Thursday, July 23, 2009


Maybe next year when Lance and Co. are riding for RadioShack they won't have problems like dysfunctional radios? One can only hope.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chiang Mai Pool Report

Did I ever tell you about the time that I looked for pools in Chiang Mai, Thailand?

There are actually a bunch of links that list some (most of the) pools around town. Like here, here, here and here. And if you search for pools the most common one that pops up is the Center of the Universe. Presumably because it's the only one that has a link and it seems the most together. It actually looks pretty nice, but it's one of the more expensive ones (200 baht
[$6USD] per entry with out a membership card and is a bit out of downtown...kind of.

But I never made it to the COTU. So I'll talk about the pools that I did find.

As preface I was really surprised at how many pools there were in Chiang Mai. It is a town 150,00, but nevertheless I held my expectations pretty low.

The pool at the 700 year sports complex was the most impressive pool that I saw. The whole complex was built for the SE Asia Games in the early 90's.

Quite a complex too. It has a big stadium, at least one other pitch for soccer, many tennis courts, a shooting range, a race track for remote control cars and two large gymnasiums for volley ball, badminton, basketball and presumably for Takro Lot Huang (just called Takro(?), a game like volley ball played on a badminton net, with the kicking rules or soccer [no hands]) Images for Takro here, here, here and here.

There is also...get this... a VeloDrome!!! No kidding! When I pulled up to its gate I was pretty blow away and pumped. I hoped I could find people who used it and ride some laps on it. But after talking around (and after looking at it's disrepair) it became pretty aparent that the loop isn't used that often. However, Mr. Vogel told me that there was a coach trying to get a kids cycling program together and they might use the Velodrome.

But back to the pool... 50 meter, 8 lane, outdoor pool. A few diving platforms and two springboards. There are also a couple of lanes across the far end of the diving pool if you don't feel like suffering down 50 meters.
In the same building as the pool there are showers etc and a weight room.
If I remember correctly the fee without a membership is 60 baht. I think a year membership is a few hundred baht.
Here are some pics:
Since it's so warm in Chiang Mai most (all?) of the pools are outdoors and generally uncovered. Such a nice change from swimming in a dark dingy box.

The only other 50 meter pool that I found (I think there are others) was at Chaing Mai University. It's in the middle of the campus and is a shorter ride from down town than the 700 year complex. It was pretty quite there the two times I stopped by. You need to get an ID card from the University. That costs 300 baht, and you'll also need a passport photo. I think you can get it made up at the gymnasium (letter F on the campus map). Then I think there is an additional day fee.
Here are a couple pics:
The pool where I actually spent the most time was at the Physical Eduction University. This pool is it's semi-open air. And that made it really cold. I was there during the 'cool season' and since none of the pools are heated the cool evenings and lack of sunlight on the pool made for some very chilly water. The pool is here(ish). It's between the stadium and the tennis courts and has a kind of dark blue roof.
There are funny signs when you're coming into the pool that say it's for locals and University members only. But everyone was really friendly to me and more than happy to take my 30 baht entrance fee.

I think that this is the largest lap pool with the closet proximity to the old moat surrounded downtown 'touristy' area.
In the same complex as the pool is a stadium with a track around it, tennis courts (not sure they're open to the public), a funky weight room (30 baht), Takro courts, a shooting range, at least one gymnasium, a quarterpipe and features for bikes/skateboards, a nice looking new indoor sports center with treadmills and stuff, outdoor circuit stations, and a road that goes around the stadium that is packed with people jogging and walking in the evenings. It was amazing to see how many people were out exercising.

The pool is 6 lanes and 25 meters. It was never very busy when I was there in the afternoon. I think it's open like 3:30 to 6 or so. Here are some pics:

The next 25 meter pool that I checked with close proximity to DT was at the Maharaja Hospital complex. You can see the pool here. I'm pretty sure that this pool is open most of the year to visitors. But when I was there it was closed because there was some kind of children's competition going on for like a month. It's three lanes and 25 meters. Sorry no pics. It's also kind of hidden away, but with a little searching you can find it. It's at the western end of the hospital area and has tennis courts around it.

Down in the oddly suburban mini-town of ChiangMaiLand is another clean pool with a pretty cheap entry fee (90 baht?...I can't quite remember). But be weary of going here in the afternoon as I found that there are tons of kids and even though there are lane 'lines'/tiles on the bottom of the pool it usually geared towards the lounging crowd.
Here's a pic:
I did check out the pool at the Anodard Hotel. Here is a picture of the pool. As I recall there are some limited swim times. But it is open to non-hotel guests. The one time that I stopped by to check it out it was swamped with people laying on the deck and playing in the water. Doing laps wasn't really an option. Plus it's like an 18 or 20 meter pool.

I did talk to a cyclist who liked to go to the Chaing Mair Lotus (PSK) Hotel and do laps there. Apparently it's a 48 (or so) meter pool on the top of the building. And it often isn't crowded. He also said that it's better than going to the roof top pool at the Orchid (right next door). But, I can't speak to either one.

In writing this entry I discovered Wikimaps which is an excellent tool to find locations and pools in the area. (Look for the blue patches!)
For example, I had a hard time using a street address to find the PongPot pool. But it's easy to find on Wiki.

Also take a look at the three pools at the schools on the eastern end of town, here.
The Lana sports center also has a pool.

Any way. If you're in Chiang Mai and want to keep your feel for the water alive never fear. There are pools aplenty.
If you want to work on your slighting and open water swimming though the options are pretty limited. You could swim at the reservoir here. I've seen Thai's splashing in the water there. but Personal I'd stay away from any open water source. And with so many great pools in town why bother?

Hope this comes in handy to someone out there.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Here are a couple of songs that I'm liking right now.

White Rabbits "Percussion Gun" Music Video from White Rabbits on Vimeo.

The latter is kind of a crappy video I admit. But I think the song is kind of catchy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Old Colony YMCA Race Report

Old Colony went really well on Sunday. I'll give that part away right now.

But before Sunday came Saturday. And what a day Saturday was. Sunny, 70's, slight breeze. When you're in MHD on such a day there's really only one thing to do right? Exactly; Fill a cooler with snacks and bevvies, go to Devereux, lather up with your arms with an insubstantial amount of sunscreen and then gently move your hands over your chest and forehead thinking that the residual ointment on your hands will actually be affective, fall into a light sleep after ten minutes of 'reading' (skimming words), wake up after an hour, hit the cooler, lounge on the beach blanket, people watch, look at your book and think of reading, cooler some more, talk and laugh, pickup said book-flip to current page-immediately replace book to starting position, wish you had a ball to throw, drinks from the cooler, call it a day at the beach, go home burnt.

Any idea what three hours at the beach, plus sun, less a shirt, less actual application of sunscreen equals? No surprises here huh?

The first sign that my sunburn was kinda bad, well besides from the red and hot skin, was when my HR strap felt like it was made out of burlap. I persevered and made it through my afternoon pickups trying my best to keep the fluids coming hot and heavy.

But wait the pre-race foolishness doesn't stop there! Sarah's had Wilco tickets for like five billion months. I think she camped out for three days to ensure entrance to LeLacheur Park in the mighty Mill City (There really are a lot of mills there. Well, old mill buildings any way. She really didn't camp out. Just pumped to see Wilco.) And the good news is that after Mooseman I changed course and wasn't partaking in RI 70.3, which meant I could make the show.

Pretty excellent show. Plus with all Gen Admin tickets we could nestle through the crowd on the protected ball field to get within lougie distance of Jeff Tweedy. Sarah got pretty excited and nearly fainted like the girl in front of us about five minutes after she and her BF burnt through their doubbie. Truth be told Sarah didn't almost faint but the other girl really did! And when she came to she got really mad (embarrassed) at her BF who preceded to limp her out of the crowd. Snickers and chuckels from surrounding concert goers ensued.

The bummer part was that it rained and Wilco wrapped things up a couple of songs early. The upside was that I got to bed a few minutes earlier. Not much of an upside when you still hit the pillow at midnight...

And then wake up at five! Race time!

First and foremost Sarah was a trooper for coming with me. An early start, plus a soggy Triathon site, no purchasable food and an RD that barked at her would put anyone through the paces.

Registration, number marking, transition, change, warm-up run, wetsuit, warm-up swim (warm water again), national anthem, wait for start, watch 40+ wave start (WTF with that any way? I'm really not sure why they have the arguably slower group go first. I like to think seniority and respect...note: I complained about this last year too) then swim!

Old Colony is a pretty fun course because of all the loops you do. I'm a big fan of courses that are spectator friendly. Not only to give the spectators more cheering time and face time with the loved one buzzing by, but the athletes get more encouragement and 'Hi! This is hard!' time.
Two lap swim, four lap bike and a lap of the run that's a reverse of the bike loop.

I had a tricky time grabbing some toes to swim behind and was only slightly disheartened when a blue capped woman poured by me on lap two. Sigh... Nevertheless not a miserable swim and that equals a good swim! way to be positive huh?


Bike. Fast bike. Passing lots of people fast. And passing cars...not as was busy out there.

Felt really consistent even though on the last lap I started to question the longevity of quads. I kept going fast. And surely I thought to myself that I must be laying down the fastest bike split. So imagine my awe when Mr. McWalters passed by and then promptly pulled in front of me. Awesome. Lo! Do not dispair! With out much surprise he swam faster than me, I caught him on the bike and he thought, "Hey! What the!" when I passed him.
In an effort to dispel my annoyance with Mr McWalters' sitting right in front of me, I stood on my pedals for a ten second stint to pop back in the lead as we came to the 'technical' section of the bike. (Two kind of sharp right hand turns in the last half mile...with lots of traffic i.e. lapped bikers)

I happily stayed front side as we worked into T2. I was looking forward to being the first bike in the racks. But-What the! There were like six bikes/athletes racking in T-ville...looks like my slow swim time had foiled me again. Never fear! My power run will vanquish any evil doers! Lo, if I can hold the curse of the six minute mile at bay.
I passed a couple of athletes in Transition. Boo yah to fast T's!
And had serious concerns that Mr. McWalters was going to jump on my tail, hang tough and possible crush me. Not that I had any evidence to support my fears. I didn't even know the guy. He was just right there as I was went through T2...way to be positive again huh?
Plus I forgot to pull the laces on my Zoot Ultra TT's (again) and was sure that I would get caught in the one second it would take me to stop, bend over and pull the draw strings. I didn't.

Good run. Great first mile in 5:37. Catching people. Passing people. Missing the first water stop. Sucking down a Gu. Missing the second water stop because the water table was on the wrong side of the road and there were tons of bikers and cars and if I tried to cross the road I would have surely gotten hit. (As an aside, I saw the water stop and yelled, "Water!". And they yelled back, "Hey! You're on the wrong side of the road." We were running on the left side of the counterclockwise loop.) No big though. Where was I? Oh, missing water. Running with sticky GU taste in my mouth for another mile. Grabbing water at mile three. Missing the lap button on my watch at the mile marker. More water, more missing the lap button. Looking for water at mile four. Finding that water station three hundred yards from the mile five and the water station there. Sweet. Looking over my shoulder for the first time and seeing some guy not far enough behind me. Picking up my pace for the first time. Being thankful that I was at mile 5.5 when I looked over my shoulder. Running a little scarred for the last mile. Thinking, "man this is a long .2 miles." Running more. Thinking,"Man this is a long .2 miles" again. Not getting passed. Finishing First. yah!
I guess I should note that there was a relay team that crossed the line in front of me. Surely it doesn't count. But I was a little concerned when I was on the bike and saw a runner already on the pavement. That is until I realized it must be a team, because surely there couldn't have been an individual five minutes ahead of me right? There wasn't.

Results are here.
For shwag I scored a great pair of Rudy Project Ekynox SX. (Purely sub par to Oakleys though...) Arguably/sadly? the best race loot yet.
I've bequeathed the shades to Sarah. She's happy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


It's now tour time....and party time...

But there's so many god forsaken adds.

Lucky for me I have DVR!!!

Unlucky for me I missed the last twenty K of Monday's stage because it stopped recording after three hours...awesome.

But overall it's making for the pretty pleasurable viewing experience. I'd recommend the upgrade if you can.

That's all.