Mar 29, 2010

Obstacle 1

The 2010 Tri season has officially begun here on the left coast. Oceanside 70.3 typically draws a stellar pro and amateur field with hopes of grabbing an early season Kona slot, this year was no exception. Unfortunately my ambitions were set a little lower, ultimately this race served as the early season test of fitness and to remind the body what sort of an effort is required to be competitive. Personal results aside, this event is always a major highlight of the race season (most likely a tie with Wildflower), the course, friends and colleagues, and more spectathletes than you can shake a Saltstick at all equate to one of the most anticipated weekends of the year.

By early Monday morning (5 days prior to the race) our office was buzzing was activity, final preparations being made for the race expo and demo, athlete gear and race kits being pulled together, industry personnel were given the tour of our most recent dwellings. Outside of Kona, Oceanside always seems to generate the most hype in our office (beside the Spring sales meeting) but that's more like apples to oranges anyway. We also hosted a celebrity guest for a week long home stay while the traveling circus was in town. Of special note were 2 amazing athletes that would both be making their debut in the Pro ranks - Charisa and Ian, kind of a big deal in our world, words can't really measure how excited I was for these 2 speedsters!!!

Saturday morning rolled around in the blink of an eye as the previous day was an absolute blur in my memory. Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights of my race :

- first time ever that a racer in my AG suggested I should rack my bike further down the line where more space was available (trust me, there's plenty of space available when you do the math and realize that X number of bikes need to fit onto Y number of racks). "Inconveivable"
- Dead last wave start, I need to consider purchasing a hand held number counter click device. Never passed on the bike but I suspect that's simply an indication of my swimming ability (or current lack thereof).
- Bike felt solid for being the first race of the year, in hindsight I should have pushed harder but lesson learned for next time.

- Very happy not to see any blatant drafting, still a bit irked by the folks who refuse to make a pass and then fail to move right. Riding two abreast and conversing is also not highly regarded. Maybe I'm being picky, just calling 'em like I see it.
- Nutrition plan worked well, no excuses not to have it dialed by this point.
- Sockless racing will require new cycling shoes - ankle has been shredded for the last time.
- A tad windy on the backside of the bike, felt like a tumbleweed while descending the hill shown above. Nice tailwind for the return back into T2.
- Legs felt about average on the run, tons of support from all the local superfans (hats off to all who made it out that morning).
- Grabbed an entry for IMUSA, will be my first visit back to the motherland in about 16 years!
- Post race bash at the Wernick Resort with all of the usual suspects, perfect way to cap off the season opener.

Time splits for the day were 32:18 / 2:31:05 / 1:26:23 => 4:34:51

Next up - Wildflower Long Course


Mar 7, 2010

Vanishing Point

Part 2 of our factory visits had us departing Taipei early Thursday morning and into Macau for an 11am meeting. I won't comment in depth on any specific work issues except to say it was a productive visit and (just like every year at this time) we're cranking to fix any issues with the Spring '11 samples. Just another day at the office really.

I'll admit that I wasn't too thrilled about this latest trip to Asia (for no particular reason). On the day that our flight was scheduled to leave I decided there was no point in being a stick in the mud about it, I'd do my best to embrace this opportunity and be thankful that I have a job which affords this privilege. Macau actually offers some decent running routes, honestly it's one of the more interesting places in Asia that I've been able to explore on foot. Do a quick Wikipedia search for the history of Macau. I was baffled on my first visit to see as much colonial Portuguese architecture as I did. Today Macau is more or less the Las Vegas of Asia (in just about every way you could imagine) minus the fact that there are still a few remaining apparel factories and businesses not related to the Gaming and Casino industry. It's an odd juxtaposition traveling here for business while most everyone else is visiting for pleasure and debauchery (although I have yet to see a billboard or television ad which touts "what happens in Macau stays in Macau") - but I suspect it will crop up sooner or later.

Onto the photo tour, first morning in town running at dawn. Unfortunately it was too foggy on day #2 (too bad because my running route would have provided some impressive sights).

Forgot the name of this structure so I'm simply dubbing it the "Space Needle of Macau"

From the top of the bridge I crossed to take the photo above, you're able to view a colonial church built on a hillside. I believe that structure dates back to the 1500's and it made me pause to think about what those first Portuguese explorers must have seen when they stepped on that island. Their architectural and cultural footprints remain today. It was quite a sobering image to look back at the buildings which now dominate the landscape.

This was the only photo I took on my 2nd day of running.

I nearly ran right past this house but stopped dead in my tracks when I came to my senses. There was a matching relief sculpture on the opposite side of the front door to this house. There they were, two houses built one across from the other, straight out of the late 20's / early 30's. I'm a total sucker for Machine Age design and Art Deco architecture. Very much looking forward to future running excursions in Macau, always amazed at what you can find in some of the most unassuming places.

Later that day I was on a plane and headed back to not-so-sunny San Diego. So glad to be back home, always return with a new appreciation for even the most mundane details of daily life that we seem to take for granted.