The new Generation of Colombian cyclists

After some really empty years, Colombian road cycling is finally coming back internationally. They are being signed as ProTeam riders or as Professional Continental in European teams.

Some are in Continental teams in the US and Asia and in 2012 there will be 4 Contintental teams out of Colombia (Movistar Continental, Une-EPM, Coldeportes Nacional, Governacion de Antioquia) .

Many of you saw the Colombian teams for the first time at the Tour of Utah & the US Pro Cycling Championship in 2011. Some of you saw them in Italian races throughout the year. I will catch up the rest :)

This is the best time EVER in Colombian cycling. I say better because even in the heyday of Lucho Herrera and Fabio Parra, Colombian representation in Cycling was through two amateur teams (that were almost all Colombian) invited for a few years to the Grand Tours until they fell apart (Cafe de Colombia & Manzana Postobon).

For 2012, there are 11 riders that will be riding in Europe including 7 under 25 years old. In top of that, there are at least 3 more that will most likely be transition there in the next few years. That’s not even counting the Pro Continental teams and “Farm” continental teams (ColDeportes Nacional is planning one, Colombia es Pasion is the other).
Colombian cycling is being built (finally) as a long-term goal. Results have been amazing.

The GiroBio, aka Baby Giro, is a multi-stage race that showcases the up and coming riders. Colombians came in 1st in 2009, came in 1st and 2nd in 2010 and 2nd in 2011 (after most Colombians were not able to participate due to visa problems).
The Tour L’Avenir, or Tour of the Future, is the other race, affiliated with the Tour de France, that also showcases up and coming riders. Colombians won in 2010 and in 2011.

I give a quick summary of 11 riders here, as well listing 6 more to watch for and another Colombian cyclist that will be the main talk of London 2012.

*note: all pictures were found on the internet, Most from either www.cyclingnews.com or www.revistamundociclistico.com.   Great sites to visit daily

 The riders are:


Mauricio Ardila, 32, Geox-TMC


Full name: Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano
Born: Yarumal, Antioquia
DOB: May 12, 1979 (32 years old)
Team: Geox-TMC
Professional since: 2002

His Palmares include the Tour of Britain overall, but the last 5 years he has been a domestique working with Dennis Menchov, first at Rabobank and then coming to Geox-TMC when Menchov made the jump
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Jose Serpa, 32, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli

Full name: José Rodolfo Serpa Pérez
Born: Corozal, Sucre
DOB: April 17, 1979 (32 years old)
Team: Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
Professional Since: 2006

Jose Serpa has been riding for the same team since turning pro in 2006 (5 years as a pro). His team is a pro continental team, so they rely on invitations to protour races, like the Giro D’Italia. The team has a south American flavor, containing 4 Venezuelans, including Jose Rujano. The team was based out of Colombia mostly known as Selle-Italia until 2006, then Venezuela for 2 years and now in Italy since 2010.

Jose Serpa has been blazing the continental races, being in the podium like 8 or 9 times in 2011, including a streak of 6 2nd place finishes early in the year. He is always a contender in the Tour de San Luis (Argentina) coming in as 4th, 3rd and 2nd the last two years. He won the Tour de Langkawi (Malaysia) in 2009.

Because of his team, he tend only to ride the Giro d’Italia, finishing in 5 of them, the highest was 13th in 2009
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Leonardo Duque, 31, Cofidis

Full name: Leonardo Fabio Duque
Born: Cali, Valle del Cauca
DOB: April 10, 1980 (31 years old)
Professional since: 2004

Leonardo Duque is a special type of Colombian rider. He can hold his own while climbing, but not as good as the other pure Colombian climbers. He is a sprinter and has won most aggressive rider at the Tour de France already. In 2010 he won the French Cup (most points in France). This is mostly won by French nationals. The last two non-french winners? Thor Hushovd in 2004 and Philippe Gilbert in 2005

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Mauricio Soler, 28, Movistar

Full name: Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez
Born: Ramiriqui, Boyaca
DOB: Jan 14, 1983
Team: Movistar
Professional Since: 2006

Mauricio Soler was (and may still be) the best Colombian cyclist right now. His issue has been injuries and bad luck (and a reputation for being an erratic rider). While he has shined SO much, he has also been hurt many times. In June 16th, 2011, he was leading the Tour of Switzerland and looked to be back to finally be a contender for the Tour de France. Then he got in a major accident. Coma, broken bones, cracked cranium, collapsed lung, etc… He was transferred from Switzerland to Spain after he came out of a 3 week long coma and is planning to be transferred to Colombia once the team of doctors feels he is safe enough to do so. On October 14th, he was finally discharged from the Hospital. His wife is with him in Spain, but neither has spent too much time with their newborn baby who is waiting for them back in Colombia. His best result was in 2007. 13th overall in the Tour de France, he won the best Climber (Polka-Dot) Jersey that year and came 2nd to Alberto Contador in the Youth jersey.

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Fabio Duarte, 25, Geox-TMC

Full name: Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo
Born: Facatativa, Colombia
DOB: June 11, 1986
Team:Geox-TMC
Professional since: 2007

Fabio Duarte is a very exciting racer. He is a great climber, but also likes to go on breakaways. He is very well rounded and has the potential to be one of the best GC riders from Colombia. He was the 2008 U23 World champion and is on the same team with Ardila, Menchov and (Now retired) Carlos Sastre. Love watching this guy race. He always seems to finish on top. Always tries to attack. Along with Uran, possible GC riders in the future.

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Rigoberto Urán. 24, Sky

Full name: Rigoberto Urán Urán
Born: Urrao, Colombia
DOB: Jan 26, 1987 (24 years old)
Team: Sky ProCycling
Professional since: 2006 (He was 19!).

His Palmares include some amazing results in tough races (2nd at and 5th at Volta a Catalunya, 3rd at Giro di Lombardia, 7th and 9th Tour de Suisse, etc.)

This year he has been on the podium at Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, Giro Dell’Emilia as well as holding the white jersey at the Tour de France for 3 stages (and being the protected rider for Sky once Wiggins dropped out due to injury).

My favorite for the white jersey (TDF 2012)

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Cayetano Sarmiento, 24, Liquigas-Cannondale

Full name: Jose Cayetano Sarmiento Tunarrossa
Born: Aracabuco, Boyaca
DOB: March 28, 1987
Team: Acqua & Sapone (For Liquigas-Cannondale 2012)
Professional since: 2007

Cayetano Sarmiento has been riding in Italy for a few years. He won the GiroBio (or baby Giro) in 2009 and has already participated in 2 Giro de Italia. Most likely being groomed as a domestique for Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, Cayetano has shown that he can do well in stage races.

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Sergio Luis Henao, 23, Sky

Full name: Sergio Luis Henao Montoya
Born: Rionegro, Antioquia
DOB: December 10, 1987 (23)
Team: Gobernacion Indeportes de Antioquia (For Sky ProCycling in 2012)
Professional since: 2007

Most people got to know Sergio Henao when he won the prologue at the Tour of Utah and eventually coming second to Levi Leipheimer overall at the same Tour.

Sergio won the overall in 2008 for the U23 Vuelta a Colombia and won the Vuelta a Colombia in 2010.

This guy is going to be great at Sky, helping out Uran in protecting Bradley Wiggings at the Tour de France while going for the wins in one day races. The Vuelta a Colombia is an extremely hard race, so he has also shown he can perform well in stage races.

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Winner Anacona,23,Lampre-ISD

Full name: Winner Andrew Anacona Gomez
Born: Bogota
DOB: August 11, 1988
Team: Caparrini-Le Village-Vibert Italia (For Lampre-ISD 2012)
Professional since: 2008

Winner has been doing phenomenal in Italy this year being in the podium 15 times including 6 wins. While most of the Colombians were not allowed to go to the the Girobio in 2011 (Visa problems…right) and jeopardize the streak of winning the “Baby Giro” (Carlos Betancourt won in 2010 and Cayenato Sarmiento won in 2009), Winner went with his team and came in second (as Edward Beltran, another Colombian did in 2010). He will be with Lampre-ISD next year. Lampre has a lot of great riders, with Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Petacchi, so here is to a successful 2012 with Winner supporting them.

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Carlos Betancourt,22,Aqua & Sapone

Fullname:Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez
Born: Bolivar, Antioquia
DOB: October 13, 1989 (22 years old)
Professional since: 2011
Team: Aqua & Sapone

Carlos Betancourt palmares include 2nd U23 UCI world championship 2009, won the GiroBio in 2010.

More recently, he won the Giro dell’Emilia on Oct 8, 2011, a tough Italian race considered a preview of the Tour of Lombardia, the classic that ends the cycling season. Uran came in 3rd on that race, btw, just losing 2nd at the line. He also participated on the Giro D’Italia in 2011 finishing 59th overall

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Nairo Quintana, 21, Movistar

Full name: Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas
Born: Combita, Boyaca
DOB: February 4th, 1990 (21 years old)
Team: Colombia Es Pasion (For Movistar in 2012)
Professional since: 2010

Nairo is another up and coming Colombian racer. He won the 2010 Tour de L’Avenir (Tour of the Future or better known as the future stars of the Tour de France). He has already shown aspirations by winning the mountain jersey in the Volta a Catalunya in 2011. He will be joining Movistar, hopefully with Soler next year.

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More to watch:

  • Miguel Angel Rubiano,Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli for 2012(Italy) 27,Winner of Tour de Hokkaido 2011
  • Rafael Infantino, EPM-Une (Colombia),27, Winner of Clasico RCN 2011, 6th at US Pro Tour
  • Jhoan Esteban Chavez, Coldeportes Nacional (Colombia) for 2012,21, Winner of Tour l’Avenir 2011
  • Edwin Avila, 21,Winner of 2011 UCI Track Points Championship
  • Giovanny Baez, EPM-Une (Colombia),30, Winner of Vuelta a Colombia 2009
  • Janier Acevedo,Gobernacion Coldeportes de Antioquia,25, Winner of Vuelta a Costa Rica 2009
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    Olympics

    Another notable Colombia rider is even younger. just turn 20 years old.  2011 UCI World Champion in BMX.  2011 Rider of the year as well.  Her name is Mariana Pajon.   She is Colombia’s best change at a medal in cycling in the 2012 Olympics.   Phenomenal rider


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    Gran Fondo New York 2011

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    My Triathlon bike: 2009 Trek Equinox

    I took some pictures showing more details on the home built Trek Equinox.  Mixed of components (Cervélo, Williams, fizik, Multiple Shimano families and VisionTech)

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    My World cup 2010 predictions

    In continuing my tradition in putting meaningless blogs that only two people read, here are my predictions for the 2010 world cup:

    Group A: 1 place France, 2nd place Mexico
    Group B: 1 place Argentina, 2nd place Korea, Nigeria Upset knocked out
    Group C: 1st place USA, 2nd place England
    Group D: 1st place Germany, 2nd Place Ghana
    Group E: 1st Place Cameroon, 2nd Place Holland
    Group F: First Place Italy, 2nd Place Slovakia, Paraguay upset knocked out
    Gruop G: 1st Place Brazil, 2nd Place, Portugal
    Group H: 1st place, Spain, 2nd Place Switzerland.  Chile upset knocked out.
    Round 16:
    France vs Korea, France Wins
    USA vs Ghana, Ghana Wins on penalties, upset

    Cameroon vs Slovakia. Slovakia wins
    Brazil vs Switzerland, Brazil wins on penalties
    Argentina vs Mexico.  Argentina
    Germany vs England.   Germany

    Italy vs Holland.  Holland
    Spain Portugal.   Spain

    Round 8
    France vs Ghana.   France
    Slovkia vs Brazil   Brazil

    Argentina vs Germany.   Argentina
    Holland vs Spain.   Holland
    Round 4
    France vs Brazil.   Brazil

    Argentina vs Holland.  Argentina
    Finals

    Brazil vs Argentina.   Argentina

    3rd place

    France  vs Holland.  Holland

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    The week of Miranda Lucia Ospina & my driving madness

    Born on November 12, 2008 at 4:55 AM EST at NYU Medical Center.

    Weight: 7lbs 6 oz

    Height: 20″

    The most important thing that happened, was obviously the birth of my daughter.  We had a planned c-section for Wednesday morning, so following tradition, Crystal went into labor the night before.  We left the house at 1:15 AM EST.  Made it to Manhattan at 1:42 AM EST.  Not bad at all.

    You get to learn a lot about doctors and their procedures after being through 4 cesarian operations.

    With Christopher, I got to watch the whole thing, even video tape the operation.  I remember commenting how nice my wife’s stomach was and how she really had no fat.  I sincerely enjoy watching operations and don’t get sick. Maybe in another life I’ll be a surgeon.  Crystal doesn’t like comments during operations, by the way.

    With Liliana, Dr. Martes, an amazing Doctor, played spanish music through the procedure.  She was really cool.  We talked about the artists playing while she operated.  Very good doctor, but she retired :(

    The next two operations were more and more strict.  With this last one, Dr. Cheon, which delivered Johnny, came late, so her partner, Dr. Bendetto started the procedure.  She is a very strict Italian lady.   I got yelled at by her every time I took a peek at the procedure.   “Sit Down!”.   “You cannot look over the sheet!”.   I guess someone must have fainted before.

    The funny thing is that I was really relaxed.  I had a great conversation with the anesthesiologist.  Me, being the king of useless information, wanted a Doctor’s opinion about one of the many mysteries in life.   I’ll admit that I had some background on the topic, but wanted to see his point of view.  We even took a survey in the O.R. about what people thought.  My wife didn’t like it.

    The topic: Why do men have nipples?

    Miranda was born at 4:55 AM, 1 minute after Johnathan 18 months earlier.  I stayed with Crystal and Miranda until I had to leave, which was 11pm.   At this point, I was very happy, but very tired.   This is when my driving madness started.

    Falling asleep on the wheel is no joke.   I hate it when I have to drive tired, but in this case, I have to do it.   I live on the west end of Nassau County, Long Island.   I usually drive through the midtown tunnel out of Manhattan, take the Long Island Expressway and either take the Van Wick to the Belt Parkway or take the LIE to the Cross Island.  Both of these routes end up at the same spot, which is the Southern State Parkway.

    1st Night’s choice: Van Wick to Belt.  Bad Choice.

    While getting almost at the end of the Belt, where it splits into the Cross Island North Bound and the Southern State East bound I was starting to lose it.   If only something would wake me up.

    At the Francis Lewis exit, two cop cars speeded though and PARKED perpendicular to the parkway.  I had to slam on my brakes along with everyone around me.   A third cop car came and blocked the whole parkway, east bound.  WTF? I thought.  I wasn’t thinking at this point.  It didn’t dawn on me how peculiar this was, only annoyed that I couldn’t get home to sleep.   The cops get out, one hand making the universal sign to stop, the other PULLING THEIR GUNS OUT.  “Holy Shit, High School all over again” I thought.   The cops seemed to be flanking my car.   Another cop car, out of the exit, gets on the grass median to my right.  I’m frozen at this point.  Then, a cop looks at me and stands next to my door, which I’m assuming he is going to open and throw me out.  I’m thinking I must have hit someone and slept though it.   Unlikely, but possible.  I must have done something wrong here..  The cop on my right side is doing his impression of a short stop just after a pitch is thrown..back and forth on his heals, side to side.  They are all looking behind me.   A madmen has a gun and is running on the parkway behind me, I figure.   I’m getting shot from behind.  Way to DIE on the day your daughter is born, I thought.  I look at my rear view mirror and see a black SUV speeding through the left side of the parkway, on the side of the parked cars, sparks coming from the left side while hitting the divider.   That’s what this is about.  A road block and I’m on front.  I wish I had a camera, I think.  I have an HD camera next to me, but I’m still too frozen to move and too tired to remember.   As the SUV goes by, I see three people inside.   One cop SHOOTS THE TIRES OUT!  RIGHT NEXT TO ME!.  Car keeps on going.  All the cops run back inside their cars.  About 30 troopers and a helicopter are chasing this guy.   Unmarked cars with cop lights are all over the place.   Not sure how they got around all the traffic, but they did.    At this point, I notice that the Parkway is still blocked, but the exit next to me isn’t.  I throw the car in reverse, and get off the exit, following a cop car.  I gotta get the hell out of here, I figure.   Brookville is the street parallel to the Belt.  While I try to plan how to get home from here (Merrick Road), I wait for the green light.  I look to my right, empty..I look to my left…looks like a LOT of cop cars coming towards me.   I stay put, don’t cross the light.   As I look closer, A FUQN SUV with sparks coming from it is COMING RIGHT AT ME! The guy must have gotten off, doubled back via Brookville and is going back to Queens.  The SUV goes right in front of me.  No tires on the rear, just rims.  Sparks flying like when someone is welding iron.  Troopers next to me, on both sides..troopers on the other side of the street.   My car is litup completely by the helicopter.  SUV keeps on going..100s of cops right behind it.  Holy SHIT! Why didn’t I grab my camera?   

    After about 5 minutes, I finally have the nerve to be the first car to go…one right, next left, on my way home.   I tried calling 1010wins.   I have my iPhone and I’m trying to look it up.   Have to tell them what I saw! couldn’t find their number.    I get home, completely wired, which made it easier to fall asleep.
    I get up early, turn the news on, look at the internet, looking for news on this event.  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!.   WTF?  is this not news in NYC? I guess not. 

    Next day, stay with my wife and daughter at the hospital.

    2st Night’s choice home: Cross Island to Southern State.  Bad Choice.

    Droggy as hell..rainy.  Nothing too bad until I get to the loop to Southern State.  I’m drowsy, closing my eyes.   Open my eyes. 3 Car pile up!  I slam my brakes, hydroplane towards the barrier.  I’m honking my horn so the people behind me brake and won’t hit me.  Just barely hit the barrier.   In a blind curve between two Highways.  Just great.   Two cars on the right lane are stopped, looks like a fender bender.  3 car pile up on my lane, the left lane.   Little civic comes in handy, after 13 years, still holding strong.  Go around the cars, get on the Southern State…make it home.

    3rd day.  Rainy as hell..this is the day I’m taking my older kids to see their new sister.  

    Belt to VanWick.  Bad Choice.

    As Im driving, we are on the Odyssey at this point (wouldn’t risk the Civic with the kids and my previous two nights).  The van is getting splashed on like a carwash.  The kids are loving it…I’m, of course, sick to death of driving.  I’m telling my kids what to look for when they get older and start to drive.  I tell them the dangers of speeding, of old tires, of skidding, of wet brakes, etc..  Sure enough, as we are getting on the VanWick, we hear brakes.  I look as far as I can, which is like 20 feet of visibility due to the rain and I see a cab upside down, blocking the entrance to the Van Wick.  3 cars in front of us.   I’m getting the point now.   I have to stop speeding.  I have to be more careful when I drive.  Got it.  Point made.   I have kids..Got it.

    The rest of this trip was uneventful, which is good.  We get to the hospital, the kids get to see their sister and mom, I get them lunch, get them gifts and go home.   I’m driving real careful at this point.

    3rd Day choice: Doesn’t matter.  Bad Choice

    As I’m getting on the Midtown Tunnel, I get highlighted and sirens behind me.   I move over to the barely possible side right outside the midtown tunnel.  19 COP CARS! This time: I took pictures:

       

    Very weird three days.   The next two were uneventful.  I got honked at for driving slow a couple of times, and had no problem driving at night, as I was to high on adrenaline to fall asleep.

     

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    Town of Oyster Bay (TOBAY) Triathlon 2008

    I was really pumped for this race.   I had my new wetsuit and actually had tried it on in my backyard pool..having the wife and kids laughing wasn’t helpful, but was worth it….I’ll spare you the pictures on this.   I had my anti-fog goggles ready and was actually going to swim while having visibility, unlike the last triathlon.  I had gone out to Oyster Bay and practiced the bike course 3 times.   I had bought halogen lights and was biking there at 5AM.  My knee was finally not hurting and had done a couple of runs with no problem.  I even started biking and running sans socks and had practiced dismounting and running with the bike. 

    I was ready for this race! Swim-Bike-Run.  I was ready for transitions.  I was aiming for under 1hr 30mins, but to myself I thought I could even do 1hr 20mins.   I had even achieved my fastest bike time on this course.  I was ready to kick ass!

    It’s interesting how reality will smack you around, play with you and smash you like a rag doll and basically beat your confidence and cockiness down to a level where you are just happy all you got is tons of bruises.   I have already learned this lesson from life, reality…WTF? I don’t need this from you!!

    This triathlon taught me a lot.  The major lesson learned was: Don’t hit trees :) 

    My heat was scheduled to start at 8:00 AM EST.  My wife was working all day at the hospital, so my in-laws were watching the kids.  My goal was to finish by 9:30 AM, then pick up my kids at my in-laws and then take them to a birthday party.   I was so confident, I was going to bring all three kids, including the baby, to the party.  The party was at 12:00 PM, so I may have time to take a shower.   35 minutes to Oyster bay, 35 minutes back home, 15 minutes to my in-laws, 45 minutes to the birthday party.

    The night before, I had everything ready (last time, I forgot my second pair of goggles and my HELMET!).  I couldn’t find my tri-top, so I had to use a second one, which was kind of tight.  I spent about an hour stretching it out and left it with a chair inside overnight so it will be really stretched out.   It fit fine the next morning :).

    Race Day

    I have been to that area of Long Island many times, and had gone to the course 4 times (3 to bike, first one I drove around, realized I needed some halogen lights).   For those of you that have gone to triathlons, you will see tons of cars with bikes strapped to them going the same way.  Basically no other traffic.   My race started then.   “Get used to it, biotch!” I would say to myself as I passed people.   I know..very childish.  I knew it myself and was actually laughing, similar to Wallace Shawn in the princess bride just before his character, Vizzini, dies from the iocane powder.   A hard, forced, face turning red, evil master mind kind of laugh.   “Get used to it biotches!”.  You think I was a kid, not some guy married for 10 years with 3 kids, one more on the way…Anyway, I get there, 6:30 AM EST, plenty of time to setup, get my number and chip and warm up on the bike and the water.   Also, get someone to help me with zipping up the wetsuit.

    Swim

    My wave started right at 8:00 AM EST.  I stayed towards the back and let the crowd move forward.  The first half felt kind of slow, lots of people around me.  Swallowing salt water is different than the lake water from the last tri.   I kept on telling myself that once I get to the bike, I’ll get some fluids.   I got to the halfway mark around 14:00.   This was a LOT slower than the NJ triathlon..I was about two minutes slower at the 500 meter mark.   My wetsuit’s velcro was off by a bit and it started scratching my neck…by the time I finished, most of the left side of my neck was raw.   Anyway, the second half, i started going a lot faster.. I knew that I could pass most people and had lots of energy.   I started freestyling, not concerned about where I was going.   6 minutes in, a lifeguard tells me that I was off-course.  So much for that strategy :).  I saw a guy struggling.  “You are doing great” I said. “All downhill from here”.   I told him that he was almost finished, which he was.   I caught up to a lot of people from the wave in front of me and about half of my wave was still behind me.  I got out of the water at 25:25 officially, although my watch told me 23 mins, which meant the second half was 10-11 minutes.  Very good so far.  

    Lesson for next time: Make sure the suit is on tight, feel for the velcro on your neck.  Go faster, I conserved too much energy here.

    T1

    Last time, I had a hell of a time taking off my swim cap.  This time, no problem.   Taking off the wetsuit was harder.  I passed a lot of people, but then I couldn’t figure out where my bike was! I had to run to the other side of the transition area and go from there since this is how I got in.   The rows weren’t marked right, imo, so from the left side of the area, you had no idea what was on the far right.   Anyway, took of my wetsuit, put some anti-chafing cream on my feet, put on helmet, sunglasses, shoes and took off.  Time 4:45.  Could be better

    Lesson: practice taking of the wetsuit more.

    Bike

    This is where I was going to make up most of the ground I lost in the swim.  Although I did better in the swim compared to last race, I knew I took it easy.   Not with the bike.   I was going to kill it here.  One person, a shirtless guy on a mountain bike, passed about 8 people right in the park area…I was drinking and eating a gel, pedaling easy w/o hands on the handle bars when he almost forced me to crash.   (I should have seen the foreshadowing here).  I made a mental note to catch this guy.   Once we hit the road, outside the park, I started going.    I knew this course…I passed about 6 people in the first few roads…2 just on the first turn…I was pacing myself, knowing that I can catch people on the hills and downhills.   Moore’s hill Road was the first test.   Moore’s hill Road is a small, but very steep hill.   Right away, I saw 4 people off their bike that were walking up the hill.   I was doing my best, back and forth standing and sitting.   3 people passed me here..I made a mental note about those guys…4 people I had to catch now :).   At the end of the Hill, I took another drink and started coasting.   The course turned in an area where I didn’t practice.   This meant that a steep descent and hard climb was avoided.  Good for me.   Got into the Northern State and started climbing this hill.   Again, feeling good, passing people, no one passing me.   I saw some people struggling…I kept on talking to people “You can do it.”.   “Big downhill coming.”  “Almost there”.   I sincerely meant it.   I know it helps me when people talk to me.   Now the downhill.   I got into my aero position and started pedaling.  I was mentally thinking of great cyclists.  Armtrong, Lemond, Indurain, and, of course, Herrera and Parra.   I passed about 30 people here.   My computer said I was doing about 40mph!  Once I reviewed this at home, I was doing over 35mph for about 4 minutes, topping at 40.5mph for 30secs.   I passed the three guys that passed me on Moore’s hill and finally saw the shirtless guy on the mountain bike going up the next hill.   I knew I had this guy.  This hill was the last hill and then 2.5 miles of downhill.   I felt great, had lots of energy, just a little fatigue on my thighs, but nothing major.   Again, passing people on the last hill, no one passing me.  “Last hill”.   “Over this hump and all downhill”, I said.   “Are you sure?” asked this girl.   “Positive”, I said.  “I trained here”.   Highlight of the race for me at this point…

    I turned on BerryHill Road.   A little plateau and then the downhill.  Shirtless guy was just ahead of me.  Damn, this guy is good! on a mountain bike! (I have a trek 1000..road bike that I modded with aerobars)  I let go of my handle bar, took a drink with one hand, gel with the other.   Last one before the big downhill.   I lose control…had just enough time to unclip one pedal before I go right into a tree.  No hands, no breaks.  Computer told me at home I was going about 14mph at this point.  My thighs wrapped around the tree.  I layed in the side road, seeing stars, thighs burning.   One guy stopped.  “Oh my God! Are you OK?  Looks like you just lost it there”. Another guy stopped.  “Stay still.  I’ll get an ambulance”.   I say I’m OK and wave them through.   I tried to get up..lots of pain…holding on to the tree.   My aerobars are bent.   My wheel is bent and my stem/fork is 45 degrees off the handlebars.   My waterbottle is still in my hand.   My water cages are behind my saddle..one is completely bent.   “Are you ok?”.   I’m glad so many people are genuinely concerned.   “I’m fine, thank you”.   Same girl from before.   Not too much time has passed, I tell myself.  I take my tool out and start taking the stem/fork apart enough to straighten it.  I take my first aid kit out and then put it back in.  I decided not to look at my thighs.  The pain is telling me that it’s not worth looking at this point.  I try as hard as I can to straighten the wheel.  Putting the wheel between my thighs was not a good idea.   I put the waterbottle back on the broken cage.    I have a few options at this point:

    1) Be a wuss and quit

    2) Be a man and quit

    3) Be rational and quit

    Somehow, all I thought about was..Where is that guy with the mountain bike?.  I get on the bike, of course the chain was off, so I had to get back off.    Finally, I start again.   I start the downhill.   My left break is not working now…my front wheel is shimming back and forth.   Aerobars are too bent and I don’t trust using them, so I hold on to the drops, if only to ride the rear break.     I started passing some people and kind of pedal a bit hard on the downhill, but not full out.  I know the bike was unstable.  My speed sensor and my cadence sensor stopped responding.  I’m sure it was just not aligned, but that was the least of my worries.

    I ended the bike at 37:38.   According to my watch, I had lost about 8 minutes due to the crash and, of course, a few more on the downhill and turns.  

    Lesson: Stop letting go of the handlebars.   Don’t hit trees.

    Update: I found the picture of the shirtless guy on a mountain bike.  It wasn’t a mountain bike..it was a tribike.  Made me feel a little better.

    T2

    All I kept on saying to myself was how stupid I was.   While I have been riding sans hands since I was like 12 (which means 22 yrs of experience :))…I shouldn’t have done it at that point.   I should have dropped the bottle and hit the breaks…could have, should have…cest la vie…I was going through the motions here, took my bike shoes off, put my running sneakers on, took off my helmet, grabbed race belt and stretched.   Started running.  Time: 1:59.   1;59? What? that’s great! how did that happen?

    Lesson:  Do everything exactly the same way. 

    Run

    The run was painful.   Thighs were burning….I knew I had lots of energy left.  I wasn’t hurting like in NJ and knew I could have kept my 8 min or so target pace.  Not now…the hills were tough (Although, nothing like the hills in Binghamton during track season).   I walked and jogged.   About 80 people passed me.  My thighs were throbbing (literally..I put my hands there and felt them..weird..it wasn’t muscle spasms)   I saw the best & worst of Oyster Bay here.   First, this crazy lady was speeding her car through the run course! people were yelling for police! She was zigzagging through people.   “Stop her!” someone yelled at me.  “How?” I thought to myself.   I just turned around and yelled “Watch out.  Car!” to the people behind me.  After this, many people were out in their front yard encouraging people.   One guy had his hose and was watering people as they ran by.   Many people that finished were already back and were cheering people on.   Total time: 32:26.

    Lesson:  You can run with pain…3 miles go by quick if there are crazies around.

    Final time: 1:42:10.   I’m not going to calculate lost time…I can, however, know how much repairs are: $140.00.    Mental note: Buy wheels on the cheap online at the end of the season and save them for next year. :)

     

    Post Race

    I looked at my watch again.  9:43 AM EST.   I run (or shimmy, more like it) over to the racer’s tent.  I get two bananas, two waters and go.   I call my in-laws, tell them I’m finished, I’m fine and I’m on my way.   I go back into the transition area, get my things.   So much pain right now…Finally get on the road..head home…take a shower..change quick.  I put on some shorts, use my TOBAY t-shirt and go.   Get to my in-laws at 11:30 AM EST.   Party is at noon.   I’m in Queens, I need to get to Suffolk county, north shore.

    Somehow, I make it there at 12:10 PM.  Not bad, I think.   Lots of pain.   The birthday party is an inflatable obstacle course! Great for the kids.  Bad for daddy.  Christopher (8) and Liliana (5) are self-sufficient.  Johnathan (15 months) isn’t.  He thinks he is a big kid, so he goes on all the inflatables, daddy behind him.

    I’m diving, pushing, climbing…all with the bruised thighs…now I get skin burns from skidding on this equipment.  Lili and Chris decide to challenge daddy to a race.   They felt bad that daddy didn’t win (try explaining to little kids that coming in 850th place is not bad) and want to see how they can make daddy win.  Lili thinks she is my trainer now, so she keeps on telling anyone that would listen that daddy needs to give up Dunkin Donuts.  This is why I lost, she says.   Overall, I had fun.   Both at the race and at the party.   My body, however, is still complaining, 3 days later.   My thighs are completely purple at this point.   Borat: Very nice!

    Next Triathlon: Town of Hempstead, September 6th.

    PS: Lili legitimately beat me 3 out of 4 times.   Chris beat me once.  JonJon tied me 😉

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    North Carolina & flashing security

    Last week, I went to North Carolina for training. The training was about data de-duplication using EMC Avamar.

    In retrospect, I think I most of you stop reading after that sentence. Anyway, I rented a car from dollar.

    They had a problem with my registration (surprise?) so I was given a convertible instead. Somehow, I pulled it off that I was upset (it was only in the high 80s, low 90s for the three days, so convertible was perfect), so they gave me the GPS for like $8 dollars a day.

    The hotel was 10 minutes from the airport and the training facility was 5 minutes away, in between the two.

    I thought my training trip couldn’t get any better…what are the odds that I would get lost? Well…the odds must have been good because I got lost 7 times during the trip. (If you count the number of times I went out, the actual odds were 7:10, since I went out 10 times. I think I did that odds right..who knows..) .

    You may ask, how do you get lost? well..it turns out the GPS was off by about 1/2 a mile.

    Fast forward to Thursday, last day of class. My flight is scheduled for 5pm est that day, from Durham to La Guardia. The GPS device had gotten me late to class the last two days. By this time, I already know how to get there. Class starts at 9AM. I went to bed at 3 AM, had the alarm set for 8 AM. Wake up, shower, start packing. 8:45 AM EST. Go to the front desk. $8.98 room service charge. I start arguing…there was no room service! 8:55 AM EST. Finally figured out what happened. I went running & swimming the morning before. I went into the cafeteria, grabbed a cereal box and a water and proceed to leave. The lady that was in charge of the cafeteria started yelling at me (in a Deep Chinese accent) how I had to sit and have milk with my cereal. I explained that I was going to work out and did not need to sit down. Finally she said OK. I asked her to charge it to my room. $7.00 room service charge :)

    Anyway, I leave at 9:10 AM (10 minutes late already). Get to EMC at 9:15 AM EST. They started lecture already, but I have to have my bagel and cream cheese, so I get into the class at 9:30 AM. Lab starts at 12 PM and then class was over. I finished the lab at 12:08 PM. They have catered lunch, so I eat lunch, say goodbye to everyone and look at the clock. 12:30 PM. Breakdown to follow:

    12:30 PM EST. Check internet, find a 2PM EST flight to JFK. I figured I can probably go standy.

    12:35 PM EST. Leave the facilities, have to return convertible with full gas AND get money from any ATM

    12:40 PM EST. GPS in nearest gas station. On my way there.

    12:45 PM EST. Lost looking for gas station. Once again, GPS told me that I was there, when all the roads are trailer homes. (Sidenote: I always seem to find ghettos and trailer homes wherever I go…weird) Start driving around…

    12:50 PM EST. Find gas station, I filled up the tank

    12:55 PM EST. GPS in neareast Bank

    1:00 PM EST. GPS told me to turn into a parking lot, no bank around…

    1:10 PM EST. Found ATM. You may ask why not go to the nearest one after I miss it on GPS.

    2 reasons. 1) GPS doesn’t allow me to change it while I’m driving. 2) Source is already off, so it believes I’m starting at the wrong place.

    1:20 PM EST. On my way to the car rental place. GPS successful this time

    1:30 PM EST. Arguing about dents in rental car….are you serious? look at the paper where I marked them up!

    1:40 PM EST. Get in rental car courtesy bus to airport.

    1:45 PM EST. The bus driver is still waiting for more passengers. I tell the guy I need to make a 2PM EST…two people get on the bus. He says i’ll make it. We leave

    Sidenote: A normal person would say…”This is post 9/11….no way you are getting that plane”. I’m not normal….I think I still can.

    1:50 PM EST. Get to my location after two other people already dropped off..Guy wants a tip, even though I carried both of my bags…I look at him and start running.

    1:53 PM EST. Get to ticket counter, explain my situation. Girl at the counter says I won’t make the plane…says I have to run non-stop. I tell here I can make it. She looks at me and probably assumes I won’t make it. She gives me the standby ticket anyway.

    1:55 PM EST. Start running…telling myself I have been training for the tris, have 3 kids, so have been lifting about 20-30 lbs weights for years.. Just look at me going to the beach…bags and kids. Mile walks with sleepy kids..etc.

    1:56 PM EST. Security check…I have a laptop, two bags, my shoes, two sets of keys, blackberry, iPhone, headphones. Put it all in through the belt. Walk through the metal detector. BEEP

    1:57 PM EST. Took off my jewelry, belt. BEEP

    1:58 PM EST. See the guy with the wand coming…quickly remember that I have a compact kit made out of metal in my wallet. Put wallet through scanner, walk through…..no problems. Wand guy didn’t walk fast enough to scan me.

    1:58:30 PM EST. I push everything into my bag, slip on my shoes, start running. This is one of those moments when you make a split-second decision that can come back at you. This is when I took the belt and threw it in the bag.

    Things I’m thinking:

    “You have been training..you can make it…”

    “It’s like the OJ commercial..jumping over bags..”

    “2 minute run is nothing”

    1:58:50 EST: My pants are a bit baggy…I try pulling them up with one hand…Security lady makes an announcement about picking up all your belongings and getting ready on the side…I look at here and start running.

    1:59:30 PM EST. I’m extremely tired, running full speed. Side effect of training is weight loss and a smaller waist….I have no belt…PANTS START FALLING DOWN. Now, I have one backpack on, one small carry on, on wheels, no hands free for my pants. I keep on running. I can take care of the belt in the plane.

    2:01 PM EST. I see the gate…start yelling to hold it. Pants falling down..sweating like crazy, one hand on my pants, other on carry-on. I get to the front desk…I asked if I made it. He says “You would have missed it by 30 seconds.”..

    Then he says it got rescheduled. (Sidenote: I should have seen the line when I was running…the plane was delayed, but I didn’t know. I should have seen everyone looking at me like I was crazy. Common theme in my life)

    Now…a short, overweight hispanic…sweating profusely with pants falling down may stand out in an aiport….Security starts walking towards me…I’m yanking my pants. “Do you need any help?”

    I said no. Went to the bathroom, cleaned up a bit.

    I hung out at the gate..made the plane as a stand-by…..2:25 PM EST departure

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    Monday Morning

    Cicada

    So, I woke up early this morning (3:30 AM) so I can bike the course for my next triathlon in Oyster Bay.

    The drive was about 35 minutes.  I then decided to drive the course once I got there, before I started biking…guess what? NO F***ing light posts anywhere! No way I’m doing 10 miles in complete darkness (mental note, get a light for my bike).

    I drove back home, missed the exit and got on Jericho Turnpike, the one way you DONT want to go if you are trying to go to the south shore….long story short, made it back home by 5:15 AM.   Still wearing my bike gear..no exercise.   I decided to still go out and bike for an hour, 20 miles or so.   Guess what? Cidadas are out again! How do I know?…two of them flew right into me while I was biking, one smacking my face, the other getting stuck on my shirt…I was in an aero position at the time (using aerobars, tucked tight), so it went right down my shirt!.   Fantastic!.   Anyway, made it home by 6:15…typical morning at my house..my wife was feeling sick (She’s pregnant), so I woke the kids, fed the baby, went outside, took the cover off the pool and it was full of sud…  Started vacuuming the pool, skimmed it..done by 7:30 AM.   Crystal wanted McDonalds pancakes, so I drove and got her some, got home…sud again (it’s actually minerals from Long Island water, so it dissolves before you vacuum it.  But, I have to try something…)..  Vacuumed again, 8:30 AM.   Missed two trains, so I’m catching the 9:11 AM.   I think I’ll bike it to the train station….

    The sad thing is, this is pretty much my typical morning…now off to my “wonderful” job.

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    My first Triathlon: New Jersey State Triathlon 2008

    It was great, but much to improve on.   You should definitely do this one next year, btw, if you are thinking about tris…My summary, for the sprint triathlon:

    1st thing was that I registered for the wrong wave.  I’m 34, so I figured I was in the 30-34 age group. I should have been on the First Time Male Sprint wave.   As luck will have it, 30-34 was on the 1st wave, along with the Elite/Professionals.  That’s right! I was pretty much guaranteed to come in last on my wave (but I didn’t).  Younger, experienced Triathletes, as well as pros/elite.   One of the pros was like this 12-13 yr old kid.  He was standing next to me, wearing speedos, swimming cap and goggles.   He smoked me.

    The swim kicked my ass…11:54. (37:10 pace for a mile)   Water was very warm, very, very murky.  My goggles fogged up before I started! I was blind most the way. A lot of stop and go…also, being on the 1st wave, I was out in the middle of the lake treading water for like 5 minutes…which tired me out before even starting.   The atmosphere was relaxed..people were joking around.  One guy said “It’s your first time? there is a lot of punching/kicking (more on that later)..in fact, punch me now as hard as you can on my face so I won’t get shocked”.   I said that one of the bad things about being short (I’m 5′ 6″) is that I started treading water before most of them.  Someone replied “Wait, your not standing?”.   Funny.   Another guy said “Who can do a 500 meter in 5 minutes? I want to know so I can draft him”.  I replied “I can probably do that, but not sure how much drafting you can do…oh..wait..are you talking about running or swimming?”.  These conversations and joking relaxed me a lot.   I thought I was going to puke before the race started.   Once I started swimming, I realized the HUGE difference between pool and open water swim.  I almost consider quitting, but then I noticed I was almost done ;).   There was some kicking and I accidently punched a guy where you really don’t want to punch a guy.   Sadly, one person drowned.  He was two waves after me.   He was in good shape, had been training for a while.   He was 52.   Felt really bad when I heard this…Accidental drowning.  No heart attack, like originally suspected.
      Out of the swim
     T1 was good, 2:54    Putting on my socks and shirt took the longest.  Will know that for next time (no socks..maybe I’ll have the stomach for no-shirt OR I’ll wear a tri-suit).  I did pass a lot of people on this transition.  Most people were walking their bikes or slow jog..not sure if there is proper etiquette here on passing people, but I did pass a lot..like 12 or so..
     
    I kicked ass on the bike, considering this was my 1st one.  36:12 (19.1MPH), and I rode about one mile, sitting straight up, hands behind my neck, just trying to breathe.  I also had an issue with my saddle which made it uncomfortable.  I had to take it off for the trip, and didn’t put it back on until 15 mins before the race.  I put it too high (next time, mark it)
    The other problem was that my shirt’s # had only 3 clips and it started ripping off during the bike! I rode holding it for like 2 minutes and then decided to
    roll it under my shirt…must have been a funny site..rolled shirt, large stomach sticking out…sexy.  I waved to some people standing on their own frontyard..I passed a couple of people with flats and one guy that got hit by a car (he went off the course right into the traffic lane.  I’m not heartless, he was getting up and was trying to mount his bike, so I figured he was OK)
      Me on the bike
    T2 was 2:01.  Easy laces help a LOT…you are very tight and numb..hard to tie laces…here, I just switched shoes, yanked the laces, drank some G2 and took off.
    Next time, stretch on the bike before dismounting..may help a bit.  I had my only visual injury here..while running past people here (again, proper etiquette ? was I NOT supposed to run here?) the pedal of my bike ripped right into my right calf…multiple scratches, started bleeding right away..didn’t know this until after the race.
     
    Running completely sucked.  30:23 (9:48 pace).   My 2nd half was a bit faster..(35 seconds faster, although I don’t think it was exactly 1.5 mile split).  I was extremely tight…walked a lot at first.  If I tried jogging, I went about the same pace as walking :).  Finally, I decided to run on the grass and started feeling better.   About mile 2, my knee starting hurting, which I feared.   The funny thing is, the last 200, I decided to finish strong and started almost sprinting, so I ended up passing like 4 people, which felt good.
      Trying to sprint to the finish   Trying finish line
     

    Final time is 1:23:23.  478 out of 950 total,  314 out of 549 for males.  Comparing myself to first time males, I would have been 42 out 130 in that group, which puts me better than two-thirds :)
     
    People keep on asking if I won the race…I keep on saying I came in 8th……478th, to be exact …
     
    PS: Last night I was on 476….not sure how two people beat me overnight :)

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    About batman, the movie

    This movie is indeed getting too much hype.   I’m not going to watch it on the theather…I’ll wait until its posted on torrent sites.   I’m not talking about CAM, Telesync or even HDCAM release…Nor R9, R5, R1 or PAL.   I’ll wait until the mkv or 2ts release…Have any of you seen a HDCAM release? worse than CAM…

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