Except for a year and half of rugby in high school, I’ve always gravitated toward more-or-less individual sports—skateboarding, running, martial arts, and, in recent years, triathlon. My default sphere of comfort and control extends a couple feet away from my body. I have few close friends, I tend to think of myself as self-reliant, I’ve been called solitary, distant, intense (appellations over which I exercise a certain degree of romantic pride, though in reality it’s dysfunctional and likely the product of an emotional diet of Cap’n Crunch during my formative years).
And as I say, so it is with sports. I prefer to hold the controls. Even in triathlon, if I have a mis-shift on the bike, the fear it potentially signals something more sinister is about to happen often makes me think, ‘Fuck I can’t wait until I’m off this untrustworthy p.o.s. and in my running shoes.’ Smaller sphere of control, right? Continue reading “Confederation 150 Relay”
Since early Friday I’ve been following this race on Instagram with envy and awe. THE SPEED PROJECT 3.0 is a running relay from Santa Monica to Las Vegas. 20 relay teams set out early yesterday morning, with the finish line, the infamous Las Vegas sign, 340 miles of scorching asphalt and desert away.
Scott Carmichael, a former colleague of mine at my triathlon club in Calgary, found his dream job with Strava in San Francisco a couple years ago, and he’s one of six runners on Team Strava this weekend. As of this post they’re duking it out with one other team for second place, and within hours they’ll be hitting that sign and then hitting the town (or a pillow).
As far as bucket-list items involving giant RVs go, this beats Burning Man by a desert mile.
The first “Iron-Man” triathlon was held 39 years ago today, on the island of Oahu, conceived from a debate regarding who were the fittest athletes: runners, swimmers, or cyclists.
The first modern triathlon actually occurred a few years earlier in California — modern because there are documented instances of tri-sport events in France as far back as the early 20th century — but it was diminutive in comparison to the goliath distances proposed for that first Hawai’i race: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run, so chosen because the race essentially combined three long-distance events already on the island.
Those ambitious distances have become the standard for “iron distance” races today, including those under the ubiquitous Ironman brand (owned by World Triathlon Corporation), as well as other organizations who put on iron distance events (e.g., Challenge Triathlon). Continue reading “The Iron-Man”
When I was in high school, my Mom and Stepdad decided to try their entrepreneurial hand in Dallas, Texas, which left me and our hapless German Shepherd Freeway alone in a large house in Coach Hill. Sensing imminent mischief, my folks asked my older brother Jim to move into the house while they were in the U.S.
This was good timing, as Jimmy was making life adjustments after coming out of a relationship, and, as typically happens after coming out of a relationship, he was entering that raw period of uncertain freedom and growth, where one sheds the carapace of the past and emerges, naked, into a novel world of self-reclamation and discovery. Continue reading “Jimmy”
This happened a few years’ back and I never got around to writing about it. But, since it’s kind of an interesting story, if you’ve got a few minutes to kill, take a read.
In early 2011, I flew to Roatan, just off the coast of Honduras, for a dive trip. Al, my first dive instructor, organizes trips like these occasionally, and I went down by myself and met up with about 20 other folks, all from Calgary. A few of them were dive masters, and a few others (including me), had around 20 or so dives, and had a decent feel for the water. And rounding out the group were a number of brand new students doing their open-water certification.
We stayed at a small resort on the east end of the island, and on the very first dive of the very first day, part of the group set out on the resort’s boat, the “Miss Katie”, a modest, utilitarian vessel, just big enough to accommodate around a dozen divers. I was on that boat with my dive partner Clint, along with Al who was certifying all the new students. Continue reading “The Wreck of the Miss Katie”
The first time I attempted Haleakala was in 2013, and I got turned around at the park gates (roughly 7,500 feet) because of the U.S. federal government shutdown.
Second time was almost exactly one year ago, and I was successful.
Third time was this past January — also successful — and I shaved 90 minutes off my previous time. It was a glorious, challenging climb, and an exhilarating, swift descent. Here’s the viz from that day.