Monday, December 29, 2008

Beer Review of the Week: Big Sky Brewing Biere de Noel

A few weeks back, Linsey Corbin was in town for a photo shoot. I heard that her husband worked at a brewery in Montana, so I somewhat-jokingly said that I wouldn't put her in the magazine unless she brought beer. Linsey was already traveling with a bike in tow, so I really didn't expect her to lug some beer down to San Diego as well. However, since I'm somewhat of an alcoholic, at least as far as triathletes go, I was kinda hoping she did. And she did.

Upon her arrival I was handed a giant bottle of limited edition Big Sky Brewing Co. Biere de Noel. Hand-written on the back was "No. 109 of 204", which means this stuff is about as hard to come by as the new Litespeed Blade. I had been meaning to drink it before Christmas (being as it's a Christmas-themed beer and all), but I've been on the road and away from my fridge. So, when I got back to San Diego tonight, I decided a double-pint of really strong brew was in order. The Big Sky Noel boasts almost 9% ABV, which feels like a lot more when you've been drinking on a plane all day...not that I'd ever do that. Basically, if the Grinch had this shit, he wouldn't have been nearly as big of a dick to the poor children of Whoville.

As for the finer details...

The Noel definitely is not short on flavor notes. If your palate is only used to Natty, Keystone and Icehouse (AKA, you're a college student), it may be a little much. It's a Belgian Dark Ale, which means two things: It's robust and it gets you lit. True to its Belgian heritage, the Noel is loaded with spice, but low in bitterness. The tame bitterness means it finishes smooth, but the strong notes of bourbon, oak and smoke linger in the palate.

And as for the ratings...

Calories: * I can't give you an exact calorie count, but if you're looking to get ripped during the off-season, this shouldn't be your brew of choice.

Antioxidants: *** Belgian Dark Ales are some of the most antioxidant rich beers on earth, so it's ideal to drink immediately after a hard long as you plan on doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.

Refreshment: 1/2 * This is not meant to be a refreshing beer by any stretch. It's meant to be sipped slowly while you're sitting next to the fire and trying to get buzzed enough to deal with your in-laws.

Taste: *** I probably wouldn't give the Noel three stars if I were drinking it on a sweltering summer day in the Everglades, but the uber-spicy flavor is perfect this time of the year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

On Simon and Chrissie...

I have to admit I was a bit stunned when I heard Chrissie had left Camp Cliff to train under the recently-retired Simon Lessing. I've heard a lot of talk since this news broke--everything from, "Her career is doomed", to, "She'll beat Crowie at Kona next year." OK, maybe that's a bit embellished. My take? Chrissie will set a new course record in Kona next year and go on to win as many more titles as she seems fit (which I'm guessing is about three). Here's why:

Sutto (Brett Sutton) remarked on more than one occasion that the hardest part of his job (with regards to Chrissie) was keeping her from overcooking herself. I think Simon is just the guy for this job.

Last spring, I was e-mailing with Simon regarding my own training. I noted that I was injury prone, but was still trying to get my run mileage up to around 50 per week. He thought this sounded fine, but that I should do it by upping my frequency instead of the mileage of my long runs. I dug up his e-mail and this is what he had to say with regards to my personal training:

"Keep your long runs at a maximum of two hours. Beyond that, you're going to do more damage than good. I typically run for 20 miles or two hours; whichever comes first."

I reminded him that I would never be able to run 20 miles in two hours, but I gave his ideas a try. That e-mail was from March 5th, and I haven't run more than two hours since then. I figured I better listen to a guy who has five ITU world titles to his credit. I'm running faster than ever and have been [relatively] injury free all year. The guy knows his stuff.

So how does this apply to Chrissie? Endurance definitely isn't her problem. If you've ever seen Chrissie at the end of an Ironman, you know that 140.6 miles ain't much for her. There are only two things that can stop her from winning four or five more world titles: 1) Injury; and 2) Losing speed as she gets older.

I think Simon's less-but-just-enough method (if that's indeed how he trains Chrissie) is ideal for her. And, if she incorporates a bit more speed training than she has in the past, who knows how low that Kona record can go.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Triathlon is a Sport of Losers and Quitters

"Triathlon is a sport of losers and quitters". Those aren't my words. A college buddy of mine -- and one of the only people who reads this blog -- said that to me a while back. Actually, he sent it to me in a Facebook note, but I still got the point.

As someone who makes their living off of multisport, you may think I had a problem with his remark, but I could see what he was getting at. Triathlon is largely a participatory sport. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, that's one of the great things about this sport. It's not exclusive. We're not elitists (for the most part).

All that being said, triathlon is a bit of a fall-back sport. No one wants to be a great triathlete when they're 11-years old. Go to your local track or pool and you'll see dozens of young kids damn-near killing themselves to be the next Ryan Hall or Michael Phelps. It's only once they realize that winning eight gold medals ain't so easy that they think, "Mmmmm. Maybe I should give triathlon I try. I already know how to do A and B, now I just need to learn how to do C."

It's cool, but it also sucks. The means by which people gravitate toward our sport is somewhat different from others (recreational cycling and marathoning excluded). Kids aren't groomed to be triathletes; they're groomed to be kick ass runners and swimmers (and more rarely, cyclists).

A few months ago I was in Clermont, Fla., working on a travel story. I met with Alec Rukosuev, who is the head swim coach at the National Training Center in Clermont. As the -ev suffix in his last name implies, he originally hails from Russia. He, and many of his cohorts, grew up as triathletes. It's not entirely uncommon for kids in Europe and Oceania to do this, and consequently, it's not entirely uncommon for athletes from Europe and Oceania to smoke Americans at races around the globe.

So, if you're a parent, think about signing your kid up for an IronKid instead of Pee Wee football team. If the kid likes it, he or she might win Kona one day. If they don't like it, buy them the damn football pads and stop taking my advice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Andy Potts and Becky Lavelle are going to win Clearwater

Too many people say, "I think so and so are going to win a certain race" when they make predictions. I'm considerably more arrogant than the average Joe and I like to think that I know a whole lot more about triathlon. So, instead of saying, "I think Potts and Lavelle will win in Clearwater", I'm telling you straight up--there's going to be an American sweep.

But first let me digress. America is not good at triathlon. If you were to list every country on earth from best tri-country to worst, we'd line up somewhere between Uzbekistan and Mongolia. I'm not sure if either of those countries have triathlons, or if Uzbekistan still exists (I'm pretty sure Mongolia does), but you get the point.

Enter Potts and Lavelle, who are probably our best shots for triathlon dominance in the near-future. Potts can win Kona as early as next year and Lavelle has the ability to win every 70.3 and non-drafting Olympic-distance race in the world. And they'll both win next weekend at the 70.3 World Championship. I'll spare you from having to log on to to check the results next week and give you a sneak peak of the podium:


1. Andy Potts (USA): He recovers incredibly quick, so the fact that he raced Kona two weeks ago shouldn't hold him back. Keep in mind that, although he did race an Ironman this year, his training was very much the same as last year when he won this race.

2. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL): I probably would've picked Terenzo to win, but the dude broke his wrist bunny-hopping a speed bump on the Big Island. That's gotta hold his swim back a bit.

3. Oscar Galindez (ARG): He was within mere seconds of taking down Potts last year and he can run really, really fast.


1. Becky Lavelle (USA): In a 70.3, short-coursers always beat out long-coursers, and that's why Becky will smoke the field.

2. Julie Dibens (GBR): She's scary fast on the bike and I expect her and Lavelle to push the pace big time. She'll lead Becky off the bike, but she doesn't have the run speed to hold her off.

3. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS): She's the polar opposite of Dibens. Not much of a rider, but one hell of a runner. Both Dibens and Lavelle know exactly how much of a gap they need at T2 to hold off the inevitable charge from Carfrae, who can outrun most of the pro men.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This week's props go to...

Obviously with Kona this past weekend I've got a lot of props to hand out. Yes, Chrissie Wellington and Craig Alexander deserve all the props in the world, but you already know that. These guys may not have finished on the podium, but they showed guts worthy of a shout-out on the race course. So, this week's props go to:

Bryan Rhodes (NZL): I caught up with Rhodsey about 20 minutes after he finished and he was a little upset with his performance. Sure, he finished 23rd, which was less than the Ironman Canada champ was expecting. However, it was the way he earned that 23rd spot that puts him on this list. Rhodsey went all out from the gun: Swimming with the second pack, riding with the leaders and hanging on for dear life on the run. He could've played it conservative and held back until the final half of the marathon (like he did in Canada and Ironman Florida last year), but he wanted to take his shot and a top-10 finish. Cheers Rhodsey--I still owe you a beer.

Andy Potts (USA): I spoke with Potts a couple of days before the race and asked him to pick his podium for the men's race. Surprisingly he didn't pick himself. He asked me for my picks and I told him I expected him to finish third. It was a bit of a fib. I knew he'd have a good go because he's a tough dude, but the realist in me didn't really think he had a shot at the top 10. Only six days after finishing second at the U.S. Open, Potts pulled off a seventh-place finish in Kona. Without a drafting call, he would've been in sixth. Not bad for a first timer. I'm calling it right now: Potts will win Kona in 2009 and he'll win Clearwater again this year.

Linsey Corbin (USA): As I was getting some follow-up pictures of the women's podium girls, I heard Mike Reily announce: "Here comes Linsey Corbin! Fifth overall and the first American." I have to admit I was a little shocked to see Linsey go so well. In hindsight I shouldn't have been. Linsey has been a rockstar since she turned pro two years ago and she's still on her way up. She has what it takes to win Kona, but she may have to wait until Wellington retires.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Speaking of Reform...

Every fourth fall, the topic of reform gets a lot of play in the mainstream media. Of course any candidate running for President - or any other office for that matter - needs to pretend like they're going to do something to reform what's f'd up in our country, but both you and I know nothing is really going to change. In the spirit of talking the talk without walking the walk, I have a few "reforms" I'd like to institute in the multisport world. No, none of these things will ever happen, but there's nothing on TV tonight, I drank too much last night to even think about hitting the bars again and I'm pretty hopped up on First Endurance PreRace (it kicks the shit out of coffee), so sleeping really isn't an option. So here we go...

1. Every triathlete should be obligated to volunteer in one race for every three that they compete in. I did over 40 triathlons before I volunteered in my first and that's all kinds of unfair. I'm slowly starting to make up for it and I vow to do more next year.

2. Opt out of one race that you have scheduled for 2009 and give the money you would've spent on your entry to charity. I'm making a bit of a generalization here, but for the most part, triathletes have a little extra coin to spare. While I am steadfast in my belief that triathlon is the greatest sport on earth, there are thousands of causes that are more worthy of your money, so send a little their way too.

3. Let's get some more prize money for pro triathletes. I know too many guys who bust their asses harder than any nine to fiver I know, yet they still eat EZ-Mac for dinner. That being said, don't give them too much. Triathlon is somewhat unique in that the sport is much, much bigger than the athletes themselves and we ought to keep it that way. But until Chrissie Wellington gets an eight-figure contract from Nike, I don't think we have to worry about that.

4. Let's get some stricter doping penalties going. A two-year ban is fine, but once an athlete serves that ban, they should never be able to accept a prize purse ever, ever again. Once you've cheated the sport, you can't take money from it. Fair and square if you ask me.

5. Speaking of doping, let's get some protection going for the athletes too. No, PEDs aren't as much of a problem in triathlon as in cycling, but we don't want to see our athletes treated in the same manner as many pro cyclists have. Guilty until proven guilty isn't fair. Say what you want about Floyd Landis, but that man's life was ripped apart because he had no means of defending himself.

6. Buy a carbon credit in an amount equal to your race entry for every race you do. Triathlon may be great for you body, but it's terrible for the environment, so we all need to give back for every bit we take away.

That's it for my 2008 campaign agenda. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This week's props go to...

I think the highlight of my job is that I often get to see some really awesome feats of human performance. That's what turns me on about sports (no, not like that). Every so often you get to see something that makes you stop and think, "Damn, I can't even imagine how good that dude (or gal) feels right now." Oftentimes these are scenes that are syndicated across the globe and replayed in 37 different languages. Other times, they fly under the radar (as is usually the case in triathlon). So, starting this week, I'll be giving up some props to those who truly deserve it. Starting with:

BRYAN RHODES: You'd be hard pressed to find a nicer guy in the multisport world. He loves to make friends with everyone and he is one of the most gregarious people you'll ever meet. And this weekend he finally got the big win. Props to Rhodsey for hauling ass at Ironman Canada.

ANDY POTTS: No, Potts didn't win at Chicago this weekend -- he actually wasn't even close. But it's what he told me after the race that earned him his props. I asked Andy how he was planning on tapering for Kona and his response was, "By racing in Dallas." Yes, Potts will be racing the U.S. Open a mere six days before attempting his first Ironman. You know how many people are crazy enough to try that? Just one. And his name is Andy Potts. Props to him.

BRIAN AND BECKY LAVELLE: The sport's third-fastest couple (after Greg and Laura Bennett and Emma Snowsill and Craig Walton) had a huge weekend to say the least. Becky got a much-needed win in the Lifetime Fitness Tri Series and Brian had his first truly solid race in quite a while. He showed he's back after battling a string of injuries and he's got big plans for the rest of the reason. Props to both of them.

MATTY REED: This weekend, Reed demonstrated a level of craziness on par with Mr. Potts. Just five days removed competing in the Olympics, a jet-lagged Reed led the field off the bike in Chicago and went on to finish fourth. Matty is one tough dude and for that, props to him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beer review of the century: Tourmaline Trippel Ale

My weekly reviews of brew started when I began a quest to find THE beer. You know, the beer I could enjoy on a hot day or cold; in rain or shine; in the desert or on the beach. The beer that no matter what kind of day I was having, I could toss one (or three back) and feel instant gratification.

Alas, about a year after beginning my journey, I think I've found it. About two weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite local breweries, The La Jolla Brewhouse to sample their new Belgian Trippel Ale. I was impressed, to say the least, but it certainly didn't blow me away. I told my friend and drinking partner that it probably cracked my top-ten list, but it certainly wasn't podium worthy.

This weekend, while in need of some midday refreshment, my girlfriend and I opted to give the Pacific Beach Ale House (in, you guessed it, Pacific Beach, San Diego) a try. They had just recently unveiled their own Belgian Trippel Ale (or Tripel, depending on what part of Belgian you swear aligence to), coined the Tourmaline Trippel.

Now, a trippel is exactly what it sounds like. It's an ale three times over. The monks who originally created it merely called it "strong" ale, which is really all the description you need. It's an ale with extra hops, extra malt and oh yes, extra alcohol. You'll find trippels ranging anywhere from 6-12 percent alcohol. The Tourmaline Trippel tipped the scales at roughly 8.1 percent. Not bad for 1 o'clock on a Saturday.

While the Tourmaline was light in color (similar faded gold of an IPA), it doesn't skimp on flavor. The flavors are big, bold and hard to miss. The hops hit you first and burst with an onslaught of fruit. You'll get a relatively strong hint of banana and even a little citrus. Before the bitterness of all that hop has a chance to set in, the Belgian malt does its job and the finish is as smooth as a Mexican Cerveza. Think of it as a strong IPA that stays smooth all the way to your stomach.

Now, the bartender at the PB Ale House didn't know much about the nutritional content, but I can promise you it's anything but light. Trippels usually contain 190-220 calories per 12 ounces, putting it on a shortlist of ultra-heavy brews. There may be a few porters that top it, but it's certainly in a rare class when it comes to packing on the pounds. Luckily for me, I only had three, which will only take about 20 miles on the bike to burn off. It would be worth a 100-mile ride just to have a few. It's that good. If you find yourself in San Diego, don't pass it up.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Starting from scratch...

People do this sport for a number of different reasons. Some get into triathlon as a means to deal with a mid-life crisis, under the impression that it's cheaper than buying a Porsche. It isn't. Some grow tired of the fact that they haven't seen their feet in years because of the "muffin top" obscuring their view. Hell, I've even heard of triathletes who buy a bike just to have an excuse to ride alongside a girl they've been after for a while. Others, like me, start down the road to multisport addiction because of some unquantifiable competitive drive. We're the types with that "if you're gonna do something, do it all out" mentality.

I grew up as a swimmer and for about a decade it was all that mattered. I transferred that same drive to triathlon and I've fared pretty well in six years of doing this sport. In 2006 I race three Ironman events and I would've done more had I had more time (and money). Two years later, the thought of doing an Ironman makes me cringe. It's not so much the race itself, but the preparation. I have no desire to slog through a six-hour ride every Saturday and then follow it up with a mind-numbing three hour run on Sunday. Quite honestly, I'd rather just spend a few hours jumping creeks on my mountain bike and then spend the rest of the day lounging around with my girlfriend and drinking beers with my friends. And I'm not ashamed of that. I think a more balanced approach to sport will ultimately make me a better triathlete.

With that in mind, I'm starting over. The mammoth drops in my triathlon times have plateaued and I know that the only way to get faster is to change my approach. There's something seriously wrong when your bike and run splits at Ironman are nearly equal. Because of that, it's time to become a runner for the next year (give or take a few months). There's no doubt that I'll miss racing. I love the nerves of race morning, the meticulous race prep and the way that a shitty beer can taste great at the finish line. But I know that it'll all pay off -- be it one year down the road or ten. And if not -- at least I gave it a go. Time to go for a run.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm pulling a "Favre"

It is with great anticipation, and no regret, that I am formally announcing my retirement from the sport of triathlon. After careful consideration, I have decided that retiring from this sport is the only way that I can eventually become good at this sport. You're probably confused, so let me explain.

I have been a triathlete for six years and for all of those six years, I've believed that the three sports of a triathlon are swim, bike and suffer. I have swim times that most pros would kill for and I routinely post one of the fastest amateur bike splits at every race I go to (as long as the course if flat). While my opening two legs ought to set me up for a damn-near pro-level finishing time, they don't -- I run like the fat kid in gym class and it's time to change that.

Next Sunday, I'll be racing Vineman 70.3 and that will be my "swan song", if you will, until Spring of 2009. For the past few months, I've been fooling myself into believing that racing both the 70.3 and XTERRA world championships would make 2008 my most memorable season to date, but there's a problem--I don't care about merely participating in these events. Just making it to these two races isn't enough for me. So, instead of spending the rest of the summer and fall training for triathlon, I'll become a runner for the next eight months.

Here's why it makes sense:

I have the "honor" of being the only person I know who has gone exactly two hours in an Olympic-distance race while still running over 40 minutes. At Ironman Florida last year, I came off the bike ahead of more than half of the men's pro field, only to follow that up with a pathetic 4:30 marathon.

After Vineman, I will begin a build-up to the point that I can run eight times per week (yes, that means a few two-a-days) and I'll use the weekends to recover (easy bike on Saturday, long swim on Sunday).

Will it work? I have no idea. But, I don't want to just participate through the rest of my triathlon "career". I want to know just how good I can be at this sport and this is the only way to find out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

F You United Airlines (and Delta and American and...)

I know everyone and their mother is bitching about the airlines these days and while I'm usually willing to cut them some slack (given the fact that our economy, ummm, well, sucks), this past week has set me off.

In the past five days I've been on three flights with my bike in tow each time. The cost of lugging my Madone around with me is about equal to the price of shipping a John Deere combine to Malaysia. I'm down 300 bucks as a result of wanting to keep my fitness up while I'm on the road. Any airline will attribute the price hike to rising jet fuel prices, but come on, my ride weighs less than a baby stroller.

With the box and all my gear, I'm adding 39 pounds of extra weight to a plane that weighs 306,550 pounds (thank you Wikipedia). I weigh 168 pounds. My self plus the weight of my bike box still weighs less than the dude who has to put his armrest up so his belly roll can make his neighbor extremely uncomfortable.

I think the only way to solve my frustration (and that of every other traveling cyclist/triathlete on the planet) is to base airline fees on the total weight of a passenger and their shit. It may even fix America's obesity epidemic at the same time. Can you think of anything more humiliating than having to get weighed at check-in? I'm starting a petition -- if you want in, let me know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Beer review of the week: Grizzly Bear Doppelbock

Ahhhhh Doppelbock -- the tequila of beer. Drink one without cringing and you'll instantly validate your manhood. If you're a lady who happens to be tossing one back, decent men will think you're an alcoholic, but truckers will find you incredibly attractive. Doppelbock is like a strong Porter on HGH. It's the only beer strong enough to get Chuck Norris drunk (I can't verify that, but I have it on good authority).

I drink a lot of beer, but I hadn't had a Doppelbock in almost three years until this past weekend. My abstinence from Doppelbock came about after trying Doppelbock for the first time (the Sam Adams variety). It was simply too much for me. I was young, cocky and I thought I could handle a six pack. Now I'm older, wiser and even though I'm smaller than I was then, I consider myself more of a man.

I took a training trip up to Big Bear Lake, Calif. this weekend and decided to kick the "training" off in style by immediately heading to Big Bear's local brewery upon my arrival (Big Bear Mountain Brewery, located on Big Bear Blvd). They have six homemade brews, but I was instantly drawn toward the Doppelbock. The chalkboard said it has 11.8 percent alcohol and I've learned from experience that high altitude and high alcohol is a fantastic combo. After only two, my BAC was well within the "don't even think about driving" range, but I did take a minute to jot down a few notes. By the way, I was staying about 45 feet from the brewery, so I was able to walk back to our cabin.

Calories: 1/2* Doppelbock is quite possibly the worst beer on the planet for you (if you're trying to stay lean). Each 12 ounce pour packs about 245 calories -- four times that of the last beer I reviewed. That being said, it boasts four times the alcohol of uber-light beers, so in my opinion, it's a wash.

Antioxidants: *** Like stouts, porters and other dark beers, Doppelbock has as many antioxidants as a glass of vino.

Refreshment: 1/2* Doppelbock is about as refreshing as milk. It's certainly not ideal for a hot summer's day and it's meant to be enjoyed in the winter (the extra alcohol keep you feeling warm, but actually lowers your body temp).

Taste: ** Sure, my taste buds have matured a bit since college, but I'm still not manly enough to drink Doppelbock on a regular basis. However, if you're a fan of porters, it's a good change of pace (and a great way to get drunk).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why I hate triathletes

I’ve raced exactly 50 triathlons and by any man’s measure that would make me a “triathlete”, even though the thought of being a triathlete often makes me cringe. This past weekend was a chilling reminder of why I often hate the sport that I love. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I don’t hate the sport as much as I frequently find myself having some serious issues with the types of people it attracts.

I spent the weekend in Madison, Wisc., at a press launch for Saris/CycleOps. I showed up to the factory and made the customary handshakes and “how ya beens” to the group of cycling journalists I often see at these types of events. After we all got caught up on who had been to the best and worse destinations over the past few months, the conversation shifted toward the inevitable—the half-dozen or so cycling writers got to making fun of triathletes. It’s not secret; cyclists hate triathletes. Maybe “hate” is a strong word…cyclists find triathletes humorous, much in the same way that Tiger Woods would find a celebrity golf tournament humorous. It’s condescending, on our one-sported counterparts part, but they have good reason. Cyclists are humored by the fact that triathletes, no matter how slow, will spend every last penny of their offspring’s college fund to boost their power by a watt or two. Cyclists are much more frugal and will let their chain wear to the point that it almost skips off the pavement with every turn of the cranks.

Part of the presentation from Saris highlighted the new Zipp Sub-9 PowerTap Disc. Add in a pair of ceramic bearings and the new PowerTap-enabled Garmin 705 Edge and the whole system will run you about five grand.

“And fat, slow triathletes will buy it,” a not-to-be-named cycling writer chimed in.

He was right and I felt just a little ashamed to be the one guy in the room associated with a group of people who won’t think twice before dropping five grand to drop their Ironman time from 16:49 to 16:42. It’s not all bad though. It’s rare to find a sport with such dedicated people, but there’s a fine line between dedication and unjustifiable obsession and triathletes are sprinting across that line in droves.

I ended the trip with a detour to Chicago to visit some family and eat some seriously unhealthy food, which is harder to come by in my new (and skinnier) home of San Diego. I headed to my favorite BBQ joint with my cousin to pick up some baby backs and coleslaw for my family. We thought raising my Dad’s cholesterol by five points was the perfect way to say “happy Father’s Day”.

We stood in a mile-long line amongst people whose average weight rivaled that of the last finisher at an IronGirl, but right in front of use stood a rail-thin, clean-shaven man in his mid-40s. I have no problem with rail-thin, clean-shaven men in their mid-40s, but the rest of this dude’s features made me want to stick a sharpened pork rib through his heart. The guy was rocking an “IRONMAN FINISHER” cut-off T-shirt, an Ironman Wisconsin visor, compression socks and an M-Dot tattoo on his shoulder. No, I’m not making any of that up.

To anyone who has ever gone out in public looking like this dude: please stop. In the big scheme of things nobody cares about your latest 140.6-mile endeavor – and nobody should care – except yourself. If you’re in this sport just so you can show off to your coworkers and a bunch of fat asses at a BBQ pit that you’re in shape, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Xterra Vendetta vs. Vector Pro X2

Xterra wetsuits has a rather convenient problem when it comes to their top end wetsuits -- they have two. Last year's Vector Pro X2 and the all-new Vendetta are both worthy of garnering "top end" status, so it may be hard to decide between the two. I've always been a fan of Xterra's suits and I've been swimming in them exclusively for the last two seasons. I spent last season racing in the Vector Pro X2 and had some of the best swim results of my career. After doing a few races in the Vendetta this season, here are my thoughts on both suits:


This suit redefines buoyancy. Wrap it around a cinderblock and I'm pretty sure the thing would float. How do they do it? Xterra Wetsuits created what they tagged XterrAir cells throughout the front of the suit, which are essentially tiny air pockets. It makes a noticeable difference. The suit feels ridiculously fast and helps you ride high on the water. I would give it an 8 out of 10 when it comes to flexibility. It's on par with just about any other top-tier suit out there, but it doesn't have quite the same flex as the VProX2.


I've tested at least 20 wetsuits and this is one of the only that achieves a second-skin fit. It's tight where it needs to be and flexible around around the joints (especially the shoulder). The anatomical arm design allows your shoulders to rotate free and the thinner rubber throughout the arms allows you to move you arms through your own most efficient motion. It's not quite as buoyant as the Vendetta, but you wouldn't notice it unless you put the Vendetta on right after swimming in the VProX2.


For me, the Vector Pro X2 is the way to go, but my decision comes with a caveat -- I grew up as a swimmer and I'm very comfortable in the water. I feel that the VProX2 is ideal for triathletes who deem themselves "swimmers" -- you know -- those who routinely swim around 55 minutes at Ironman. The incredible flexibility allows an experienced swimmer to perfectly mimic the stroke that they've spent years dialing in. I like to feel like I'm not wearing a wetsuit and that my stroke isn't inhibited at all.

For those who wouldn't dream of deeming themselves "swimmers" the Vendetta is probably the best bet. If your freestyle looks less like Michael Phelps and more like you're having a seizure in the water, you won't notice a suit that forces you to make minor chances in your not-so-perfect technique. Instead, you'll want to maximize you buoyancy to decrease drag and increase efficiency.

Efficiency is the key word. An experienced swimmer will be most efficient in a suit that allows them to maximize their already-efficient stroke. A less experienced swimmer can become more efficient by reducing drag, which will lower their overall energy expenditure.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wider is better...when it comes to tires

Last week I e-mailed Brett Hahn, Conti's U.S. sales rep, asking about what are the toughest tires on the planet.

"Go with our new 25cc tires," he said.

"F*** that," I replied, "I'll get made fun of at my group rides."

"Just try it," he said, "You'll be glad you did."

Brett is "the man" when it comes to bicycle tires, so I decided to take his word and give the 25cc Conti Gatorskin tires a go.

Turns out the dude knows a thing or ten about how to roll. The above chart explains why 25cc is the way to go much better than I can, but the bottom line is that they eat up the road. Toss a pair on your 1986 steel-frame Bianchi and you'll feel like you have a new carbon frame. And they're tough as nails. I run over empty beer bottles just for fun.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

High altitude and dislocated shoulders suck...

It's not that often that I get to do two races in one weekend. Sure, I had to drive nine hours to get to Show Low, Ariz. for the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival, but I knew it would be worth the trip (and the $4.39/gallon gas). Show Low really isn't much of a town, but then again, I wasn't expecting it to be. It's hard to expect much from a town where the main street is called Deuce of Clubs Boulevard. I coerced my girlfriend into coming along, on the basis that I would go see the "Sex and the City" movie on opening night. Talk about a great way to get amped up for a race.

Race number one was an Olympic-distance affair on Saturday morning. When I woke up on race morning, my adrenaline was still pumping from wondering if Carrie was going to end up with Big...she did. The race went true to form -- great swim, great bike, disaster of a run. I swear my running is getting better but going from zero feet above sea level to 7,000 takes its toll. I managed to go from fifth overall off the bike to 19th at the finish, but I did narrowly hang onto the win in my age group.

Just in case Saturday's 10k wasn't enough of a disaster, there was XTERRA Deuces Wild on Sunday morning. This season I've decided to make XTERRA my focus, but that change of attitude doesn't mean that I can handle a bike any better on tricky surfaces. I love XTERRA because it's hard and dangerous, not because I'm any good at it. Less than two miles into the gnarly Deuces Wild course, I took a spill while heading through a concrete tunnel. I stuck out my left arm to brace my fall against the tunnel wall, which unfortunately for my labrum, shot my shoulder joint out of socket. After about three minutes of screaming like a little girl who just found out that Santa isn't real, I was able to get it back in socket and I was rolling again -- albeit very slowly. I took the rest of the 26-km bike course extremely easy, terrified of causing some more damage to my already-ruined shoulder. I made it to the finish -- with a time and place that I won't place here -- and woke up yesterday morning to realize that there's no way in hell I'm racing Escape from Alcatraz this coming weekend. Maybe it's time to let the body heal a little.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hardcore bike porn...

I got my first tease of the Argon 18 E-114 at Interbike last year and I fell for it -- hard. I immediately told the boys at Argon that I needed to "test" this beast ASAP. By "test", I meant send me a bike to review and then let me keep it for a few months so I can do some races on it. They got me one of the first off the production line this February (Torbjorn got one before me, but I'm not complaining) and for the last few months I've been adding minor bells and whistles. At last I think it's finally done -- enjoy the finished product.

FRAME: 2008 Argon 18 E-114
Group: Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed
Engine: FSA K-Force SL Carbon Cranks with Q-Rings
Wheelset: Zipp 999 (rear), Blackwell 100 (front) with Argyle Wheeltags (
Hydration: Bontrager Speedbottle/Beaker Concepts Hydrotail
Aerobar: Argon 18 AHB5000
Saddle: Argon 18 ARS2000
Power Meter: iBike Aero

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Beer review of the week: MGD Light 64

I've been a Miller guy my entire life -- or at least since I started drinking. Growing up in the Midwest, you're either a Bud guy or a Miller guy. I think Bud, Bud Light, Busch and any other beer made in St. Louis sucks and I'll never dignify any of them with a review in this blog.

However, when I saw a billboard advertising Miller's new 64-calorie version of MGD, I was a little worried. I thought that maybe they had gone too far. There's nothing wrong with cutting a few kcals off of their 110-calorie MGD Light, but what's wrongn with 90, or even 80 -- why go as far as 64. I decided I had to give it a try and I was pleased to learn that San Diego is one of Miller's pilot cities for its new brew. The new, uber-low-calorie beer is available across the Midwest, but other than that, it's only available in San Diego, Sacramento and Phoenix. I grabbed a six-pack at my local BevMo, which cost me $5.99, and went home to begin my "review". Here's what I thought...

Calories: **** It's the lowest calorie beer brewed in the U.S., and one of only two 64-calorie beers available (Beck's Premier Light being the other).

Antioxidants: * With less than 3 carbs and only about 3-percent alcohol, there really isn't much in it, flavinois included.

Refreshment: *** Much more crisp, smooth and refreshing than Beck's PL, it's only other competition in the uber-low-cal beer category.

Taste: *** It can't be easy for a brewmaster to craft a beer this light and I give the man props for pulling it off. If it were up to me, I'd do with MGD Light 64 over Beck's Premier Light everytime.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't enter a race that I'm in...

I'm beginning to think that I'm cursed. Over the past seven years I've competed in 48 triathlons, and as far as I can remember, 47 of them were hot. I don't mean "hot" in the sense that maybe you shouldn't wear long sleeves, I mean "hot" like even a scorpion would bitch about the temperature.

Last Sunday was no exception. I opted to race in XTERRA West Championship in nearby Temecula, Calif., instead of racing in the even-more-nearby Encinitas Sprint Tri. I have a disdain for sprint triathlons, because I don't think one hour of racing is worth one night off of drinking or one morning of waking up super-early.

When I drove out to Temecula for packet pick-up the day before the race, the mercury was hovering around 105 degrees. The weatherman called for a slight cool-off, but knowing my luck, I figured this would be the one time a weatherman in San Diego was wrong.

Turns out he was right, but barely. By the end of my 10k death-march the temps had already broken into triple-digits and it was only 11:30. I finished in about three-and-a-half hours, almost 40 minutes off my XTERRA PR. I was sure that I would be the last of the athletes in my age group to finish, but it turns out everyone else was suffering equally and I managed a somewhat-respectable third-place finish. I didn't pee until nine o'clock that night...I'm not kidding.

The moral of the story is that you should check the start list before any race to see if I'm entered. And if I am, find another race to go to or just take the weekend off.

Props to Rich Cruse for the photo. Yes, that's me leading XTERRA pro Brian Astell. Before you start to think I'm fast, I should warn you that that picture was snapped about 35 seconds after T1 and that would be the last I'd see of Brian, or any other pro, for the entire day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beer Review of the Week: Yuengling Light Lager

I started "actually" drinking around the age of 16, but for the first few years of my road to adolescent alcoholism I stuck to mixed cocktails, because I couldn't stand the taste of beer. Note: I never actually went down this road, but when you spend your sophomore homecoming dance making love to a toilet instead of a your date, there's reason for concern. I drank gin and Sunkist because I thought all beer tasted like ass. Turns out my presumption had nothing to do with beer in general and it was just due to the fact that the only beer my friends bought was Old Style. It wasn't until I had my first Yuengling Lager during my freshman year of college that I realized why God created beer. I even remember shedding a few tears as the first few drops touched my lips.

If you're from west of the Mississippi River or north of the Mason-Dixon line, you've probably never experienced Yuengling. The Pennsylvania-based brewery is clearly very selfish and they only distribute their delicious nectar along the Eastern Seaboard. It's almost impossible to get unless you're within a stone's throw from the Atlantic. However, after a month of trying, the dedicated staff at my local BevMo was able to score me a sixer of Yuengling Lager and another of the Light version. I had never tried the Light variety and I have to admit that I was a little nervous as I opened the first bottle -- could it possibly live up to the standards set by it's big brother? Here's what I thought...

Calories: *** Until I come across a sub-100-calorie Porter, I can't think of a better way to spend 98 calories. It's got a body that rivals any light beer on the market and twice the flavor of a Bud Select (which also has 98 calories).

Antioxidants: ** Nothing to write home about, but then again I don't expect any lager to cure cancer.

Refreshmant: *** I typically stick to ales if I'm looking to quench my thirst after a brick workout, but the "hopiness" of this lager is relatively light and it goes down smooth.

Taste: *** All things considered, it's a great beer. I would've given it four stars, but it's still not quite on par with Yuengling's classic Lager -- and I didn't expect it to be.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ask the Tr-i-diot: Why don't I drink enough water?

In addition to the "critically-acclaimed" weekly beer reviews, I'll also be answering one reader's question each week. What makes me qualified to answer you tri related questions? Absolutely nothing. I have no degree or other framed sheet of paper that says I can speak intelligently about any matter of health, fitness, or life in general, but I have learned a lot about such topics during my endless trial and error sessions -- so maybe I can help.

The first question comes from George, in Tennessee, who sent an inquiry via last week...

"I have kind of a weird problem. I never seem to drink enough water when I'm riding. I know I should and I know it will help prevent cramps and what not, but I just never think to drink when I'm on my bike, unless it's really, really hot. Sometimes my stomach just feels a little off and the thought of even a sip of water repulses me. I need to drink more. Any suggestions?"


You're definitely not alone. I know of a lot of cyclists, myself included, who have had similar problems. Exercise and electrolyte depletion can cause minor stomach pH imbalances, which can often cause minor to severe stomach distress.

I would just jack up the amount of electrolytes you're taking in, either with an electrolyte tab, or try a drink that's loaded with electrolytes (Gatorade Endurance, First Endurance EFS, etc). I go with Hammer Endurolytes on mild-temp days, since they offer a solid balance of all four electrolytes. If the mercury really heats up, I use Succeed S! Caps. Each cap packs about as much sodium as a Stoffer's TV Dinner and they work great when you're pouring sweat.

Hope this helps,


If you'd like to have your question answered send an email to

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Beer review of the week: Paulaner Hefeweissen Light (Hefe-Weissbier Leicht)

Paulaner is a legit German brewery, located in the the beer-guzzling capital of the world, Munich. Light beer is a bit of an anomaly in Munich and brewing a lackluster light beer within the city limits leaves one open to public humiliation, excommunication, and in rare cases, execution. Okay, that last one may be a bit of an exaggeration; but you get the point. Paulaner has pulled it off...sort of. The light version of their renowned Hefeweissen sacrifices almost nothing to it's bigger brother when it comes to taste, but they did strip it of quite a bit of alcohol -- which can be a drawback -- depending on what your motivation is for drinking. It only packs 3.2 percent alcohol, similar to what you'd find in a typical American light lager. Nonetheless, it's one of the only "hefe" beers in the world with under 100 calories (99 to be exact), which is quite an accomplishment for a robust wheat beer. Here's what I thought...

Calories: **** Don't tell Paul (I have to assume that the dude who brews this beer is named Paul) that hefe has to have at least 150 calories.

Antioxidants: ** Hefe gets most of it's flavor from wheat, which doesn't pack as many antioxidants as it's floral counterpart (hops).

Refreshment: *** I find hefeweissens to be among the most refreshing beers in the world. This is a light hefe, so you don't need citrus to cut it (i.e., a lemon wedge).

Taste: *** Amazing for a sub-100-calorie hefe.

The Culp Diet (like Atkins, only more bad-ass)

After exactly one week of trying this whole "low-carb" thing, I'm calling it quits. The verdict is that it simply does not work for a serious athelte -- at least not during the season. I still think it may be a great off-season idea, but testing that hypothesis may have to wait for a few months. It's simply too hard to maintain consistent energy levels with no sugar in your body. My morning workouts didn't seem to suffer much; but I had little motivation and almost no energy for any afternoon workouts. My intensity dwindled to that of a 70-74-year-old age grouper and my body simply wasn't recovering fast enough.

All that being said, I'm not giving up completely. I refuse to go back to the routine of shoveling as many sugars into my gut as possible at all hours of the day. The human body can only process so many carbohydrates, so trying to constantly carb load is not ideal; for both athletes and coach potatoes alike.

For the next week, I'm going to re-introduce carbs to my diet, but I'll attempt to refrain from eating any "starchy" carbs. By "starchy" carbs, I'm referring to bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and any other form of grain. While it may seem like that list encompasses every carb on this planet, it does leave room for fruits and the entire legume family (beans and other things that look like beans). These two varieties of carbs are fortified with a good deal of fiber and therefore should have a minimal effect on my blood sugar, while still provided the energy needed for intense workouts. Of course, whole grains also provide fiber, but devouring half a pot of whole wheat pasta would still cause a tremendous blood sugar spike, as any carb-based meal simply provides too much sugar at one time. Instead of making carbs the base of each meal -- as I've done in the past -- I'll strive to make carbs an accessory to my protein-based meals. I.e., I'll eat a big piece of salmon along with some kidney beans and a piece of fruit.

Keep checking in to see if the next week is any better than the last.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

People in SoCal need to grow some chest hair...

I don't mean to rag on my new home of Southern California, but people out here really need to grow some chest hair...except for the ladies...that'd be disgusting. Here's my problem...

As I headed out for my typical 90-minute morning ride this morning, I noticed a little bit of drizzle coming down. Back in my former Midwestern hometown (shout out to River Forest, Ill.), this kind of drizzle may have passed unnoticed, but in SoCal, it's treated like the Apocalypse. I decided I would actually toss on a pair of half-finger gloves, to keep my hands from sliding off the bars, but other than that my morning plans went completely unchanged. I rolled through UCSD's campus and noticed it was eerily quiet, even for a college at 6 a.m. You'd think a few nerds would be scurrying to the library at that hour.

I coasted down the mile-and-a-half-long hill at Torrey Pines State Reserve and then turned around to begin the first of five hill repeats. I performed my first climb in complete solitude, which any San Diego cyclist can attest to as being a rare occurrence. San Diego is one of the riding capitals of the world and Torrey Pines is where just about every North County athlete logs their hills repeats.

After another 30 minutes of having the hill completely to myself, I caught up with another athlete "suffering" through the "rain".

"This is terrible," the solemn-faced rider remarked.

I silenced the Fall Out Boy that was blasting through my iPod, so I could hear him more clearly.

"It could be worse," I replied as I was reminded of why I hate riding with other people.

"It's days like this that make me want to move to the desert," he said and lowered his face as though the drizzle was stinging his skin.

Yes, that's the solution, I thought. Move to the desert because six inches of rain per year is just too much to take.

That was the only other rider I came across all morning. The scores of triathletes and cyclist who usually line the coast from La Jolla to Oceanside must've been hammering away on their trainers or using the drizzle as an excuse to cancel a workout. Come on SoCal -- grow some chest hair.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Beer review of the week: Beck's Premier Light

I truly hope nobody is reading this blog to learn anything about triathlon. You certainly won't get any smarter by reading this stuff. If you're looking to boost your Tri-IQ, I suggest you navigate over to our Senior Editor's blog ( Consider this more of a lifestyle blog. In keeping with that theme, I've decided to offer up a once-weekly beer review, as I scour the aisles of BevMo in search of the perfect beer for triathletes. What makes a beer perfect for a triathlete? To answer that, I'll be rating each beer on four criteria:

1. Calories (Triathletes have to keep it lean)
2. Antioxidants (More is better)
3. Refreshment (Nothing is better after a hard workout than a cold, refreshing brew)
4. Taste (The last three criteria aside, a beer has to taste good if you want to enjoy it).

Every beer will receive 1-4 stars (*) in each category; one star meaning that it really sucked it up in that category and four stars meaning it kicks serious ass.

To kick things off, the first beer I'm reviewing is Beck's Premier Light; the lowest calorie beer available in the U.S. It may be the most "lean" beer on the planet, but with so many microbrews in Europe, there may be one that's lighter. Beck's PL only has 64 calories, about as much as a shot of vodka, and about 30% less than most light beers. Each bottle contains about 3.9 grams of carbs and only about 3.0% alcohol. Those scant numbers mean that you could drink 50 of them and probably die of hypoatremia instead of alcohol poisoning -- but I can't verify that -- I only had six. Here's how Beck's PL stacked up:

Calories: **** It's hard to top the lightest beer in the country in this category.

Antioxidants: * If you can see clear through the beer, chances are there aren't too many flavnoids floating around.

Refreshment: *** It's pretty much purified water spiked with a little alcohol and hops, which makes it quite refreshing.

Taste: ** I was going to give it only one star, but the taste is actually halfway decent, considering it has about as many calories as two unflavored rice cakes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The cinnamon challenge...Seriously, don't try this at home

Fridays tend to be the most relaxed day of the workweek at Triathlete Magazine and I'm sure it's the same at most offices around the country. Today seemed particularly lax, so myself and Oli, our graphic designer, spent a good bit of the afternoon scouring YouTube for hilarious videos. We stumbled upon a series of videos depicting the "Cinnamon Challenge" and decided someone in our office should give it a try. It's a simple challenge really. All you have to do is swallow an entire tablespoon of ground cinnamon. To get an idea of just how difficult that is, check out this video:

I ran across the street to CVS and picked up a jar of cinnamon and then lobbied the rest of my coworkers to partake in the challenge with me. Much to my surprise, the only person who agreed to do it was our publisher, John Duke. We decided it would be best to attempt the challenge in our parking lot, as many of the YouTube videos concluded with the "actors" puking their guts out.

Both John and I dug our spoons into the 99-cent jar of CVS brand cinnamon and had at it. John only lasted for about 15 seconds, during which time it looked like his head was going to explode. I struggled with the cinnamon drying out every square millimeter of my mouth for about five minutes, but eventually I was able to get it down. My stomach, throat and sinuses have never felt worse. And in case you were wondering, no, cinnamon does not have any carbs.

Getting ripped...sort of

I've been living la vida low carb for three days now and to be totally honest, I really haven't noticed any positive changes (by the way, that picture to the left is definitely not me). My weight is down two pounds, which sounds amazing in such a short period of time, but stripping your body of carbohydrates also strips your body of a ton of water, so I'm attributing the fluctuation to lost water weight. So far, the only change I've noticed has been negative. My energy levels during workouts have taken a noticeable dip and bringing my heart rate over 150 bpm has become a completely futile endeavor. I've considered calling it quits, but giving up on anything after only three days feels like a waste. I remember my first relationship -- I wanted to get out of it after about 12 hours, but I stuck it out for a week. If I could put myself through a week of suffering as a seventh-grader, I think I can handle it now, so I'll stay away from starches for at least four more days.

Aside from feeling completely useless, the other drawback of trying to live sugar-less is the lack of food variety. Today's breakfast consisted of a Jim's PermaLean protein shake, followed two hours later by an EAS Carb Control Bar and a tablespoon of no-sugar-added peanut butter. Note: The only workout I've done today was an easy 5-mile jog before "breakfast". I may get in a 4,000-yard swim later, but it's going to take a lot of green tea to get through that one.

I'll let you know if I make it to day four.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My homemade energy drink: Watch out Red Bull!

The energy drink market has always fascinated me. The gas station down the street from our office has two industrial-sized fridges dedicated entirely to carbonated caffeine. I just walked down the street to take a count -- they have 14 varieties. How the hell can so many companies selling the exact same product survive? They all have an almost-verbatim list of ingredients and more importantly, the active ingredient is the same in each one -- caffeine. The same caffeine you get from coffee, chocolate, or my favorite, green tea.

I actually hate the taste of green tea, but the way I see it, if you want caffeine, green tea is the healthiest way to go. It gives you a pre-workout energy boost and I'm sure it'll pay off somewhere down the road when I don't contract skin cancer after all the hours I spend in the SoCal sun (pounding on wood). Now, many of my fellow employees think that I have serious issues, because a cup of my green tea packs a little more punch than most. I use four bags and steep them for about 10 minutes. While that may seem a bit insane, it still only yields about 150 mg of caffeine, which is less the half the "caff" of a venti cup of startbucks. I find that the "buzz" is rather mild, perfect for a run, and it's more sustainable than the rush delivered by a quadruple-shot espresso. If you've got the stomach for it, I suggest you give it a try. Otherwise, you could head to your local gas station and pay $3.50 for some crazy energy drink with a skull and chainsaw on the can -- it's up to you. My "energy drink" costs me about 12 cents a serving.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The first question I'll attempt to answer with this blog is whether or not a low-carb diet can work for serious endurance athletes. I know, all you know-it-alls out there are screaming, "hell no!" at your computers right now. I have a few reasons for believing that low-carb may be the way to go for endurance athletes eager to drop a few:

1. Endurance training is done at a relatively low intensity. Even if you feel you're going hard, you're likely nowhere near your maximum effort. At lower intensities, the human body will call on fat for energy and doesn't actually need carbohydrates. Most of my swimming and biking is done with my heart rate at 120-140 bpm, while running is done between 150-170 bpm. Now, I'm a little worried that my running performance will seriously suffer, because at 170 bpm I should get about 65% of my energy carbs and without many (if any) in my system, it'll likely be impossible to maintain my intensity. But I guess we'll find out!

2. Believe it or not, I feel it's harder for serious athletes to lose weight than the average Joe or Jane. When I'm taking a "rest" period at the end of a season, my appetite drops dramatically and I have no problem achieving a calorie deficit. However, when my training is ramped up to 2-4 hours per day, my stomach becomes a furnace and I end up eating upwards of 4,000 calories per day. Cutting out one out of the three major nutrients (carbs, fat, protein) will inevitably make your daily caloric intake plummet.

3. While high-quality carbs (whole grains, beans, etc) have a negligible effect on blood sugar, most carbs tend to mess with it -- especially sugar and "white" starches. Maintaining steady blood sugar levels has been proven to steady one's metabolism, which can trim an extra 300-500 calories per day.

So today marks day one of my carb neglect. I weighed in this morning at 168 lbs., about three pounds heavier than I was at Ironman Florida last season (my lowest race weight of the year). So far I've survived the day on five egg whites, one whole egg, an EAS Advantage Carb Control Bar (2 grams of net carbs) and lunch consisted of a chicken skewer and cabbage salad. I managed a 25-mile, low intensity ride this morning and I'll get in another 18-mile ride this evening. I'll let you know how it goes.

Here it goes again...

In case any of you have been following my blogging "career" regularly, you may be a little annoyed by now. This is my third attempt at managing a regular blog and I promise it'll be my last. My original blog, "Brad Culp Triathlon Chornicles", was a little too Disneylandish for my own taste and my second go around, "Brad Culp's Tri Travels", started with a bang (at least in my own head), but has since fizzled. Even though I feel like I travel a ton, traveling every other week doesn't create enough of a need for a travel blog. So this is it.

At the advice of some of my friends, I have created a blog dedicated to doing the extraordinary dumb. I have built a reputation around the Triathlete Magazine office for being a guinea pig of sorts, in that I'll try any absurd supplement or training plan that gets sent to us. If there's a new fad diet out there, you can bet your ass that I'll be the first to try it. Sometimes it's because I think it'll actually work, but most of the time I just want to demonstrate how ridiculous many of these "get in the best shape of your life" claims are.

So check back frequently to get the 4-1-1 on what not to do. And if for some strange reason some of this stuff actually works, I'll be the first to let you know. To start off, in the coming weeks, I'll be putting myself through the horrors of a cleanse diet, a low-carb program for serious athletes and a gut-wrenching homemade condensed-green tea energy drink. Enjoy!