A Letter From Spain

“Would you prefer the easy way? Ok then don’t cry.” – Ani Difranco

Spain comes as a bench mark of my life. The travel, training and being an owner/operator of the came cause stress on all fronts but something about that always seems to show me my cracks in my amor. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s easy to ignore ones weaknesses when you feel invincible and when you are unstoppable. So Spain is a form of inner fun house mirror. It shows me the worst of me to myself. Distorted and ugly. Brutal and unforgiving. An imagine of me; but only after being stretched to the point of snapping.

Like every freaking time.

But is that so bad? To be humbled? To be reminded I am mortal? Each time I pick myself off the mat, wipe the blood from the corner of my mouth and fight another round. Each time I learn something. Each time I come back strong, better, wiser. I love Spain and SLB, not because it’s a sweet vacation for me; but because it’s the opposite: a trial by fire where I judge myself against myself. Where I see what progress I have made as an athlete, and as a person. This is my 12th year here and each year I have struggled. Each year I have been tested. Each year I find a way to move forward and grow. Yeah I wouldn’t prefer the easy way, and I am not crying about it.

Chilling on the Roof of Spain.

Chilling on the Roof of Spain.

Coffee Snob ERC Blend!

Coffee Snob: All Me!
It’s here!!!! My own blend! When Boston Commons gave me a chance to make my own blend I got so giddy. Finally after drinking all the worlds coffees all over the world I had a chance to make my own! Here is what I came up with “THE EVIL RACING CULT TRAINING AND RACING BLEND.”
I wanted it to be bold and flavorful so it’s got a strong Ethiopian base. But I also wanted it to have some extra kick so it’s got some arabica (what they drink in Europe) espresso. And lastly it’s got a bit of Kona so it has magic.
Now here is the other thing: Ethiopian is the home of the great runners. Arabica espresso is the drink of euro roadies and the pro peloton. Kona is the home of triathlons most iconic event. That wasn’t by accident.
This bold but not acidic coffee mixes taste, fuel and a touch of the mental aspects of sport.
Thanks again: https://www.bostoncommoncoffee.com

IMG_6082

3 Poems In Isreal

Tel Aviv:

Live like it can all end in 8 minutes,
Because it can.
Love like your life depends on it,
Because it does.
Amazing vegan food and vegans.
We caught your infectious laugh sitting outside at a sidewalk cafe.
In the protection of an iron doom.
We came to do an ironman triathlon.
Nothing is sillier than spandex and going in circles.
Nothing more grave than children in camo with machine guns hanging off their shoulders as they balance cell phones and Saphoria bags and navigate the mall like a modern day Vishnu.

Do you laugh louder?
Sing deeper?
Hug longer?
Love bolder?
Tel Aviv. I see you clawing your way into the future. Rough hands from real work.
Rising out of desert trying to make every choice based on your hopes not fears.
Living like it can all end in 8 minutes,
Because it can.
Loving like your life depends on it.
Because it does.

Jerusalem:

We toasted ‘next time in Jerusalem”
In Jerusalem.
For the third time.
So now we get ice cream.
I will have mine on Jafa Street.
Watching break dancing to electric violin, after seeing earnest young men in their first bands.
everywhere a stranger.
Everywhere else strange.

No one knows home like a wander.
And finally again home. Here.
Fiercely home.
This cross roads of east and west.
Of old and ancient.
Stepping through Dung Gate.
Stepping back 2000 years.
Walls and domes and walls and tombs and walls.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and try to not hit a nerve.
I only pray in all of Jerusalem. I only pray for all of Jerusalem.

The Negev:

Standing here watching the sunrise over Jordan
And Moonset over Egypt
And I can feel myself sinking in this Great Rift

The Dead Sea can’t get more lifeless
And it’s vanishing in the process
The sunrise over Jordan use to be magic
But standing here alone it just feels tragic
I made a wish in Jafa but black hawks were in the way
So the Sea said no and said come back another day.
And I can feel the direction of the plates shift
And I can feel us drift
And I know this Valley is getting deeper
And I sink deeper into this rift.
Endless anxiety and insecurity
And rules and walls don’t bring security
An endless horizon that never fills no matter how much I love you, Negev.
I am standing on the edge of crater.
That collapsed under the wait of water.
When things are fluid they are the most destructive.
Water scares and marks this desert.
Wearing the scares doesn’t tell you where you are. Just where you have been.
But your not alone here.
The sun is rising over Jordan.
The moon is over Egypt.

Coaching for 2017

Will you be your greatest in 2017? I still have a spot or two left for 2017 if you want personalized, individual coaching to help you reach your goals. With limitless contact, a 100% custom plan, and the motivation and support that can only come from someone who has spend a dozen years as a pro all for 1/2 of what other charge you might want to team up with me! Check out the details on my coaching page or email me: evilracingcult@gmail.com

 

What I Have Been Up Too?

“Hardwired to self destruct.” -Metallica

Sometimes this blog gets less use because I am doing nothing, and it seems like there is nothing exciting to write about. Other times, there is just too much awesome in my life to find the time to get it down on paper; or in this case cyber paper. Right now I am in the stages of the latter.

My life got turned upside down when a rush closing of the sale of my apartment and the even more rushed purchase of a house in the woods caused me to pack up, move, unpack, and start trying to live again, mostly out of boxes. Anyone who has been through this process knows its a bit trying to say the least, but also really rewarding as I know have a new home, on 7 acres, nicely in the woods, ideal for training and living. I plan to hold training weekends here as its sleeps, like everyone and the swimming, biking, running and OCR training are just sick.

But the other big news is I am going back to Israman. I love that race. I love everything about it. The brutal course, the stunning views, the amazing travel, and fact that it is owned and operated by athletes who love the sport as much as I do. I will forever support those events. I am doing the full ironman distance this time which doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else other than training and coaching.

After I won my second Spartan World Title I took 3 weeks off and with the help of the team of medical pros at Physio Logic in Brooklyn, I was ready to start training again in half the time as normal after such a grueling OCR season and event. I worked with PT, nutritionists, acupuncture (she was so mental too \m/ ) cyropractics, and an MD to put me back together again and the results were great allowing me to get back to training ASAP because Israman is not that long off.

I also locked down my diet, snacking on Pure Fit Bars not street pizza. Vegan protein it turns out is WAY better for you than grease and cheese. Who knew? I spent November focused on strength work, December on speed and base mixing in some cyclo-cross racing and (won my first ‘cross race ever) and doing some 5,6,7 hour rides on my ERC cross bike. I am at race weight now and ready to start the final push, those race-tempo bricks of death and more speed work.

After Israman I hope to turn my attention back to OCR racing for another full season of racing with Original Warrior Pak. I found in 2015 I was fittest when I did some winter tri training because the cross training of cycling and running made me a better OCR athlete and of course I love it. Also check out OWP stuff for cycling. The gloves, sleeves and compression wear is great for triathlon.

FullSizeRender

Coffee Snob 1.6

Hello and welcome to my favorite part of endurance sports; coffee. I know a lot of great athletes, and we all seem to LOVE to drink coffee, so writing this series is one of my greater joys. All my coffees featured come from here and can be ordered from there as well: http://www.bostoncommoncoffee.com/ 

Colombia Cauca Laurentino Quinto:

This roast comes from a small family farm and was offered by Boston Common Coffee as a way of supporting the local family owned business called micro lots. Oddly, I kinda felt like I could taste that in the coffee. Or maybe coffee just makes me happy.

The farms that grown Colombian Cauca are generally high altitude and seem to have a very full flavor with tartly sweet and rich but tones though that really just translates into a medium roast taste that doesn’t feel thin in your mouth. I would recommend this for a pre ride coffee as it’s a lighter body but very satisfying taste without being hard on ones guts and gives a nice buzz.
Ethiopian Moka Harrar:
Crafted with dry fruit often dried directly in the African sun still on the trees this coffee beams with flavor. It is one of the more distinct flavors and tastes. Using a special process used by only a hand full of coffee growers called  the “wet method” the coffee is infused with the fruit flavor which is what defines the taste of the Moka Harrar. This coffee is a one of a kind and being Ethiopian it’s also a nice kick in the butt when it comes to getting you ready to race the world. I combined mine with listening to Hatebreed and walking while muttering to myself until I was ready to take on the world.
IMG_4308

Coaching for 2017!

Me and one of my athletes who did something he never thought possible; finish his first marathon!

Me and one of my athletes who did something he never thought possible; finish his first marathon!

I am accepting athletes for 2017. I have coached athletes for Ironman Kona, 70.3 World Champions, IUT World Championships, USAT Nationals as well as marathon champions, ultra runner champions, USAT and USA Cycling pros but also love working with athletes who are just in it to finish and I have 99% finish rate for first time ironman athletes.

You get unlimited access and communication, a 100% custom plan, great deals on products and get to be part of a great squad of awesome people all for half the price of most other coaches. Email me evilracingcult@gmail.com for questions or to get started chasing your goals.

 

Here Is What I Know

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

(An actor I know sent me this: http://www.leslimargherita.com/here-is-what-i-know and I thought a version for elite athletes was needed since both deal in absurd amounts of failure and negative feed back).

I work with a lot of talented athletes who have less experience than me and I can see the struggles they face chasing their dreams. So after a decade of pro/elite racing HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: You will fail. Countless times. You may even fail so often that you have many more bad races then good ones. You will fail in spectacular ways. You will not finish races. You will finish hours behind the winners or winners of your age group. You will walk when you should be running, and drown when you should be swimming. But you won’t fail always. You will, have that day when it all goes right. Hold onto those days; drink deep from them and think about that when everything else goes wrong. Or better yet, take a few lessons quickly from the failures and don’t think about them ever again.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: you will struggle to make money. You will work side gigs, and survival jobs or you will live off others. It’s all good. Your chasing your dream and people want to support that. Let them, and thank them. Take that spare room or guest house. Take that meal, that home stay and that ride to/from the airport. And thank them. Dream chasers who chase something this brutal like extreme endurance sports give back (if they aren’t jerks) and inspire. People will train more, eat better, live more fuller just because you are around and because they know you. They will tell there friends about how they know you when you have that break through race and how you kicked their ass that time you slept on their sofa for a week. Thank them, be humble and grateful because you are basically a sports-hobo. Don’t be a jerk but don’t stress money. Money isn’t that important.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: you love this. You want this. It’s simply too hard to get up day after day and train 20-40 hours a week. If you love this, don’t give up on it. Try to remind yourself you love this when you don’t love this. But love this. Every second you can love this. You are struggling to do this so make sure you remember to love it.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: be ok inside your head. You will be too tired, too alone, and filled with too much doubt to not have your head strewed on straight. Your mind will likely end your career and chasing of goals long before your body will.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: you likely don’t know your talent. Sadly there is no way for most of us to know until you spend 5 years crushing yourself to get to 99 percent of your best. Don’t worry about raw talent, you can’t control it. Try to avoid expectations, that’s artificial: you don’t know what to expect because you don’t know you talent. If you under estimate yourself you will hold yourself back. If you over estimate yourself you will be frustrated and unfulfilled; either way you lose. Focus on what you love: the process of swimming, cycling and (or- if you like ORC or running only) running. Start each race with only one goal: to race yourself into pure annihilation.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: you can’t control others. My best race of my life I took 12th. I am damn proud of that race. I couldn’t control that 11 guys did better. Good for them. You can’t control if someone is better, or dopes, or fires perfectly on race day. All you can do is race your best. Celebrate yourself for that.

HERE IS WHAT I KNOW: don’t hold your self worth by sponsors. They come and go. They change staff and cut you out. They change directions and cut you out. They fail and are broke and cut you out. Develop nice relationships with them; treat them well. That’s your job. But none of that is personal. I look back and am thankful for the ones that supported me for the years they did, not the years they didn’t. Don’t define yourself by how many logos you see on your kit when you look at yourself in the mirror. Define yourself in that moment of true honestly when you look yourself in the mirror after the race, when on one else is around and it’s just you, alone, about to shower the sweat (mud and blood) and tears away because all of this is for that.

Tyathlon Race Report

Long after I am winning races; I will be doing them; and the Mahapoc Tyathlon is exactly the race and kind of races I will do. The race is held by the Ty Campbell Foundation which was started when Ty died of a childhood cancer and his parents wanted wanted to help end this awful disease. The race in 4 short years raised nearly $200,000 and is a testament to what a community can do when they come together even only for an hour and around sport.
Beyond the cause, the race is the best community minded events I ever did. I suspect half the high school student body was there volunteering and the tee shirt was backed with logos from all the local businesses that support them. Police, roads signs, food, great course, whatever you want in a race this has it; and perfect weather.
My pre race Boston Common Coffee and CARBOOM gel went down nice. The swim was warm and a mirror and due to my all run training a bit a shock as I am use to using the swim to distance a lot of people behind me. Sadly this wasn’t the case but as a vet of the sport I caught a draft and came out of the water only a few seconds down.
T1 was smooth thanks to my Xterra Wetsuit and I quickly found myself off the front of the race once my Valdora TT bike got rolling. I had a nice police escort which is huge because it really ensures a safe trip and also no missed turns and by the end of the bike I was feeling good. Really good.
I hit the run and ran a 5:55, 5:50 and 5:40 pace in my Brooks ST Racers and set the course record by the end and I just felt strong and strong as the race went on. A quick call to the Block Island Sport Shop and Jim Ortel to check in and he was pumped to see me so fit with Spartan Worlds coming up!

I


really hope everyone joins me next year for this one!
Onward to Rugged Maniac next weekend then spartan worlds!image

Coffee Snob: African Addition

fI got two amazing African roasts From Boston Common Coffee! I always loved Ethiopian coffee and get one every time we go to our favorite restaurant which is Ethiopian food (I strongly suggest the combo plates). So I was really excited to drink some African Java!

The first coffee was ETHIOPIAN SIDAMO. It’s from Africans famous Great Rift Valley often considered the birthplace of humans and interestingly coffee. We are clearly linked.

There is the famed hillside called Sudamo which produces a more sweet and a hint of citrus and maple syrup like body and almost a hint of a something like a very dark chocolate. I drank this daily while running 103 miles in Vermont so syrup was on my mind and so was the need for a coffee that didn’t leave me begging for more. This coffee delivered both a great taste and a nice boost of every for my morning runs up mountains not unlike where the beans come from.

The second coffee was ZIMBABWE SMALDEEL ESTATES. This was a real surprise as my experiences with other African roasts were very strong and this was amazingly mild. The low acid made this perfect for working out and training; but it didn’t fail me in the “awwwww yeah” department. In fact this was the race day coffee for my most recent win the Tyathlon. This coffee went down smooth like Sunday morning, even if your Sunday morning is crushing yourself to win a race. Like the other it hard lovely hints of flavor, berry-toned, but all very subtle.

image