Monday, August 16, 2010

I answer YOUR questions about Timberman

It has occurred to me that if you are reading my blog, you might not be my mother or one of my other blood relatives; you may actually be an athlete who will also be participating in Timberman this coming weekend. I don't know how I know this; it could be that I am a wee bit psychic. Or perhaps it's that I see that a bunch of people are winding up here from google searches about the race. I mean it's not like I check the visitor count 5 times a day or anything.

So, being the benevolent guy I am, I'm going to go through an answer your questions about Timberman based on the search words I see that got people here.

First, there's a question from Milford, Mass: How bad are the Timberman hills?

Have you ever seen the riders suffering in the Alps and the Pyrenees during the Tour de France? These hills are simply not that hard. The truth of the matter is, these hills are WAY harder. I mean when you start at 550 feet above sea level and reach an astounding 950 feet above sea level at the top of the highest hill, I think it will be mandatory for each cyclist to carry their own oxygen. Well, it might not be mandatory, but I certainly recommend every other cyclist carry at least 25 pounds of oxygen equipment with them on the ride. Myself, I've been practicing by holding my breath for whole seconds at a time, so I think I can do without. But you should definitely consider it. In fact, I don't think 50 pounds is going overboard.

Next, we have a question from Wilmington, Mass: Are wetsuits allowed at Timberman?

This is a terrific question, and I'll be glad to answer it. Yes, you should definitely wear a wetsuit during the swim portion of Timberman, as it has traditionally always been wetsuit legal. In fact, because Lake Winnipesaukee is so big, I suggest leaving your current wetsuit at home in favor of renting one of these beauties:

Let's face it; swimming is dangerous. Whether it's being swam over by faster swimmers, getting mouthfuls of that lovely lake water, or even the deadly upper shoulder and neck sunburn, you're going to enjoy your race a whole lot more if you spend your time leisurely walking along the bottom breathing easily and saving you energy for that daunting bike ride. As an added bonus, you can just carry your oxygen tanks right up into transition for the bike ride. Talk about a transition time saver!

Next, there's a question from Cambridge, Mass: Is there a welcome dinner at Timberman?

Yes, actually there is. At least for the schools of fresh water piranhas that were recently spotted in the waters of Winnipesaukee. On second thought, you might want to go with the chain mail lined air hose for the diving suit. You know, just in case. 

Here's a question from Norfolk, Virginia: Was Timberman Purchased by Ironman?

I'm not supposed to talk about it, but what I heard is that it was not so much purchased as it was merely assimilated Borg-style by the all knowing, all seeing World Triathlon Corporation sometime following Timberman 2009. It is still run by Keith Jordan of Endorfun Sports, who by all accounts put on a fantastic race, but I hear he now is half machine and keeps repeating "I am Jordan of WTC, you will eat, drink, and wear only Ironman branded products". I've actually never met Keith, so if he does actually have robotic limbs and a laser guided eye these days, I hope he doesn't find me before I finish the race. And if anyone from The WTC is reading this, thanks for not making me or my little blog disappear. All hail the mighty and wonderful M-Dot!

Our last question was asked by multiple readers: What do people do after Triathlons?

This is a tough question to answer, so it's a good thing you have me here ready to step up and take on such challenging and thought-provoking queries. After a triathlon, especially a significant distance event like a half-Ironman, the most common thing a person does immediately after a race is fall down. The ratio of racers to faller-downers is somewhere around 98%. The other 2% are the offshoot variant of the faller-downer; the sitter-downer.

 Regardless of which option the person chooses, the falling down is immediately followed by eating. Well, getting up and then eating. In fact, I personally will probably be so hungry I will just be putting random things in my mouth to see if I can chew, swallow, and digest them. I suggest keeping your children and their collection of toy kitchen food items away from the finishing area. In fact, if you are a friend or family member of a competitor, I suggest you wear a bright red "I am not food" T-shirt, to help zombie-like finishers avoid attempting to ingest you. Everyone in the race should probably pull one of these shirts on as well in order to prevent any embarrassing post-race banquet accidents.

After the eating comes the sleeping. The sleeping has actually been known to occur in some instances during the eating, though usually after the intake of a large portion of food. In rare cases the sleeping takes place before the eating. Those who fall into this unusual category often wake at some point later in the evening asking if the local pizza joint offers it's "30 minutes or it's free" guarantee on orders of 10 or more pies.

In closing, I hope this information has been helpful to you, and that you will take my advice (especially about carrying the heavy gear around during the race) and have a lovely time on Saturday. Oh, you read the race was Sunday? Must have been a printers error.


- If you weren't already aware, the last few weeks leading to this race hasn't been smooth as silk. With the bikes being stolen, the rush to replace everything, and the physical exhaustion of training so much; I figured the drama had to be over. Right up until I broke not one but 2 spokes yesterday on a longer ride. It was my fault, as I'm the one who trued the rear wheel on Wednesday. My guess is I took too much tension out of some of the spokes, and I caused the tension on the other side of the wheel to increase too much.

The closest bike shop sold me on a good strong wheel (Mavic Ksyrium Equipe) but one that isn't really rated for a bigger guy like me. It should definitely last the l00 or so miles of riding I have up through through Timberman and Cranberry. I'm having the spokes re-tensioned prior to the race to ensure it's 1000% (yes that extra zero is intentional) ready for race day. I'm taking a wheel building class in winter during which I'll relace the wheel that broke as my learning wheel and keep it as a spare for Rach and I. 

- Rach is dealing with some injury pain again, and this time it's her knee. It's been crunching like as she puts it "rice krispies", so she's taking a visit to the doctor on Wednesday. She's determined to finish the race no matter what, so hopefully they'll tell her it can be fixed easily after the races and she can't make things worse. Maybe they can even give her a cortisone shot or something to help her get through the next 2 weeks of racing. Then she can take some time off to relax and get proper medical care to help resolve the issue.

- I am constantly hungry right now. In fact, this computer looks kinda tasty. If I didn't have to finish this post before bed, I might be tempted to take a "mega bite". get it? Sorry. Anyways, we're tapering, so I'm working out enough to get in a good sweat, but not to justify increased calories. To make matters worse, Rach made peanut butter cookies today. Seriously, who makes baked goods during a taper period? Evidently, my wife.

- If you've gotten this far, you deserve to know the truth: all of my answers to the questions above are entirely truthful and factual regarding the race. Except where they're not.

And that's everywhere.


  1. Love the post! Very funny. Best of luck this weekend.

  2. Sort of like on open letter about timberman huh? Good humor. Hope the week goes by fast and the race even faster for you! You'll be a finisher in no time.