Saturday, August 1, 2009

2009 Full Vineman Triathlon & Barb's Race

Dave Latourette, me, and Kevin Buchholz at Vineman Reception on Thursday. Kevin's the only one racing, but Dave and I reliving old war stories on the FVM course.

2009 marked the 20th edition of the Full Vineman. That means it marks my 7th year at the event, in some capacity--either as volunteer, competitor in the full, mobile bike support on the course, competitor in the relay, and now, as a coach of Full and Barb's race athletes. Whew! Seven years. Always the positive experience, FVM represents the culmination of my summer vaca and the start of another school year. Since the run course and the race finish resides in the neighborhood of my school district, FVM's a great way to begin the process of reconnecting with people since I live 11mi due south in Santa Rosa. Before the teacher reenters the classroom though, the coach was out on the course following the progress of three athletes and their solid A+ performances.

Rod Matteri participated in a quasi-Aquabike (swim/bike), Doug Wilson nailed a perfectly executed race plan to finish 50min under his established 12hr time goal, and Tiffney Crumby Beckloff ran her very first half-marathon in the Barb's Triathlon Relay. I witnessed their performances first-hand and they all did themselves proud out there, to be certain. Being so terribly(?) focused on my own previous performances as an triathlete, I do marvel at the significant awe-inspiration I glean from observing these athletes push to their own finish lines. Curiously, I found myself feeling as elated after they were done as if I had raced myself. And not simply because they managed to finish, safely and in one piece (it's always a relief though!). Moreover, I recognize that the event whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. It was a great day out there yesterday. You just gotta love it when the weatherman dishes up a plate of ideal triathlon conditions! Great day for us on the sidelines too.

Jamming to some sweet tunes on 97.7 BOB FM on the way out to the Johnson's Beach swim-start at o'dark 30, I was in a happy mood, and not just 'cause I wasn't going to have to swim this day. FVM' like a family reunion of sorts. Time to catch up with the folks.

Doug Wilson & Rod Matteri. The more these boys train the younger they get. I work with a lot of students. These are two of the hungriest learners I know. And they say, the more you know, the less you fear...

Rod was in-n-out of the water and tore of the bike course yesterday all for the sake of learning, that is, gaining experience with the 2.4mi Ironman swim and the 112mi Ironman bike ride. Racing is the best training. No doubt, it's tough on all of us to pay our dues on our ascent to established goals. Rod's climbing toward a personal best performance at Ironman Coeur d'Alene in June 2010; one rung at a time.

Doug Wilson has a Point Positive attitude on the run. All the hard work paid off--Big.

FVM is a 3-loop marathon. This is Doug at the final turnaround on his way back to the finish. Oh sweet finish line, I'm ready for this day to be done.

Doug moved through the aid stations methodically--he anticipated his needs coming in, got some fuel down, and boom, he was pounding pavement again--strong and determined.

Doug Wilson cruising to his truly impressive 11:11 finish. Our wish that it would all come together was realized. Doug fixed a flat at the start of the bike and averted catastrophe at a later bike crash, where he stopped and assisted the rattled riders back into the race. Instant karma's gonna getcha!

Tiffney Crumby Beckloff would wait a while before her Barb's race team-mate, Renee, would emerge from the Russian River. She would then wait some more while the Ren, the powerful cyclist, would ride a sub-3 on the challenging Vineman bike course, before arriving at the bike-to-run transition. And then, after all that waiting, Tiff would have the greatest challenge of her day--mustering up the will to properly pace the opening miles of her first half-marathon.

I make every attempt to hammer home the importance of fundamentals, in training and racing. It was refreshing (like a cup of cold Gatorade on the Vineman run course) to see my athletes so focused on these fundamental but all-to-critical elements of endurance racing success.

Congratulations to both Renee and Tiffney for racing their hearts out yesterday. Like myself after a race, I hope they are as proud of any and all resulting soreness.

Tiffney's P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E attitude in training, and still super positive for well over half her run yesterday, gave her the momentum to run tough the second half of her 13.1 when she was in personal unchartered territory. Welcome to the next level Tiff!

Friend and owner of Echelon Bike & Multisport, Kevin Buchholz, top-10'd out there yesterday. The "3rd lap monkey" is off his back. Launching a successful tri store has taken its toll on Kevin's available time to train, making his 10hour effort all the more impressive.

Postrace, Kevin doesn't disappoint for friends and family in attendance. Well done.

Amanda with Ironman Couer d'Alene finisher, Kim Lydon, fondly known as "Nurse Lydon."

Mike Skaggs on the marathon.

Mike at finish with his boys; my former 6th grade students. Mike was solid and grinning every time I saw him out there on the run course yesterday.

Greg & Julie Yaeger at the beach.

Greg with yet another one of my former students. I don't know if my life is ever more fully integrated than when at the Full Vineman. Good stuff.

The ol' 2005 Lemond. My trusty steed for several years now, was my vehicle of choice yesterday on the run course. It also carried me to my first century ride in two years last Monday. Riding again and rolling through yet another Full Vineman naturally stirs up some nostalgia for racing this important event. It's easy to get excited about. I'll have to wait an see. Maybe in 2011...

Life is all about connections. The more experiences we have, the more we may connect and more fully understand things. Thus, my friends, we follow our hearts not unlike running on a piece of single-track in the forest, until of course, we come to that inevitable fork. We choose one (preferably an ascent!) and follow that for a while just because it feels right (and/or Frost and Shakespeare wrote it would make a difference). I'm thinking of the Wendell Johnson quote, "'Always' and 'never' are two words you should always remember never to use." Catch my drift?

Ultra-running legend, Tim Twietmeyer, (, graced the FVM course with his indomitable presence yesterday. Rumor has it, at 50 years young, he's embracing a new challenge with triathlon, and may be making an appearance in Kona this fall. I respect that--applying one's talents to new and exciting challenges and cultivating new skills to meet those challenges. When I say, "Stay in the flow," I'm really saying, "Work for your happiness" or even "Change your tune when you're tired of whistling that same old song, and make sure, for your own sake, that you're really getting what you most want from this crazy life." We must stretch ourselves in new ways, year after painstaking year. Therefore, staying in the flow, regardless of the human endeavor, requires sometimes hard, but consistent, and even athletic effort. Our growth must be just a series of our thoughtful decisions toward that end.

Enough jabbering.

Congratulations to ALL the Full Vineman and Barb's Race competitors! I saw so many people out there yesterday and it was thrilling to watch you all in the flow of it.