Friday, July 30, 2010

Beautiful Park City, Utah

Perhaps one of the most heavely places on earth are the spectacular mountains of Utah.  If you've never been, put it on your bucket list.  It is a feast of fun if you're any bit "outdoorsy".  And if you're not, the views are magnificent while you're having Sunday brunch at Stein Erickson's Lodge.

One of my favorite activities out here is mountain biking.   You can find information about hiking and biking trails Here.

A top 10 ride is the Mid Mountain Trail in Park City.  It starts out at Silver Lake Village at the Deer Valley ski resort.  You can rent a mountain bike at the resort and take the lift up to the start of the trail.  The MMT rolls along for 26ish  miles staying at about 8,000 feet.  It bends and winds its way around the mountain and allows you to ride past aspens, rock gardens, tall grasslands and awesome views of downtown and beyond. 

I'm headed out now for a short ride before we leave for Spudman.  Lucky me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TOMORROW is the Day!

Despite what you might have heard, Tempe is still planning to hold Ironman Arizona on November 21, 2010.  The lake usually looks like this:

As of today the lake looks like this:
The City of Tempe has promised that the lake will be refilled by November 1 and the Ironman will go on without a hitch.  Cross your fingers, y'all.

With that in mind, if you've ever wanted to do something really fun for someone else, now's your chance.  Starting tomorrow, July 28, you can sign up to volunteer at Ironman AZ.  As your local Captain of Registration, I would LOVE it if you'd sign up to work the registration tables with me!  

The great thing about Registration, is that you get to see all those nervous athletes face to face.  They are pumped up and happy and excited that they have made it to the start of this huge goal called Ironman.  Most of these guys and gals have trained up to a year just for this day.  And now it is reality for them.  They are giddy.

Part of the whole Registration process is the weigh in, which I find absolutely hysterical.  Two thousand of the fittest people you have ever seen walk up to a scale to record their weight like they're on The Biggest Loser.  They take off their shoes, they wince, they suck it in - I love it.   Scale issues are universal, my friends.

So go here:  voluteer sign up and spend a few hours doing something good for someone else this November.  At the very least you'll get a free t-shirt out of it.  But overall, you'll meet some great people, enjoy a day outside at Tempe Beach Park and get to be part of something BIG! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buying Your First Road Bike

I have a lot of people ask me about buying a bike.  It is a daunting task - so many brands, so many styles.  Should I buy a road bike or a tri bike?

Here's my simplest advice.

First, get yourself to a bike shop.  Look at the models, check the prices, and have a budget in mind.  To be honest, a new road bike is expensive.  I'm talking, out the door for $1500 is a great deal.  Partly because along with the bike you'll need shoes, pedals, a bike helmet, padded shorts, a saddle bag and extra goodies like that.  It's like adding a la carte sides to your steak from Ruth's Chris - you've got to have your garlic mashed potatoes, that's what makes the meal.

Back to the task.  Go talk to the pros at your local shop.  Tell them what you are looking for.  Digest all that advice they are going to give you and you'll begin to narrow down your choices and things will become clearer for you.  Ask about what size you might be.  See what they have that would work for you.  Tell them your budget!

If you can afford it, a new bike perfectly fit for your body is a sweet purchase that will get you on your way to your future triathlon career.  It is a great investment.  But if it is beyond your budget, tell the shop pro.  Ask him about re-sales, trade-ins, or  other options, even financing.  Go to him for help!

Another route is to get the word out to other cyclists that you are in the market for a new bike and see what's out there.  If you find what you are looking for on Craig's List or Ebay, MAKE SURE you bring the bike in for a tune up from a reputable bike mechanic.  Ask him about getting properly fit on your new ride.  A bike should be comfortable, with a seat that does not chafe your fanny.  Your arms should not go numb when you are on the bike for a long distance.  The ride should be smooth and quiet and blissful.

The most important part of this whole process is finding something you will love and something you will want to ride for years to come.  My first road bike was a Specialized Allez.  It was a mid-range bike that got me through my first years in the sport.  I put aero bars on the bike when I did my first tri and guess what, I loved the bike AND the race.  And now that bike has been passed down to others for their first races.

Lance's Ride
Hope that helps.  If not, give me a call.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Too Thin Shorts and Other Tales From The Closet

Our washing machine is broken.  The repairman has been back three times over three days but can't seem to solve the problem.  I already had a back up of laundry, so the result is I'm forced to reach back into my closet for my "old shorts".  Old, nappy bike shorts are gross.  Old, thin swimsuits are even worse.  I've dealt with both this week and had to retire a few precious wardrobe items, STAT.

Like noticing the cars on the road that are exactly like the new car you just bought, I'm getting really AWARE of my fellow cyclists' wardrobe choices, too.   Specifically I've noticed that a LOT of people have shorts they need to retire.  Namely, those shorts that give us too much information when you are riding behind that person. Sometimes when the sun crests the horizon and morning light hits those black cycling shorts just right, we see more than the crack of dawn, if you know what I mean.  I don't think it's intentional, really.  Just an ... undersight.

Maybe on today's "to do" list a de-junking is in order.  It might be worth holding up those go-to shorts in the light and giving them a once over.   Or tossing that micro-thin Speedo that has had one too many dips in the chlorinated pool.  Or throwing out those threadbare running socks.

Today might be a good day for a "purge."

I'm just sayin.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's a Man's World

Cycling shorts for women are so __________(insert adjective here).  Well, functional is one word.  I've been wearing the standard Pearl Izumis for years.  But today I tried the DeSoto 400 Mile bike shorts for women.  Do yourself a favor and add these to your arsenal of bike gear.

I rode today in complete comfort.  Usually the padding of my shorts rubs my inner thigh, the bulky pad is a bit too wide for my .... area.  These shorts felt like they were designed by a woman for a woman. They were curved in all the right places. Plus, they were really light and breathable. And, there was no leg gripper at the bottom that squeezes into (and accentuates) the fattest, meatiest, cellulitiest part of my leg.  Super unflattering.  

No, these babies were sweet.   I liked 'em. I liked 'em a lot.  Way to go DeSoto.   

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last Long Run

You've put in the time, the hours, the miles, and now your marathon is within sight.  So when do you do your last long run?

According to running expert Bart Yasso:  "Ideally, you'd do your last long run three weeks before race day to give your body ample time to adapt to and recover from the challenges of the workout.  For many runners, the last long run will be their longest, reaching 20 to 23 miles.  Two weeks out, you'll still log a decent distance - from 13 for newbies to 16 for experienced marathoners.  It just doesn't seem as "long" in contrast to your previous efforts.  If you have scheduling conflicts, you can move your last long run to four weeks before race day and still reap the benefits of the distance.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to Climb

Bicycling Magazine listed a few nice tips on how to climb like a pro in their July edition.  And since we're all watching the best cyclists in the world ascend "Beyond Category" climbs these days,  I thought these tips were timely.
Photo credit: Cycling Weekly 

#1  To ascend in a way that suits your style, you need to know your own climbing style.  Rhythm climbers are more comfortable maintaining their own pace and gradually changing speeds.  Jumpers enjoy varying the pace of a climb, alternating between out-of-the-saddle bursts and seated recovery.  Figure out which type you are and start to climb while maximizing your strengths; you'll be amazed at the improvement in your performance.

#2  To vary the exertion among muscle groups, occasionally slide slightly forward on your saddle as you climb and push directly down on the pedals, which uses your quads and hamstrings.  Then sometimes scoot backward and push against the pedals almost as if you're doing leg presses in a gym, which uses more of your glutes.

#3 *This is my favorite!   When you start to become fatigued or demoralized, anchor an imaginary bungee cord around a distant object such as a telephone pole or boulder, and concentrate on the image of the bungee pulling you to the object.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

World War 2 and Aerial Double Fulls

Daughter Number Three is busy researching the causes of World War II today.  She's at the computer, reading, typing, studying.  And it's Summer Break.  Her friends are spending the day at Big Surf then heading to the cool, dark theater caves that are so delicious in Arizona this time of year.

But not Rachel.  She's taking online school.  She's getting ahead of her classwork so next fall she can leave her high school campus early.  She's done this year after year - taking classes in the summer so she can get to her gym by 1:30 p.m.  Rachel is a Level 10 gymnast.  There are 10 levels, then Elite.  Elites represent their teams at World and Olympic competitions.

Here's where I'm going with this.  It's easy to brush off a champion like Michael Phelps or Lance Armstrong and say, "Hey, they've got the genes for it." It's a well known fact that Lance's heart is larger and can pump out more oxygen than typical humans.   And Michael Phelps, well he's was built to swim.

What we seem to forget is the sacrifices these athletes have made.  They've chosen work over play and focus over fun.  Their hours are filled with trial and error, repetition and pain.  They have chosen the road less traveled.  They have practiced self control.  And they have earned the accolades that come with their sport.

And what about you?  What do you want to achieve?  What do you dream about?  Are you ready to work, really work, to get there?  Are you ready to give up something to be better? There's a price for excellence.   Can you afford it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Yesterday, after the Iron Gear group ride, I jumped on my boss's new Kuota Kom with Di2 for a little spin and giggle.  I believe I saw him wince in pain and shake his head in regret when he saw me take off.

Of course the bike is light, around 16 pounds.  It's beautiful - it's shape and lines are sexy and aerodynamic.  But I was more interested in the new electronic shifting system -- the Di2 of the bike, that supposedly shifts the bike electronically, without a clunk or delay.

And I've got to say, I was impressed.  When I pressed the shifter it sounded like a bionic laser beam was moving the chain from gear to gear more efficiently than any componentry I've ever known.  Bzzzup, one gear up, buzzup, one gear down.  Just a light touch of the shifter and the chain moved so crisp and easy, like a electronic key card opening a hotel door.  There's a reason we don't have bulky hotel keys anymore, and there is now NO reason NOT to have electronic shifters on bikes.

Shimano says this: The Di2 7970 shifters are designed to feel like their mechanical counterparts, but the internal shift mechanisms have been replaced with small touch pads that will send an instantaneous message to the front dearailer, which houses the ultra small computer that controls the whole system, to shift. Potentially these pads could have been placed anywhere, but for the sake of easy transition, they were placed in the traditional location. The ability to place them anywhere will serve a better purpose in a TT bike setup though, where they’ll really make a difference. Both front and rear dearailers have servos, instead of springs, this allows the system to monitor shifts to ensure accurate and precise shifting each time. The system will also be able to adjust itself, so no more worrying about chain rub or cable tension.

Between you and me, I'm sold.  I've had a sentimental love affair with old Funky Girl, my Trek 5500, and GURU, my trusty tri bike, who's reliably carried me through three Ironmans.  But my eyes are starting to wander.  The Kuota Kom and especially the Di2, might be worth retiring my old friends for the new frontier of innovative, high-performance eletronic technology.  It's been a good ride my friends, but I'm ready to fly.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Race Report: Coronado 15K by 12-year-old Scott

Here's Scott Tucker's race recap.  Of course, Mom did not have a camera to document the big event.  But here's one with Scott (on the right) and his BFF Max, watching fireworks on the Coronado public golf course.

Sunday, July 4th, I ran the 2010 Coronado 15K. I had never ran anything that far before and I was excited to know I was already going to have a personal record! Anyway, as I stood at the starting line, I told myself to run as hard as I could and finish strong. Those two things seemed pretty simple at the time, but I later found out they weren't as easy as I thought.

I started the run feeling "OK" about myself, but somewhere, I didn't feel totally loose or had perfect form. I kept running though, and only took a couple of steps at each water station. And when we hit the halfway point, a burst of energy kept me determined me to keep on going and keep my pace.

Each mile they shouted out the time of your mile. I had been running almost a perfect ten-minute pace and every time I heard I was keeping the same pace, it made me want to go even faster.
Coming up on mile eight, I was, in my mind, ready to finish. I continued on and finally I had reached mile nine and knew I only had a little under a third of a mile to go! I raced to the finish line, so glad I had ran this far, and crossed the finish-line smiling and proud of my effort!
That day gave me the self-confidence that I was always looking for! I finished with a 1:32:40 time. I was proud of the accomplishment, but you can bet you'll see me next year on that same course finishing with an even better time!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Yoga on the beaches of Coronado = perfection.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July Traditions

Okay, check out Lance in this photo.  It's a keeper.  He's riding over COBBLESTONES.  Have you ever tried to even walk on them, let alone ride a bike?  Bumpy, unstable, dangerous.  He's surrounded by crowds, cyclists, and motorcycles.

Plus, on this day, he had a flat and got dropped by the peloton and had to fight his way back to the pack.  Lance is older - 38.  And he's competing with team Radio Shack in his final Tour.  VERSUS channel carries the Tour de France live daily.   There are recaps of each stage on prime time TV.

Watching the Tour is a tradition in our home.  And this year's race has been exceptionally exciting and fun to watch.  If you've never watched cycling on TV, give it a shot.

Another Tucker tradition is spending the Fourth at the Hotel Del Coronado.  The hotel was built in 1888 and has such a great family feel to it.  It sits on the island of Coronado, which is also the home of a US Naval Base - an ideal place to capture the spirit of  patriotism and respect on America's day of Independence.

If you get a chance, there is a 15K or 5K run that winds through the island and naval base on July 4th  Congratulations to Scott Tucker and Sasha Robinson, who ran their first 15K this year.  And a big shout out to the other runners who fought the urge to sleep in on their VACATION and ran a great race: Marnie Brian, Simon and Althea Beltran, and Todd Tucker.  Nice run all of you!
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True