29 August 2008

When BMXers grow up...

Our trip is amazing, we've ridden a ton in spots all over Pennsylvania and have hung out with great people. Computer time is limited, which is a good thing, but not posting photos and stories is an unfortunate part of that. Here's one story:
Last night Steevo fell and his tooth went through his lip (teeth are fine). What would you do if you had no insurance? We went back to where we are staying, looked it up on the internet, found that liquid stitch stuff in hospitals is basically super glue (cyanoacrylate) and then glued it shut. Done. It looks good and we hope for a quick recovery.
Are going out for a quick ride shortly. Photos soon!

22 August 2008

Like skateboarding, but with mountain bikes

Today I leave for Pittsburgh for a 10-day mountain bike trip in Pennsylvania and Virginia with Steevo. But we are not riding! I mean, we are riding spots, but we are driving to them. Totally lame, right? I keep having to explain that our purpose is to ride good mountain bike trails not travel by bicycle. It's an easy assumption for people to make considering him and I probably have close to 20,000 combined bike touring miles. This is like when we were BMX kids, like he says on his post about our trip.

The trip wraps up with the Shenandoah 100 near Harrisonburg, VA. You know, the race that Floyd Landis got 3rd in last year.

19 August 2008

Can't stop, won't have an extra $381

I got a red light ticket today! On Boyle and Olympic right in front of the Sears Building. Bummer.
It's such an easy light to go right on red because:

1. You have a clear line of cross traffic, 2. You are going slightly downhill, 3. the Westbound lane of Olympic is really wide.

It's totally safe!

I don't know what is worse: The usual jerk cop or the one that is super friendly and almost apologetic. There was not much disagreement about what happened (unlike my taking the lane ticket three years ago) and he said because I was in such a rush he would write quickly so that I'd be on my way. His biggest concern seemed to be about the 'danger' of splitting lanes (riding in the space between two lanes of traffic) and hitting the intersection at about 15 MPH. I guess a warning was not a possibility.

14 August 2008

1950's Disney Goofy short about driving

I stole this right from www.commutebybike.com. If you ride bikes this makes so much sense. The seemingly nicest people will scream obscenities at you. Sometimes it is so out of place that you have to just laugh at it.

13 August 2008

New Swarm! slogan

After some criticism that 'Can't Stop Won't Stop' is actually our stop sign policy, we've reached consensus that our new slogan, inspired by the restaurant below, is 'Can't Stop, Naan Stop'.

10 August 2008

Vineman photos

Finally back in LA and able to get some photos up. Thanks Jenny!

I just figured out how to read the ranked splits (your time for each: swim-2.4 miles, bike-112 miles, run-26.2 miles) on the results page. My bike was 28th out of 366, in the top 7.5%! I am totally amazed by that. And for anyone else that geeks out over numbers, here they are: swim, 173/379, 45% and run, 112/310, 36%. My overall was 56/310, 18%. Wtf?

I am posting this because I want others who are thinking about similar events to realize that the 'I am in over my head' feeling is totally normal. I was convinced that I was last in the swim. I was okay with that, but seriously thought I had been passed by everyone. Ends up I was in the middle somewhere.

Brian's wife Jenny wanted a photo at the finish the day before.
That made me nervous.

Since it is an olympic year I thought I'd give props to
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
with a black power salute

This was the best feeling ever.

So whatever is in the back of your mind: do it. Sign up. Make training fun and not a job. Make a plan, but be flexible. Those around you will support you and even thank you for being positive and going beyond your comfort zone. Cause really this is what life is about. Riding a bike to work, being vegetarian, doing an iron-distance triathlon; all are about getting out of your comfort zone and doing what common-people will tell you is unreasonable or impossible. Do it.

04 August 2008

Vineman more

Triathlons are an odd thing. I've always held them at a distance because of the type of people who do them and my desire to not be associated with it. But I am getting over it. This was super fun. One of the funnest days I have ever had. I'm a bit rushed right now cause I am leaving on a camping trip down the coast back to LA, but here's the story. Hope to get photos up soon. Enjoy.

Stupid wetsuit wouldn't zipper. I am swimming up to the start as the gun goes off, about two minutes ahead of where I was at Auburn, but still late. D'oh.

I chill. Long strokes, easy pace, stay in a group. I am looking around, enjoying the beauty. Making note of points on the out-and-back so I know where I am when I return.

At the turn around I can't believe how fast I am and how good I feel. 'This is going way better than any other swim.' I am approaching the swim exit and strangely I don't see anyone exiting. Is it around a corner? Who are those people swimming up the other way again? Oh, it's two laps. I'm not that fast. I'm only half-way. I should wear a watch. About 35 minutes later I am really getting out of the water.

What do you think of when someone says 'wetsuit stripper'? It's not what you kind of wish it would be it's having a team of people pull off your wetsuit. It is awesome. I was a bit overtaken by how quickly I went from being fully covered to wearing only some tiny, dripping, bike shorts.

Nine minutes later I was riding away.

So I put aerobars on. Rode about 30 miles with them the week leading up the race. They are sweet. You tuck down, slide up in your seat and then pedaling as hard as you can comes natural. This course has about 4000ft elevation gain in 112 miles and a lot of it is rolling hills. Which are tricky. When you are averaging 21 or 22 MPH you don't want to slow down. When climbing a mountain you have no choice. When's it only 100 feet or so you just stand up and mash in your big ring in order to not lose momentum. Or at least that is what I do. Passed a lot of people. Said 'hello' or 'good morning' each time. Less than one in four respond. I look at all the graperies that turn fruit into alcohol. Every 25 miles someone hands me a nice cold sports drink. It gets hot. Some friends from Organic Athlete wrote our names at the top of the biggest climb. And also wrote 'Go Vegan' which confused me in my apoxic state.

Since I don't run train very well or really do bricks besides riding to my runs (see my experience at Norseman) I was a wee bit nervous entering T2. But I switched shoes, ate a banana, put on my hat and attempted to keep up my mental momentum from the bike.


Determination. How do I control that? I was so determined to keep my run strong and stay on pace (as much as you can with no watch and the only clock being at the finish) that I was shocked. I walked the aid stations and the big hills and then just kept on it. The course is 3 out-and-backs and which sounded like it would be tedious, but it was really good. I could mentally break it down. Every time you came through the finish area to start a new lap the crowd lining the route cheered you on. It was really great. I wish they could be there every day. 'Yeah Matt, you are only 10 minutes late to work, good job!', 'Way to get that paper work filled out!'.

I did have a real emotional low on the start of the second lap. Don't know where it came from, but I could barely talk. When I saw Brian (he DNF'd on the run with a knee injury) I was totally spaced. Asked him to talk to me 'about anything'. I had some lows like this at Paris-Brest-Paris, but this was the worst one I've ever had.

I started the third lap at 10hr 30min race time. If I could hold on to 10-min miles I could do sub-12. Alas I could not! The hills got me. And I only ate an orange on the last lap to focus on my hydration as the weather cooled and some more shade covered the course.

Legs feel strange. Have to keep walking. Then stretch. Then lay on my back and put my legs up: amazing feeling. Overwhelmingly joyous as normal blood flow returns to them. Hang out. Eat a veggie burger and a ridiculous amount of fruit.
From here we went to the Organic Athlete house in Sebastopol and ate a gigantic salad and some banana ice cream. I laid on the kitchen floor a bunch of the time and we all told stories about ridiculous things we like to do.

Splits: Swim 01:16:36.0 T1 00:09:31.6 Bike 05:41:57.7 T2 00:05:40.1 Run 05:08:09.3 Finish 12:21:54.6

Thanks: Brian, Jenny for being awesome support, Bradley and Justin from OA, my distant family up here that treats me like close family, vineman for having tons of vegan food, recycling and even composting, Michel Martinez for getting me stoked on doing this.

03 August 2008


Yesterday was Vineman and it was a great time. I plan to write up a longer story, but here is the short:

12 hour 21 minute total time

2.4 mile swim-1hr 16min
transition 1- 9 min (hanging out is pretty cool)
112 mile bike- 5hr 41 min (I rode a 5hr century!)
transition 2- 4 min
26.2 mile run- 5hr 11min

It was a fun, beautiful course and really well supported. And I don't know where I pulled that marathon out of! It was hilly and very hot, but still one of the best marathons I have run (not necessarily by time, but how I felt).
Am sore, but not miserable.