July 31, 2004

Team Jamerzil at the London Triathlon 2004

Stacy Munn, Pat Bacon and Claudia Nascimento are Team Jamerzil

Team Jamerzil finally came together the week before race day. I struggled to get someone to take Ayumi's place. Abigail couldn't do it because of child co-ordination. Leo's sister Sarah had a hamstring injury. Everyone at the health club was daunted by the event. In the end, Pat came shining through as the Jamerzil runner.

11:45 - Claudia rings the bell of 10 Hungerford Road.
11:50 - bike checks and lube by mechanic Brian
12:00 - filling of water bottles
12:05 - last minute loo visit
12:15 - cycling through the London roads on our way to the Docklands.

We only had to stop twice for a map check. Being a weekend, traffic in the City (financial part of London) was relatively light.

13:15 - cycling right alongside the bike race course approaching the ExCel building race headquarters.

13:30 - rack bikes in appropriate transition areas
13:50 - pick up timing chip
13:55 - meet up with Pat and Richard
14:00 - Andrew and Michelle join our group
14:05 - Brian and camera arrive
14:20 - swimmer is nervous. Frantically searches for open restrooms.
14:30 - last minute review of team strategy and logistics
14:40 - swimmer dons wetsuit and heads to start area
14:50 - swimmer finds out race start is delayed 30 minutes
15:00 - back to Jamerzil gathering
15:15 - back to race start
15:30 - team Jamerzil starts the London Triathlon!

This was the first time I had done a swim start with men. My wave had about 250 people starting all together. The water tasted nassty and some rather large arms pounded my back several times, but I made it around the course free of major injuries in 28:21.

15:58 - strip off wetsuit, throw in bag, carefully run up slippery stairs, find Claudia in transition, hand off timing chip

16:03 - bike portion begins!

Claudia had a stellar cycling race, completing the 4 lap course in 1:33:50, a full 27 minutes faster than we anticipated! Michelle, Andrew, Pat, Richard, Rhoel, Brian and I were all congregated at a strategic point along the course so we could cheer her on and take some good photographs. With 1.5 laps still to go, Pat and I went back up to transition to prepare for the run.

According to the race rules, if the biker wasn't back within 2 hours after the start of the race, the runner would get another timing chip and start off on the run. This was to ensure the race course was cleared by a certain time. We anticipated that I would take 30mins for the swim, leaving only 90mins for Claudia to finish the bike. We didn't think that was going to happen, so Pat (along with quite a few other runners) was anxiously awaiting the race marshal to hand out the chip so she could get started. We were instructed to just wait by our assigned area in transition and someone would come around with the chip. But lo and behold, here came Claudia streaking in! I was thrilled, impressed, excited! My team is doing so well.

Hand over chip, rack bike, three cheers for Pat and she's off. Back onto the course to support the Jamerzil runner.

18:26 - Pat sprints across the finish line! A brilliant performace by all.

July 27, 2004

The Big Day

Stacy Munn and Nina Morris

I had a bagel birthday breakfast with my team at work. Then spent three titillating hours discussing programs on automated identification systems and surveyor training. Ducked out of the office early for a jog home in the sunshine. Quick shower then over to Abigail's for some live entertainment in the form of a swingset show, a pasta dinner and a homemade birthday cake. Brilliant day!

July 22, 2004

Cheap Trick

Here's the set list Cheap Trick SHOULD have played last night.

1. Hello There
2. Everything Works If You Let It
3. Voices
4. I Know What I Want
5. I Want You To Want Me
6. Clock Strikes Ten
7. Surrender
8. Dream Police
9. Gonna Raise Hell
10. Ain't That A Shame
11. One On One
12. If You Want My Love
13. Oo La La La
14. She's Tight

But they didn't. From this list, they only played 3. If you know Cheap Trick's music, you'll be able to guess that those 3 were:
I Want You To Want Me,
Surrender, and
Dream Police

So the set list was the first problem. The second was the sound in the Shepherds Bush Empire. It's a small venue, but the sound was crummy. Problem number 3 was the pocket of rude, tall rocker dudes with poorly groomed long hair sprouting out of their bald patches that shoved their way in front of us. It was plainly evident that this was not my kind of crowd when the audience erupted with applause and sang along to every word when the band played The Flame. Barf.

Those traumas aside, Cheap Trick were in fine form. Rick Nielsen played his signature licks on various guitars (though not as many as at last year's Royal Albert Hall Show) including a double necked axe fashioned into a likeness of Rick himself. He bounded around the stage and on and off a platform, all the while flicking hundreds of guitar picks into the audience, one at a time. I got two.

Thom West would have given a thumbs up to the fine beats of Bun E Carlos on the drums. And what's his face still has the same strong voice, able to sound smooth or just-on-the-verge-of-screaming rough. Oh yeah, it's Robin Zander.

All three times I've seen Cheap Trick live, I've come away feeling happy. This foursome have fun on stage. No fancy antics, just pure rock and roll music. I'd love to see them again.

July 21, 2004

What are they saying?

I asked Mark, the spinning instructor, how his triathlon training was coming along.

His response: "I was really naught for six at the weekend, if you know what I mean, so I'm going to have to take it easy".

No, in fact, I did not know what he meant. Did he get injured? Drunk? Did he do six events over the weekend and win them all? Or lose them all?

After some inquiries I learned that the expression is actually "knock for six" (I misheard him) and it derives from the game of cricket. If a ball is knocked for six, it is hit a long way and that batsman automatically gets six runs, akin to a home run in baseball.

Another cricket term used in daily language is "hat-trick". When taking three wickets in three successive deliveries a bowler is said to have achieved a hat-trick. One of the harder feats to achieve in the game it used to be the cause for the bowler being given a hat. We hear it now most often by football (soccer) commentators.

July 17, 2004

New York Doll died

Arthur Kane, the bassist for the New York Dolls, died of leukemia last Tuesday in LA. It's so strange having seen him on stage just a few weeks ago. At the bequest of Morrissey, once president of the The New York Dolls fan club, the group reunited and played 2 shows at London's South Bank. They hadn't played together in nearly 30 years. Kane didn't look all that lively, but I put it down to a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. The sounds coming out of his bass were superb.

July 14, 2004

Bus talk

Whilst riding the bus to my photography class at Morley College, a guy sat next to me and started unwrapping his new Pixies DVD. He looked at the photos and read the liner notes on the insert. When he was putting the DVD back in his bag, I had to ask him if he had seen the show last month. He had. And like Brian, he had to pay a lot of money through eBay to get tickets.

Back in his school days, he and his mates would discuss what band they'd most like to see if they ever reformed. The Pixies were the unanimous top choice. So when he heard the Pixies were coming to London, he was going to do whatever it took to get tickets for them all. His mates came down from the North and they all went to the show together. What a great story! I'm glad I asked.

July 10, 2004

All seasons in a day

butterfly on Hampstead Heath

I went to Hampstead Heath this morning to shoot my photography assignment. BBC weather for London showed a cloud, a sun and a raindrop. Typical England.

When I arrive on the Heath, puffy white clouds floating against the blue sky are making a vibrant color contrast. I have black and white film loaded. Rats. I find an old tree trunk reflecting some nice light and finish off the roll.

Velvia now loaded, I climb the dirt path to my favorite bench, serenaded by the insects chirping in the long summer grass on either side. Joggers pass me in 60 second intervals, looking happy and healthy. They're all over the Heath and I long to be running alongside Abigail, sorting out my latest dilemma.

I have my fisheye lens and start with a few curved horizon shots, getting lots of blue sky and white cloud. I'm trying for a textural close-up of a log but the light is suddenly gone. I feel ice starting to pelt my bare skin. Only nine shots into the session and I'm caught in a hail storm. I take cover under a leafy oak tree, take one shot of the path now covered with white ice pellets and hope the sky clears quickly. Ten minutes later the hail has turned to rain and I can't see another soul. Another couple minutes and a soaked jogger passes me. Perfect! I'm in my running shoes and have my camera backpack so I can run home. On my way down the Heath I pass a few people in various states of element coping. People with big dogs don't seem to mind the wet, and their big dogs just run around in the rain like kids jumping through a sprinkler. The small dog people are huddled under branches and their small dogs look out rather miserably at the rain spoiling their grand sniffing adventure.

July 05, 2004

Long London Lunch

Brian and I had a fabulous lunch at Busaba Eathai. There's another location that I didn't know about, just off Tottenham Court Road. I had a Butternut pumpkin curry and green papaya salad with a mango lassi. A bit much for a mid-day meal, but I went swimming this morning so felt that I earned it.

For "pudding" we went to Patisserie Valerie in Soho and I had chocolate mousse, which I hadn't earned but which was one of those heavenly experiences you don't pass up.

This morning at the pool I tried to keep up with the fast girl in the lane. She was doing breast stroke and I could hardly keep up doing free. Turned out the fast girl was Abigail!

July 02, 2004


The spinning instructor yelled out to the class, "Don't rush it!" I could feel the electrical current jumping the synapses in my nervous system as my brain thawed out memories relegated to cold storage. Don't rush. So familiar. But in two different contexts from my past. What were they?

Ah yes. The first one in another athletic situation. Early morning crew practice on Lake Washington. Coach Bob Earnst's voice crackling through the megaphone, drilling it's way to a permanent corner of my grey matter..."Don't rush it on the slide!"

A minute later the second, earlier memory bubbles into my consciousness. Meg Dezel conducting the junior high orchestra through a ritardando.