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Sandwich gets a bath.

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

ready, aim, fire!

One of my bartering for rent specialties is giving stinky dogs a bath. Maddie the dalmatian got one in Spokane and today it was Sandwich’s turn here in Delaware.

Now these pictures are not nearly as exciting as last year’s bike bath post, but everything in my world is at least somewhat exciting. Right? ;)

Everything you’ll ever need to clean a smelly dog: ginormous bag of dog treats, a towel, special dog shampoo, scary-looking metal fur-scraping brush, and a spray nozzle.

anyone who knows the significance of 42 knows the significance of... the towel.

Oh yes, and one very smelly, dirty dog.

the unsuspecting victim.

Be sure to assert your authority. Who’s alpha here, bitch?! (Sandwich is a girl dog. I, um, never say bad words.)

shampoo away! I can't imagine not showering less than 3x/day.

Dogs look so funny when they are wet, don’t they? :D

wet dog!

Here she looks like an evil werewolf or something:

like the CGI ones in Twilight!

I brushed her again after some time in the sun, and there was enough fur to make a wig. In case she ever goes bald.

maybe I can donate it to dogs that are undergoing chemo.

Keep it clean, everyone. And by “it,” I mean your dog, your personal hygiene, and…your blood. :)

The Bike Haus

Friday, August 13th, 2010
this is The Bike Haus

welcome to The Bike Haus

Upon my arrival in Delaware, it was discovered that a network of miscommunication resulted in your favorite triathlon superstar lacking a proper bed to sleep in for the next 3.5 weeks. But I have since been showered with generosity and hospitality from the local cycling community, and on extremely short notice…say an hour or two, Randy had procured me a homestay with Super J and Super K, and their dog Sandwich.

my new Delaware family!

Who really wants to house and feed a completely stranger they’ve never met? They committed to hosting me for just one week, which I figured would give me either ample time to charm them enough to want to keep me (as you may recall, I am very good at bartering for rent) or at least find another place to stay for the other two weeks. I made sure to help with dishes (who knew that unloading a dishwasher could win me so many brownie points), cooked dinner several times, and did grocery store runs when necessary.

A dog named Sandwich.

Well, two weeks have come and gone and needless to say, I am a delightful and irresistible houseguest if I shall say so myself! :) I have nicknamed my home for the month of August “The Bike Haus.” Here, I will give you the tour and you can see for yourself.

Please leave your shoes by the door.

The laundry room AKA bike shoes & helmet room.

Camelbaks by the door! My kind of people!

Leaving the kitchen to go into the living room...

Prepare yourself to be blasted by bikes.

the road bikes

a future cyclocross bike hiding in the corner

Two of the mountain bikes.

And what is a Bike Haus without bike decor?

bike shelf, I mean book shelf adornments

fun books and fun bikes

Look up! More bikes!

White Tiger managed to find a little corner of his own.

bike clothes drying by bike art

Moving along upstairs, you pass by more bikes.

K & J race a lot. Road, mountain, cyclocross, tris & TT's...

a tri bike!

The bedrooms are on the second floor…no real bikes allowed, but bike art is ok! Here’s what’s on the wall in my guest bedroom:

yep they are sharing cigarettes while biking.

This little guy will start pedaling his bike and is powered by a mini solar panel.  You know how excited I get about solar energy;)

a solar-powered cyclist in the reading room

If you then keep going up the stairs to the third floor, you pass by some more bike art…

biker chicks back in the day

And could it be???  More bikes???

bicycles! bicycles!

Even a tricycle…

but only one, otherwise it'd be "The Trike Haus"

And even NAKED BIKE ART!  My blog is so scandalous!!!

This blog is rated R.

So just when I thought I had seen all the bikes in the house, the bike house became The Bike Haus when I ventured outside to the garage…

Lo and behold, more bikes.

And these pictures were taken when Super K was at work.  She bike commutes (like you all should too!), so one of the commuter bikes is MIA in this blog.

another mountain bike

Another bike by a full bike repair area

an older road bike

Man, even Sandwich is exhausted from counting all the bikes in The Bike Haus.

so many bikes I lost count!

In conclusion, there are many bikes in The Bike Haus. (Scottie has called me “Captain Obvious” on multiple occasions. Oh yes.) Big thanks to the Bike Haus family for taking me in on such short notice and being my very generous food & housing sponsor here in Delaware! :)

Living it up with the Lee’s

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I can’t believe that 6 weeks in Spokane just came and went like that and now I am hanging out in Lake Placid as it is race week once again.

chillin out in our PJs

chillin' out in our PJ's

I am really thankful to the Lee family for taking me in as their house guest for June and July. I met Mike and Susan when I was 19 years old and going through my “awkward years” in college. Some people look back at their time in high school and cringe; for me, that’s how college was. As top nerd and overachiever in high school, I could go anywhere I wanted, and I chose a tiny place that was full of even more overachieving nerds. I ran track and cross country but never got faster, not realizing how staying up to do the massive homework assignments and thus only getting 3 hours of sleep a night (plus gaining the freshman 15+ from the dining halls) made such a negative impact on my running performance. Academically, everyone was just as smart or much smarter, so I felt stupid and inadequate, got injured and depressed, and then kicked off the track team to boot. (I had taken up road cycling so I could fuel my desire to compete and actually be good at something again.) The nerd boys all went after the girly-girls at Scripps College (the all-women’s school across the street), who actually had time to care about what they looked like.

I was never smart enough, pretty enough, or fast enough. :(

The summer after my freshman year, I biked 100 miles down the coast to Oceanside, and volunteered at the inaugural Ironman California. Something sparked inside of me. “I want to do that…I’m going to sign up for next year.” Suddenly I became that triathlete girl on campus–because back then, at a tiny engineering and computer science school where the ratio of boys to girls was proudly “pi” (you know, 3.14159…), triathlon (or even working out on a regular basis) was not very mainstream at all. Half the school were pasty computer programmers who stayed in the basement coding; the other half were engineers who were too busy to exercise.

When I signed up for Ironman, miraculously I became even more of a freak in this school of freaks. I went to some local triathlon club meetings, but everyone there was 20-30 years older than I was. I never felt like I belonged. Then I met Mike and Susan. Susan worked across the street at Scripps and Mike was “living the dream” of chasing triathlon excellence. They were only 5 years older than me, which is nothing, but when you are 19 years old, people who are 24 seem so much older and wiser! Mike had also got into Ironmans when he was about my age and ended up coaching me successfully through my first two Ironman races. I took over as president of the tiny Claremont Colleges triathlon club and Mike became our coach.

Maddies favorite nickname is Rat-faced Bastard

Maddie's favorite nickname is "Rat-faced Bastard"

I would visit the Lee’s often to get a break from the stress of college. They were always grilling on the BBQ and adopted the cutest dalmatian puppy my senior year. I was Maddie’s first babysitter! I always felt better after hanging out with the three of them.

Grillin like a villain.  HAHAHA

Grillin' like a villain. HAHAHA

In 2003, we all left Claremont. I graduated, and the Lee’s moved back to Spokane where Mike ended up being a high school teacher and coach, and Susan is admissions director at Gonzaga’s law school. They’d been bugging me to come up and do IM CDA for the longest time, and newly armed with my pro card, I could now get in without signing up a year in advance and forking over $550 (or is it $600 now?).

White Tiger is a pedal bike.  The Harley is just a bike.

White Tiger is a "pedal bike." The Harley is just a "bike."

These days Mike doesn’t ride his “pedal bike” much any more. Instead he got a Harley, supposedly so he could do motorpacing workouts with me. ;) and yes, we had to differentiate between “pedal bikes” and his Harley, which he just referred to as his “bike” and kept confusing me.

Susans first ride.  Her helmet is way cooler.

Susan's first ride. Her helmet is way cooler.

They said I could stay as long as I wanted, and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, so I made sure to be a very good house guest and offered to help with as many chores as I could. Because you must know:

How to Become an International Triathlon Superstar, Step #13: Barter for Rent.

we call this active recovery

we call this "active recovery"

Yup, I scrubbed the floors, gave the dirty dog a bath, did some random home repairs, cooked dinner at least every Thursday (stir-fry and wine girls’ night with Susan!), and helped with the massive summer backyard project: putting up a new fence.

3 generations of Lees digging holes for fence posts

3 generations of Lee's digging holes for fence posts

concrete mixing, those bags were heavy!

concrete mixing, those bags were heavy!

As token Asian girl with the mad math skills, I had the very important job of calculating the distances between fence posts to make everything line up perfect and pretty.  Not too bad huh?

See kids, you really do use math in real life!

See kids, you really do use math in real life!

Here’s how the Wongstar’s special grilled sea bass turned out:

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

if you ever want to host me, I will cook for you too!

if you ever want to host me, I will cook for you too!

So thank you, Mike and Susan, for everything. Meeting you in college was one of the highlights of my time there and spending 6 weeks with you guys in Spokane was incredible! I will be back for sure! Next summer we are putting in a new deck. :)

And of course little Miss “Bad-to-the-Bone” Maddie. :D Until next time!

Maddie supervising the bedazzling of the seat post

Maddie supervising the bedazzling of the seat post

I’m getting married in St. George!

Friday, April 30th, 2010
courtesy UtahStGeorge.com

courtesy UtahStGeorge.com

It’s so pretty here that every time I go outside, I am just enthralled with how beautiful it is. So much so that I’ve decided I’m going to get married here. Never mind that I have yet to figure out who (or even meet) the lucky future Mr. Wongstar will be. Odds are that he is probably not a native of San Francisco, or even California, or even the USA, and a lot of couples with geographically split-up families end up getting married in Vegas, so everyone can fly in there from all over the world relatively inexpensively, and then shuttle over here to St. George. We can have our bachelor and bachelorette parties in Sin City, a la The Hangover…Beck made me watch it to prepare for this trip–so awesome I want to steal a tiger too!

ANYWAY.

Speaking of true love and things of that nature, I got some love sent to me in the form of RACE WHEELS (!!!!!) from Token and my first package from CAMELBAK!!!

Thank you Token for my C50 race wheels!  50mm clinchers :D

Thank you Token for my C50 race wheels! 50mm clinchers :D

For the longest time Coach said I could not race with race wheels until I showed him a bike split worthy of race wheels. So the last 8 ironmans I have done whilst racing for TBB have all been on my baby training wheels. I have graduated!

High Rolling baby, just like Ill be in Vegas!

"High Rolling" baby, just like I'll be in Vegas!

As for Camelbak, I have proclaimed my love for them over and over, and was waiting for the right time when I got fast enough to approach them for sponsorship. One day when I was in Thailand, I got an email from them asking if I needed anything. I was so excited I nearly peed myself, and immediately wrote back saying “I WOULD LIVE AND DIE FOR CAMELBAK!” (I am full of life and passion, so sue me.) Not that you’d be surprised, but I seem to lose a lot of brain cells when packing and leaving training camp…especially after doing a 3-hour run the morning of my first flight. I left my favorite Camelbak out to dry (didn’t want the sweat to turn to mildew in my luggage)…and uh, really left it out to dry as I left the country without it.

*squeeeee* Camelbak loves me too!!

*squeeeee* Camelbak loves me too!!

So did I need anything from Camelbak? I only realized I was without one when I started packing for my trip to St. George! Well my whole love affair with Camelbak is kind of like when you have a die-hard crush on a super cute boy and he finally notices you…and maybe just maybe he likes you back! Just in time for the race, Brian from Camelbak OVERNIGHTED me the 2010 Classic (I’ve been racing in the red one) in the color I wanted…the sexy silver one! THANK YOU BRIAN!!

Im bringing sexy-bak with Camelbak.

I'm bringing sexy-bak with Camelbak.

Yesterday Canadian pro Miranda Alldritt picked me up for lunch and registration. We’ve been doing all the same Ironmans this year since Malaysia, and Coeur d’Alene will make it 4 for 4. Something new at this event…AIRBRUSHED TATTOO BODY MARKING. NO WAY.

Miranda is #61, and will be for an entire week until this wears off.

Miranda is #61, and will be for an entire week until this wears off.

I had them paint my forearms as I am racing in my usual longer sleeve superhero-esque race top.

first you get a special stencil.

first you get a special stencil.

Then you get airbrushed with black paint!

Then you get airbrushed with black paint!

then they blowdry your arm and baby powder your skin.

then they blowdry your arm and baby powder your skin.

I’m #57.  The bib numbers have your last names on them, I will have to embellish mine with a STAR after the WONG. ;) Like Rachel on Glee who puts gold stars after her name, because she’s gonna be a star!

The number tattoos look much cooler when you wash the baby powder off, I swear.

The number tattoos look much cooler when you wash the baby powder off, I swear.

Back on the homestay-front, it’s Landon’s 7th birthday on Ironman race day, so we celebrated last night with the family. He’ll have another party with friends on Friday, and then Saturday will be an all-day party when he’s helping out at Run Aid Station #4 (at mile 3).

Birthday cake!  with ice cream of course!

Birthday cake! with ice cream of course!

I miss little kid birthdays. And by little kid birthdays, I mean my own. I remember how fun it was to only get toys. One year my mom got me a GLOBE. If I knew what the F-word was back then, I would’ve said “WTF Mom?!” I was probably only 8, who the heck gets a boring old globe for their 8-year-old?! I totally resented that gift and shoved it in the back of my closet.

no stinkin globe for this kid, he got Transformers, trucks, games, and a future trip to Disneyland!!

no stinkin' globe for this kid, he got Transformers, trucks, games, and a future trip to Disneyland!!

But maybe Mom foresaw something that I never did…that someday I’d become a world-traveling international triathlon superstar. 8) Thanks Mom! and happy 7th birthday, Landon! :D

Hello, St. George!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

To fly to St. George, the closest big airport is…

Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

Where there are slot machines right by the baggage claims…

winner winner chicken dinner!

winner winner chicken dinner!

and flashy ads for all kinds of entertainment Las Vegas has to offer!

there is also the Thunder from Down Under ;)

there is also the Thunder from Down Under ;)

Then it’s just a 90-minute drive through a little corner of Arizona and into Utah. The city of St. George is gearing up for their very first Ironman!

clear the roads, Ironman is coming!

clear the roads, Ironman is coming!

It’s really beautiful here, I took a lot of pictures while previewing the bike course yesterday, but they don’t really do much justice…

red rocks everywhere!

red rocks everywhere!

Here is the view from my wonderful homestay; the bike course literally goes right by this neighborhood in Ivins (about 9 miles northwest of town):

beautiful!

beautiful!

Part of what makes this homestay so wonderful is what’s on the inside…of the freezer. I like to help perpetuate the rumor that pro triathletes can eat ice cream every day and still be skinny. ;)

theres 9 flavors in there!  only 22 short of Baskin Robbins

there's 9 flavors in there! only 22 short of Baskin Robbins

No, seriously, the wonderful part is the family I’m staying with. Jenifer, her adorable 6-year-old son Landon, and her sister Erin.  Jenifer’s the recycling coordinator for the county and also captain of one of the run aid stations–the locals are all really excited to bring on the first edition of Ironman St. George.

theres a small Post-It that says Dont Touch. I was very tempted. So many dials!

there's a small Post-It that says "Don't Touch". I was very tempted. So many buttons and dials!

This morning Jenifer took me to the local radio station conglomerate, Cherry Creek Radio, which is sponsoring the Ironman as one of the media partners.  We got interviewed by FOUR radio stations!  It was my first time being on the radio!

Jenifer ON AIR

Jenifer ON AIR

Jenifer put a plug out for volunteers (the race still needs volunteers!), especially for her run aid station at mile 3, and I got asked all kinds of questions about doing Ironman and being a professional triathlete.

hey Mom, Im on the radio!

hey Mom, I'm on the radio!

It was really funny because I’m so used to being around people who already know all about Ironman. So a lot of basic questions about how long each discipline is, how long it takes to finish, and pretty much every DJ said something like “I can’t do that…I get tired walking to my car!”

you dont have to look good to be on the radio, but its hard for the Wongstar not to be ;)

you don't have to look good to be on the radio, but some of us just can't avoid it.

Two of the DJ’s asked for my autograph! Triathlon superstars always oblige:

hanging out at the Jon Smith Morning Show

hanging out at the Jon Smith Morning Show

Clearly disc jockey Jon Smith is famous himself, having his own morning show…so we did an autograph exchange. He signed a shirt for his radio station, Sunny 106.1.

an autograph for an autograph

an autograph for an autograph

All the DJ’s loved that my alias is “The Wongstar”.

Go Wongstar! yeah!

Go Wongstar! yeah!

Athletes are starting to trickle into town. At the pool today I had a new experience…when I finished swimming, the woman in the next lane over asked “Are you the Wongstar?”  Whoa, superstardom!  Who says I’m not a big deal?  Thank you, Colleen from Wisconsin, you made my day!  I had my swim cap on and I was still recognizable?? The Wongstar is still learning to get used to fame and everything that goes with it. ;)

More to come from race week as it unfolds…

BIG THANK YOU to Sofian & Tip, my KL hosts!!

Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Tip and Sofian: very sweet and generous KL hosts!

Tip and Sofian: very sweet and generous KL hosts!

As mentioned before the missed flight fiasco, I had to overnight through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on my way back home from Krabi, Thailand. Triathlon superstars make new friends all over the world, and KL is no exception! I had seen Emma’s very good friend Sofian on the race courses at both Ironman Malaysia and Ironman China, and we connected later through the magic of the internet. Sofian and his awesome wife Tip offered to host me when I came back through KL on my way home. Sofian is a bit of a triathlon legend in Malaysia–he did his first triathlon in 1989 (hehe I was only 7 years old!) and has represented Malaysia at Ironman Hawaii and other triathlon world championships multiple times. We compared numbers and Ironman China was #13 for both of us!

under the KL Twin Towers

under the KL Twin Towers

Tip met me at the airport and took me to KLCC, the city center and business district with all the big fancy buildings, like the Petronas Twin Towers. Really cool and beautiful at night–all I had seen of KL on my first trip through was the neighborhood by the Bike Boutique and Emma’s condo!

They put me up in a nice hotel, complete with elevators, hot showers and air conditioning :D Simple things you DON’T take for granted when you’ve lived in the cheapest room at the Tawanthai Hotel for the last 2.5 months!

We ate dinner at Chili’s, which I had to smile about, being in Malaysia and eating at an American restaurant to prep me for my return home! At the bookstore, Sofian told me I could pick whatever book I wanted for some airplane reading…I secured a copy of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” as I have heard it is good prep for becoming an Ironman world champion.

read this to become a cutthroat Chinese warrior/triathlon champion

read this to become a cutthroat Chinese warrior/triathlon champion

The next day we went to visit Emma at the shop and to go for a swim before I flew out. Tip is an excellent baker and had baked us these mini cupcake/muffins. Super yummy and I really think she should open up her own little bakery!

mmm homemade baked goods!

mmm homemade baked goods!

Then they got me to the airport in time to make my flight…too bad I was a total goober waiting for the wrong one and missed mine!

right before the fateful missed flight fiasco

right before the fateful missed flight fiasco

Well, you live and you learn, and I did get home safely albeit 24 hours later than Plan A. I’m only home for 2 days (and enjoying my fill of fresh California strawberries AKA the yummiest things on Earth) and then fly out again tomorrow morning. Yes, I put my bike together yesterday only to ride it a couple times and take it apart again tonight. The next airport White Tiger and I are bound for would be !VEGAS BABY!, en route to the first Ironman on the American circuit–Ironman St. George on May 1st!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

A huge thank you to Sofian and Tip for being such fantastic hosts in Malaysia! You can read Sofian’s account of our KL adventure on his blog here.