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  • Newsworthy?

    Hardly, but newsworthy nonetheless. In an effort to catch up on news ("news" in the eye of the beholder, anyway) since October 1st, we'll dredge through volumes of images from the old digital camera and report of what we feel like has been "newsworthy".

    Read Huddles reports from the 1998 World Triathlon Championships in Kona

    1/3/99, 13:04 PDT
    Happy New Year - Tinley Style
    Dateline: A Driveway somewhere in Del Mar, CA USA

    Image: Scott Tinley in all his glory on a chilly Southern California winter day. For those in cooler climes, the blue part above the house is the sky.

    Face it, he's a freak. The man who thinks a day off is for someone with a job is caught on his driveway after a morning swim at UCSD followed by a run home with coach Roch Frey. Waiting for the surfing car-pool, Tinley takes advantage of the 20 minute wait to sport his "Billy-Bob teeth" and brush up on his tan. After an hour in the waves, ST would quip "It looks like a 5-sport day." We should all be so lucky when we get that OLD!

    12/23/98, 10:10 PDT
    Paul Blair Sets New PR!
    Dateline: La Jolla, California, USA

    Actual Date: 21 December 1998

    Image: From left to right, Paul's girlfriend, Kim, Paul, and Paul's mom are all smiles on the evening of a new PR (6-steps with the walker - old record was 4-steps).

    Imagine you're cruising along in your life with the top down. Everything's going great. Your job / school, your girlfriend / spouse, your sport / passion, all of it going well when, out of the blue, you're completely incapacitated. I'm talking INCAPACITATED. Not sick in bed for a few days but paralyzed to the point where you have to be put on a ventilator. That's right, you have no control of any part of your body . . . except your brain and eyes. You can't even make a facial expression to communicate with the rest of the world. The rest of your world has become an intensive care room (with all the bells & whistles) and your entertainment is limited to the people who enter your world (caring doctors, nurses, family, and friends) to treat you or talk to you about whatever THEY think you might want or need to hear. You're locked in your own brain with thoughts that you have no way of communicating to others.

    The good news is you're not going to die (though it was close) and you're expected to make a full recovery. The bad news is that no one can tell you how long it's going to take to get to the point where you can . . . breathe on your own, move on your own, do anything on your own. You used to think that the days went too fast. You never had enough time to fit your life into 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. Now each minute takes an hour, each hour a day, each day a week, and so on.

    Paul Blair has lived this story. The above, I'm sure, trivializes what he and his family have been through. Back in June (in the middle of his first true season of triathlon racing) Paul began to feel week and ended up going to the hospital for what turned out to be a diagnosis of Gullian Barre' (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) Syndrome. According to the Guillain-Barré Syndrome Foundation (, GBS, also called acute idiopathic polyneuritis and Landry's ascending paralysis, is an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves, those outside the brain and spinal chord. It is characterized by the rapid onset of weakness and often, paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles and face. Paul's case was severe. After a long six months, he's back at home and, under the care of his girlfriend and mom is improving on a daily basis. On the evening of the 21st of December, Paul broke his old record of 4 steps with his walker and took 6!

    Kind of makes all that whining about not having a good workout seem a bit pathetic. I'm looking forward to having Paul bestow some of the wisdom his experience must have taught him. I know what it has taught me and many of those who know him so far: nothing is guaranteed and you need to make the most of every minute you have. Initially we (Huddle & Roch) thought it was all a good excuse to lie in bed, watch videos, get waited on, and miss track workout . . . I guess we'll let him off a little easier. We look forward to seeing Paul back at the UCSD Triathlon Club's workouts and wish he & his family a very happy holiday!

    12/20/98, 19:50 PDT
    The Mother of All Parties
    Dateline: Kona Inn Restaurant, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Actual date: 4 (and into the 5th) of October, 1998

    Image: From left to right, Scott Molina, Scott Tinley, and a Don Ho impersonator. One of the great things about the Ironman in 1998 was the effort made to bring back many of the originators and past winners. A favorite trivia question at the MSSC Camps is, "Who was the male winner of the Ironman in 1988?" Now that you've seen this picture, you'll remember that it was Scott Molina. Molina was back this year to "participate" with his friend and long time nemesis, Tinley. Both were hugely appreciated by all who got the chance to see and meet them. After the picture was taken, the evening proceeded to get ugly (as all post-Ironman awards ceremony parties do) and the managers of the restaurant closed down forcing the crowd up the street to Lulu's . . . how appropriate that name was.

    Maybe in one of the next few posts, we'll move on from Hawaii to Thailand for the Laguna Phuket race . . . maybe.

    12/19/98, 09:14 PDT
    The First Speech of Many?
    Dateline: King Kam Hotel parking lot, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Actual date: 4 October, 1998

    Image: Peter Reid makes the first (of many?) winning speeches at the Ironman awards ceremony while 2nd thru 5th place look on (in order: Luc Van Lierde, Lothar Leder, Christophe Mauch, Spencer Smith). Instead of learning German (as Helreigel suggested last year when the top-3 places were taken by German athletes), it looks like we might have to learn to drink Molson & Kokanee with our back bacon, eh?

    12/16/98, 13:12 PDT
    Hawaii Awards Banquet - Leave the Napkins on the Table, Thank You
    Dateline: Parking lot of the King Kam Hotel, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Actual Date: 4 October 1998

    Image: It starts innocently enough. A napkin is fashioned into stylish head-wear and then the tidal wave of the trend takes over. Sian Welch, PNF, Heather Fuhr, Huddle, Greg Welch, and Roch an hour and a half into what would be a long night.

    12/13/98, 18:21 PDT
    There's a New Leder on the Block
    Dateline: I-man Finish Line, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Actual Date: 3 October, 1998

    Image: In one of the more poignant scenes on Alii Drive, third place finisher, Lothar Leder, cradles his new baby as he walks through the finish area (note Mark Allen - white hat w/ sunglasses on top - about to greet him). The first person under the 8-hour barrier at the distance, Lothar had to settle for 3rd in the '98 edition of the Kona event. Far from disappointed, the top German on the day seemed mildly disappointed with his bike ride but quite happy with a scalding run split which brought him back to a very respectable result. If he ever decides to forego the frenzy in Roth only two and a half months prior to Hawaii, this is one of a half-dozen men who could take it all.

    12/10/98, 13:21 PDT
    The Best Seat in the House
    Dateline: Finish Line, Hawaiian Ironman, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Actual date - 3 October 1998

    Image: Greg Welch & Karen Smyers mug for the camera while Honolulu's NBC news anchorman, Dan Cooke looks on. This shot was taken about 5 minutes before Canadian, Peter Reid, crossed the finishline for his first win (perhaps of many?). The platform we were on was immediately behind the finishline above the photographer's bleachers. Nice view.

    What's every tri-geeks dream? To watch the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon World Championship live & in person, in the shade, with people to get you drinks and snacks, watching a color monitor of the live feed from the NBC cameras . . . AND you get to give your 2 cents all the while. Top it off with the addition of getting to discuss the event as it unfolds with people like Karen Smyers & Greg Welch? Tri-Geek Heaven. Now, if we could just get Lazy-Boy to sponsor the whole thing, we'd be set.

    12/8/98, 12:41 PDT
    The Stress of Coaching an Ironman Winner . . . On Race Day
    Dateline: Kailua Pier, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A.

    Actual date: October 3rd, 1998

    Image: Roch Frey (guy smiling in the middle) demonstrates the extreme pressure of being the coach of Heather Fuhr and Peter Ried on race morning. Obviously, it's a much more difficult job than many people suspect. Not only dealing with the very best athletes in the sport but having to fend off groupies all day long has made this coach a candidate for therapy.

    12/5/98, 19:21 PDT
    Last Touch With the Real World
    Dateline: Kailua Pier, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Image: Race announcer, Mike Rielly, steadies Paula as she approaches the edge of the pier. After that, its the athlete and the Big Island.

    12/5/98, 19:17 PDT
    All Alone In the End
    Dateline: Kailua Pier, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Image: Paula contemplates the day ahead just prior to jumping into Kailua Bay. In spite of all the support and cheering-on, each athlete ultimately ends up alone with themselves on race day.

    12/5/98, 19:14 PDT
    PNF Splashes Down
    Dateline: Kailua Bay, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

    Image: After all the preparation, it always comes down to this - a jump in the water, and 15-minutes of "warming-up" & making the crap-shoot-decision of where to line up for a clean start to a day you've prepared all year (all you life, really) for.

    12/5/98, 15:58 PDT
    Riccitello at the Pier
    Dateline: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A.

    Actual date: October 2nd, 1998

    Image: Triathlon legend (a true legend, that is) Jimmy Riccitello (pronounced "rickatelo"), in all his glory, at the starting point for 1500 souls who, at the moment the shutter opened and closed, were contemplating their doom. Riccitello, on the other hand, was showing his true nature (and fashion sense) one week before defending his title at the Maui X-terra mountain bike triathlon. Perhaps the "last Mohican" of professionals from the first era of triathlon, Mike Pigg recently stated, "When Jimmy retires, I'm done." The essence of pure love of a sport, Riccitello has been competing professionally since 1983 and has been a dominant force in every race he's done. An amazing cyclist, he turned his running around in recent years to the dismay of many of his competitors. While Jimmy won two early season races in 1998 (ITU Brazil & St. Croix), injury (sustained at St. Croix) has given the triathlon world a year's reprieve with Riccitello's presence for "one more year." If you get the honor to do an event with this guitar playing, pedal stomping, Bolle' wearing, garlic eating, QR riding, "crappy swimming", crooked helmet wearing, slightly balding, story telling, solid citizen of the triathlon world, don't hesitate! You'll be telling your grand kids about it for a long time to come.

    12/1/98, 08:46 PDT
    Why is This Man Smiling?
    Dateline: Kailua Pier, Kona-Kailua, Hawaii, U.S.A.

    Actual date: Oct. 2, 1998

    Image: Triathlon legend, Wally Buckingham, gets his mug in the same frame with November Triathlete Magazine cover girl (and MSSC camp alumnist), Heather Holmes. We're not sure who was more "lucky" in this situation. You be the judge.

    11/30/98, 17:28 PDT
    Underpants Run to be Held in 1999
    Dateline: Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A.

    Actual Date: October 1st, 1998

    Image: Innovators Tim Morris, Chris "Slice" Danahy, and Paul Huddle (left to right) salute the crowd in front of Lava Java after the inaugural Underpants Run.

    The first worthy memory comes from the inaugural "Underpants Run". With the potential to eclipse the reason everyone goes to Kona on a full moon in October, the event went off without a hitch. Starting at the lobby entrance of the King Kamehameha Hotel, three brave visionaries exited an unmarked rental van clad only in their newly purchased Fruit of the Loom "tighty whities", running shoes, and the obligatory heart rate monitor. Also known as "mommy underwear" (because many men begin their first foray into the world of undergarments with the influence of a mothers purchase), these briefs looked a close relative of over-sized white swim suits. In a parody of Euro-tri-dress-code, these three explorers headed out into a new frontier of event genius. Now, on the Thursday before Saturday's Hawaiian Ironman, you to can report to the King Kam (in your underpants) at 8:30am and participate in a protest, of sorts, to this horrific garb thrust on the unwilling locals in Kailua-Kona.

    The inaugural event's course exited the King Kam's drive way, took a right on Alii Dr. and, after taking a slow loop around the cul de sac of ‘The Pier', the run continued down Alii all the way to Lulu's Restaurant (approximately at the 1.25 mi mark) where the course made a u-turn back to roaring applause at Lava Java. Overwhelming response along the way was positive with the occasional look of disbelief. The three participants shouting "Halo! Ya, Germany! Halo!" along the route caused spectators to either fall over with laughter, shout back encouragement, or cringe in disgust.

    Already lined up for next year, don't miss your opportunity to join in the festivities on October 21st, 1999 at 8:30am at the entrance of the King Kamehmeha Hotel.

    Event rules:

    1. Any version of "mommy underwear" is permitted. Good sources include three- packs of Haynes, Fruit of the Loom, or BVD's.
    2. No boxers, long underwear, or stylish Euro-bikini briefs permitted.
    3. Route must be completed by either running, walking, or crawling. Heart rate monitors, black or argyle socks, bad hats, and earrings are optional.
    4. While this event is considered a "moderately paced parade" rather than a "race", pacing strategies are up to the participant.
    5. No awards will be presented.
    6. No aid stations will be provided.
    7. Other rules to be decided as issues arise.
    8. Rules committee (Tim Morris, Slice, & Huddle) reserve the right to make things up as they go along.

    11/30/98, 17:19 PDT
    Underpants Run Arrives
    Dateline: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A.

    Breaking news? Hardly, but newsworthy nonetheless. In an effort to catch up on "news - in the eye of the beholder", we'll try to get a steady re-cap of events since October 1st.

    Image: Left to right, Paul Huddle, Tim Morris, and Chris Danahy make history on Alii Drive on Thursday, October 1st, 1998. In the final 200 meters of the run, the three are about to be greeted to a standing ovation at Lava Java.