About Me

My photo
San Francisco, California and, Carrboro, North Carolina, United States

Monday, October 4, 2010

LA TRIATHLON 2010 (Earned Professional License)

Since it was a weekend and I think there is nothing better than racing, I decided to keep racing my way into shape and competed in the LA Triathlon. This makes it 4 races in 4 weeks and I am actually feeling more fit with each race.

The LA Triathlon is one of my favorite races. I grew up in LA, went to UCLA and I competed in the first three years of race's history, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The ocean swim is great but can be tough with the surf, the bike is very fast and the run is challenging with a steep hill on each of the two laps. Team Pac Bikes was representing Nor Cal at the race, as Nate and I were competing in the Elite Amateur division.

Swim: 21:28
The swim was great. Right as we were sprinting into the water a nice set of waves came rolling through. I hit the water in about 8th or so place, but quickly found my groove, high stepping and then dolphining through the surf. As the last wave of the set crashed down upon us, I did a long dolphin dive which took me to the ocean floor, and from there, I pushed off the bottom and did a few dolphin kicks. Sure enough the rest of the Elite Mens field was caught in the surf line, I popped out the other side of the wave and had a 30 meter lead on everyone in just the first 100 meters. Knowing there were some very fast swimmers in the wave and my swim is not quite there yet, I decided to take my time and swim relaxed to the first buoy. I rounded the first buoy in first and was soon caught by the two fastest swimmers. My plan was to stay on their feet for the next 1200 meters. I lasted about 500 meters, but their pace was just a bit too fast and they slipped away. The fourth place swimmer was not too far back, so when he passed me, I jumped on his feet and swam the rest of the swim with him. On the way back in through the surf, I caught a small wave and moved back into third place. I came out of T2 about 40 seconds down on first and second place. I was very happy with my 21:28 swim. In the pro wave, ITU World Champion Javier Gomez swam 19:49, so being 1:40 behind him was great time for me.

Bike: 58:00
One of the coolest things about having an identical twin (who is also a state champ in the TTT) is that when you visit him in LA you get to race his bike and wheel set. My brother has a P3 with a 808 front and Sub 9 disk in the back, so I had no excuses not to go fast. Even better, he has a ceramic bottom bracket (by the way everyone should get one). It's amazing how much smoother my riding was and it easily made me faster.

I caught the two swim leaders about mile 10 of the bike. One of the leaders stayed with me for about 6 miles and then fell off my wheel. Once I saw him off my wheel, I decided to push it and really make a go at putting some time into him. The two swim leaders eventually got back together but I managed to come into T2 with 45 second lead and was out of T2 with a lead of 40 seconds.

Run 37.59 (6.55 miles on my Garmin, so about a 35:51 for 10K)
The run takes you through downtown LA and it's quite fun to be running through all the towering buildings. This was the best I have felt all year off the bike and quickly got into a 5:25 pace. About a mile into the run you come up on a steep hill that is 300 meters long. This is a San Francisco type hill. Knowing I had to run this hill twice, I conserved my energy as I ran to the top. My pace dramatically slowed but I felt pretty good at the top. Once you reach the top of the hill, you run about 400 meters and then hit the turn around. On the way back down the hill I saw my lead had grown to about 1:30. I was feeling great. I kept this pace all through the rest of first loop and the beginning to the second loop until I met the formidable hill again. I really struggled up the hill the second time, I just don't have the power in my stride, but I made it to the top and then settled back into a good pace. I was now running about 5:40 pace and had over a 2 minute lead on the next Elite Amateur. I cruised in and really enjoyed the finish line shoot. The race is well attended and it was nice to experience the cheers as I ran down the shoot. I crossed the line in 1:59:44 coming away with a victory by a bit over 2 and half minutes.

Nate also had a great race finishing in 7th. So Pac Bikes went down to LA and took 2 of the top 7 positions among the Elite Amateur field.

Hope all are well,


Monday, September 27, 2010


Stats: (1st Overall 1st AG)
Swim: 20:39
Bike: 58:07
Run: 36:31

First, I'd like to thank the guys at Pacific Bicycles; on Saturday they did an excellent job of getting my new areo bars set up and ready to race for Sunday. Thanks to them, I was able to ride to the second fastest bike split (by the way Tom T. was right there too, with the 4th fastest bike split).

Second, as always, it was great to see all the black, white and pink out there representing and taking care of business. Everyone did well and even though we had a small contingent of athletes, we took home quite a few of the awards.

Here's the race report.

I love swimming in the ocean, maybe it's because I fondly remember my pre-law career as an ocean lifeguard, or maybe it's because the salt water makes me more buoyant, but nonetheless it's a great experience swimming in the Pacific and around the pier. I saw Dave Ried (an excellent swimmer) and knew that is the guy I was going to try to draft off. Well, I made it to the first buoy with Dave, and then he slipped away. I tried telepathy to have him slow down just a bit so I could get back on those feet, but it was not meant to be, in the end, Dave was too strong a swimmer. I came out of the wave in second, about 1:00 behind Dave.

Onto the bike and time to chase down Dave, who put another 10 seconds on me in transition.  About a mile into the ride I came across a female athlete hammering away and wondered who was this super biker?  As I passed her I was surprised to see it was Tyler Stewart, Ironman champion, hammering away out there as she completed one last tune up race before heading to Ironman World Championships.  She is one strong cyclist, posting the 6th fastest bike split. About mile 15 or so I caught Kelly, who was also hammering away and racing well. I eventually caught Dave at mile 19 and rode into transition in contention for the overall win.

The run is great, it's along the coast and offers nice views of the ocean and coast line. Between miles 1 and 2, I passed Erin who was running well and looking strong. I kept chugging along, knowing that I had a good chance at the overall win if I could just keep it together. I did end up keeping it together, but just barely. My mile splits (5:34, 5:49, 5:53, 5:52, 5:48, 6:03, (1:31 for .2 miles)) indicate a slowing trend, so I was happy when I saw the Dream Inn and knew the finish was only a few hundred meters away. Those meters did not go by quickly enough but the finish was easy. I was also happy not to have been out sprinted at the finish. I have a bad run with losing races in the finish shoot, a couple times this year, and at last year's Santa Cruz Tri and Big Kahuna, so a non-sprint finish was just what I needed. I made it to the line in 1:58:08.  This was a nice win for me.  I won this race back in 2006 and I am finally feeling I am getting back to my old self.   

Congrats again to everyone who raced. We did great and I am always impressed with how well everyone is swimming, riding and running. Also, thanks again to Jared and the guys at the store, the work on the bike was great.

Lastly, if anyone has found my 34 minute 10K run, please return it, there's a reward. It was last seen in April at the track and regrettably I have not been to the track since, and it's now missing. I fear I'll have to be back on track to find it. I also suspect DRET stole it, he was also on the track that night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

THE "DOUBLE" Pacific Grove Olympic Distance and Big Kahuna Half Ironman

Pacific Grove Olympic Distance Tri

This was a super fun race. Anyone who has not competed at the Pacific Grove race should give it a go. Swimming through kelp beds makes the race interesting, the bike is fast, fun and spectator friendly and the run course is a fast three loop course with a one small hill on each loop.

Stats (2nd AG 4th Overall)

Swim: 26:04 -- T1: 1:33 -- Bike: 1:01:20 -- T2: 0:43 -- Run: 35:27

The Swim.
The swim was fun albeit very slow. The gun sounded and I quickly jumped on the feet of the first swimmer. We made it around the first buoy in good position with a nice size gap. However, the first swimmer lacked any judgement as to how to avoid the kelp beds. On the way back into shore, we swam/crawled/got tangled up in and became way too acquainted with seaweed. At one point I thought I would be rescued because I was wrapped up like a sushi roll. After entering the water for the second loop, we again swam right into a long stretch of kelp. I was thinking what are we doing, this is crazy. At the buoy I had enough of his poor directional skills and took the lead the last quarter of the swim. Navigating in a zig zag fashion I avoided the kelp on the way in and came out in first. However, it was a slow time of 26:04 (to put it in perspective; on Sunday's Big Kahuna Tri swim, I came out in 25:07 and swam 1900 meters not 1500).

The Bike.
"If you're not cheating you're not trying and you're only cheating if you get caught."

This was clearly the motto of the guy who sat on my wheel for entire ride. I made a tactical error by pulling him around the entire race and not slowing up so that he had to take a pull. It was very frustrating that he avoided a penalty, but that is how many races are played. I was off the bike in first, a Pac West athlete and all around good guy (Dave) was right with me, and the drafter a few seconds behind us.

I had a not so great T2 and left transition in third, behind the drafter and Dave.

The Run.
I tried my best but I just did not have it on Saturday. Have you ever started running and your calves are just tired and not springing? That's how it was, but I wanted to make the best of it. I caught Dave at the first turn around and caught the drafter shortly thereafter. The drafter and I ran together for about 2 miles when I started to cramp. A gap formed between us and within a mile I lost about 35-40 seconds. I felt better the final lap and tried my best to claw back the time but was only managed to bring back about 20 seconds. I finished about 23 seconds in arrears.

I had a blast out there racing. I was a little frustrated with the drafter, but in the end, I have no complaints because if I was in better run shape, it would have been a non-issue and I would have taken the run. I jumped into the pacific ocean for a natural ice bath and tried to figure out how I was going to race a half ironman in 24 hours (because I barely finished this olympic tri).

Big Kahuna Tri 4:24:53 (3rd AG 7th Overall)
Swim: 25:07 -- Bike: 2:20:02 -- Run: 1:36:07

This is another great race. I love swimming in the ocean and swimming around the pier. The ride is fun, mostly along HWY one and the run is challenging with a tough ending on the sand.

First, major props to Andreas (another Pac Bikes athelete) who took the win. He's in great shape and racing fast.

Setting up transition I realized I left my racing kit in the hotel room. I usually put the shorts on before I leave, but since they were still wet I did not and they were left hanging on a hanger. I had an old ITU one piece suit in my bag and that would do. Lucky for me, my better half went back to the hotel and retrieved the pac bikes kit.

The Swim.
Happy to see Andreas at the start line, I told him, I planned to swim on his feet. That's exactly what I did (sorry if I hit your toes Andreas). Unfortunately, Andreas swam a bit off course with about 100 meters to go and I swam straight in to be first out of the water, with Andreas a few seconds back.

The Bike.
I had a quick transition and was first out onto the bike. I really hammered the first half of the bike forgetting that there were some tough climbs heading back in. I got to the turn around in a fast 1:05 and had about a 3+ minute lead over Andreas and another rider (Mark) who were in second and third. However, the way back was difficult (1:15 or so on the way back). There was a headwind and I was really struggling with the effects of the Pacific Grove race. Each climb I just had no power and I kept looking for Andreas to catch me. I am not sure how I did it but I managed to stay in first off the bike. I had maybe a 30 second lead off the bike.

The Run.
I was really surprised, I felt great the first 6 miles. About mile 3 and 4 I actually started thinking I could pull this off. I held onto first until Andreas caught me at about the 7 mile mark. I thought, ok, I'll run with Andreas for a while and see where this goes. Well I tried to run with him, which I did for maybe a 300 meters, and then he slipped away. (Andreas is looking very fast). There was a hill at about mile 8 and that was my undoing. I tried to catch Andreas and my legs simply quit. It's not a feeling I've ever had before, it was not a blow up or bonk, but almost like my muscles just decided enough was enough. They wanted no more of me. Unfortunately for me, I was still 5 miles from the finish. My 6:30/40 pace turned into 8:30/40 pace. My 1:24 turned into a 1:36. Mark, the second place finisher passed me at mile 10 and then I just did what I could to finish. I ran a 54 minute second half, not exactly the negative split I hoped to achieve but nonetheless I had a blast, and was stoked that Andreas took the win. If you're going to lose, it's always more fun to lose to a teammate. I was also very happy to complete the "Double." I always wanted to do it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As many of my teammates were racing in Folsom, I was up in the Pacific Northwest competing in the Lake Stevens IM 70.3. Congrats to everyone out there competing this weekend, from looking at the results, it seems that TPB was out setting the pace again.

Lake Steven's 70.3 was an important race for me, a top 3 overall finished would mean I earned my professional card, and I would again join the professional ranks.  The week leading up to the race was good one, albeit a tough one.  I was busy all week working with one of my favorite clients to close a transaction.  I was definitely trying to be a jack of all trades, attorney and athlete.

As for the race, this was one of the toughest races I've ever done. The conditions were hard (about 90-95 degrees for the run) but they were hard for everyone. When I say the race was tough, its difficulty proved to be more mental than physical.  
Swim: The swim went well, I got off to great start and swam with the leader all the way into T1.  In the final few meters I came through to the lead and exited the water in first. 

I really took the bike out hard.  I knew my bike shape was great, and if I was going to win this race, I would do so on the bike.  Coming out of T1 my goal was to catch all the athletes that started in the wave before me (that wave started 4 minutes ahead of me).  The bike was going as planned, I was catching all athletes and keeping my pace high.  This was going to be great ride.   

56 Mile Bike through the beautiful hills of Lake Steven's Washington.

However, at about mile 48 of the bike, I had that  feeling that I may have gone too hard up the climb and/or not absorbed the calories I had eaten.  I know the feeling of blowing up/bonking on a ride, and I thought oh no, I've done it now. I went into damage control and I decided to take it easy. I rode the last 7 or so miles at a relaxed pace. I really slowed down heading into T2 but I knew I still had a good size lead, and I wanted to take it easy on the final miles of the bike as a precaution to avoid a melt down on the run.

Off the bike I had about a 3 minute lead on all the other amateurs and was happy with my position.  The start of the run was tough and very hot, so I decided to walk the aid stations and made sure that I drank all the water I could get my hands on.  My strategy seemed to be working, I came through the half way point at 42:20 (not blazing fast), but my 6:30 pace (even with the stops) was working.  Although an athlete passed me shortly after the midway point, if I could hold the current pace I would have an excellent result.  

I kept my 6:30-6:40 pace for another mile and half and then came mile 8.  There's a steep hill at mile 8, and my legs were done.  There was no power to run up the hill and my stride turned to a shuffle.  At this point the real difficulty of the race came to the forefront.  I began (i) to worry about the guys behind me and (ii) to doubt my ability to finish the race.  I am not sure if I failed to consume enough calories, or if I exerted too much effort on the bike, or if it was simply my body not cooperating.  To prevent a complete melt down, I kept telling myself, you've got second overall, stay focus and keep it together (at this time I still had at least a 5 minute lead on third and fourth place). 

I was struggling. The great cycling commentator Phil Ligget once described a cyclist as "he looks like he has died a thousand deaths," and that is how I felt and looked.  I kept shuffling through the mile and trying to stay focus and positive.  At one point, I slowed to a walk.  It's not often one of the leaders of the race is walking, but this time, it was me.  I used the walk to compose myself.  I took the 10 seconds to remind myself, hey it's 2.5 miles, run it in 16 or so minutes and get this race finished.  I knew the guys behind me were catching up but if I could put together two reasonable miles I still had a top 2 finish and an age group win.

Between miles 12 to 13, I was passed again.  I was now in third.  The last mile is slightly downhill and I was giving it all I had to run a 6:30 pace. The last 100 meters of the race contains two right turns.  With about 50 meters to go you make one last right and then it's a straight shot to the finishline.  At the final right, I saw a guy coming behind me and coming fast.  I summoned all my strength to pick up my pace but with 10 meters to go he passed me.  I was devastated.  I staggered through the finish line.  In the end I finished 2nd in the age group and 4th overall (amateurs), there would be no pro card today.   

I ran a 1:31:14.  My goal was to run 1:18, but today, I would have been happy with a 1:31:09 (I lost the pro card by 4 seconds).  Off the bike, I had a lead of over 13 minutes on the third place athlete.  For most of the day I had a podium position.  I was first out of the water, first off the bike, and for all of 20 feet of a 70.3 mile race, I was on the podium.  Yet I'm still happy.  I pushed myself to my limit, passed my threshold, but did not give up.  A few years ago my race would have been over at mile 8.  The 1:31 run would have turned into a miserably long 1:51 run.  I am happy, I kept my head focused, struggled through the rough times and finished. 

Swim 27:04
Bike 2:25:51
Run 1:31:14

Total 4:26:44 (2nd AG 4th Amateur Overall)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


A quick race report from the 2010 Treasure Island Triathlon. As always, it was great to see a few of the Team Pacific Bikes guys and girls out there. Congratulations to everyone, as the team performed well.

Coming into the race I was tired. A lot of training and a tough week at work resulted in me having low expectations for the race. I planned to use the weekend as big training weekend, and the race was a training day. My hours at work mean that I need get the most out of the weekend and put in the long hours of training.

The swim was rather uneventful. My swim shape is still sub-par and I am always dependent upon finding the feet of someone faster to obtain a good swim time. However, as I rounded the first buoy and saw no one in sight, I quickly learned that I was fastest in my wave. This is when I wish I was swimming more and back in 18:30 swim shape. I came out of the water in 22:39 promised myself I would be in the pool Monday morning.

I never really found my groove on the bike. The first three laps I just could not find the power to push the straight sections. I finished in 1:02:37 but lost a lot of time to my competitors for the overall amateur win.

The first three miles of the run were great. I held 5:30s. However, the long week of work and training caught up to me, and my paced slowed to around 5:50s. I finished in 37:29. My Garmin had the course at 6.5 miles, which translates to a 35 minute 10K, not great, but I'll take it for where I find myself right now.

In the end I finished 1st in the age group, and 2nd overall. Sami Inkinen put together a strong race and had an incredible bike, taking the overall win.

I was happy with the weekend. I followed up the race with a 10 mile trail run in Tennessee Valley. On Sunday, I went out on the bike and rode out to Point Reyes and returned via Highway One, always a beautiful ride.

Next up is the Lake Steven's 70.3. I have some big goals for that race, and I am about half way there.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Crohnic (Crohn's Disease):
In October of 2000, a couple weeks after winning my age group (24 and under) and placing third overall in Los Angeles Triathlon, I became extremely ill.  Laying in a hospital bed as doctors and nurses performed more tests than I knew existed, I kept wondering, how could someone so healthy be so sick?  I was eventually diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.  From that day on I promised myself I would not let the disease get in the way of my goals, but rather use the disease and its symptoms to make me a better person and better athlete.  

9 years after winning the OA amatuer
race in the LA Triathlon, I returned
in 2010 to win again and start
Tri Career 2.0 
Triathlete (Professional Triathlete):
From 2000 through 2006 I competed as an elite triathlete. However, in 2006, I ruptured two discs in my lower back (L4 and L5) and my triathlon racing career was put on hold until 2009. In September of 2009, I dusted off the wetsuit, bike and running shoes and competed in the Santa Cruz Triathlon. Finishing 2nd in my age group and 4th overall, I decided to make another go at being a professional athlete.

Esq. (Attorney):
In 2006, I graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law (UC Berkeley Law), passed the CA Bar exam, and started work in a large corporate law firm.  In my practice, I represent issuers and underwriters in various asset-backed securitizations.

In 2011, I find myself embarking on pro triathlon career 2.0.  Working a stressful job and pushing my body to its limits is not the typical lifestyle of a Crohn's patient but with a bit of patience, fortitude and luck, I'll be standing on top of the podium.