Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meta-morphosis Part 4: The Turn-Around

At my lowest weight ever. 120 lbs of skin and bones. Diet was that of a pesce-vegan. I ate some fish but mostly salad and not as many bananas. Taken around Thanksgiving 2008.
Inspiration in book form: Nobody's Perfect. This guy plays basketball and baseball and is a lecturer in Japan. Ridiculously talented despite the obvious. GO READ THIS!
Right before the shit hit the fan and I began the 'ballooning process' in Hawaii [2008].
Between this photo and fall of 2008, I hit 185 lbs and was ONE. FAT. KID. Yes I'll take butter on my muffin!
Fast forward to today: @Phils's coffee in SF with Jenks. Epic coffee experience. Hand made coffee to your liking [2010].
This past weekend, we celebrated my mom's bday at the beach. Look at those bandages. Chicks dig scars....or so I think? [2010]
And now, the juicy parts to this story. The honest WHY questions are answered..WHY did you change? WHY veganism? WHY all the bananas? WHY all the tomfoolery? WHY decide on running? WHY did you stop running and start cycling? WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY are you [reader] not re-naming yourself Alejandro right now?

That's a mouthful isn't it? Save the joke there...I'm already on it. Obviously, I can't answer the last question, only you can. I hear it doesn't take much effort to change your name though...at least you'll be in good company! ;-)

Let's take you to football season of 2008. The raiders...sigh...where going no where with Lane 'Lame' Kiffin at the helm and I was sitting in my condo most weekends, wolfing down McDonalds breafkast burritos and then foot-long subway sandwiches for lunch. Compound this for a few weeks and months and you get the chubby kid you see above. The gym? Nah... Walking? Too much effort. Cycling? What's that? Triathlon? Does that involve beer drinking? You get the idea. I got fat and happy and things spiraled downward from then on. When suddenly, the most amazing thing got in my way: MY EGO.

That's right, you read correclty. I was a high-maintenance, egotistical punk 23 yr old kid with nothing better to do than stare at the mirror and say 'god damn, how did I get like this?!' I was overweight, going nowhere health-wise, had all kinds of illness, zits of all kind everywhere and a serious phobia of going outside. I remember painful weekends where I would lock myself up in my apartment for fear that people would see me. Engulfed in my hobbit hole, I hid from society and came out on Monday mornings for work. Yes, it got THAT bad. And then my ego took shape and I started seeing a doctor and he said the most fascinating thing to me: 'Young man, did you ever think that your health and the way you look is related to your lifestyle AT ALL?' At the type, it sounded to simple to say yes so I just said 'no'. Now before you go thinking that the fruit-and-veggie-ferry showed up, spread her arms and wrapped me up in her orchard-arms, think twice. Armed with serious skepticism, I began my fanatical search on the internet for how to achieve 'health'. And along my way I discovered some interesting things:

1) Health is more than just diet. It's overall well-being and balance emotionally and physically.
2) Most people dont know jack shit when it comes to health, even 'doctors' who proclaim to know dont know.
3) Ironically, these same people that advocate fruits and vegetables in daily allowances do not follow their own advice.
4) It's okay to raise your hand and ask for help. Just re-read 2) and 3).
5) In addition to diet, simple things affect health. One of which is Vitamin d (sun). Get some sun in you everyday. It's worth it.
6) Happiness - Just because your diet is good and you feel better because of it means very little if you're still an asshole in real life. For me, I got my punk ass in the buddhist church, surrounded myself with a new group of people and found my happiness. Now find yours.
7) Exercise - Can't say this enough. It's scary to take that first step. However, a new habit takes 21 days to develop and make permanent. In short: after 21 days it won't be 'exercise' but simple you 'doing what you're supposed to be doing'.

It was my ego that got me changing my diet and started going more towards fruits and vegetables. At the time, I was still eating some meat and in the process, I proceeded to drop 65 lbs! The photo of the abercrombie t-shirt was taken Thanksgiving 2008 [before running and cycling] and I was 120 lbs! [Down from 185!]. Yes, it can happen to you also. It just takes 21 days to make that habit a reality.

My ego made me so self-conscious that it was changing me, how I thought and how I viewed the world. Suddenly, I wanted to be a 'healthy guy'. I wanted to be one of those magazine cover guys on Outside Magazien and Men's Health. I thought 'if others can, then my sorry ass can too!'. And one foot after the other, I started doing it. My changes at first were very modest. I was now leaving my condo on the weekends to read books outside. One of the most inspiring books I HAVE EVER READ is called 'Nobody's Perfect' by Hirotada Ototake [Pictured above]. READ IT. DO IT. It's AMAZING. And you will not feel sorry for yourself but instead feel deserving of something better. After this, I started going to the Hawaii Betsuin and participated in church related things. This held me over for the year 2008 and early parts of 2009.
My diet drastically changed! Before I made my first pilgrimage to Whole Foods, I went through my ENTIRE fridge and threw everything out. And man, I remember being on the brink of tears! Rib eye steak...mayonaise, eggs, beer, cream soda, snickers bars, pepsi, gatorade..the list goes on and on. But it had to be done because I couldn't trust myself. After the mass exodus of crap from my fridge, I set out to Whole Foods and proceeded to walk around marveling at the gorgeous arrangement of veggies and fruits thinking 'wow, all of this gets to be mine and in the process I can re-invent and re-create myself.' It was a really exciting time for me and even now, trips to Whole Foods have the same level of excitement. I loved it so much, weekly grocery trips were my thing and I would spend hours at Barnes and Nobles [reading on yummy and healthy recipes], take a photo of the ingredients with iPhone, then go to Whole Foods and buy them. Marvelous. Along the way, pick up a new book or two, or three, or four [whose counting anyways?] My advice: Instead of thinking about what you must give up..think always about what you can become. You can become something youv'e dreamed of and live to see the reality. It's possible. I did it and - just like Jenny Craig - so can you.

Tomorrow, I'll start pat 5 of the story. Now that I think about it...I'll prolly need 6 or 7 entries to fit the story? Lucky you...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Meta-Morphosis 3: I'm stronger than Matt Leinart

Crazy right! That's your boy BENCHING and REPPING 225!!! That was taken around May 2007.
Back then, I pretty much ate any and everything. That's okonomiyaki being consumed whole....plastic wrapping and all. :-p [2008]

Two of my closest friends in grad school. Again, the theme is eating and steak. Not so much the veggies as you can see. [2008]
That was a 'daily' meal for me when I first moved to Hawaii. Steak, onions, rice, and poke. [2008]

Picking up right where we left off...
So here I am, all done with PTSD from my experience at the LSE - a good one, no doubt - and I come back to Brown for my final year. Interestingly, I really REALLY got into weight lifting and lifted regularly with a good friend who was an MD student at the time. Also at this time, I translated my semi-monk like lifestyle from London to Provdience, RI. You could basically map where I was by trying to call me. How? Well here was my weekday:

1) Get up
2) Class
3) Library
4) Class
5) CIT - this is the nerd location from Brown comp sci majors. An odd and yet comfortable place.
6) The gym
7) Dinner
8) Library
9) Everybody Loves Raymond.

Put that on repeat 1 and you've got me down to a tee! Weight lifting was fun and Ian and I would knock out some insane reps - he, of course, was much stronger than me. I enjoyed my time weight lifting and playing the occassional game of hoops. The highlight of this time came when I was able to benchpress 225 - AKA: deuce-duece-five! - 3 times. That officially makes me stronger than Matt Leinart and technically able to date Paris Hilton [assuming I turned into a flaming dbag]. Diet was meh...but I started eating less carbs and desiring six-pack abs. Bring back the milk, eggs, and animal protein - not like they had left my life anyways.

Weight: 165 lbs

Thinking about the next steps...I thought it best to go right on through to Graduate school. And so my test scores and grades to me to the Owen Graduate School of Management [you can read my story @ http://www.owenworldshapers.com/]. Business school was AWESOME and I loved my time in Nashville, TN...I was taking advanced Japanese, crazy b-school topics such as derivative valuations and risk management, playing golf 2 days a week [in b-school, fridays are always OFF] and eating the finest bbq around. Man, did my weight balloon after that. I ate my way up to 170 lbs and stopped going to the gym and running in general. 8 oz curls with beer became my form of recreation and I had a good set of jaws from all the bbq and johnnycakes I was consuming. Man it was good. There was this one place, I must have gotten take out from there at least twice a week. Each time the same thing: pulled pork sandwich with spicy ranch sauce and tots. Wow. Despite all of this reckless eating, my school work got much better and I was able to secure solid employment for a bank in Hawaii. That was at the end of May 2008. I dreamt of fast cars, fast girls and fast money. Indeed, that's the dream of many youngsters fresh out of college and especially out of b-school. It was all about who was working where, was it a big firm or chump change, was the job in finance or in marketing? Such meaningless labels and topics that I'm ashamed to say I gave a damn about.

I went to Hawaii and proceeded to buy up aloha shirts of all flavors in size M. Through the drinking and eating, I worked myself back up to my 'normal' overweight weight of 185 lbs at the end of summer 2008. I was miserable and looked awful. My chubby cheeks showed how much sushi I was eating and at the time, my recycle bin was jammed full of Opus One. Cycling and running were things I had never considered. Heck, doing something outside of watching TV, sleeping, eating and working were totally foreign to me. I have the feeling this is a sad reality for many youngsters like I was 'back then'. My advice: find something outside of work that you're intensely obsessive about...something you can create a goal for - be it learning to bake, cook, kendo, learn a language, etc. I realize that people have different jobs and work hard however, I soon found out I was living to work rather than working to live. At which point, the most profound and deeply moving point in my adult life came upon me...and I grabbed it by the reigns and drove forward [ahem...that's what she...].

...but that's part 4 I suppose and you'll just have to wait on that. :-)
Keep it safe this weekend. I'm racing la biccicleta both days and they're all crits. Yuck. But I need to build some form for my time trials coming up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meta-Morphosis 2: The Massacre

Didn't believe that DJ line huh? I practiced and recorded mixes in my room.
At the time this was taken, May 2009, I was around 130~135 lbs. Not cycling btw...still JUST running.
A bunch of images I 'print-screened' off the page of the SF marathon album. One arm sleeve? I got the inspiration from Nelly. Thanks.
At Bay2Breakers 2009. That's a sweet pair of nikes huh? Loving the neon green.
Ever the portly one...there I am...190 lbs of flab in a rugby uniform.

There's a perfectly good explanation for the rather in-auspicious title of Part 2 of my 5-part epic blog series. Long about the time I got shipped off to Englandshire, 50 Cent's second album, The Massacre, came out...and boy was I hot-to-trot. I idolized Mr. Cent and if he offered, would probably have his children. Seriously. I bought VitaminWater Formula 50 just cuz 'Fiddy' endorsed it. Heck, I even wrote to him and Lloyd Banks at G-Unit Records but got nothing back in return. I'm still waiting in fact....:-(

Anyways, I was going through this interesting phase where I was infatuated with heavy drums, rappers and especially people who sagged their pants, walking around as if they had a .45 tucked in them. Thank the lord I'm past this phase. Hard to believe that the fatastic boy suddenly wanted to become a hardcore rap fan...Air Jordan's and all.
Getting back to the UK....ahem....I went over thinking I would be hotter than a tuna-salad-panini from Benji's. Boy, was I mistaken. Instead, I was greeted with hostility given my 'Yankee-ness'...this was also at the height of the George Bush shit-show so EVERYONE had it out for us. It was so bad, even the coordinator for foreign studies told the americans to act 'Canadian'. I didn't really drink Molsen Light and my accent was piss poor so I stood out eh? What made this time also difficult for me was the fact that most of my closest friends at Brown were all a year ahead of me. So I was foresaking Brown for an entire year to study aborad while my friends had their Senior year without me. Devastated, I turned to rap music, XL t-shirts and a subscription to XXL magazine...sigh...
That was a ridiculous time period and it got so odd, I was even a DJ for the LSE's radio. To my credit, I like to think I introduced the Brits to the angelic voice of E-40 but probably not. Things started to turn around for me in the spring time when I joined a gym and started to lose some solid weight. Part of it has to do with the GBP being so much higher than the USD...the exchange rate was so ridiculous I was eating less out of necessity! Sadly, some of the cheapest food in the UK was also the worst: fried chicken, subway sandwiches for 5-quid and lots of lukewarm beer. I joined this chain of gyms called Fitness First and met some solid guys - all PT's [physical trainers]. They were good blokes and could bench press a ton of weight. I got serious about wanting to bulk up with muscle so I went the atkins route and proceeded to down cans of water-packed tuna and eggs. I continued to lose weight and dropped to a new low:

Junior Year Weight: 165 lbs.
What was also interesting was to observe the Brit's and for that matter, Europe's passion for futbol. Safe to say, they make EVEN THE DIE-HARDEST Raider fans want to cry 'Uncle'. I remember sitting on the tube on the way to Uni. To my left and right were two scaffolders...both with the flag of England hand-painted on their faces. How surreal is that. It was also in London that I discovered the joys of Indian food and in particular, Chicken Tikka Masala - the 'national' dish of England given the heavy Indian population there. Man, that was good - of course, the vegan version is BETTER but yea...I got that a lot for take-out.

Studying was a whole new ball game in the UK. As there is only one exam for each class at the end of the year, shit was INTENSE. The LSE library had a seperate room for sleeping! Some kids brought their own microwaves cuz they wouldn't leave the place! Yes, it was that intense. Probably the single hardest 4 weeks of my entire educational career was at the UK. Stress levels were through the roof...heck, it got so bad, I started to go to church! I figured it couldn't hurt. :-)

I finished my year at the UK with a renewed love for Kendo, a somewhat lean body, a huge respect for international kids [before this, I thought they were a stuck up bunch who played futbol a lot, sported Euro-hawks, and wore flamboyant scarves] and a serious desire to perform well academically. Mentally though, I was totally shot and I came back to Brown for my senior year a totally different guy. All of my good friends had graduated and so there was very little left for me except a few close friends. Outside that, I had my classes, my senior thesis and an empty question mark about what to do with my next step. But that's for part 3...;-)

Until then...dont touch that dial and dont click the back button. Keep it locked...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meta-Morphosis Part 1: B-L-O-N-D-E-Y

This was a pic of my brother and I, XMAS 2003. Let the carnage begin...
Taken at the Jamba Juice 5k. My first 5k ever....completed around 15:07. Look different?
That would be freshman year. Notice the ripped polo hat, puka shell necklace and...most importantly, the beer belly. Circa 2004.

My first age group win. I placed 6th overall and won the Mens Open 20-30 age group for my second ever half marathon.

Jenks - You did a fabulous job dying the hair btw...years later I think I owe you thanks. :-)

I'll take a moment to let you fully digest who that chubby dude is in this blogpost [one of 5 blog posts dedicated to Meta-morphosis]. Umm...blonde hair? You betcha. I've decided to let you in on some Alex-history with these next couple of blog posts so blend a smoothy, sit your okole down [Hawaiian for 'arse'] and get comfy. This could take a while [5 blog posts = a while]. I'll put up some 'before' and 'after' photos each time so you can wipe the drool off your mouth after saying 'Holy sh*t! THAT was ALEX?!'.

In order to fully appreciate this story, let me take you back to freshman year of Brown University. Jenks was dying my hair blonde in the womans restroom. Now, for us asians, blonde is never blonde...it's always shit oragne. And hence, the orange color. Back then I was into a lot of pastel colored j.crew/Polo shirts, salmon-colored khaki shorts and Birkenstock clogs. To summarize: the uber douchebag frat boy look. To justify my new found preppy-ness, I joined the Brown University Rugby Team to make it look like I was doing something 'cool'. That, and it gave me a great excuse to pop my collar like the other morons I used to see at Sigma Chi. Yes, I was planning on pledging a fraternity too - at the time, Sigma Chi was the 'in' frat with all the connections and rugby players. Thankfully - and no offense to Sigma guys - I did not guy that route. Instead, I proceeded to do alright in class - assuming I showed up - and pretty much drank and ate my freshman year away. I did this all the way to where my weight got up to a hefty 190 lbs of pure lard. My girlfriend at the time used to tell me I didn't have the Freshman 15 but rather "the freshman FORTY". Just looking at those photos is more than enough to cause nightmares for most folks!

Freshman Year Weight = 190 lbs of d-bag-ness.

Fast forward to Sophmore year. Seeing as how I didn't have access to a buffet of fried foods over the summer and that I was doing physical labor as a summer gig, I lost 15 lbs or so and 'dropped' to 175 lbs. That year, I also got pretty serious about my schoolwork and applied to study at the LSE [London School of Economics]. I also roomed with some pretty cool guys who - unfortunately, I have lost touch with since then. Diet was still shit: Subway, instant noodles, burgers, fries, bbq and let's not forget: Busch Light. And when I had the dough, I'd 'splurge' for Corona. In spite of all that, I managed to keep most of the weight below 180 lbs and finished sophmore year with a 3.8 gpa and an invitation to join the LSE for my entire junior year of college.

...and at the LSE, the shit hit the fan. BIG TIME. Biggest difference between UK vs US schooling: Desire and Exams. Englandshire folk [and actually,this describes the hundreds of foreigners that come to the LSE each year] take education VERY seriously and it showed. Furthermore, there are no midterms, papers or homeworks at the Uni. Just one exam at the end of the year worth all the marbles. That'll be part 2 as it deserves an entire post to itself. Enjoy those photos...and stay tuned.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Deep Breath...

...before heavy, heavy racing begins. Typically, June and July are associated with 'speed' here in California. What's that mean: Criteriums [where we ride around in a circle VERY VERY quickly]. It's essentially bare knuckle racing at its finest...a game of speed chess where position is key. This translates to a 45 minute leg searing if you're a skinny vegan kid with a liking towards vertical roads and Time Trials. However, it's super important for me to build speed and push my anaerobic threshold because damnit, 186 bpm for 26 mins isn't good enough! :-)

This weekend and for the next following weekends, I'll be racing my heart out on Tuesday nights and then almost everyday of the weekend. Yes, Evelyn and I will become much closer, especially now that she's riding zipp wheels and dura ace. But before all that goes down, I got to have this weekend to catch up with friends and family. The photo above is of my cousins and I posing over a vietnamese lunch [I had the tofu, of course]. From right to left: Angela, Albert, Caren and some doofus who probably ate too much and is now sleepy. It was a perfect weekend to put some much needed miles on the bike at my hellacious standards but also great for being social - something I'm not too good at. Ask most cyclists and because it's a solitary sport, we generally do well by ourselves, suffering in our own little pain closets [although mine comes with bananas and mangoes]. Speaking of which, mangoes here are $1.99/lb. Are you kidding me! Go to Hawaii and get that sh*t for $0.50/lb. No way jose.

Good day for futbol too [not a typo]. Cri-cri-cri-cri-stiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaano scored a goal and Portugal put an epic beat down on the South Koreans. That oughta shut Kim Jong Il up for a day or two. That, or he stuffs himself with twinkies to where he can't talk anymore. In other bike related news, my SRM battery died. Wow. I've had that thing for less than 9 months and already kaput. Thank goodness for a) Peaches, b) Black Mission Figs and c) me being covered under warranty. Now all I gotta figure out is how to ride a bike in the meantime. Hmmmm......

Sunday, June 20, 2010

NikkoLand Bazaar 2k10

Sweet summer fair...weather: 70 degrees with a light breeze. Almost reminds me of Hawaii....ALMOST..

Fun, fun times happenin at the Oakland Buddhist Church this weeked. But before I get into all the good stuff, I have some bike updates!
First off, Miss Evelyn [road bike] got an upgrade. No, not a new man/rider....silly. Instead, she got new components and new wheels! Yes! Gone are the days of Campagnolo 11 speed stuff. Out with that, and in with Shimano Dura Ace 7900 gruppo. Buttery smooth shifting and no more dropped chain rings we hope! Yay, now I can START to FINISH some races and then upgrade my sorry ass out ASAP. The wheels? Those would be Zipp 303s on that beezy. Bam! Take that! And get this, the combined weight of the wheels with tires AND cassette is still lighter than my road bike frame. Whoa.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the Nikkoland Bazaar. Ever since I was a boy, my church in Oakland, the Oakland Buddhist Church - affectionately known as 'the OBC' - holds an event this time around which celebrates Japanese culture with games, food and prizes. Not really sure if Bingo is apart of Japanese culture but hey, whose keeping tabs anyways? I was on volunteering duty and had a wonderful time catching up with old friends and informing them that I - Alex Tellez - am COACHING girls Basketball this fall. Yes friends, now you get to see me yelling and screaming my okole off, drawing up plays and saying 'thank you to my psychiatrist, Doctor Cindy for helping me relax.' For those that dont know, that was one of Ron Artest's classic lines from the recent NBA finals. I spent the weekend riding on brand new Dura Ace everything and carbon tubulars with horrible corked brakes. Afterwards, I was volunteering at church, collecting donations for Bingo and working at the dinner ticket booth. It was very enjoyable and despite me not being able to eat 99.63% of what was being offered, the other 0.37% [water and a few gobstoppers] was delicious.

All I have to say about that - being a die-hard Celtics fan - is Kobe Bryant: NO means NO.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Deadly Double

Feast your eyes girls on one of the most delectible treats I've created via weeganism. Only two words can / are necessary to describe the beast of the east: Holy. Shit.

Yes indeed, I hope this puts to rest all of my omnivore friends who 'swear' [who swears to do something!?] that vegans deprive themselves of burgers.
Mind you, this is not something I plan on eating weekly but a true 'one-off'. However, with intense training coming soon, I wouldn't mind downing the double of these any time! Now what's in that thing?!

1) Sprouted spelt bun [NOT whole wheat]
2) Hummus on both sides. Cuz I like hummus. More than your sister. :-)
3) Sauteed mushrooms - organic, of course. Because what type of ORGANIC ATHLETE would I be if they were just 'regular'?
4) Avocado. Not a crazy amount...3 slices at best for my girly figure.
5) Daiya soy cheese. Yep, this stuff melts too.
6) TWO Amy's all vegan soy-free, gluten-free veggie patties. Made with chickpea.
7) Another dollup of hummus because like Cristiano Ronaldo, you can never have too much of a good thing...

Combine, slap together and consume. No lettuce or tomato right? Eat that in a salad you fatty and save the juicy stuff for the burger. I would offer you some...well, check that...no I wouldn't. But, you COULD make it for yourself? I'm just saying...

Now wipe the drool off your face and if you're a meat eater, slap yourself as there is clearly an alternative that is healthy AND sustainable. Double BAM!

Monday, June 14, 2010

World-Cup'n 2k10

Once every 4 years, the world comes together to watch the month-long tournament affectionately known as the World Cup and let me say, I am thoroughly enjoying the coverage. For the first time, ESPN actually has their shit together! Who knew!? And all this time I thought things from Connecticut....:-p

Who am I rooting for? Gee, thought you'd never ask:
1) Portugal [favorite] - Why? Cristiano. Ronaldo. That's why.
2) Brazil - Can't go wrong.
3) Ghana [!] - Somewhere in the world Yaw Darkwa [old college buddy] is smiling.
4) Italia - Well, the italian euro hawk side of me couldn't resist. And by extension...
5) Germany - they got some euro hawk wearing blokes too in Deutschland.

One of the many delights about not working for a high-strung, conservative bank is that things are a bit more relaxed. What do you mean by relaxed? Well, how's about streaming LIVE world cup games on 2 TV's in the office. Bam! What's that mean? Well, for starters, I watched the Japanese beat Cameroon this AM whilst downing 4 bananas and a spelt bagel. Then, for lunch, I had [another] 4 bananas and then a middle eastern sandwich while watching Italia tie it up with Paraguay.
Someone say something about Portugal playing tomorrow?! :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

So how'd it go?!

This past Saturday, I raced against my fellow skinny climbers in the TT up Mt. Diablo. A 6.2 mile [10k] suffer fest full of fast paces and ugly faces. I, being the latter. This was my first TT in cycling and I have to say...I'm a big fan. Just you vs. a clock and be sure to bring your lunch with you.

I get off to a cooking start and like so may other newbies I'm sure, over-cook the first 8 minutes and average 344 watts [for a skinny dude...that's turning the gears!]. Within the first 5 mins, I catch the guy that started 30 seconds before me! At which point, my body catches up to my mind and then the suffering begins....179....181....183.....184....186....188...

What's that you say? That's my heart rate climbing. Yep, at minute 12, I flat line at 188 and hold that sucker all the way up the mountain. Cool thing was, I passed 9 other blokes and then caught the field that started ahead of me [Masters 45+]. Anyways, I haul serious okole to the finish line and finish at a mediocre 5th place for my first TT. Lots to learn young skywalker...lots to learn I think.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time Trial Hell

So get this...
Tomorrow [Saturday] is my first ever Individual Time Trial up the North side of Mount Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. I've never done an ITT before so this will be a learning experience for me. Total course is 10km, or 6.2 miles for my 'American' friends. Here's the catch: It's ALL uphill.

I guess it's no surprise that less than 40 ppl entered the event in my group. Let me also throw a finger to the wind and say those souls that did decide to race this TT are probably

a) skinny
b) not-weegan
c) all 'climbing-types'. You know, little body fat, chicken-stick arms and pea-shooter legs.

Then again, I'm a skinny weegan 'climbing type' weegan. So in truth, this event has my name written all over it huh? We can only hope. Wish me luck as I fight and battle my way up the face of Mt. Diablo @ 9:38 am PST. Hopefully, I won't get a mechanical.

Let me say this race also marks the last time I will ride Campagnolo products as the road bike will now have DuraAce 7900's thrown on in place of Super Record 11s...good riddance.

Ganbarimasu. [makes the sign of the holy cross]

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Triathlete Response

Nice bike huh? Those wheels would kill me though...

Thanks everyone for your input and time helping me think about pursuing triathlons. NO, is my answer [at least for now.....next year for Honu? Hmmmm] Thanks, but not for me I think. It's been almost 6 months since I stopped running and took up cycling full time [well...not quite the pro life yet but you get the idea]. While I enjoyed my time running, it goes without saying that cycling is 10 x harder and yet much easier on my body with respect to muscle soreness. Heck, I remember my first half - marathon [which I didn't do too poorly in!] - left me in so much pain, I had to call in 'sick' from work the next day as I felt like a vegetable. With cycling, the amazing thing is I can nearly kill myself doing intervals and yet, I function like a normal human being when it's all said-and-done.

It goes without saying that running is my first love with respect to sport. Next to cycling. But make no mistake about it: I would GLADLY give up all of my running and cycling talent to have NBA talent and shoot the rock like Ray Allen [that dude was on video game status last night]. But, as god didn't give me a 6'6" frame and stupid verticals, I'll have to settle for cycling. Oh wells.

As for the photo. Well, that's a pic of Chris Lieto - a VERY bad ass triathlete. Very fast runner as well [although I could dust his ass in my hay day....oh wait, that's AFTER he's cycled 100 miles]! Speaking of running, my silly weegan okole tried to run when I was in Hawaii. 28 minutes later, I wrote to a friend and said: "28 minutes later, my running career has ended."

His response: "FINALLY! Only took you 6 months to figure it out!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So I splurged...

Keith Nishimoto...tuning Madeline...rather, touching her buttons ;-)

Even when stopped, she looks fast.

...caved it, collapsed, folded like a cheap tent..whatever the hell you wanna call it. I bought an iPad. It's definitely a sexy toy and I can see its usefulness in areas such as medicine and IT. However, for the time crunched-weegan-cyclist? Not so much...

That goes without saying I dont like it. It's an amazing machine. Literally, a computer in your hand. I love the book reader thing as I enjoy my eBooks like the next guy and the EuroSport.com app is pretty killer too. Outside that, the screen is pretty much the best thing on here. Think of it like an iPhone on EPO and you'll get the idea. In fact, this entire post is written with my iPad; no wonder the damn thing takes over 20 mins to type such a simple post complete with [more] sexy pics of Madeline. =)
Anyways, got back from Hawaii and was greeted with wonderful, warm, California weather. Interestingly, it was at that time I heard of Katy Perry's new single: California Girls. The part with Snoop I could probably do without, outside that, it's a catchy song and believe it or not, it even made it to the iPod. Yikes...TMI?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Triathlon Challenge [oh shit]

Let's cut right to the chase: yesterday, as I was sitting quietly with Madeline flipping through the blog-O, a gentleman approached me and inquired about the stunning woman [bike] that was sititng next to me. One thing led to another and I realized this guy is the CURRENT record holder for the mile in my high school [we grew up minutes from eachother!]. He busted the mile @ 4:03. That's. Lights. Out.

When I asked him what the hell an Oakland boy is doing out in HI, I discovered he was retired military and now the US regional rep for triathlons and is in charge of getting the youngins on the Olympic Track. Holy shit. The conversation goes on...in fact, it carries for an entire hour. We speak of everything from running, cycling, wee-ganism and my overall compulsive need to consume bananas. In the end, he walks away and challenges me to do a triathlon [that's swim, bike and run for those not in the know] in August. I tell him thanks, and that I would consider it. But before you go writing this off and sya 'dont do that shit Alex' I realized the following with respect to the tri races:

1) It's a massive test of endurance. No f*cking around here. Imagine dropping the bike, only to run a half marathon at blazing fast pace. Shit son.

2) Unlike cycling, tri races are NOT every weekend and you can space it out to have peaks in training.

3) Anyone - assuming you post amazing times and get places in age group - can go to Kona [the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS]. Imagine that...skinny weegan boy competing at worlds. Imma paint the bike banana yellow. :-)

4) No drafting. No drafting. No drafting. No drafting. Translation = No wily veterans on your ass, sucking wheel waiting for you to attack. Translation 2 = strap in, put helmet on and pound the shit out of em.

5) Even if they can get with me on the bike, they gotta now drop it and get with me on the run. And while I haven't run in a bit, I am well aware of what I was capable of doing when I was running.

6) You can compete with your shift off! Okay, that one is a little vain but you get the idea.

BIG PROBLEM FOR ALEX: the swim. Yes, I can swim. Not very good at it though. Guess that's why there's the bike and run?
Anyways, I haven't agreed to this challenge yet. Assuming I do, he's going to bring the Hawaii National team down and him and some other coaches will assess my performance as a tri 'newb'. To tri or not to tri....I'll bet you that was the real question...

So I put it to the readership. What in god's name to do? Continue cycling and learn and learn and learn and be humbled constantly. Or do a tri, become a multi-sport athlete and tap my athletic endurance as best as possible - not that cycling doesn't do this already! I've been mulling on this question a bit and I can't decide....