" has even crept into my vocabulary lately. I know that I can do it, a lot more time and a bit more focus and I can qualify. For the time being, I am going to focus my energy on triathlons. We'll see, maybe next year I will give the marathon thing another go.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Today began as any other day, only one big difference. Today was only five days away from my very first marathon. This Saturday I will run the SunTrust National Marathon in Washington DC along with my wife and several thousand other athletes. Am I ready? I think so. Am I nervous? You bet I am. Am I so excited that I can't concentrate on my work? Yeah, but don't let my boss know that.

Training began back in early December, just after returning from vacation in Costa Rica. My main focus was and will continue to be triathlons, but why not throw in a marathon just for fun. The first plan was to do the Moab Marathon in Moab, UT. We love that area and at less than a days drive it would have been an ideal race. Signs didn't seem to point us in that direction. First there was difficulty with race getting permission to use it's planned course. Then the website was not the easiest to navigate. By time we realized that this maybe wasn't the race for us, our minds were kind of set on that date. We did some more searching around and found a few other race around that same time.

I had the opportunity to go back and work in Washington DC last fall and felt for sure that it was some place I would visit again. I just didn't think it would be so soon. We couldn't pass up the fact that it was the exact same day and it would make for a great spring trip. The convenience we had planned for would not be there, but I hear DC in the Spring is beautiful. So hear I am just a few short days for the longest run of my life.

The miles haven't been easy, most of my running in December and January was done in the cold and the dark. I would run after finishing coaching and swimming high school swim practices. I won't complain though, I loved it. I live for the night, and the colder the better. I've done the long runs (22 miles) and the short ones have gotten a lot easier. Life has gotten in the way at times, but I always get back out there as soon as I can. Have I done enough? Ask me that on Saturday afternoon. One thing I know for sure is that I will be there and I will give it everything I've got!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Where to begin?

Somewhere around 15 years ago I was first introduced to the sport of triathlon. Now I could say that it was Mark Allen or Greg Welch or Dave Scott that drew me in, but that's not quite it. As a high school athlete, running cross country and track, I found myself to be a good but not great. My summers were spent mountain biking in the local Black Hills Mountain Bike Association and running trail and road races. I hung around a great group of guys, that had my same passion for getting outdoors and competing. I also had a great coach, Pat Hayman, who lead by the example that he would put in every mile and then some. He ran, mountain biked, road biked, and to top it all off he did a little sport called triathlon. Now it wasn't like I had never heard of the sport before, I had on occasion spent a Sunday morning watching a re-broadcast of the Ironman World Championships. I just never thought I would do one. I didn't even realize that Wyoming had such things.

Training back then was important to me. I wanted to be more than mediocre and adding the disciplines of swimming and road cycling seemed like the way to go. I had swam competitively in elementary and middle school, but somehow ended up wrestling when I got into high school. Getting back into the pool felt great, I had lost my gills but I had years of form practice to fall back on. Road cycling on the other hand was something new, the only time I biked on pavement was to get to the trails. I didn't own a road bike, I didn't even own a good mountain bike (Shogun). Following my coach's lead, I hit the road and began training to be a triathlete. My triathlon training back then was sporadic to say the least. When it came time to try out my first race, the Laramie Triathlon, I took the easy road and swam the 500 yd leg on a relay team of my buddies. I watched as people not nearly as young, not nearly as fit, went out there and did all three sports. I new then, that I could do it and the next time I would. A few weeks later I was signed up for another race and this time I was going all the way. The race started in an outdoor pool. I borrowed my little brothers mountain bike, because it was lighter than mine. And I ran the whole race in a Speedo and a tank top that was too big, so it looked like I was wearing a short dress. I finished though, the Torrington Lions Club Sprint Triathlon or something like that. I can't remember how I did, but I was hooked.

Over the next couple summers I traveled around and did several other races in Wyoming and Minnesota. I bought a used Trek 1500 (Teal and Pink) off a buddy, it had bull horn aerobars with grip shift and a lycra rear disc wheel. My brother still has that bike. Soon though, my priorities changed to chasing girls and rock climbing. After graduating high school I stopped racing all together. I still did an occasional running race, but not much else. I did pursue a new endevour though, wildland fire fighting. It started as a great way to earn money for college and turned out to be a career. Now here I am 15 years later with a great job, a wife and a dog. What more could I ask for?

Last summer while contemplating the fact that I would turn 30 in a few months I started thinking about the good ole days. I remembered how much I had enjoyed that feeling of pushing my body to limit. I decided to give it another tri. I went down to my local bike shop and picked up a brand new road bike. I figured even if being a triathlete wasn't all I remembered, at least I could do some road riding. I signed up for the local sprint tri just a week after receiving my new bike and it was exactly as I had remembered. I was back in it and this time it was full on. I rushed out and bought several little gadgets. I signed up for an olympic distance race two weeks later and won the thing. Of course myself and a 50+ year old local were the only individuals to do the olympic race, but none the less I was hooked. Since then I have done as much reading, researching, and listening to podcasts as possible. I am so encouraged to hear the stories of others; the successes and the heart breaks. I figured that since I have been spending so much time feeding off of everyone else, it was probably time that I tell my story. I don't know where this blog will lead, but one thing is for sure. There aren't many (any) blogs by Wyoming triathletes and I feel it's time to change that.