Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Team DART-nuun does Mt. Wilson & Mt. Baldy

On Saturday I joined my DART-nuun teammates Cyril Jay-Rayon and Aaron Matzke, and adventure racer Sylvie Marracci for a ride up Mt. Wilson and a hike up Mt. Baldy. Here is a shot of the DART-nuun posse just below the 5,500' summit of Mt. Wilson.

It was super hot, over 95 at the start at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I experimented with 2 tabs of nuun in one 24oz bottle, which seemed to work well in the heat. During the 3.5 hour ride, I drank 6 bottles of water (4 had nuun), and 3 bottles of my ever-reliable Vitargo S2. I trust Vitargo so much now that I don't worry for a second about bonking. THAT is COOL.

It was great fun riding with the lads up and down the mountain. The 19 mile long, twisty descent - which drops over 5,000 feet - was quite tiring! The wide sweeping turns were exhilerating. You could really crank and carry over 40mph through the turns which is just as fun as it gets.

We chowed down on some Mexican food (Mole Chicken Enchiladas!)in Pasadena before driving over to Mt. Baldy for a quick hike up and run down. At over 10,000', there was snow on the summit and the whipping winds brought the temperatures down to the freezing mark. Needless to say, I didn't spend as much time as usual on the summit!

Today's song is A Punk by Vampire Weekend

Monday, April 28, 2008

West Coast by Coconut Records

If you skateboarded in the 80s you remember Mark Gonzales!
Sweet footage from a 90s skate movie shoot converted into the video for Coconut Records' (Jason Schwartzman) song West Coast...

Check out the album Nighttiming.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Camp Freddy at the Roxy in May

Every Thursday in May at the Roxy in Hollywood. These are going to be some awesome freaking shows.

See you there!

Today's song is... She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur Long Weekend

The 2008 Sea Otter Classic was all it's cracked up to be...and more. It's truly the Woodstock of cycling in the U.S.

Sooooo, Mari and I did "participate" in the multisport race...but things
went awry!

Team DART-nuun teammate Mari and I, along with Donato from Team Dirty Avocados, laid down a nasty pace from the gun. sprinting ahead of the pack on the opening 2.6 mile run. UNFORTUNATELY we were waved the wrong way at an trailhead intersection and wound up running 40 minutes instead of 15. Youch! Embarassing!

We ran back to transition, jumped on our bikes, and I rode the bike segment with Mari at a steady but not race pace. Before we finished the bike I managed to break my chain (!) on the final climb. I told Mari to finish without me, as it would take 5-10 minutes perhaps to fix the chain.

While fixing the chain all I could do was laugh at the nightmare of a race. I had flashbacks of Ironman Wisconsin 2003, when my seatpost binder bolt broke during the bike. Sometimes the law of averages kicks in and you're struck by lightning when you least expect it! All you can do is prepare better the next time, with closer attention to small details.

After the bike there was a fun obstacle course with high-steps through tires, hurdles, a low-crawl under a cargo net, some more under and over hurdles, some weird shapes cut into boards we had to climb through, a log-pull, some balance beams, and finally a high-wall with a rope ascent. My military experience paid off as I flew through the O-course!

Once across the finish line I withheld any comments regarding course markings and instead just rapped with the other competitors. It was tough to explain to the reporters why DART-nuun, known for ace navigation and winning races, got lost on a marked course. I don't think I'll ever live this one down.

FYI Mari wound up 2nd woman overall, even after running ~24 minutes extra on the run and taking it relatively easy on the bike.

The rest of the weekend I worked the GenR8 Vitargo booth. As an Endurance Sports Ambassador for GenR8, I was able to share my Vitargo experience with cyclists and adventure racers. It was interesting to note which racers and at what level were interested in learning more about Vitargo. 90% of the interest came from Expert/Pro level cyclists and adventure racers. The other 10% came from folks who may not be competitive but pay close attention to detail and want the best fuel available for their bodies.

What you won't see in the Velo News coverage of Sea Otter is how windy and cold it was in Monterey. Low 40s in the morning, highs barely touching 50, non-stop gusts blowing dirt in your face ALL DAY! By noon each day we were covered in dirt! No matter how many layers you put on, it was just COLD.

On Sunday my lovely and talented co-pilot Lisa and I drove south on Hwy 1 through Carmel, Big Sur, and Cambria, snapping photos the entire way. I definitely need to come back here in the summer-I was blown away by the number of isolated, cliffed-out beaches only accessible by kayak.

Check back for a link to the Picasa site once they are uploaded. It was a beautiful day to make this drive south on Highway 1, I hope the photos give you an idea of the majesty of this coastline.

If you have never seen the central coast south of Monterey, put it on your list! It truly is the most beautiful coastline on the west coast.

Today's song is Someone Great by LCD Soundsystem

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Team DART-nuun Wins North America's World Championships Qualifier

Press Release link is on the bottom.
VIDEO of our finish is HERE:

Check out the massive edema on the legs!

DART-nuun wins North America's World Championships qualifier

Today's song is RUBY by Kaiser Chiefs

Monday, April 14, 2008

Off to Monterrey...


On Thursday evening I am driving up to Monterey for the Sea Otter Classic. I will be participating in the THULE Adventure Challenge, essentially a sprint duathlon with a 'special test', along with my DART-nuun teammate Mari Chandler (my pick to win).

From Friday to Sunday you will be able to find me at the GenR8 Vitargo booth, #356. I will be there to share my experience using Vitargo S2 while training and racing.

Today's song is Heavyweight Champions of the World by Reverend & The Makers

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Someone you should know.

3:07 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, and welcome.

The Medal of Honor is America's highest decoration for military valor. Over the years, many who have received the medal have given their lives in the action that earned it. The name of Petty Officer Michael Anthony Monsoor will now be among them.

In September 2006, Michael laid down his life for his brothers in arms. Today, we remember the life of this faithful Navy SEAL. And on behalf of a grateful nation, we will present Michael Monsoor's family with the Medal of Honor that he earned.

I welcome the Vice President. Secretary of Defense Gates, thank you for coming. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Peake; Secretary Don Winter of the Navy; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and wife, Deborah; General James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Annette; Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, and wife, Ellen; Senator John McCain; Congressman Ed Royce; Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

Previous Medal of Honor recipients, thank you for joining us.

I appreciate Chaplain Burt; Navy SEALS -- the finest warriors on the face of the Earth; the Monsoor family, and everybody else.

The Medal of Honor is awarded for an act of such courage that no one could rightly be expected to undertake it. Yet those who knew Michael Monsoor were not surprised when he did. This son of Orange County, California, grew up in a family where helping others was a way of life. Mike's father was a Marine; his mother a social worker. Together, they raised their four children to understand the meaning of service and sacrifice.

From a very early age, Mike showed the strength of his own convictions. Apparently going to kindergarten wasn't one of them. Mike had no complaints after the first week of school -- until someone broke the news to him that he had to go back the next week. (Laughter.) Many mornings, Mike refused to put on the nice clothes for school. Instead, he insisted on wearing mismatched outfits. Mike's mother soon discovered there was no stopping the determined young boy from mixing plaids and stripes. And years later, there would be no stopping an even more determined young man from donning a uniform of Navy Blue.

In some ways, Mike was an unlikely candidate for the Navy. He suffered from terrible asthma as a child. On some nights, his coughing fits would land him in the hospital. But Mike would not lie low for long. He strengthened his lungs by racing his siblings in the swimming pool. He worked to wean himself off his inhaler. He built himself into a superb athlete -- excelling from sports like football to snowboarding.

After enlisting in the Navy, he began preparing for the ultimate test of physical endurance: SEAL training. Less than a third of those who begin this training become SEALs. But Mike would not be denied a spot. In September 2004, he earned the right to wear the Navy SEAL trident.

The newly minted frogman became a beloved member of the SEAL team community. His teammates liked to laugh about the way his shiny Corvette would leave everybody in the dust. But deep down, they always knew Mike would never leave anybody behind when it counted. He earned their confidence with his attention to detail and quiet work ethic. One of Mike's officers remembers an instructor once asking after an intense training session, "What's the deal with the Monsoor guy? He just says, 'Roger that,' to everything."

When Mike deployed with his team to Ramadi in the spring of 2006, he brought that attitude with him. Because he served as both a heavy machine gunner and a communications operator, he often had a double load of equipment -- sometimes more than a hundred pounds worth. But under the glare of the hot desert sun, he never lost his cool.

At the time, Ramadi was in the clutches of al Qaeda terrorists and insurgents. Together, the SEALs and the Army 1st Battalion of the 506 Infantry Regiment took the offense against the enemy. The SEALs carried out a broad range of special operations -- including providing sniper cover in tough urban conditions, and conducting raids against terrorists and insurgents. Overall, Mike's platoon came under enemy attack during 75 percent of their missions. And in most of these engagements, Mike was out front defending his brothers.

In May 2006, Mike and another SEAL ran into the line of fire to save a wounded teammate. With bullets flying all around them, Mike returned fire with one hand while helping pull the injured man to safety with the other. In a dream about the incident months later, the wounded SEAL envisioned Mike coming to the rescue with wings on his shoulders.

On Saint Michael's Day -- September 29, 2006 -- Michael Monsoor would make the ultimate sacrifice. Mike and two teammates had taken position on the outcropping of a rooftop when an insurgent grenade bounced off Mike's chest and landed on the roof. Mike had a clear chance to escape, but he realized that the other two SEALs did not. In that terrible moment, he had two options -- to save himself, or to save his friends. For Mike, this was no choice at all. He threw himself onto the grenade, and absorbed the blast with his body. One of the survivors puts it this way: "Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, 'You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'"

Perhaps the greatest tribute to Mike's life is the way different service members all across the world responded to his death. Army soldiers in Ramadi hosted a memorial service for the valiant man who had fought beside them. Iraqi Army scouts -- whom Mike helped train -- lowered their flag, and sent it to his parents. Nearly every SEAL on the West Coast turned out for Mike's funeral in California. As the SEALs filed past the casket, they removed their golden tridents from their uniforms, pressed them onto the walls of the coffin. The procession went on nearly half an hour. And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.

For his valor, Michael Monsoor becomes the fourth Medal of Honor recipient in the war on terror. Like the three men who came before him, Mike left us far too early. But time will not diminish his legacy. We see his legacy in the SEALs whose lives he saved. We see his legacy in the city of Ramadi, which has gone from one of the most dangerous places in Iraq to one of the most safest. We see his legacy in the family that stands before us filled with grief, but also with everlasting pride.

Mr. and Mrs. Monsoor: America owes you a debt that can never be repaid. This nation will always cherish the memory of your son. We will not let his life go in vain. And this nation will always honor the sacrifice he made. May God comfort you. May God bless America.

Come on up. And now George and Sally Monsoor will be here -- a Military Aide will read the citation.

The citation is read:

The President of the United States, in the name of the Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor, posthumously, to Master At Arms Second Class, Sea, Air and Land, Michael A. Monsoor, United States Navy. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006.

As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

(The Medal of Honor is presented.) (Applause.)

END 3:17 P.M. EDT

Today's song is Ryan Adams' cover of Wonderwall by Oasis

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yet ANOTHER set of photos from Baja (Thurs Apr 10th)

Mari posted some photos, some hilarious, you can check out HERE

Song of the day is THRASH UNREAL by Against Me!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Next Up: Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey!

Next up is the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey! The Sea Otter Classic is one of the largest cycling festivals in the world, with several days full of road and mountain bike races and every player in the cycling industry showing off their newest stuff.

I am driving up with GenR8, the the maker of my racing and training fuel, VITARGO. I also will be racing under the DART-nuun banner in the sprint adventure race and maybe one of the mountain bike races. I am in the process of building up my new TURNER FLUX, and hope to unveil it at Sea Otter. Every thing about this bike is fast. Just waiting on a couple final parts from Second Ascent in Seattle to be shipped down...

"Gotta tame the beast before you let it out of the cage!"
-Derek Zoolander

So I am completely stoked because I have read about Sea Otter since the early 90s but have never attended. Over 9,500 athletes will be racing in the road, mountain bike, and multisport races, with 50,000 spectators! The road races take place on the Laguna Seca race track, which makes it specator-friendly. I plan on bringing my digital camera so check back for some cool shots of the pro races.

I will be working the GenR8 booth, sharing my experience with Vitargo with endurance athletes. The word is out about Vitargo! It really is the fastest muscle fuel available today, quite literally. My secret race and recovery fuel isn't a secret any more. Good for GenR8, bad for me. Ha!

Several DART-nuun sponsors will have a high profile at Sea Otter, including THULE. What would we all do without our sweet THULE rack systems on our cars? I am about to get a new car, smaller than what I have now, and I will be using my new THULE rack every day to transport my bikes and boats.

DART-nuun teammates Cyril Jay-Rayon and Mari Chandler will join me in the Thule Adventure Challenge sprint adventure race. We are racing individually as soloists, as that is the only category. The race will be extremely short and fast, quite a departure from our specialty: 24-hour to 5 day long expedition races!

I am going to make a bold prediction...DUN-DUN-Duuuuuuun:
My teammate Mari Chandler will smoke the course. Mari is a former NIKE Farm Team professional runner, specializing in the mile. That means she is basically an alien from another planet with physiological gifts that most multisport racers will never have. Oh, and she's fast on the bike too. Mari is crazy, stupid fast. And she's one of the funnest people you'll ever meet. I am pretty sure that she is going to humiliate most of the guys in this race. Go Mari!

We will be at Sea Otter from Thursday April 17th until Sunday April 21st. You should be able to find us wearing our nuun or GenR8 Vitargo gear. Overall it should be a fantastic weekend in Monterrey, one of the most beautiful spots in California. For a bike freak like me, this is a weekend in paradise!

Today's song is Air Traffic Control by Louis XIV, who brought you the masterpiece Finding Out True Love is Blind.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2008 Baja Travesia Champions

After 70 nonstop hours of racing across the Baja peninsula we were gaunt, depleted and severely hallucinating...and celebrating with champagne!

More photos are available over at and

1. Crossing the finish line in Ensenada, both DART-nuun teams tied for 1st Place.

2. Cyril and Sean at the finish line.

3. Both DART-nuun teams at the finish line hitting the champagne.

4. At our homestay in San Felipe, working on maps with Glenn the night before the race. Route selection was very straight-forward. Navigating wouldn't be on these 1:50,000' scale maps!

5. NOBODY can cut and laminate a map like Mari Chandler. NOBODY! Seriously!

6. One last photo from our (seated) celebration after 70hrs of racing across Baja:

7. Ryan Fleming, DART-nuun/NW Kayaks's crew. Ryan was on the 11th place Team DART at Primal Quest Washington in 2004. We were stoked that he agreed to crew for us!

Today's song is New Wave by Against Me! My favorite album of the last year.