Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tri car evaluation: Audi A3 wagon

I owed it to myself to check out the A3 wagon since I’m already in an Audi and I love it so much. I found myself stopping by the Santa Monica location and hitting up the internet and fleet salesman who emailed me about my lease expiration. Abtin was friendly, and it was instantly clear that I’d be dealing with a car salesman for this transaction. I hate haggling. I hate negotiating for things that have clear manufacturing costs and ought to be priced statically. There’s not two Audi dealerships next to each other competing for the sale, so it’s not like there’s a free market effect. No, when you start wheeling and dealing with car salesmen you’re in for a giant waste of time in order to try and save money. This is nothing against Abtin personally – two years ago I came in on an ad for zero down, zero up front payments, and $325/mo for my A4. I drove it, loved it, signed papers, and had my car in a week. There would not be a repeat performance of that transaction. Continue reading


Tri car evaluation: Honda Element

There are few things I like less than going into car dealerships. Guys in ill fitting suits putting out false gregariousness for a sale. The huge mystery area of the many ways to get screwed in your purchase. Knowing that there’s always a hidden cost somewhere that affects the bottom line. The list goes on. I love getting a new car and being on a two year lease cycle means I get the thrill of a new car frequently alongside its ugly cousin, the horror of car dealerships every two years as well. I used a car broker to buy my wife’s car and got to test drive cars on lots with no intention of buying. While that makes me a crappy customer, it’s also my sweet revenge for what I’m sure is cruel behavior on their part somewhere along the road. But my search for a new car goes on, salesmen or naught, and the car I have been compelled to test drive is the Honda Element, widely considered the best suited car for triathlon. Continue reading

Tri car evaluation: The MINI Clubman S

My car lease is up in December and I’m sad to say goodbye to the most thrilling car I’ve ever driven, the Audi A4 2.0T quattro. But the speeding tickets and accident drove our insurance up to $5000 a year and responsibility dictates that I take it down a notch for two years to recover.  It also gets 20mpg on a good day and has been bleeding me for the last year. The Audi is a beautiful machine inside and out and it has served me well. But it is not a good car for triathlon, or even cycling which is what I really need these days. I drive to a spot and bike all over which means I need a car I can use as a transition area. When I surveyed the LA Tri Club for their cars of choice the Honda Element was the clear winner, but I thought the MINI Clubman would be a dark horse.

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Latigo Canyon, the time trial.

A time trial is an extraordinarily helpful tool to measure fitness. On foot, on wheels, or even in a pool using a known course or environment and testing on a regular basis gives a real understanding of improvement (if any). Test every month and measure heart rate and time and look to see if you’re doing more with less, or faster with less effort – that’s fitness improvement. Latigo is a favorite cyclist’s climb and many friends had extolled its heinous virtues to me. Coach Brian and Ironman David identified a stretch starting on PCH and ending at the first stop sign – 3 miles of almost solid uphill climbing. Let the puke-fest begin! Continue reading

Core Performance: evaluation session

I did it. I signed up for the 10 session introductory plan at Core Performance. It was the most cost effective way to test drive their facility, including receiving the full intake evaluation process. Their staff have been persistent about following up with me since my initial tasting and I committed to getting my ass in gear once I got back in training. After a week setback stemming from being hit by a car, I am officially back in training as of this week. Monday I kicked things off with a 1 hour run and wound up going 6.8 miles. This may not have been the best move given that I was doing a V02 max test the next day! Continue reading

Is it running away from something or running towards?

Sometimes I wonder which one I am. Putting one foot in front of the other in a robotic fashion, concentrating on landing mid-sole, scraping the mud off the foot and kicking up as the other foot does the same, keeping a straight line, tilting my body forward and keeping my back straight. This is the mechanics of running. But the limbic brain that tells the legs to piston and to keep firing even though there isn’t big game being pursued or a tiger chasing still requires stimulus. Some days I’m the hunter and some days I’m the hunted, the longer the run I wind up being all of the above. Continue reading

The opposite of a recovery ride.

I was so looking forward to getting back on the bike today. My first taste of freedom, away from a screaming dog, and a long ride up PCH on my new bike. I did not expect it to involve ambulances and a trip to the ER. And yet… Continue reading