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Archive for June, 2010

Coeur d’Alene Christmas Tree Kick-Off

Sunday, June 27th, 2010
the bib has been WongSTAR-ized

the bib has been WongSTAR-ized

I’ve been staying here so long that it almost doesn’t feel like I’m doing this big race tomorrow. It just feels like I’m doing a very important though longer-than-usual workout. I will be sleeping in the same bed I’ve been sleeping in all month and the postman even put my name on the mailbox!

my own house & car keys with the Hola Kitty key chain

my own house & car keys with the Hola Kitty key chain

Yep I’ve been well cared for by the Lee’s who are very awesome hosts. I barter for my rent by house-sitting and dalmatian-sitting, and soon I will help put up a new fence in the backyard and clean out their basement! Mike’s brother Ryan (race director of the Spokane Triathlon) event lent me his car to use while I’m here. Next Wednesday I’m taking Susan’s little sister Felicia as my date to the opening day for Twilight: Eclipse. Go Team Jacob! ;)

Mike, Felicia, and Susan grilling the pre-race dinner

Mike, Felicia, and Susan grilling the pre-race dinner

Mike and Ryan are co-captains for the bike aid station by Hayden Lake. A bunch of their family and Mike’s high school athletes (he coaches LCHS cross country) will be volunteering so I’m looking forward to having a lot of people yelling for me. :)

I got the new BlueSeventy Axis wetsuit to try out on Sunday. It’s got extra buoyancy in the legs to better balance those of us who need it. For gumby swimmers and/or those of us with ginormous leg muscles! Deano made me size down to a medium-small for the first time in my life. Because when I lose weight, I lose it in my already puny arms, and my medium Helix was actually too loose. A loose wetsuit is just wrong!

Ready to fight crime, chase sharks, and attack girls who have a better feel for water

Ready to fight crime, chase sharks, and attack girls who have a better "feel" for water

I also got a neoprene cap in case the lake is really cold.

a lovely self-portrait for you

a lovely self-portrait for you

Today was bike check-in day. I’m #53, AKA the last pro number assigned because it’s fast boys, boys by ABC order, fast girls, then girls by ABC order. I am a DARK HORSE! What this really means is that White Tiger gets half of the bike rack:

last pro number but I wont be the last pro!

last pro number but I won't be the last pro!

Wow, look at those sexy Token race wheels. I am still tickled I get to race with race wheels. :D

ok, I cant lie, I lose weight in the chest area too.

ok, I can't lie, I lose weight in the chest area too.

There was the gear bag drop-off, where I discovered someone will be racing with a prosthetic leg!

how cool, I guess he had to drop off his legs too!

how cool, I guess he had to drop off his legs too!

Then I schmoozed with some of our team sponsors, like my favorite bike company CERVELO!

here you can demo your own White Tiger...or P4 or P2C!

here you can demo your own White Tiger...or P4 or P2C!

I met Tereza’s brother, who I didn’t know worked for Cervelo:

chillin with the Cervelo crew

chillin' with the Cervelo crew

Then I went home and WongSTAR-ized the Camelbaks and concocted my special rocket fuel mix:

so you know who is kicking your @$ when she catches you on the run.

so you know who is kicking your @$$ when she catches you on the marathon.

I also remembered the fortune cookie I got a few days ago when I had dinner with my former running store manager, Scott. It was perfect, I have been training really hard and feel very fit, so I kept it in my wallet so I could post it on this blog! :)

Fortune cookies always come true for Chinese people.

Fortune cookies always come true for Chinese people.

Well time for bed soon. The race starts tomorrow (Sunday June 27th) at 6:25am Pacific Standard Time for us pros. Yep we get a 35-minute head start! You can follow me online at www.ironman.com and also my Twitter account, @theWongstar. Mike will be hijacking my Twitter so who knows what kind of embarrassing things he’ll say. :)

Thanks for all your support!

it’s fun to swim at the _ _ _ _

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I found a great swimming pool to go to just a couple miles away. The complex only opened last September so it’s sparkly brand new, has fantastic hours, and I almost always get my own lane.

The only problem is that I get this really annoying song in my head every time I go swimming. Can you guess which one? Here is some lawn decor in front of the building to give you a clue:

its fun to swim at the YMCA!

it's fun to swim at the YMCA!

Yup, I have never been a member of the YMCA before. I just learned they have this program called “Membership for All” which means if you don’t make very much money, they won’t charge you very much to be a member. For example, if you make less than $10,000 per year (not to name any names ;) ) it only costs $29 per month.

What a screaming deal! At home I was paying $4 to $7 each time I went swimming…and when you swim practically every day that adds up big time. Now I really understand when the Village People were singing “Young man, there’s a place you can go…I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough…”

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There’s a ton of daylight here too. This is probably the most northern part of the globe I’ve ever lived so I’m not used to being woken up before 5am by the bright sunlight. Good thing I brought my eyeshades because it’s race week and I am loading up on HGH the all natural way. :)

courtesy of AccuWeather.com

courtesy of AccuWeather.com for Spokane, WA

Settling into the Spokane Summer

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Every time you head to a new training camp (yes, it is still a training camp even if you are a one-man wolf pack), you gotta learn your way around the new roads, find yourself a swimming pool and a good hill to do your hill reps on, so I’ve just spent the first few days here getting settled in.

O Christmas tree...smells like Spokane!

O Christmas tree...smells like Spokane!

The USA is so big that just going two states north is like going to a different country if you were in Europe or Asia. Different terrains and climates and scenery. Here on the Washington/Idaho state border it’s like Christmas-tree land. Now you know why they have a Christmas tree on the Ironman CDA logo:

In most states, when you go on the state highways, the signs have silhouettes of the state with the highway number sign on them. But oh no, not in Washington state. Here it’s GEORGE WASHINGTON’s head! You know, the guy who was our first president and on all our one-dollar bills and quarters.

clearly the Washington for whom the state is named after

clearly the Washington for whom the state is named after

On Saturday I biked to Coeur d’Alene for my long ride and back. There’s actually a bike trail that connects Spokane and CDA called the Centennial Trail. The logo is none other than a Christmas tree.

like a true delinquent, I was constantly breaking the speed limit

like a true delinquent, I was constantly breaking the speed limit

Where I live in California, it’s such a big state that it takes four hours to drive east into Nevada or six hours to drive north into Oregon. So I kind of get a kick out of crossing the state line via bicycle.

White Tiger attempts a dangerous border crossing

White Tiger attempts a dangerous border crossing

Oh yeah, I rolled into Idaho. Didn’t have time to sample the potatoes there though.

Idaho!  no, you da ho!

Idaho! no, you da ho!

Soon enough there it was, Coeur d’Alene. I think I’ve been here before, for a bike race when I was in college. I raced a full season for the University of Oregon cycling team and remember a lot of long road trips into Washington and Idaho and Montana.

CDA, so close you can bike there.

CDA, complete with more Christmas trees.

I’ll check out the Ironman course later this week. In the meantime, I’ve come to realize that bloody hell, I’m unfortunately quite allergic to all the Christmas trees. :( I’ve been telling my nose that it is not Forrest Gump, so please stop running…

the 2010 All-American Superstar Summer Tour

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

So most of my TBB brothers and sisters are over in Switzerland for summer training camp. I, too, was just about to click “purchase” for my air tickets to Europe when the Boss re-assigned me to a new (not-so-)secret mission: stay on home soil here in the USA and tackle every single American Ironman on the WTC circuit this summer.

…because everybody knows one of the early steps to complete and utter world domination on the path to becoming an international triathlon superstar is step #11: conquer all the races in your very own backyard.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Especially with this new $750 WTC pro license where I automatically get “free” entry to every Ironman. This wasn’t the case last year, where you couldn’t always get into a race for free if you were a brand spankin’ new pro. When I forked over my $785 ($35 service charge) back in January, I had half jokingly declared that I would get my money’s worth by racing every single WTC event. The Boss, however, was not joking.

I will miss my teammates and Coach this summer but I suspect this solo mission is also A Test. Yes, Coach enjoys testing us, especially when we are young Padawans with much to learn. Just like That Test I had when left in Korea for 3 weeks by myself when everyone had left and gone to Kona.

And like a true superstar hitting the road, this is going to be fun and exciting and full of shenanigans (my favorite word in case you haven’t noticed), because I am going on a tour of the United States and will get to race more (and for much cheaper) than I would in Europe. I’ve packed for 3+ months away from home and will be living out of my suitcase jumping from homestay to homestay.

What’s the race schedule look like? Well, American Wongstar fans rejoice. I’ll be on the start list of any and every M-dot Ironman race on the calendar. You can take a look at the updated race schedule on my newly revamped official website, www.theWongstar.com. Oh yes, “coming soon to a town near you!” indeed.

Here’s the lay of the land and master plan:

0. Pacifica, California: Wongstar’s home base headquarters
1. Spokane, Washington & Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Summer Headquarters #1 and Ironman #1
2. Lake Placid, New York: Ironman #2
3. Wilmington, Delaware: site of the first Bike Boutique USA aka Summer Headquarters #2
4. Louisville, Kentucky: Ironman #3
5. Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin: Lady Gaga Monster Ball Tour & Ironman #4

This morning saw me going from Point 0 to Point 1 to kick off the first leg of my tour. You know, last summer I mastered the art of packing light for the whole Korea to Europe to Korea trip but I seem to have reverted back to my old ways. I mean, just like my friend Lady Gaga who is also on tour this summer (our summer tours will be colliding in Wisconsin so we can catch up and make guest appearances for each other), it’s important to pack enough for the many wardrobe changes. Including the fabulous cowboy boots I got in Cozumel last November.

aw thanks, I really do feel welcome here!

aw thanks, I really do feel welcome here!

So Spokane (basically Coeur d’Alene’s neighboring city) welcomed me with open arms today and will be my headquarters for the next 2 months leading up to Lake Placid.  My college triathlon club coach Mike and his wife Susan have generously adopted me, and here is my new roommate Maddie hanging out with the cowboy boots and summer tour wardrobe.

as I kid I loved the cartoon 101 Dalmatians, now I get to borrow this one!

as I kid I loved the cartoon 101 Dalmatians, now I get to borrow just this one for a couple months!

More Spokane adventures coming soon, I also found out while perusing the airline magazine that the Star Wars Symphony is coming here on the 19th!!! Which means that I only have 11 days to find a nice geeky boy to take me. ;)

That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas

Monday, June 7th, 2010

How to become an international triathlon superstar, step #10: Party like a rockstar. (But only at appropriate times, e.g. after races. Really.)

soundtrack for the weekend: Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas”

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(Best to play this while reading the blog.)

So it was Scottie’s first time ever in Vegas, and my first time there as a “grown-up.” HAHA…and by “grown-up” I mean over 21. I lived in Vegas for 10 weeks during the summer of 2002. I was only 20 and didn’t have a fake ID, but was also training for my first Ironman and working as a research assistant at the university. So I never had the true debaucherous Vegas experience…until after Ironman St. George!

We had to do the requisite daytime activities…

Scottie with Black Betty & White Tiger, highly entertained

Scottie with Black Betty & White Tiger, highly entertained

Like see the fountains at the Bellagio…

the big climax!

the big climax!

Take a bike tour up and down the Strip on our Cervelos…

heading towards New York, New York

heading towards New York, New York

oops, I forgot to take off my dorky helmet sticker.

oops, I forgot to take off my dorky helmet sticker.

Then of course as night fell, the normal Vegas shenanigans involving gambling, drinking, partying, and stealing tigers ensued.

at the cigar shop

at the cigar shop

Scottie’s big sis Heather was our entertainment sponsor for the weekend and we got to stay with her at Mandalay Bay and then the Luxor. BIG THANK YOU TO HEATHER!!! The elevators at the Luxor were a bit dodgy actually since they go up the sides of the pyramid. Everything was Egyptian themed, as you can see in the sheets here:

very important to rehydrate after an Ironman

very important to rehydrate after an Ironman

Oh yes, there was also the crucial task of rehydrating properly post-race. Luckily I had bottles from my liquor sponsor Haamonii Smooth Shochu on hand. If you mix one part Haamonii Lemon with one part Lemon-Lime Gatorade and pour over ice, you get your electrolytes and it’s pretty low-calorie too! ;)

Ran and Scottie playing Blackjack

Ran and Scottie playing Blackjack

Our buddy Ran from New Jersey also raced in St. George and showed us how to properly win money in Vegas. I hung out at the roulette table while they were at Blackjack…but like Lady Gaga says “Russian roulette is not the same without a gun.”

Being a broke-ass student most of my adult life, and now a broke-ass pro triathlete who did not win any prize money in St. George, I have never been a fan of gambling. But on a whim I passed by the nickel slots during a potty break and being the high roller I am, put in a WHOLE DOLLAR. Then I won big time and knew just when to cash out:

oh yes, I quintupled my money baby!

oh yes, I nearly quintupled my money baby!

When Scottie saw my voucher, he made me put it into the electronic blackjack table at the dueling piano bar. (Very highly recommended if you go to New York, New York.) I kept winning and wanted to cash out but Scottie pressured me to keep playing. Finally when I was up to $8.90 I cashed out. WOOHOO! I was so proud I wanted to take another photo of my voucher but Scottie said NO. :( But seriously, my $1.00 got me $8.90! Winner winner chicken dinner! :)

New York New York, where I won almost $9!

New York New York, where I won almost $8!

Our last night was the biggest and blurriest. You know how they say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”? It’s because you don’t always remember what happened in Vegas, well and also because there are parents (mine) and young children (not mine!) that read this blog.

Just listen to the Katy Perry song. At some point there was indeed a lost hotel key, dirty looks, Elvis…and then crap, just like in the Hangover, at some point I realized I lost my friend Scottie. I even checked the roof of Ceasar’s Palace to no avail. No tigers were stolen, but the lions at MGM Grand were most definitely declared missing at about 4am.

who stole the lions?  It wasnt me, I swear!

who stole the lions? It wasn't me, I swear!

And no, me and Scottie did not get hitched. At least, not to each other. ;)

Well somehow we both survived and lived to blog about it. I am actually going back to Vegas on Tuesday…well just to fly through en route to Spokane, Washington for my next adventure. I am not hungover any more so I promise to blog more often. :D