Showing posts with label Ironman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ironman. Show all posts

October 05, 2011

Kona Energy Lab...


I’ve been going through the last beats of work before taking Thursday off before a little bit of everything on Friday before Big Day Saturday. Today, I took a drive to the famed Energy Lab. Supposed to be hot, supposed to take toughness from the world’s toughest. Today, I ran about 4 miles, just to put the familiarity in my body before it soon tries to pull me apart. Sure, it’s hot, and coming back away from the ocean there’s both a steady climb to the Queen K and what felt like a 10-15 degree bump in heat before you realize you’ve earned the right to run perhaps the most magical last 5 miles of any race, anywhere. They’ll either feel like the longest or shortest 5 miles of my life. Either way, it’s gonna be magic. Everything is magic, and growing.

August 09, 2011

On Leaving A Part Of My Heart In CamSur...


Last year, almost to the day, I was getting evicted from my hotel in Naga City, Philippines. I had been there for about 2 weeks, training in a surprisingly great gym and out on the scorching roads and through the villages, living off oatmeal, almonds and boco. I was writing, constantly writing things that will afford me this lifestyle again, and soon. And, I was begging anyone, everyone to help me find a bike so that I could race in my first 70.3. It was an experience that stretched me deeply. It reached inside and showed me the depths of what a stranger I was, the depths of nothing working out the way I hoped it could before everything did. I’ll never forget it, any of it - the people, the smell, the hurt, the hope — and I’m not even talking about the race yet.

Eventually, two hours after the cut off for bike check, this mechanic Erik built me a bike in his alleyway shop in Naga City. I took a cab back to the complex, checked in, slept in a second hotel that deserves its own post, woke up, listened to the YouTube of Playing With Fire about 11 times before walking to the bus, before getting to the start line, racing on a bike with no shoes or pedal grip, blowing up on the run in 100 degree heat, drinking Cobra and stumbling across the line in a 5:29.

I’m seeing posts across the internet for this year’s version and I can feel something growing inside of me, some force asking why we’re not there again, to partake in another day that last year gave so, so much. It makes me sad not being there, and I never expected to feel that way. There’s something untouched and inspired about that part of the world, at the very least for a handful of moments, at least for me. Now, it’s something rooted inside, trying to drag me back. I have no doubt it will soon succeed.

This is my life. This is exactly how I want it to be.

August 05, 2011

Confession...


To chase greatness in any field, sacrifices must be made. Last week, much to the dismay of my holy brethren, I cut off my wings. They simply don’t understand my desire. I cannot expect them to.

July 22, 2011

A man a plan a canal panama...


When I Start Thinking About How I Can Make Things Happen, they usually do. I’m starting to think about how much this will cost and who I can convince to sponsor me for 2012…or scrape it together. Or hope a certain movie is moving towards a certain production. Sounds a long ways away, Panama City - Panama. I ain’t talking Florida. But the non-stop is 600, and considering I paid 180 to rent a car, and another 150 on gas to get up and back from Vineman, it’s really not that much of a stretch. Plus, it’s South America (or practically), and will certainly serve to temporarily burn off my constant and aggressive need to commit wanderlust.

February 11th, 2012. Have a feeling I’ll be there, looking to win the motherfucker.

July 11, 2011

Race Week - Vineman 70.3/Racine 70.3…


This is a special one. Back in November of 2010, when I made the trip down to Cozumel for my first Ironman, my dad met me. Apparently, something happened to him there, because as I’m leaving on Friday to go to Sonoma for the Vineman 70.3, he’s going to be getting ready for his very own 70.3 in Racine, his first triathlon. He’s run a good handful of marathons - I have early, early memories of watching him run Lake County as a kid, probably about the age I was in this picture, when the seed for all of this was probably first planted.

I remember the bags of questions I was asking before my first, and all the nerves I felt going in. They probably sent me to the internet, looking for tips I could devour on how to survive and survive well out there. Now that I have some races under my belt, I thought it might be time to give a little back, in honor of my old man and all first time or contemplating triathletes, here’s my own personal walk through, based on experience, for your enjoyment or confusion…

1. The alarm goes off and it’s early and you’re wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. That’s fear. If you don’t feel it, you should. If you still don’t, I don’t know who you think you are - you’re about to race a 70.3. Fear is good. Fear accompanies the bold, and it will help you through.

2. You’ll arrive at transition. You’ll top off tires and lay out your gear and likely start a nervous conversation about what’s about to go down with someone stationed next to you. This usually helps, though be careful who you engage. The triathlon community has its share of lunatics and you don’t want Tom from Sheboygan attached to your hip for the rest of the morning. Or maybe you do?

3. Stop being so judgmental. I promise you’re a lunatic to someone else.

4. The sun will be coming up and the next thing you know, the race will have started. You’ll know this because people will be kicking at you and climbing over you and tearing at your goggles and forcing you to swallow water. But you will have imagined all of these things to happen well before race day. So whether they happen, or not, you will be ready. You’ll find a rhythm eventually, and some space, and realize you’re doing it, actually doing it. Beautiful feelings ensue. Allow them to. Be strong from here on.

5. Appreciate the land when you get there. Your body will wobble and feel unsteady. Know this, prepare for it so whether it happens, or not, you will be ready. Note repetitive themes in my prose. Prepare.

6. Take calories as soon as possible. I’m not going to touch nutrition because you should know. Take in a constant, gentle flow of calories. If you don’t do this, your body will eventually think you’re trying to kill it and will make you miserable. If you eat right, nothing about your day should be miserable. If things get miserable, slow a little, eat a little more. Allow the body to balance and recover, then press on.

7. The second leg of the race covers a long distance. That’s why you brought a bike. Ride the thing. Stop being afraid of the course. You’ve trained. Enjoy and push. Watch for ejected bottles and debris on the road and especially at aid stations. Once you cross halfway, push a little harder. You’ll know if you can. You can. Start to see the run in your mind. Crave it. Look forward to it. You’ve been running your whole life.

8. Get off that bike and move your legs. Turn them over and over. They will be heavy and sore, but they’ll adjust. Handle your shit and keep moving. Realize all you have is pavement in front of you - no more wetsuits, or bikes, or transitions. Remember 13.1 miles is a long way, but at least it’s not 26.2. Let the thought of brevity be propelling. Finish, and finish well.

9. Learn to believe in magic.

May 08, 2011

I'm Finished...

There's a large chunk of this video that's cut out. I bitch a bit about the course, about not being able to breathe, the wind, the heat. Then I go on to talk about how Kona is going to be my last full Ironman. I ended up taking all of that out. It all seems so trivial now, even as I was saying it. There was a distinct point somewhere in that run, where I was more defeated than I have ever been in my life, more broken than I have ever been, where it felt like something fell from me, like I let something go that would have otherwise tormented me for breaking down, for not being stronger, for not finishing higher. It's not here. Wasn't this morning, or last night. I don't think it will ever be here again. If that's true, then what I'm taking away from St. George is so big, it's nearly unspeakable. I've been gone for 3 days and it feels like months. Sometimes people ask me why I do what I do - any race, but in this case, a 2.4/112/26.2. Because without bullshit, a single day shows me exactly who I am. Because I cried a little bit for every person I saw finish that race, because I knew.

November 29, 2010

The Ironman...

I don't know what I'm feeling right now - tired, broken-hearted, defeated, victorious. It's a mix of a lot of things. I came to the island with a finish time of 10 hours burned into my head, with the grand goal of making it to Kona on my first try. Last year, same race, my age group, 10:30 would have done it. I was on the second lap of my bike, on pace for a 5:15 split, not willing myself that I was okay and strong and steady, but actually okay and strong and steady. I could see my transition into the run ahead, sure I could hold a 3:30 and get invited to Hawaii for the race of all races.

There was a noise coming from my bike, the chain grinding against the frame. I looked down to see that my cranks were somehow coming loose, knowing it was a progressive thing, wondering if I could make it through the last lap without something falling off. 5 miles into the 3rd lap, because of the friction, my chain began to slip to the smaller wheel. I hopped off twice to fix it but the same thing kept happening. It was only another 5 miles before I found a service station, got things tight and back to business. All things considered, I still managed a strong third lap, though I did lose 17 minutes off my pace. Still, I don't think it broke me in any way. I knew the 3:30 marathon could still bring me in around 10:20.

First four miles of the run, I felt good, like I was shot out and on my feet and moving around a 730. By six, I felt as sick as I've ever felt, threw up, felt better, got back into an 8 minute pace, determined to hold steady the rest of the way. Slowly, it started to slip. But something else began to occur to me. The run was broken up into 3 eight mile loops, so I could see everyone running ahead of me - there were a few. Hundred. I thought about it only briefly at the time because brutal pain is an attention seeker, and just kept moving my feet until mile 21, when I knew that if I was going to come in under 11 hours, I would have to chop 2 minutes off my per mile pace and make no stops. Like a ship desperately fleeing attackers in the movies on an open sea, I threw overboard all the flasks and pills and shit I had left in my pockets and tossed my bottle to the side of the road. I took a deep breath. The Killers' "Human" started playing on someone's loud speaker. I laughed. Then, I suffered like I've never suffered in my life before I came in at 10:59:20. That was beautiful.

Later last night, I read the qualifying times for men 25-29 was 9 hours flat. 90 minutes faster than last year, same course. I still don't know how to explain that. It made me feel humbled, and naive, in absolute awe for the strength that was out on the course. And sitting here right now, body in pieces, I feel thunderstruck. At times, hours earlier, I could see myself placing in my division...and in reality, I was getting obliterated, fucking destroyed. That's really something to deal with - I'll never forget it. Today, I've been asking myself how I'm not buried by all of this...or how I can possibly be thinking of all the new ideas I have for training, to shave me down, to toughen me up, to quicken my step. It's all I can think about. And I'm not trying to put a bow on this post. I'm not amateur. I am incredibly happy and proud of what happened yesterday but also somewhat humiliated, and devastated, and that's what I'm locking onto - because I have somehow trained my body to lock onto and love and obsess in the things that make me stronger in this world, that keep me in a constant state of evolution...even if the result of those things appear to destroy me. Right now my body is saying rest up, enjoy December, have some cocktails and let those endless other dreams flourish.

Then...come January, come hungry.

November 26, 2010

November 25, 2010

Ironman Cozumel - 2 Days To Race...

It wasn't too long ago that I was talking on here about my competition, about how when I line up on Sunday, there are going to be about a dozen guys who have a shot, really have a shot in 25-29 of getting to Kona. Yesterday, I was talking about the camaraderie between athletes, and felt so much of it today...but then something else happened. I was walking to the convention center to register when I crossed paths with these two guys, two Americans walking ahead of me. Pretty soon we were lost together and talking up life, the journey here and everything in between. They were both named Brian, from Los Angeles but the beach town Hermosa. They were friendly as hell, and if I see them Sunday after the race, we'll probably get drinks together and talk about the day's pretty bleed. Sunday. After the race. Today, the more we walked together, and talked, the more apparent it became - they're here to do exactly what I'm here to do. And no one said it. We didn't talk about times, or ages, or ambitions. We didn't have to. I could feel it in them. They could feel it in me. At some point, the build became too much and we parted ways on my desires to fix the screws in my seatpost. I saluted them, fearful, wondering like hell what they're made of. They saluted me, probably fearful of my calves, wondering like hell what I'm made of. We shall see.

November 24, 2010

Ironman Cozumel - 3 Days To Race...

Today and last night, it was my job to get here. Everything but my camera made it in 1 piece so I'm switching video to iPhone for a couple days. I walked the streets, tried to get some sun. Tonight, it's my job to get ten hours of sleep since I'm on the three I got last night from LA to Houston. Right now I'm watching Jurassic Park in Spanish. The raptor is about to eat Newman and I need to go out and eat carbs, lots of carbs.

November 23, 2010

Jet Plane Comin'...

Ready to enter that time warp. So recently back home. So soon on the road again.

November 16, 2010

Chris McCormack...


I feel full, bursting even. I’m ready to give. Last night, I drove down to Redondo to listen to Chris McCormack recount what it’s like to be the champ he is - maybe the greatest triathlete ever, fresh off his second (remarkable) Kona win. There was a moment I was scanning the crowd, thinking about what people there were going to take for themselves, away from him and the night. I started thinking about what I was going to take away…

Macca is a true champ, made and then built and built. Off the course, he’s nothing but love, nothing but giving, nothing but heart. On it, when that gun fires, if you’re out there to take what he believes is rightfully his, he becomes something else…the kind of guy who would rip out your throat and then drag you to your children, make you watch as he force-fed it to them. Anything to win — because it’s what he sacrifices for, because it’s what he wakes up day after day to suffer and bleed for, because he knows that giving anything less than everything would be disrespectful to himself and the gift of a life. Because he is a true champ.

I am ready to race. I am full. I stole so much. Macca, you’re my hero. I’ll be chasing you forever, mate.

November 10, 2010

Why I l Love This Town...

There are certain words I'm very careful with, as I try to not be a whore to that which either sounds profound or sounds like it's attempting profound. How confusing and coded - sort of my style - like burying the lead...also mine.

Tonight, Brandon Flowers is in town, playing his solo tour at the Wiltern. The word I've been holding back is hero. Brandon Flowers is one of my heroes. For that to happen, someone's behavior has to speak to me on a very special level. He's been speaking to me since he began speaking, so much that in my first novel, the two mains meet and befriend the actual Brandon Flowers on a romp to Sin City. Someday he'll read it and we'll have a drink and I'll say all this to him and he'll be like yeah I get you. Then he'll say it again and it'll be left at that - that two people from different worlds and breaths and beats can push art through wholly different venues and still share the same echo. I'm just saying. He came through the Troubador when I was in the Philippines and that left a mark on me, missing that.

But that's not all. I am also an avid runner who is now becoming an avid triathlete. One of the first glimpses I had into the sport, years ago, was through a man by the name of Chris McCormack - Macca. I remember watching the Kona Ironman on TV - usually broadcast in December - and watching his packaged profile, hearing his competitors speaking of him as this brutally tough, arrogant little Australian spitfire. I liked that immediately. I remember watching him win Kona some years ago, knowing I would never forget it. I remember checking up on him from time to time, understanding he was probably the best to ever compete in the sport. In October, when this year's version of the Kona Ironman happened, Macca struck again, somehow seemingly out of nowhere to win one of the most amazing races I had ever seen. Watch it in December, even if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Chris McCormack is my hero. Sometimes, I see him running in the neighborhood. Next time I do, I'm parking and chasing. On Monday, 5 days after Mr. Flowers, I'm going to see Macca speak in Redondo about his win in Kona. I'm going to see how he does business - how he speaks, moves, answers what will certainly be at least a dozen of the most non-sensical and lunatic questions a man could be asked. Los Angeles, I love you.

Gentlemen, keep it up.

November 03, 2010

I Have No Problem Obsessing...


Better keep this rolling…

While I still have enough cushion in my bank account to take a 600 dollar hit — yes, a 600 dollar hit — and sign up for next May’s St. George version of the Ironman.

This one works for me on multiple levels. First, I can get in a car and drive from Los Angeles to Utah. It’s self-sufficient. And have you ever driven through Utah? My, oh my. Also, the race has been given the distinction of being the toughest Ironman in the world (judged by an average finisher’s time of over 13 hours). Maybe most important - I don’t want this to stop at Cozumel - meaning I don’t want to treat Cozumel as my be all, end all. St. George is my insurance policy for Cozumel for Kona…just as every race until I make the qualifying time for Kona will likely also have an insurance policy because I want this bad and love the sport worse. That’s where I’m standing.

Today, a small weight has been released. Tomorrow, when I line up for another day of training, I’m going to see that true line, my first, waiting for me south of the border. I’ll feel for moments what electricity Cozumel has to give, and bottle it. I’ll work on my breath. I’ll wait for that gun to go before it goes, sending me off with every intention of taking with compassion and grace, everything I want from the world.

That’s where I’m standing.

October 07, 2010

10:00:00...

Is a number I'm starting to see a lot these days...in my sleep, in my head, on the faces of ninos and small animals. It's the number I think it's going to take to be allowed to compete at Kona next year. From what I understand, Cozumel is a slow and windy course. Last year, the last guy in my age group to make it through crossed with a 10:24. He's in Hawaii now, ready to go for this Sunday, the start of this year's Ironman World Championship. I want to be able to say that to myself a year from now...or to some friend when I can't make a sunday brunch - that I have to hop out of town to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Sure, I'm about that a little bit...though a whole lot less than one might think.

It's daunting, not just the 2.4 swim, 112 bike, 26.2 run (yes, miles), but fighting for something that other somewhat talented and hungry 25-29 year old men are going to be fighting for...treating every second like they matter because they all do. Of the hundreds that will be lined up in our age group, I'll worry about roughly 6 of them. They're the 6 who I can see now, every morning and afternoon, before I go to bed at night. They're pushing me every day to find my fights and bleed my miles, knowing that somewhere else on the globe, they're doing the same thing...all of us convinced that we're the ones entitled to this thing, one of the three tickets Cozumel can give to Kona.

Today was a light day. I woke up and hit the road for two hard hours on the new Cervelo. The rain has stopped in Los Angeles, finally (one day and a half), and I was out in time to catch the morning glow before the sun came up. Everything felt right. From there, I dropped my bike off, changed shoes and hit the road again, one hour and fifteen on foot - some hills, mostly quick tempo, mostly with the intention of putting some break in my legs in preparation for friday - tomorrow. Everything felt right. Considering I could barely walk correctly 2 weeks ago because of my blown left calf, I have new and ultimate respect for this process. It's magic and it isn't. I've learned to love the pain of rolling my legs - because if I don't love it and don't do it, then my body has every right to rebel, and I deserve to have everything I work for and desire and dream of taken away.

So tomorrow...

I need to test a couple things - lot of body, mind, some new nutritional elements. For the last 2 weeks, I've been logging 5 hours of training per day for about 5 days a week. The longest singular interval has probably been about 4.5 hours. Tomorrow, I need to get past my body and into my head. So here's what we're going to do...

Wake up at 5:30, ride to Santa Monica and lap Santa Monica before putting a loving hurt on my 7-9 cycling class. When it's over, I'll lap San Vicente before riding home, before leaving my bike and changing my shoes sometime around 10, a 4.5 hour ride. Then, I'll hit the road, aiming for 18-20 miles on foot before running into Equinox on Sunset just before 1, leaving me 7 hours into the day. I'll be drained and pissed and sitting in front of my buddy Colin in a yoga class. He's going to ask me to do a lot of disciplined, difficult, obnoxious shit (amazing too), and I am going to handle it. When my body is destroyed and my mind is on the edge of oblivion, I am going to eat some salt tabs and take on whatever comes like an unstoppable bastard. 8.5 hours. I'll drag myself home, hopefully delusional, eat something, pull myself together enough to head back to the gym at 545 to teach what will likely be the worst spin class in the history of Equinox. 10 hours...

Onward.

September 29, 2010

Sponsored!

Because my game is true, or at least so I like to think...

When it comes to doing things in this world that I deem absolutely necessary, money is not a concern. Meaning...I will gladly trade the stress of debt to travel or train for something I need, like an Ironman, like this promise I have made to myself that says I'm going to make it to Kona, and that Kona will be just the beginning.

But I'd rather not be drowning. I'd rather not carry that stress - I'm carrying enough as is. Last week, I wrote a letter to a friend, laying out my plans for the 2010-2011 racing season. I asked for help. We met for lunch. I said something like I know the last thing your juggernaut needs is help in advertising, but that I would still earn everything you give. He said something like you're a good egg and I like to be able to help people chase their dreams. Then he said yes. I asked if he said yes. He confirmed. I have a sponsor.

This morning, I woke up at 5, ate breakfast, listened to my body, and went back to sleep. Yesterday, I was up at 5, waited for the sun to come up before hitting Sunset for 50 miles on the bike before running for 10 before classes at 515 and 715. My body is coming back together. I can feel myself getting stronger. The worst thing I could do is not have ultimate respect for sleep. Sometimes, discipline means taking the easy route - at least in this situation. Understand though, unless you're training for an Ironman, that excuse is not an option. Sorry.

There's an ease to this morning, as my workouts aren't going to start for about another hour - another 50 on the bike before 2 in the pool before the shoes come on for another 10. I've been saying this a lot in my classes, to ride my bender, that I am as hungry as anyone in this city. Set something huge. Chase something huge. See what happens.

September 22, 2010

An Open Letter To My Body...

Darling,

Welcome home, welcome home. I am going to speak openly because I know that’s what you both respect and deserve. I understand more than you know. There are blisters and splits on your knuckles, in your palms and on your feet. Your toenails are black – 2 of them. Your left calf is miserable and you haven’t been able to run right since the sixth day of Tokyo. You have traveled the globe, bled across it for the past 4 months. You have been bleeding forever. I know. I understand. You deserve rest, a break, solace. I know. I know. That’s sort of why I’m here. We need to talk…

In the Philippines, something new happened. 70.3 happened, a half Ironman. We stayed in that sun, near 100 degrees and battled for longer than we’ve ever battled before. When it was over, I wanted more. When it was over, I wanted to get out there the next day and do it again, again and again. Fight more. Bleed more. Grow more. Give more. Suffer more. So did you. Don’t forget, I know you too.

Now we’re back in California. Now we’re done slamming our feet across Asia. There’s beautiful and easy access to everything we could ever desire. The rabid dogs are gone…the heat…the kidnapping eyes…broken pedaled and rusted bikes from the 1970’s…posters of Andre Agassi when he had long hair. It’s all gone now. Everything we need is here. Everything we did and everything we saw over these last 4 months has raised us up. I want to draw on it, use it to pick a fight – the biggest one of them all. I want to see what we’re made of, need to see what we’re made of. Both of us.

In 9 weeks, we’re flying to Cozumel. In 9 weeks, on a Sunday, we’re going to wake up to become Ironmen. And I understand what you’re thinking, what you always think for the sake of self-preservation, that Cozumel should be enough. It should. But it’s not. You understand me too. Certainly you saw coming what’s now coming…

Next October, there is a race that happens on an island called Kona, in a state called Hawaii. It may be the world’s toughest. Titans travel from far and wide to line up self-destruction. Don’t play dumb – the Kona fire has been burning for a while now. To get to there, something special needs to happen. There is no disputing that. If what I am about to say seems disregarding, I can offer no apology. You need to ditch this nagging pain and allow me to deliver us. You need to allow my fight every day for the next 7 weeks, and you need to allow it harder than you have ever allowed it before. You need to allow me to break us harder than we’ve ever broken and then come out the next day and break again. You need to simply let go and survive. Be honest with me. Believe me when I say I’ll listen to you, and that I will take care of us. Understand that I aim to chase a beauty beyond capable description, and that great sacrifices must be made. Understand.

To get into Kona, the rules are simple. We have to line up in Cozumel and then finish first, second or third in the men’s 25-29 age group. We don’t stand a chance unless we stand together. I committed long ago. You did too, you just won't admit it. Please consider this - my beg, my plea. Know that I both love you and despise your hesitation, that I am doing this for both of us. Be wicked now, rest is for the defeated…

August 22, 2010

Ironman 70.3 Philippines...

It was hot, really, really hot. I crossed the finish line and stumbled into the medical tent where the volunteers bathed me in frozen blue sponges. I couldn't say much, just sitting there, trying to come to grips with who I was and where I came from. It was the most unnatural experience...so much heat and then so much cold...so much fight and then so much stillness. Absolutely the most incredible feeling I can ever remember. Apologies to all my former lovers. Yes, even you.

August 21, 2010

A Bike In Naga City...

I'm so tired of telling the story as to why I was in the Philippines for an Ironman without a bike that this post gets no preface...

So I'm wandering the expo at the CamSur Watersports Complex and it's 530, after wandering since 1 and asking everyone to help me. Bike drop off ended at 5 but they extended it to 7. A girl I met named Karen has sent me to another girl Che Che, both extraordinary, who is stationed at the Bike King tent. I tell her my story. She laughs. She gets on the phone, calls someone, who never calls back. I sit at the tent, chat up the Nature Valley team. Che Che calls someone new, some priest who might have a friend who might have a bike. The sun is setting and I feel like I don't belong. Two guys walk up, a priest and another guy Erick, a bike mechanic from Naga City. He tells me he can build a bike for me. He gives me his number and tells me to call him at 7. I see him on the way out, at bike and bag check in. I talk to the people in charge. They panic. Erick walks up, tells them that he is taking me to his shop in Naga, that he is going to build me a bike and have me back by 9. The people in charge tell us that we will be making everyone wait. Afterwards, a girl tells me not to feel bad - they are going to be there all night.

Me and Eric get in a jeep he built, drive to Naga against the dimming sky and setting sun - the minutes so incredible to me. We pull up to his bike shop on the river, tucked back and away from the main drag - impossible to find so I didn't feel bad about not finding it originally. Erick pulls a frame from the ceiling, a good one and somewhat my size, racks it up, and goes to work. I'm hanging in an alley of the best bike joint in town, chatting up Philippine champions. I go to buy oatmeal and almonds, come back an hour later. My bike is built. I pay 60 bucks and hand over my California ID, ride to a mall, grab a cab to CWC, check in my bike at 840, leave then feeling much, wondering now if all of this actually just happened.

It did. Half Ironman tomorrow morning. Sleep well.