Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For All My Triathlete Friends...Save Some Money and Join USAT

If you are going to do one triathlon this year, don't read any further.....
(and really, who only does ONE triathlon? If that is you, I want you to contact me and let me know why you only did one, because I am betting you had such a great time that most of you are habitual triathletes!!)
Okay, you are reading further, that means you are a triathlete and you want to know how you will save some money by joining USA Triathlon.
Probably your first question is how much does it cost to sign up for a USAT membership?
What do you get for the $45?
Well, first off, you don't have to pay $12 for every USAT sanctioned event.
Do the math..
4 time $12 equals $48.
So if you are competing, or in my case, "eventing" at 4 USAT sanctioned events a year, you have saved yourself $3 by becoming a member.
If you are a member of USAT and a triathlon club, you are eligible to compete in the USAT Club Challenge - and it is FUN!!!!
Oh, yeah! Just ask any of my Triathlon Connection peeps who swam, biked and ran their fannies off last year in the competition. I don't think we won anything, but it didn't matter - a lot of us just like competition.
Other perks?
You get a great Triathlon magazine.
 and you get...
oh, I can't list all the perks. Just click on this link and see for yourself.
Did I mention you also get a cool sticker for your car?
If you have any questions about being a member of USAT, just leave a comment below, or contact me on facebook or email at

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ride a Bull to Get ABS?

Get Buff with a Mechanical Bull.
That's what the email message said.
I couldn't resist. I read more.
If there's anything the Marlboro Man was known for (besides, you know, dying of cancer), it was his rippling physique.
I know I can be witty, but those are their words, not mine.

 And now you too can have the hot bod of a cowboy, thanks to the Mechanical Core Muscle Trainer!
bull trainerEssentially a mechanical bull, this muscle trainer replicates that same experience you find in a bar... minus the 12 tequila shots and people screaming.

And my question is why would I want to do this if I hadn't had some tequila shots (12 for me would be TOO Many; uh, 3 would probably have be hanging out by the toilet)....and I don't really like screaming people, it reminds me of too much of my children when they yelled at me, "You don't know anything!" and then ran in their room and slammed the door.

 Able to support 265 lbs. and intended for 20-minute workout sessions, the trainer is designed as a low impact machine that hits your legs, stomach, back and "badass cowboy" muscles (note: not a real muscle).

Can't I just plank for 10 minutes and get the same results on my legs, stomach and back? And if I am going to lay down lot of $$$ for this bull-ride machine, I definitely want a "badass cowboy" or in my case, "cowgirl"  muscle...and they say there isn't such a thing.

 With nine speeds and adjustable routine programming, this private bull is useful to bronco busters and rodeo clowns alike.

 And it definitely (probably) won't give you cancer!

Neither will planks!

Okay, I was intrigued enough to check it out. $1500.
The official site says this about it:

This is the low-impact mechanical exerciser that gently and thoroughly concentrates on developing strength in the glutes, upper thigh, abdominal, and lower back muscles, and is especially beneficial for novice exercisers or those unable to tolerate excessive pressure and stress on joints. It allows you to conduct a 20-minute exercise routine while seated, making it easy to perform at home while working on other tasks or watching television. The saddle supports up to 265 lbs., gently tilting back and forth, left and right in preprogrammed sequences that can be selected at the touch of a button. The gentle swaying of the saddle forces the core body muscles to expand and contract, keeping you upright in a relaxed, properly aligned sitting position which helps develop important muscle structure necessary to maintain good posture. The exercise routines also provide a beneficial aerobic workout ideal for those who need to maintain low target heart rates. Any of three basic programs and nine speeds are easily controlled from the panel at the pommel, and a set of stirrups and a handle help beginners maintain proper balance during the slow workout that simulates the gentle back-and-forth motion experienced while riding a horse at a lazy gait. Plugs into AC. 29" H x 16 1/2" W x 34 1/3" D. (82 lbs.)
I get the watching TV part, but what other tasks could you do while sitting on this?
Uh, don't answer that.
When I win the lottery I am going to buy 5 of these and put them in my family room to replace my worn out sofa and love seat. I am sure my kids will love them.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

XTERRA - Triathlon with Dirt and Blood

Today I took a step into the dirty world of

and it bit me and rewarded me.
Tonight I have an icepack on my face and a 1st place trophy on my desk.
Neither one are pretty.
My cheek bone is swollen and my face is puffy and it is bruised.
Uh, where am I going to put this?
Months ago Robert and I decided to sign up for Vineman 70.3. He signed us up. He got me in. But by the time he got around to signing himself up - all of 7 minutes later- the roster was full and he was on a waiting list. He was wait number 795. Yikes! Vineman was supposed to be our 27th Anniversary celebration, and it didn't seem as if it would be much of a celebration if we weren't both commiserating, I mean competing, I mean eventing at the same event.
Although he was on the wait list, I thought it would be a good idea to sign us up for something else in July that would be a SURE thing...something we could both do and if Vineman 70.3 was not to be our celebration, then this "other" event could be.
I signed us up for XTERRA Snow Valley.
I signed us up for the Sport Triathlon. How hard could that be? I mean even if we both got into Vineman 70.3, then this little XTERRA race could be our "recovery" race.
The sport triathlon showed that it was a 500m swim, a 8.07 mile bike and a 5k run.
Shoot, that's nothing compared to a REAL sprint triathlon, or an Olympic Distance, or a half iron distance.
You can't compare.
Okay, well, I can and I will.
But it isn't pretty.
But damn, it was fun.
At XTERRA Snow Valley we got a lot of altitude.
Okay, there was a little attitude, but mostly altitude.
What is the altitude in Snow Valley?
According to Wikipedia the base altitude of Snow Valley is 6,800 feet.
That's where we parked our running shoes.
Okay, see that big hill in the background? Well, we had to ride/push our bikes up, up, up to the swim/bike transition.
Photo: It's looking a lot a race site here at T2 and finish line. Lets get the party started.
Actually, we didn't quite go that way, we went a different way, a way that my friend Paul said would take us 15 minutes more, but save our legs. Who was he trying to kid?
Riding/walking to transition 1 mile UP!
After putting our running shoes in transition one, we traveled about 1 mile UP hill to transition 2. My heart rate was in Zone 5 by the time we got to T2.
Take a good look behind me. How many women do you see? Yeah, not too many. There were WAY more men than women. (FYI to single women - WAY MORE MEN!!!!)
But I am so lucky that I had my guy with me in transition.
I just kept looking around at the gorgeous view....ladies, I am talking about the hills and the sky. It was beautiful. Did I mention if you are single, you should really thinking of trying XTERRA.
We started off with the swim and holy moly, I could not get enough air. I mean 500m is nothing, but I could NOT get enough air. My entire swim was swim, stop and breath, swim, stop and breath and it took me 16 minutes to do a 500m. Yikes!
Then the swim was over and I cram all my stuff is a white kitchen garbage bag with my number on it and tie it up and hope to heaven that it actually makes it way back to me because I wave bye-bye to it and off I ride.
And what a ride. I was NOT prepared. I have ridden Sycamore Canyon in Riverside and I have ridden Skyline Drive in Corona and I even placed 2nd in the Mountain Bike Triathlon last year at Wildflower, but I was NOT prepared for this.
As I was riding through here I was thinking, "uhm, why did I not get to take up the lifts? I had to ride/push my bike all the way up here?" and "What goes up, must go down."
This was a definite UP. Most people were walking (aka pushing their bikes) up this and I am a firm believer in going with the flow, so I pushed my bike, too. A couple of hard-core mountain bikers with 2 percent body fat did ride their bikes up this hill.
I know this looks a lot like the other pic I have but it is different place. Some things are the same. Less oxygen, along the lift line and down hill.
The first thing I said when I crashed, "Is my nose bleeding?"
"No," my guy answered.
"Are you sure because DAMN my face just hit that rock and it feels as if it should be bleeding."
Something was bleeding because I had blood on my shorts and my legs and just about everywhere I looked, so how could it NOT be from my nose because my face HIT THE ROCK?
Hard Headed!
My front tooth was a little loose and I could feel the swelling in my cheekbone.
At that point I wanted to call it a day...for about five seconds.....Then someone ran up the hill to me and was talking on their walkie-talkie and asking me how I was.
 I did NOT think about my bike for one minute.
I thought about my FACE.
I got up and righted my bike and made Robert take a picture of my owies and the rock that I smashed my face into.
You will not believe how SLOWLY I rode down the rest of the bike course. Some of it I walked..and it was down. I was shaky and bleeding and my right arm and leg were throbbing and I was NOT going to give one more piece of my skin to that freaking mountain.
I made it down and thank you Paul Halliday!!! He was in transition and actually took my bike from me and hung it on the rack.
I got my running shoes on me and started the run, which most people walked/hiked.
I ran/jogged as much as I could.
I love when I see pretty flowers!
Hiking or running?
Just keep following the arrows!
It was nice that at one aid station I saw a fellow Triathlon Connection friend Chad!
Eventually the arrows led me to this.
I took Spanish in high school and I have been hanging with a Spanish girl and a Mexican chica, so I know what that means......and look the people are walking.......
when they should have been running because there he was right on the run course....DEVIL!!!!
Okay, they can label it Mount Devil...but I am calling it BITCH!
Yeah, you run/jog/walk up and down that and then you name it something better than Devil or Bitch.
I dare you.
By this time my bloody knee/leg and aching face/body are starting to stiffen/ache on me and I am so happy to see this
So I started to run/jog/walk/hobble a little faster because I heard there was beer at the end and soon I saw this
And I finished.
I got all my gear and put it in the car and then I made a pit stop at First Aid.
While the nice firefighter/paramedics were hurting me by scrubbing out my wounds, we chatted about all the other injuries that had been through there.
They mentioned a guy with a separated clavicle.
That made my injury seem so minor.
(Later I found out that my TC friend Darren was the separated clavicle guy).
Next Robert and I walked over to the results board and I got a good laugh.
I had pulled off a "Harriet Anderson".
First place in my 50-54 age group for the XTERRA Sport Triathlon.
At first I felt as if it wasn't really an EARN because I was the only one in the age division and then some of Harriet Anderson's words came back to me.
(Harriet Anderson is 78-years-young and going to Kona for her 23rd time this October. She is usually the only one in her age group and gets the Golden Ticket. I was lucky to be able to run/job/walk with her at Vineman 70.3 a couple of weeks ago).
A win is a win!
If other people were competing they would be out there on the field!

 I'm taking my win.


















Friday, July 26, 2013

Maybe Next Year Women will Ride the Tour?

Earlier this month I wrote a blog questioning whether I (a female) could ever be a Tour de France cyclist.
My answer was no and I didn't even take into account that I am 53-years-young, or just an average cyclist.
All I considered was that I, like all females, have a vagina.
That alone ruled out any possibility of me being in the Tour.
Here's my previous blog:
But wait!
Maybe women will be in the Tour.
Maybe next year?
I have no delusions that I will be amongst them, but I am really excited to think that things may change for women cyclists.
And it is all starting with a petition.
The petition was started by:
Emma Pooley, GBR Olympian & World Champion Cyclist
Kathryn Bertine, SKN National Champion Cyclist and Filmmaker
Marianne Vos, NED World and Olympic Champion Cyclist
Chrissie Wellington, GBR World Ironman Triathlon Champion
After being signed by many (hopefully, including YOU), it will be delivered to Christian Prudhomme, the Director of the Tour de France.
The main idea of the petition is to get Prudhoome to allow female professional cycling teams to race the Tour de France
Here's exactly what the petition says: 

For 100 years, the Tour de France has been the pinnacle endurance sports event of the world, watched by and inspiring millions of people. And for 100 years, it has been an exclusively male race (there was a separate Tour Feminin in the 1980s, but it lacked parity, media coverage, and sponsorship). After a century, it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too. While many women's sports face battles of inequity, road cycling remains one of the worst offenders: fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage, shorter distances, and therefore salary and prize money inequity. We seek not to race against the men, but to have our own professional field running in conjunction with the men's event, at the same time, over the same distances, on the same days, with modifications in start/finish times so neither gender's race interferes with the other.
The women's road race at the London Olympics was a showcase for how impressive, exciting, and entertaining women's cycling can be. The Tour of Flanders and Fl├Ęche Wallonne hold similar top ranked men's and women's races on the same day, with great success. Having a women's pro field at the Tour de France will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical "limitations" placed upon female athletes. In the late 1960s people assumed that women couldn't run the marathon. 30 years on we can look back and see how erroneous this was. Hopefully 30 years from now, we will see 2014 as the year that opened people's eyes to true equality in the sport of cycling.
If you'd like to see more women's road racing on television and from the roadside, please sign this petition to call for road cycling to take a major step in the right direction. Help us break down the barriers that unjustly keep female athletes from the same opportunities as men.
Please sign this petition to show you agree that:
-- Women should have the opportunity to compete at the same cycling events as men.
-- Women should be on the starting line of the 101st Tour de France in 2014.
Thank you for your support,

Emma Pooley, GBR Olympian & World Champion Cyclist
Kathryn Bertine, SKN National Champion Cyclist and Filmmaker
Marianne Vos, NED World and Olympic Champion Cyclist
Chrissie Wellington, GBR World Ironman Triathlon Champion
If you agree with Pooley, Bertine, Vos, Wellington and ME, then click on the link below and sign the petition. Your signature could help bring change to the sport of road cycling.

Kandi DeCarlo

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tour de France is Over....And I Can't Wait for Next Year!

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the Tour de France this year. I had been a LOYAL fan for years. I was even a you-know-who fan.
Then you-know-what happened.
I just didn't think the Tour would be the same.
My blog about it, in case you didn't read it:
So this year, I sat down to watch the Tour with trepidation, concerned I would not feel the same away about it.
I am happy to report that my "boyfriend" has changed.
He's had a make-over and is way more fun.
The Tour started off with the ORICA GreenEdge team bus stuck under the finish line.
Tour de France - Orica GreenEdge's bus gets stuck
I was on the edge of my seat.
It wasn't the only time during the Tour that the Orica GreenEdge team brought a smile to my face.
It seems that those guys are not only pretty good cyclists, I mean, two of their team members donned the yellow jersey during the Tour, but it appears they like to have fun.
They Rocked the Tour!!!
Not only did they make the Call Me Maybe music video...
They also made a tribute video to AC/DC.
And they weren't the only ones with the blow-up OGE guitars. They handed out lots of them to the Tour fans and then put the fans in a music video.
And if that's not entertaining enough, you can follow OGE through their BackStage Pass on youtube.
Any stage of the Tour....they have a video of behind the scenes. Some are serious, but most are pretty funny.
And the fans...what can I say about the crazy ass fans other than they are crazy ass!!!!
In case you didn't see enough of them in the above videos, here some pics.....
There always seems to be a banana.
Some people ran way too close to the cyclists. A couple of times I thought a runner would take out some of the cyclists. I guess one spectator was worried about that also and took matters into his own hands, I mean feet.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Congratulations to all 169 riders who finished the Tour this year.
Congratulations to Svein Tuft, ORICA GreenEDGE team member for coming in last place, but coming in non-the-less.
The Lanterne Rouge goes to Tuft.
Tuft shouldn't feel too bad, I got a red lantern also.
Last year I had set a goal to ride 25 percent of what the Tour cyclists did....544 miles, or 23 miles a day.
My intention was to ride EVERY DAY of the Tour, even on the pros' rest day.

I didn't quite make my goal last year, so I decided to try again this year.
Yeah, I didn't make it this year, either.
Next year....only 354 days to go.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vineman 70.3 - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Every time I event at a triathlon, I learn something about life, about me.
Vineman 70.3 has been no different.
Most people's race experience ended at the finish line, or maybe carried on for a few hours after with some celebration.
I am going to celebrate today - about 40 hours after crossing the finish line.
That's the ugly of my story.
And I am saving it for last.
The Good parts of Vineman were eating dinner the night before the race with my Triathlon Connection friends. We even made friendly bets on what our times would be and what other people's times would be. Right now I am going to apologize to Enrique and say yes, I could have hit that 7:50 mark, but I chose NOT to. I'll tell you why later.
The other good parts were my swim and my bike, overcoming some adversity and making a new friend during the race. And having my guy Robert here to enjoy the experience with....and have him take care of me.
And the Kaiser ER in Santa Rosa is really nice.
The actual RACE was Good, with just a tad of bad.
My swim was good, except when they let the green-capped men go after the 50 plus aged women and they felt they had something to prove, so they swam right over the top of us, or at least me. One hit me in my right calf and I tensed up and got a charley horse. I had to stop swimming, and luckily it was in the shallow part of the river. It took me a couple of minutes to stretch and massage the kink out, then I was on my way.
I didn't have the fastest swim, but I was steady and never once felt as if I was pushing it.
I felt elated that I could swim 1.2 miles in open water and not feel nervous at all. I enjoyed my swim and cut about 10 minutes off my time from my SOMA half distance swim.
My bike ride with good, with one bad - my right cleat would not clip into the pedal. I think it was because of all of the dirt in transition that I had to walk through.
It was frustrating!
I spend a lot of time during the first 10 miles trying to clip in. I stopped once and used my finger to try to clear dirt out of my cleat. It was no use.
Going into the first aid station I passed Harriet Anderson. She's the 78-year-old triathlete who goes to KONA every year...
This is how Harriet looked when I passed her, except she was wearing a Mark Allen tri-suit. She was wearing those yellow bike shoes and riding her Beyond.
When I rode past her going up a hill, I asked her how she was doing. She said good. I told her she rocked. We got to the aid station at the top of the hill and she rode through. I stopped and went to the bathroom and then spent another several minutes pouring water on my pedal and cleat and cleaning it off with a toilet paper I had grabbed in the bathroom.
I still couldn't clip in my right foot.
My left leg got a BIG workout on the ride. It had to do double work because while I could push down on my right pedal, I could not pull up on it at all. My foot would just lift off into the air. I made it up the hills as fast as I could and I went down the hills as fast as I safely could, but it was a little dicey at some places because I would forget that I wasn't clipped in and I would hit a bump and instead of staying secure on my bike, my right foot would slide off the pedal.
After 30 miles, I told myself that this was just a challenge and maybe a lesson for me to learn in life - it is better to have both feet firmly clipped into what you want to do, but even if you only have one foot in, you can still succeed.
Eventually I caught up and passed Harriet again. We had a little chat before I passed her.
Every aid station I stopped and worked on my cleat, and every aid station Harriet zipped by me.
I passed her the last time right before going up Chalk Hill.
I was happy when my bike ride was over. It was a beautiful ride, though riding/racing through some of the traffic was scary. It forced me to really keep my mind focused on what I was doing.
In T2 I took my shoes off and looked down at my feet. My poor little broken toe on my right foot was more swollen. I thought maybe that was because I had done so much pushing down with it. I actually grabbed my run gear and went and sat on some steps in the shade, took a picture with my phone and facebooked while I ate a banana.
Photo: Transition
After my LONG transition, I walked over to the restrooms and who got there at the exact same time as me?
Harriet Anderson.
I told her to go first.
She opened the porta-potty that had green on it and slammed it shut.
"What?" I asked her.
"Some guy is in there?" she said.
"Well, I hope you got a good look," I told her.
She chuckled and went into the porta-potty that had just opened up.
By the time I was done, she was long gone.
I started my run out with a 4 minute run/30 second walk. It felt good and I thought Enrique was going to be happy because I was definitely going to make the time he had predicted for me.  I had two miles done before I knew it. I kept up my run/walk pace until about mile 4 when my run brought me up to Harriet. She was walking. It was time for me to walk, too, so I walked with her.
And we started chatting and my 30 seconds were up and I was suppose to start running, but Harriet was walking and I was enjoying our chat, so I decided that I would just walk with her. After all, how many times am I going to get a chance to talk to Harriet Anderson.
Her run strategy was to run down the hills and walk up them. Okay, I could go with that. For the most part she kept to her schedule, though on some places I reminded her it was downhill and we should run.
After hanging with Harriet for about 2 miles, I just didn't want to run off and leave her.
That's when I made the decision to let Enrique down and finish with Harriet.
It was the best 13.1 miles I had ever run/walked because of the conversation. I learned a lot about Harriet and about triathlon during those 9 miles with her.
(Look for a blog in the future called What I learned From Harriet).
After doing the mile loop though LaCrema, I told Harriet that I was stopping off at the bathroom and in case I didn't catch up with her, we needed to take a picture together.
Harriet will be competing in Kona this year...Goooo Harriet!
I easily caught up with her.
So I traded in my faster time for the opportunity to talk with Harriet.
It was well worth it.
At the end she was mostly walking. When we got to the chute, I told her we had to run. I think she glared at me, but she did run. Right before we got to the finish line, I pulled over and let her go through by herself. The announcer was saying her name and making a big to-do about Harriet. After she had gone through, I snuck over the finish line.
My total time was 8:05:52.
That is 5:34 FASTER than my last half-iron distance, and that one was flat and this one was HILLY, so I am happy with my improvement.
And I am happy that I know when to go fast and when to slow down and enjoy the experience.
Thank you Harriet!
Robert meanwhile......
Yes, Robert was racing also...and even though his swim wave started about 35 minutes after mine, I was expecting him to eventually creep up and pass me because he is a way faster swimmer and biker than I am.
He was having bike issues of his own.
At the bottom of Chalk Hill one of spokes came loose and bend in half. His entire wheel bent. He thought his race was probably over. He carried his bike up Chalk Hill then started working on it. He said he had to take the broken spoke off and tweak the other spokes to get the wheel somewhat straight so it wouldn't rub again the frame. There was no way he could straighten it enough to not rub on the brakes so he took his back brakes off.
He rode the rest of the way DOWN with only his front brake and a crooked wheel.
He lost a lot of time.
Harriet and I did see him on the run (I mean, walk).
We were about at mile 10 and he was at mile 6.
He did finish.
But I wasn't there to see him.
I was on the last shuttle to go back to the start, so I could walk to the Fern Grove Cottages where we stayed, to get our car, so I could drive all the way back to the finish line to get our bikes.
One thing about Vineman 70.3, it is a logistical nightmare if you don't have someone there who can shuttle you and your bike.
I got the car and got back to Windsor High School where the finish line was at.
This is were my next endurance test started.
This is where the UGLY starts.
For the past couple of hours, every once in a while I had been feeling a little dizzy and nauseous.
I thought it was just because I had been out in sun for so long. My nutrition had been good the entire race. I was hydrated and I had been eating all along.
But on the drive back to the cottages, I had Robert pull over to the side of the road.
For the next 6 hours I was throwing up, even when I was out of stuff to throw up, I was dry-heaving.
Sorry, I said it was ugly.
I felt horrible.
At midnight Robert took me to the ER in Santa Rosa. They gave me two shots to stops the vomiting and gave me 3 IV bags of Saline solution. They did blood tests and said my electrolytes were all good - yeah for my race day nutrition.
The doctor said I had some kind of virus.
At 4 a.m. I was back at Fern Cottages and was able to sleep...for about 24 hours.
I don't know what I had or how I got it, but the owner of the cottages did come by Monday morning and say she had contacted the health department and made them come out and take water samples because six other people staying here had also been sick. Most of the people staying here were at the race, but she said two of the people that were ill were not in the race. I guess the people staying next to us were sick BEFORE the race and not able to compete.
I am just glad that my bout of whatever held off until AFTER I was done eventing.
Vineman 70.3 - we will be back!