The Wreck of the Miss Katie


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”

In Search of the Real Lounge Scene – And My Father

(Somewhat dated article about my Dad, originally published in cameo magazine.)

When my father passed away, I was on the road between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, travelling in the entrepreneurial wake of my mother and stepfather. Up to this time I had lived in Calgary with my father for seven years, but when it became evident that the Cancer had mined its way through his entire body, it was necessary for me to join my mother in Philadelphia. The lifestyle was different — less predictable — and soon after we moved to L.A.. They told me his fate in Santa Barbara.

Because circumstance supplanted my environment, and because I needed to re-acquaint myself with my mother, the memory of my father eventually dwindled to a few nostalgic strands of sentiment. I went for years without even seeing a photograph of the man. Psychologists? Not then.

Continue reading “In Search of the Real Lounge Scene – And My Father”

My Missoula Trip: leaning the bike and forced zen.

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LAST SEPTEMBER I took a motorcycle trip to Montana.  The trip was set in motion by a couple of friends from work who ride bikes, and they’re particularly fond of one stretch of road just outside Missoula.  They left on the Wednesday, and I, still not committed to going at that point, said I’d try to make it out on the Thursday or Friday.  Between lots of races in June and July, and between spending most of the summer in Kelowna with my Mom, I hadn’t had a single weekend to myself.

Indeed, the bike trip sounded kind of exhausting.  While Jim and Andrew could put their bikes in the back of Jim’s truck and drive to Missoula, I would have to ride my bike down on my own, and back again.  So, I kind of wanted to stay in Calgary and just do nothing for a change.  But, with summer winding down, and the fact I really hadn’t spent much time on the new bike, and the fact I think part of me just needed to get away from everything, I decided late on the Thursday night that I would go.

Continue reading “My Missoula Trip: leaning the bike and forced zen.”

2011 Race Reflections

“You’re the laziest athlete I know,” my friend Ryan often quips, and in certain respects, he’s right (e.g., I’d rather drive to Cowtown Beef Shack at lunchtime than walk the 700 yards).  And whereas I should have been writing race reports after every race, just like my coach tells me to, it’s now mid-October and I’ve managed only one report all season.

So for the benefit of the one or two people who might read this, allow me to indulge in a little stream-of-consciousness reporting, to try to make sense of this year.  It’s been a curious year, this—though, come to think of it, not as curious as 2010, but high up on the scale nonetheless—and I’ve been acquiring mental post-it notes along the way, but I haven’t yet tried to assemble them so as to come up with a coherent narrative.

For what it’s worth, I know where it starts.  It starts where every good narrative starts:  the breakup.

Continue reading “2011 Race Reflections”

Ironman Canada 2010 (my first)

photo19It was in the early 80’s when I first got the idea in my head that, someday, I’d like to do an Ironman. Triathlon was relatively new back then, the first “Ironman” having been held in Hawai’I in 1978. I had loved endurance running probably from the age of 8, and back then the thought of someday doing just a marathon seemed, to me, the ultimate endurance event. Then I caught TV coverage of one of the Hawaiian Ironmans, and immediately it garnered top billing on my—excuse the cliché—“bucket list”, the ne plus ultra of (what I thought at the time to be “purely”) physical achievement.

Over the years I got caught up in different things—martial arts, mountain biking, girls, drinking (heh)—but I never completely forgot about this goal, and whenever, perchance, I happened upon some triathlon event while channel surfing, I was glued. Continue reading “Ironman Canada 2010 (my first)”

Calgary 70.3 2009

The last ten seconds of the race—when the finish line came into view, the crowd started to cheer, and I began to sprint—made it all worth it. If I could somehow unpack the elation, the feeling of invincibility, the Las Vegas style lightshow of neuro-chemical activity contained in those last 10 seconds, I could easily spread it out over every training session during the last year. And I’m pretty sure it’s registered on some sub-conscious level, because thoughts of future training and future events keep bubbling to the surface. Your body craves more.

Continue reading “Calgary 70.3 2009”

On Commitment

Early last year, a client gave me a small plaque with a quote on it. The quote, from Scottish mountain climber W.H. Murray, reads thusly:

This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I’ve pondered the significance of this quote many times since. This notion of commitment, this idea that it engages some universal system of levers and pulleys, I find endearing, and apropos my circumstances.

I decided to run the Calgary Ironman 70.3 triathlon last August. However, I hadn’t really “committed” at that point. Sure, I had mentioned it in passing to a few people at my firm, and I had exchanged emails with certain Tri-Club staff regarding classes, but at that point there was no focus, and I could have easily dropped the whole thing. In fact, I almost did. Continue reading “On Commitment”