Vineman 2014 Race Report – Getting Ready

As we get older, and as moments come and go, we appreciate the passage of time with a certain melancholy that can be infuriating. Vineman was such a moment. And that melancholy makes writing a race report harder. To write about this event is to transform the memory from an event to an orderly set of words that describe a sequence of events bereft of the emotion … After all I am a computer scientist not a writer.

And there is this temptation to not write. But memory is fleeting and just writing the stuff down makes it last a little bit longer.

Let’s dive in then…

The day before

The one really useful thing about Vineman is that it’s pretty frigging close to my house. A modest two hour drive, this makes it possible to overpack without having to worry about the space issues.

And did I pack my little honda fit. Here’s the list:


And I got it all into that tiny little car… Although there was no space for anyone else to sit in the car.

Packed and ready to go, I headed out to Vineman…

Along the way, I got stuck in a horrible traffic jam. Something about the Breast Cancer, I presume given the pink, the gender and the walking. You’d think Google Maps could provide some insight into that but … No.

The hours piled on, the drive continued, and finally I arrived at my destination: Windsor High School.

When you do a sprint triathlon, unless it’s some ultra competitive thing, you meet a lot of people whose body type is – well – not ultra skinny.

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When you do a half-ironman, even after losing 40 pounds you feel  like a conformation lab surrounded by whippets…

The scrawny emaciated scary fit looking people that were surrounding me was amazing. If I was into men, the eye candy would be reason enough to do half-ironmen.

What was scarier was the plan that they could take 2500 of these scrawny looking people, all simultaneously going through taper crazies and talk to them …



Wait … this is a high school normally full of teenagers with raging hormones …

The folks at Vineman gave us our marching orders, wished us good luck and sent us on our way.

To wait in another line:


Where we had to get our race packet.

Doing a race with so many people really is a case of hurry up and wait until the damn thing starts.

After collecting my race packets, I headed to my hotel, picked up my bike gear and tri gear and headed out to the beach in Guerneville to get a feel for the swim.

The other gentrification 

When I arrived in Guerneville, I parked across the street from an over the top alternative hippy location.


The building across from where I parked was devoted to some new age religious theories tied to the Goddess. Honestly, I can’t recall.

When I was done with my swim, just down the street from there, I was super hungry and decided to go get a bite to eat.

I figured it would be local diner food.

Boy was I wrong.

There are some pretty frigging swanky places to eat.



Guerneville is caught between the low rent district it was and the place the 1% are turning it into.

Can’t wait to see the protest rallies here. Maybe I don’t want to do Vineman next year…

After a remarkably tasty diner, I drove off to my hotel in Healdsburg.


I have this long and sordid history of not eating enough for long distance events. I once decided to diet during the Sequoia double metric. I forgot to eat lunch during the Death Ride. I had a buddy who wanted to buy me this electroshock collar that he could zap every thirty minutes to remind me to eat.

Bonking and me were like this partnership of evil that could never be broken.

This time, I swore I was going to eat enough.

And so after eating a non-trivial meal in Guerneville, I also had some really kick-ass pie in Healdsburg…

My plan was to eat so much, that there was no hope in hell that I didn’t go hungry…

Although I was struggling finding something to eat for breakfast the next day … But with all the food I ate this should not be a problem. At all….

One last check

Back at the hotel, I did one last check of my equipment. And of course, I couldn’t find anything, unpacked everything three times, forgot to take things… I was sooo pissed off.

And then my wife calls, and I sounded … well … let’s just say the word pleasant doesn’t necessarily come to mind…

But her call managed to get my brain focused on the task at hand, and somehow I managed to correctly pack everything this time.

And now for some sleep

One thing I’ve become a fan of recently is Mindfulness. There is a lot of stuff in that repackaged yoga, but one thing it does help a lot with is getting your brain to focus on the task at hand and to deal with the stray thoughts that distract you. Before I learned about Mindfulness, it was impossible to sleep before a high stress event like a half ironman. Now it’s possible. Not magic, really just a way to get your brain to focus on the immediate thing at hand instead of every random thought that comes through your head in a high stress environment distract you from sleeping.

Overcome with sleep… I got ready for my race….



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