Dan Becker's Triathlon Site
How should I ever tell of the miles and miles of beauty that have been flowing into me in such measure? These are cut into my memory to go with me forever. - John Muir
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Race Reports

This page chronicles many of the races I have done and some of my personal observations about the event. Unfortunately, some stories are not here, as I was doing races long before this web site existed.

If you are wondering how to read my race notations below, you might see the following data with one of the race names:

  • LifeTime Cap Texas Tri (1.5k/40k/10k) 2:57:14(Poga=313/588,252/438,13/22),29:24(Poga=140/578,118/431,5/22),3:54(Poga=315/575,2411/428,14/22),1:16:48(Poga=365/578,302/429,16/22),3:04(Poga=355/576,279/427,15/22),1:04:05(Poga=372/575,281/425,15/22),Ta=96
The first set of data in parentheses are the distances for the swim, bike, and run. The 2:57:14 is my overall time in hours minutes and seconds. Following in parentheses are my place overall, gender, and age group hence "Poga=". You can see I placed 313 out of 588 overall, 252 out of 438 in my gender, and 13 out of 22 in my age group. Similar parentheses follow the swim time 29:24, the transition 1 time 3:54, the bike time 1:16:48, transition 2 time, and run time 1:04:05. Some additional data may follow the "place" notations, such as "Ta=" which would be the temperature for the afternoon.

Click on a year link to leap to that year's races.

2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2004-2012, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1985-1994, 1984


    Dan Pflugerville 20180617
  • Plugerville Triathlon (1k/28M/10k) 2:47:50(Poga=23/44,17/33,2/4),29:44(Po=24/44),1:19(Poa=6/44,1/4),1:24:11(Poa=20/44,2/4),2:01(Poa=27/44,2/4),56:18(Poa=25/44,2/4) Pflugerville, TX. 2018 June 17

    This year was my first run of the Pflugerville triathlon. It was nice to run a smaller local race, rather than the thousands of athletes in my usual races. I was lucky to have low winds and overcast skies, and so my time of 2:47:50 on the "slightly longer than" Olympic distance was better than my Cap Tex race time of 2:57:14 of 3 weeks earlier.

    The swim in Lake Pflugerville is a joy. For the Olympic distance it was two laps in a nice flat freshwater lake. It was interesting that my second lap aligned with one of the womens' sprint waves. So I was swimming chest to chest with some strong female swimmers.

    The bike course was two rectangular loops of 13 miles of gentle rolling hills. Nice views of farms and animals. Unfortunately the Weiss Lane side of the rectangle had horrible pavement. It really required mountain biking skills and lots of careful navigation not to crash.

    The run course was two laps around the lake making 10 kilometers. It was well stocked with water, sports drink, and ice. I was happy to run without the dreaded dead legs after the bike and without stopping.

    My time gave me second place out of 4 in my age group. The first place time was 20 minutes faster than me, and the third place time was 15 minutes slower, so I was locked into my position with my current level of abilities. It was nice to hang out during the post race in the rain. There was pizza and water but nothing else to eat or drink. I will likely run the race again just for the low key, no frills, friendly, small town feel.

  • Dan CapTex 20180528
  • LifeTime Tri CapTex (1.5k/40k/10k) 2:57:14(Poga=313/588,252/438,13/22),29:24(Poga=140/578,118/431,5/22),3:54(Poga=315/575,2411/428,14/22),1:16:48(Poga=365/578,302/429,16/22),3:04(Poga=355/576,279/427,15/22),1:04:05(Poga=372/575,281/425,15/22),Ta=96 Austin, TX. 2018 May 28

    Once again I had a great day running the Lifetime Capital of Texas triathlon in downtown Austin. It sure is fun blowing through those red lights on Congress Avenue in fron of the Capitol building.

    My time for the Olympic distance race was about 2 hours 57 minutes this year versus 2 hours 46 minutes last year. Both years had the same course. I did about 1 minute slower on the swim, 1 minute slower on the bike, and about 9 minutes slower on the run. This year I had to walk part of the run on miles 4 and 5 due to over heating. It was sunny and about 96 fahrenheit during the run. Oh well, better luck next time.

    It is always fun to do this race. A great city venue, lots of great people from all over the state, and a fun party and expo afterwards.


    Dan NYC Tri 20170716
  • New York City Triathlon (1.5k/40k/10k)(17:01,7:38.1:24:27,3:31,55:20,2:47:56,Pso=762/3143,Psd=30/137,Pbo=1504/3137,Pbd=67/137,Pr0=1321/3135,Prd=43/136,Pto=1306/3140,Ptd=54/136) New York City, NY. 2017 July 16

    I had a great time running the NYC triathlon. This was the culmination of a year of dreaming, hoping, and being fortunate to make it happen. The race is quite large (3100 Olympic distance competitors), and the spots are limited, so a lottery and good circumstances helped me to finish.

    The most difficult thing about the race was the logistics: finding vacation time around the race, travelling to NYC, and getting parking and family support for the event. All worked out well.

    The swim in the Hudson River was enjoyable. The water was swifter than most races with the tides and current. Hence my normal 1.5k swim went from 24 minutes down to 17 minutes. It also was cleaner and saltier than I expected for a river.

    The bike was unexpectedly hilly. The Henry Hudson Bridge was high over the Harlem River, and so too were the hills in the Bronx into Van Corlandt Park. All my Austin hill training was a help. So many nice views. The roads were rather smooth except for a few bridge seams.

    The run on the west side and into Central Park was spectacular. You would not believe how small you feel in block after block of tall buildings and cheering fans. The police held up traffic as we crossed Seventh and Broadway. It made me maudlin and glad to be alive.

    I was happy that my place in my age group division (Ptd="Place total division") was 54 out of 136. You can see that the 55-59 age group tended to be faster than the overall times (Pto="Place time overall") where I finished 1306 out of 3140. It is amazing to me that people my age are doing so well. Similarly all my swim, bike, and run places (Psd,Pbd,Pbr) were above average which is a cool perk for me who does not care so much about time as having a good day, no injuries, and an enjoyable experience.

    I really enjoyed the adventure. It was great that my wife Jane was there with our two labradors Satchmo and Mabel to enjoy the big city. They all seemed to enjoy the moment and the big adventure too.

  • Dan CapTex 20170529
  • LifeTime Tri CapTex (1.5k/40k/10k)(S,T1,B,T2,R,T=28:40,3:28,1:15:50,2:45:40,AG=9/22) Austin, TX. 2017 May 29

    For about the third year in a row, the Memorial Day Capital of Texas Tri in Austin is slammed with heavy rains. Luckily the precipitation cleared up ong enough to have a fun and safe race.

    The day preceeding the race was hot and humid with heat index in the 100s. A weather front blew through the evening before, with high winds, lightning, and heavy rains. Luckily this cleared out, leaving cooler temperatures and overcast skies for the race.

    I enjoyed the time trial start for the age groupers, where each person crosses the chip timing mat and jumps into the water every 5 seconds. My swim went very well, but the water was clouded with fallen leaves, twigs, and branches from the night before. I exited the water in fifth place out of 22 in my 55-59 age group.

    The bike went well also. It is fun to have a 4 lap time trial in downtown Austin in front of the Capitol Building. Running red lights and cheering spectators made the time go wuickly.

    I began the run weary and thick as a brick. It took me over a mile to loosen up my bike legs and get running. I began to pass many in my age group, but I was humbled by a 68 year old man and 62 year old woman passing be effortlessly. All in all, an enjoyable well-run race with excellent conditions and my best time at this distance in about 12 years.


    Dan tri on Labor Day
  • Tri Rock Austin Tri (1.5k/40k/10k)(S,T1,B,T2,R,T=27:50,2:57,1:17:55,2:48,58:33,2:50:03;AG,OV=11/25,159/599) Austin, TX. 2016 Sep 5

    Great conditions for the Tri Rock Austin Tri on Labor Day. There was cool clean water, overcast skies, and a light breeze. I love the swim in Lady Bird Lake, coming in at top 5 of my age group. My bike was just over 19 mph. It was fun zooming around the streets of downtown Austin. I over-hydrated a bit and had to take a bathroom break on the run. It took a while to loosen up, but once I did I had a steady pace.

    It was fun to race against co-worker Jose Rubio and fellow senior Preston Johnson.
    Dan on bike

  • LifeTime Tri CapTex (10k Run)(5k=23:22/23:48,T=47:09,Ov=115/211,Male=88/132) Austin, TX. 2016 May 30

    On Memorial Day (2016-05-30) I ran the 25th annual Cap Tex Tri. There is something about this race and the weather. Because of all the rain, the Lady Bird Lake flood gates opened, and the current was 4 mph (6.4 kph). So they cancelled the swim. Next the lightning and thunder dropped at the race start. So they delayed and then cancelled the bike. I was part of the 10% that ran this rare run-only triathlon. It was fun.


    Dan on bike
  • Great Floridan Ironman 140.6 (2.4M Swim/112M Bike/26.2M Run) (S,T1,B,T2,R,T=1:12:47,5:56,8:43:05,8:10,2:14:57=12:24:57) Clermont, FL. 2015 October 24.

    Despite having a good swim, I had a rough race and did not finish. It was a hot and windy day. The bike course was hilly, and I went off-course, resulting in a 120 mile ride at about 14 mph. I was struggling the last 10 miles of the bike and completely depleted my energy stores by the time of the run.

    I attempted to walk-run the marathon. However, one-third of the run took about 2 hours and 15 minutes. To complete would have required another 4 hours and 30 minutes, putting me at roughly 17 hours. Rather than kill myself, I called it a day.

    Adam Gruman, my old racing buddy from Boca Raton, also called it a day after one-third of the run. We have very similar swims, but he had a better bike and navigation skills. Chris Sadowski and Steve Bregler from south Florida turned in great finishes despite the difficulty of the day. It was bitter-sweet not finishing, but I had a fun day having dinner, swapping stories, and racing with this group. I did the best with the cards that were dealt to me this day.

  • Dan running triathlon
  • Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lubbock (1.2M Swim/56M Bike/13.1M Run) (S,T1,B,T2,R,T=32:37,2:59,3:14:13,4:32,2:21:28,6:15:50;OV,664=374,115,260,413,472,401;AG,55=5,15,35,35,29) Lubbock, TX. 28 June 2015.

    This race was another test to prepare for an ironman distance race at this age. Despite some trouble, it was my best event in years. The conditions were great (low wind and low humidity), and I really have to hand it to the spectators. All the free drinks, water sprays, and encouragement really helped me push on.

    The swim was perfect. 74 degree temperature, smooth water, and wet suits lead to me coming in top 5 of my 55 person age group.

    The bike was low wind, but I still felt injury to my upper hamstrings. I did fine for 45 miles, but the last 11 miles were painful. I felt great on the hill climbs, and there are 4 canyon descents and climbs in this race, but on the flats I was in agony. My legs were tightening and weakening, and I was adjusting my position every minute or so to compensate. I did finish with my best bike speed in many years (17 mph), but I could tell I was wilting at the end.

    The run was less than I expected. Perhaps the bike zonked me out. I had to walk at the slightest incline, but on flats and descents I had a great stride. Both my bike and my run were slightly lower than average for my age group.

    Some equipment that worked well for my were my new triathlon suit (which kept me cool and lowered my transition times) and my new shaded cap (which kept the sun off my head and neck). I also have a fun memory of many athletes cooling off in the lake right after the finish line with some beer, a bagel, or a cold watermelon slice in hand. Just chilling and relaxing.

    Overall I am happy with my time. I exceeded my goal time. Yet I was still humbled by my 30th out of 55 people age-group-ranking. Now I have a dilemma and some tough decisions to make. Do I press on to the ironman distance or call it enough and wait for the future.

  • Ironman 70.3 Galveston Texas (1.2M Swim/56M Bike/13.1M Run) (39:06/3:28:58/2:39:14 6:55:38 108/162AG 1688/2200OV) Galveston, TX. 26 May 2015.

    Despite a good training season, I had a rather crappy race at Ironman 70.3 Galveston, Texas. The swim went well, with pleasant water temperatures and being only one of two competitors (out of 2200) in an old-school speedo. I placed 31 out of 162 in my age group.

    The bike was less than I expected. I had two flat-tire stops, and along with our age group start in wave 19 out of 20, this meant I was out on the course in the windiest part of the day while others started in the calm morning. I placed 126 out of 162.

    The bad bike lead to a tiring, high-heat run. My third lap was my fastest split of the run. At least I recovered a bit and was able to run it in. I placed 98 out of 162.

    Despite the bad performance. I am happy I did it. I have some good stories. As I overtook 80 year old competitor Marsha Smith on the run course, I said, "You are 80? You are my hero. I want to be be where you are." She replied, "Just keep going. You'll get there."


  • Crap-It-All Texas Triathlon (1.0M Swim/40K Bike/10k Run) Austin, TX, 2014/05/25.

    I ran the Crap-It-All this morning. It's an Olympic-distance, self-supported tri starting in Barton Creek Springs in Austin, Texas. I took first place in 3:15:47. As I was the only entrant, that was also last place.

    I was injured early in the season and did not sign up for the official Capital of Texas Triathlon. As race date approached, I was feeling pretty good, but I missed the entry deadlines. I decided to run my own faux race at approximately the same place and time. The competitors were fierce, there was no drafting, and the course was excellent.


  • Capital of Texas Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), (29:57/4:47/1:28:33/2:59/1:01:05 3:07:21 42/80AG 706/1250OV) Austin, TX. 27 May 2013.

    This race was my return to triathlon races after a long hiatus. I had fun during the race, and the only problem I had was hamstring tightness and a sciatic-nerve-induced leg-numbing. Hence my bike ride was slow as I had to stand, stretch, and adjust my position to wake up my legs. I think this was because I wore triathlon shorts rather than the normal padded bike shorts.

    The water was cool and pleasant, and my time was close to what I swam 10 years ago. The run was also slower-than-normal due to numbness and heat.

    I was surprised to end up in the middle of my 50-54 age group. In earlier years, it seemed to be easy to finish in the top 25% of my age group. I guess at this age, only the hard core survive to do Olympic distance tris! Well, it was fun and humbling to meet so many good athletes my age.


Big triathlon event gap. Nevertheless, I still kept up the swimming, biking, and running training.


  • Capital of Texas Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), (28:18/3:45/1:11:47/2:02/51:49 2:37:43 36/82AG 345/834OV) Austin, TX. 26 May 2003.

    Another fine year for the Capital of Texas triathlon! This year the number of participants in the olympic distance went from 300 to over 800. There also were over 600 in the sprint distance and over 300 in the first-time triathlon. This is certainly a good sign for triathlons in the Central Texas area as the number of people in this race keeps growing. My congratulations go to the race director who fired off waves every three minutes. Because I competed in the 40-45 year age group, I was sent off in the second wave, following the pros. As I finished the race, there were still waves being sent off.

    The race day opened with an ominous start. At 5:15, the alarm went off. It's nice to wake up LATE for a hometown tri. The predawn sky was lit with bright spidery veins of lightning, followed by close thunder claps. Rain came down in loud torrents on the roof. I turned on the TV to watch the local radar. There was rain all over central Texas, but it looked as thought there were gaps forming to the west, the source of the rain.

    We loaded the car with the bike, my gear, and the dogs in the rain. By the time we made it to downtown Austin, the rain was letting up, but it was tough to make it to Town Lake located in the center of town. Most of the streets were closed to accomodate the race. We parked the car at Republic Square, and I rode the 4 wet rainy blocks to the race start. I quickly picked up my timing chip, got marked, and racked my bike.

    It turns out that because of the heavy rain, the race start was delayed one hour and my wave would leave at 8:03 instead of 7:03. This gave me a little time to chat with other triathletes and assess the course. As we stood by Town Lake, we all noticed the immense amount of garbage in the lake: styrofoam cups, plastic and paper bags, tree limbs, leaves, mud, and a big log with four birds on it. Since it hadn't rained appreciably for the last month, Shoal Creek accumulated lots of human refuse. Now that a big rain came, the contents of the creek vomited itself into Town Lake. Ugh.

    Nevertheless, the race started and I began the swim. Although I was one of the few who opted for no wet suit, the water temp of 68 felt good to me. The course was great, passing by the downtown landmarks such as the new Lamar Street pedestrian bridge, under the train trestle, and back to near the First Street bridge. Along both bridges there were many spectators and lots of flash bulbs popping off. Although I didn't train for the swim (other than occasionally with my dogs), I concentrated on form and beat my last year's swim time by about 1 minute.

    The bike course was great too. It was a 4 lap criterium winding up and down Ceasar Chavez, Congress Avenue, and near the Capital building. The road was rough in some points due to construction, but I kept a nice even pace and carefully avoided the puddles. The first two laps were sparse, but the third and fourth laps became a bit more crowded as over 1000 triathletes joined the course. I finished the bike course in about the same time as the previous year.

    The run was a nice winding course around the lake. The prerace showers kept the course cooler than last year. Again, I kept an even pace, but it seemed like forever before I could stretch my legs out a bit and get a nice pace. I blame the lack of brick training and racing. Ultimately, I ran the 10k about 3 minutes slower than last year (despite it being cooler this year), and thus my ultimate time for the entire race was 1 minute slower. Nevertheless, despite my slower time, I place higher in the overall rankings (345/834) and higher in my new 40-44 year age group (36/82).

    It was a fine race. No injuries, no walking, and a completely even pace for the entire event. And now a day later, no soreness, just the satisfaction of attempting and completing another event.


  • Capitol of Texas (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), (30:21/3:50/1:11:00/2:17/49:09 2:36:39 44/82AG 175/375OV) Austin, TX. 27 May 2002.

    An extremely nice day on an exciting new course! The race took place in downtown Austin in Town Lake with the transition area on Auditorium Shores. Swim sights include the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue, the overhead rail bridge with 500 ton freight train, and the Austin Power Station. The water was 69 degree but clear.

    The bike ride was a 4 lap criterium around the Capitol and up and down Congress and Caesar Chavez (1st Street). The Capitol sits on a hill in downtown Austin. It was a joy to blast through the red lights as you rocketed downhill towards Town Lake.

    The run was a 2 lap event, crossing the Lake twice. In summary, this is a great course with a lot of participation. Although my times have been slowing a bit as I get older and train less seriously, I give the organizers and the course a raging thumbs up.


2001 was a rebuilding year for me. I reentered the sport after taking a short leave of absence. Actually, I never stopped training, but I just did not have the desire to race. As always I love to swim and bike and run. I may not be the fastest, but I still have a lot of fun.

  • Race to the Rescue (0.5M Swim/15M Bike/5k Run), (15:37/2:23/47:18/1:16/25:04 1:31:36 7/18AG 68/264OV) Austin, TX. 27 Oct 2001.

    Chaulk up another triathlon race for a total of 2 this year. After having a long hiatus, it feels good to participate in even these two few races.

    Conditions were perfect with 75 degree water temp, 58 degree air temp, and no wind. It is the toughest short course I know. The water was a bit dofficult because of all the hydrilla in the lake. This plant is similar to those long ones you put in a fish tank. It is not hazrdous, but it is stringy and can tangle around your arms and goggles. Idon't mind it, but others I know don't like stuff touching them in the water. The water visibility was about 15 -20 feet, so it was easy to see and avoid all obstacles.

    The out and back ride on Loop 360 was very challenging. The 360 Bridge hill and Bee Caves Road hill were major challenges. Luckily the pavement is smooth and there was plenty of room and virtually no drafting.

    The run was a partially off road run into the Bunny Run division south of Lake Austin. The hills were tough, but luckily the temp was cool and windless. A joy.

    In this report, I salute Marty Hoff who finished his first triathlon on this difficult course. I saw Marty about 3 times during the race and each time he was chugging along with what appeared to be determination on his face. No sign of pain or defeat. Good going Marty.

  • Capital of Texas Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), (28:43;1:24:35;56:53 2:50:11 24/64AG 141/320OV) Georgetown, TX. 29 July 2001.

    This is my first official triathlon race in over 2 years. It felt good to break the dry spell and race again.

    Russell Park in Georgetown, about 30 miles north of Austin, is an excellent race venue. The water was warm (78F) and clean. The swim was well marked with a slight chop on the return leg. I did not do any formal training for the swim, but my technique seemed to be OK and my swim leg turned out pretty good.

    The bicycle course was slight rolling hills, but with low traffic and wide shoulders. No signs of drafting in this race. However, some of the pavement was a bit rough from the gravel and tar they throw down for maintenance. There were quite a few flat tires,

    The run was an out and back run along the entrance road to the park. Conditions were hot, with moderate westerly breezes. This was Austin's 21st straight day of 100 degree weather. Humidity was relatively low. The sun beat down mercilessly on the runners. There were few shaded spots as the trees were the typical Juniper and low scrub trees that are so common in central Texas.

    The race organization was superb. There were plenty of volunteers to help with the timing chips and numbers. The waves went off without a hitch. The party after the race was a lot of fun - plenty of pizza, colas, beers, and apple struedel.

    I was sore and tired after the race, but I ran the entire course, had no injuries, and no problems. This was 20 to 30 minutes slower than I usually run this distance, but I still enjoyed the race, and I came away with a great feeling of accomplishment afterwards.


1999 was a good year for me. I ran a number of high quality races. I especially liked the X-Terra off road triathlon. However, some force was lurking beneath the waters. As other hobbies became more important to me, I let my triathlon racing take a back seat.

In the year 2000, I did no official triathlons, but I did continue to train. In fact I continued to bike and run quite a bit. I finished the Texas Marathon Challenge, 5 marathons in 5 months. But my triathlon racing took a break. No new tri races to report on until 2001.

  • Advantage Rent-A-Car Triathlon (1M Swim/6.4M Run/21M Bike), (27:00/1:30/48:07/1:55/1:02:58 2:20:56 Total) Boerne, TX. 11 July 1999.

    You would think the Swim/Run/Bike order would be enough to set this race apart, but the steady rains also made this race memorable and unique this year.

    The race start was delayed over an hour as the officials looked for lighting in the heavy black clouds. Luckily there was none. The triathletes are shivering and soaking in the muddy transition area waiting for the word. The mud is 5 inches deep in some areas, and everyone's run clothes and shoes are spattered with ruddy brown goo. Several support trucks get stuck in the mud. Despite the steady rain, sometimes heavy and driving, the race is on! As I plunge into into warm, 82 degree Boerne City Park lake, the sound of beating rain becomes still, and all I can hear is the wheezing of my lungs gasping for air.

    Exit the swim and it's on to the run. Without a clean place to change, I plop down into the mud and put on my wet brown socks and shoes. I exit the transition area, but it looks like a barn with hoof prints 3 and 4 inches deep. Our shoes are plastered with the sticky mud, but eventually we make it to pavement, and the rain and the pounding washes away the mess. The rain is still falling steadily, and the air smells clean and fresh. The sky is soft and multi-toned like an artist painting a dramatic watercolor with blacks and whites, and greys. The clouds are moving overhead, but there is vitually no wind at ground level. The run goes cross country for two miles, and there are some small streams to ford. As the race director said, "if the low water crossing become impassible, the bike will be cancelled." As we cross many raging streams, I begin to think the bike leg will never happen.

    To my surprise, the bike is on. The rain is still falling, heavy at times, and the drops sting as they hit my shoulders. The runoff from my brow is making it hard for me to see. My nose is running constantly from all the rain drops I am inhaling. Despite the slick roads, the race is much cooler than other years, somewhere in the low 70s. After riding through a few black clouds and ascending the hills near the Tarry Lake horse ranch, the rain withers away. I almost "buy the farm" at mile marker 20, as I take a sweeping turn a bit too fast. Luckily, the tires eventually stop sliding, and I am on my way home.

    As usual the post race was great with a live band, fajitas from the grill with Coahuila habanero sauce, and beer from the Yellow Rose Brewing Company of San Antonio. Although I was surprised at the officating call, in hind-sight I am glad the bike leg was held. It never did thunder or lightning, and now I have a great sense of accomplishment and lots of memories: the shivering, the mud, and the wet athletes having beer and fruit bars in the rain.

  • Buffalo Springs Lake Half Ironman (1.2M Swim/56M Bike/13.1M Run), (5:51:15 33:38/3:25/2:58:43/2:50/2:12:50 56/93 AG, 303/550 Men) Lubbock, TX. 27 June 1999.

    This year marks a race of low heat and high winds. Most of the day is blessed with partial cloud cover -- high temperatures in the upper 90s. Humidity is low, approximately 20 to 30% at run time. Unfortunately the winds are very strong and slowing, especially on the bike. During the run, the Buffalow Springs Lake canyon is unbearably hot and windless, yet the road near the power plant is cooling thanks to the low humidity and high winds.

    I took my usual low key approach to this race and was rewarded with my personal worst time of this event. As is true of all races this year, I did the swim cold with no training. My time was about 10 to 15% slower than my best swims, but not unexpected. I put in plenty of bike training, but owing to lots of chores at home, I think I tapered off too drastically and pay for it dearly on the bike. My biking weakness and the high winds lead to a very slow bike time. My run started out slow, expecially in the oppressive and windless heat of the Buffalo Springs Lake canyon. However, once I made it to the level, windy grounds near the power plant, I started cooling down and putting in some good miles. I also met fellow Austiner, Michael Seibel on the run, and through talking and commiserating, we managed to goad each other into a good final five miles.

    As in previous years, the race is extremely well run. The bike handoffs appear regularly every 10 miles. The run stations are one mile apart with a free bonus site at the 6.5 mile turnaround. The volunteers are enthusastic and plentiful. Without their help, I would never finish this race.

    Despite the physical difficulties, I have fun at the race and enjoy meeting old and new friends. For the second year in a row, Jane and our dog Harriett served as full time spectators. Harriett really likes to spectate: lots of attention and free food from kind dog lovers, lots of swimming and running, and a great big road trip with mom and dad in the truck.

  • X Terra Offroad Triathlon (1.5k Swim/18M Mountain Bike/11k Trail Run), (2:29:41 10/20AG 50/98OV) Austin, TX. 23 May 1999.

    Ohhh, was this a tough event. Based on my ability in mountain biking, and the enjoyment and success I had in the last two races, I thought this would be an easy race. I thought wrong!

    The swim went without a problem in the clean waters of Lake Travis. The water was clear enough to follow the rope on the bottom of the lake that held the line of buoys; it was almost like having lane lines. The two lap swim were separated by a 75 yard run along the shore, great for spectators and photographers, but quite disorienting for the swimmers. No problems, on to the bike!

    The mountain bike course winds among the hills and valleys of Pace Bend Park. Normally Pace Bend is open only to hikers and horseback riders, but on this day they made an exception to the bikers, a trial run for a proposed mountain bike park. My recommendation is that they develop the park. The course is a beauty with lots of twists and turns, ascents and descents -- somewhat remeniscent of the High Ridge Trails on Jester Mountain near Loop 360. Typical of Austin, the course is full of limestone boulders and loose and dusty gravel. There are also plenty of the steps or "balcones" that make for wicked airborn descents. There was no cowtowing to the triathletes, this 18 mile bike was as difficult as any expert mountain bike race course.

    I finished the bike in about 30th place, but I was spent. On the first mile of the run, I thought my wobly legs would loosen and get into running form. It never happened. On the second mile I slowed to a shuffle. By now, it was noon in the hot Texas sun. There was little shade among the low juniper trees. On the third and fourth miles I was walking. I had barely enough energy to go on. Obviously, I was going through an incredibly bad bonk. I tripped on many rocks and roots. When I finished the first lap at mile 3, I felt like packing it in, but the cheers of the crowd helped me move on. Finally, by mile 4, my energy crisis had waned. I guess my energy system had switched over to burning fat, and I had enough in me to begin a shuffle. The last two miles were a roasting death march. Other runners were passing me left and right, as I slipped from 30th down to 50th place.

    Despite having a tough race and spending the rest of the day recovering, I did enjoy the event. The expo was well organized, the race venue was outstanding, the course was well marked, and the barbeque lunch after the race was simply delicious to a starving, energy-sapped survivor. I hope the course returns next year, wwhen I intend to conquer the elements and finish with a bit more grace.

  • Gulf Coast Triathlon (1.5k Swim/56M Bike/13.1M Run), (38:14/4:39/2:42:00/3:24:52/1:52:11 5:19:58 96/230AG 589/) Panama City Beach, FL. 08 May 1999.

    Victory is mine! Well, not really, but I did manage to beat my ARCH-NEMESIS Adam Gruman in a rare defeat. He has beaten me consistently for nearly every race in recent memory. This race I nearly equalled his swim and bike times, but I trounced him by 10 minutes in the run for a 6 minute overall victory. He did suffer on his new bike, so I imagine this took a bit out of him on the run.

    Conditions for the race were about normal. A frontal system churned up the surf for the swim and about 10 racers were rescued from the waves by the lifeguards. Once you swam beyond the curls, the swim was free of chop and relatively fast. The bike was the out and back course originated in last year's race, but the starting waves were spaced out in 15 minutes intervals. Drafting and pack behavior were minimal which made the race far more enjoyable than last year. The run was the out-and-back course to the state park at the end of Thomas Drive that has been used for the last 5 or so races. I saw a sidewinder snake cross the road in the park and nearly run into a runner. Luckily he jumped and avoided the quick snake. The heat index was high as usual, exacerbated by the one hour delay in starting the event this year.

    I felt good for this race and completed the run without walking. Although it was my second swim of the year, I felt in good form and was within 5 minutes of my benchmark, Adam Gruman and within 2 minutes of last year's time. My bike ride was a typical 21 mph. Surprisingly, despite feeling good, my time was much slower than last year with the bike accounting for the 20 minute difference. I imagine the course was a bit longer and the winds were a bit stronger. I enjoyed racing and meeting old friends. Once again Panama City makes a great mini-vacation and roadtrip. I will be back.

  • USTS Austin (1.0M Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), (~2:30:00) Austin, TX. 02 May 1999.

    I begin this race season with a much more casual and relaxed attitude than previous years. With all the hobbies and time contraints in my life, triathlons take a back burner in my list of things to do. Not that I don't enjoy myself, it's just that if I don't feel like training or don't have the time. Correspondingly, my times have dropped.

    The USTS Austin race is held at Pace Bend Park on the shores of Lake Austin. Although it's my first swim of the year, the 75 degree water feels good. I've never been a power swimmer, and I rely more on technique burned into my muscles memories for years. The lack of training does not affect me that much. I only notice the lack of training towards the end of the swim where I start to tire.

    The bike course is a two lap tour of the hilly roads surrounding the park. I estimate at least 50 hill tops in the 25 mile course. As is usual, my Austin training pays off and I pass many on the up-hills, but for some reason everyone passes me back on the down-hills. The run is also fun, on a hilly and curvy course. Great post race party. Great site. Fun race.


1998 was a maintenance year for me. My heart and devotion were not fully into racing as it was in past years. I had many other hobbies encroach on the amount of free time I can devote to training. Nevertheless, I do many Olympic and upward distances, driving to many races withing 3 to 4 hours of Austin, and doing Panama City and Clermont in Florida.

Here are the details on the races.

  • The Great Floridian (2.4M Swim/112.5M Bike/26.25M Run), (1:12:11/8:48/6:19:33/8:54/5:52:45 13:42:10 91/146 AG, 580/1051 OV) Clermont, FL, 24 Oct 1998.

    This year's race was an extremely difficult one for me, but I finished. I suffered from extreme nausea during the run, most likely brought on by the energy drink Race Day. Although I raced with this product before, I have had other races with this sports drink where I could not get the energy down during the run. Despite the stomach cramps, I continued to walk until the many cups of chicken broth finally cleared out the problem and allowed me to run the last lap. I finished with my worst ironman time ever, but at least I finished.

    The day was beautiful. The air temperature was a little cooler than usual (highs ranging from 65-75), brought on by partially cloudy skies. A high pressure front from the previous evening was clearing the area and thus we also had high, gusty winds (10-15 miles per hour). It rained lightly several times during the bike and the run.

    My swim went with no problems, and I was happy with my 1:12 time based on one swim session every two weeks. My bicycle ride was a bit slow, but this was due again to the little training I put in toward the event this year. I was only able to get one 100 mile century ride in. Luckily, I put most of my training in on the tougher hills around Austin, and the hills of Clermont were no problem. I'm happy to brag that for the first time I was able to bike up Sugarloaf mountain while remaining in the saddle. Others had to stand on the pegs or (gasp) walk. (Gloat, Gloat!) Following the race, many athletes commented on how strong the winds were in the last 20 miles of the bike!

    Nevertheless, I entered the run with lots of energy and enthusiasm. I even wore a red Flash super hero hat to get laughs and have fun with the run. Unfortunately by mile 5 I was reduced to walking. My stomach was a large churning jug of liquid. I could not get the sports drink or the water to exit my stomach (I did have a salty sub and potato chips midway during the bike ride.) For the next two laps of the run (14 miles) I walked and drank chicken broth to get the liquid to empty my stomach. I really had to dig deep to prevent myself from quitting. I thank the other athletes for their encouragement and kind words as we battled this event together. Once my stomach started emptying, I was able to run the last 7 miles. I finished with no soreness, no blisters, but I did have a bit of a bruised ego from the slow time. Despite the slow time, I'm happy to have raced and finished this year's ironman.

  • Wool Capital Triathlon (1M Swim/25M Bike/6.5M Run), (26:50/2:03/1:08:51/1:02/46:27 2:25:15) San Angelo, TX, 9 Aug 1998

    A beautiful summer day for a triathlon! The morning temperature starts cool for a summer day on the Texas plains, about 83 Fahrenheit, warming to about 88 degrees by race end. Humidity is low, and the wind does not turn on until the second half of the bike.

    The Concho River is warm and lazy once again, as the 270 swimmers begin the race in thier speedos in 3 waves. The buoys are well marked, but the return leg downstream is difficult to navigate because of the rising sun.

    The bike ride is an absolute joy, mild wind on the way out, picking up to a healthy tailwind on the way back. The boost turns the ride back into something enjoyable and close to low level flying.

    The run is on trails and hard-packed jeep roads. The road leads up and over a hill near the edge of the Middle Concho river. Luckily, this year the road is dry and hard, but occasional gusts pick up clouds of red dust and deposit it on your skin.

    All-in-all a well-run race with ample room to swim, ride and run.

  • Advantage Texas Triathlon (1M Swim/6.4M Run/21M Bike), Boerne, TX, 12 Jul 1998

    This is a fun race because of the inverted run and bike. The weather was slighly on the warm side, reaching upper 90s in the mid afternoon. The winds were low and steady. My swim went well along the triangular course in Boerne Lake. As in previous years, I enjoyed the cross country part of the run. Most of the off-road run consists of grassy double-track trails alongside a highway. Runners vied for the shortest grass and the hardest packed dirt. Some quick downhills, bottomed with a drainage ditch, required leaping. The rest of the off-road running consists of double traj The bike also is a nice twisty, hilly, path along the country roads of Hill Country. MIles 10 to 15 are generally uphill, but when you hit mile marked 15 it is nearly downhill all the way home.

    The post-race party is excellent - lots of good food (subs, pierogies, bagels), live music, and beer from the Yellow Rose Brewery of San Antonio (they make a great India Pale Ale). Also, the timing of the awards ceremony is great because people generally mill about the shady pecan trees around Boerne Sqaure until the results are posted. It is a nice family affair, and our dog Harriet found plenty of other dogs to play with although she was tired from the swim and the 6 mile walk from the lake to town.

  • Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon (1.2m Swim/56m Bike/13.1m Run), (5:34:50 34:49,3:51,2:45:35,2:39,2:03:53 34/98AG,236/536), Lubbock, TX, 28 Jun 1998

    This is the hottest race I have ever run in - 108 degrees according to the local weather station. The wind was blowing about 10-15 miles per hour, and the humidity was an arid 10 percent. Liquid pools of tar on the road stuck to your running shoes. As you took a breath, you could feel the heat dry out your nose. I saw one runner stumble and fall in the heat like Bambi attempting to stand for the first time. Several minutes later I heard the emergency sirens. I doused myself with water at every aid station, but before the next aid station, my singlet was bone dry. You could watch the water droplets evaporate off your sun glasses.

    The 1.2 mile swim in the 76 degree waters was a joy: clean, calm and flat. The temperature was a little warm for this length swim, but wetsuits were allowed. The roads were smooth and uncongested with occasional potholes. With the low traffic density, there was little evidence of drafting, and I saw none of the packs that I saw at the Gulf Coast Tri in Panama City. The canyons around Buffalo Springs Lake are my favorite parts. It is fun to see how different cyclists tackle the hills. Training in Austin, I usually make up a few places on the climbs.

    I was surprised at how well I handled the heat. My bicycle ride was steady and didn't taper off at the end. My run was steady and even, and the only walking I did was up the 3 long, large hills (and this is one of the few races were EVERYBODY walks up the hills). Despite the heat, I kept dousing myself with water and the low humidity allowed the evaporation to cool my body enough to maintain a run.

    The race had great organization and plenty of volunteers. There was ice and plenty of towels at every aid station. The residents of the lake were nice enough to set up hoses or sprinklers, so the last mile of the run was a jog from shower to shower. The spectators, both human and canine, also deserve a round of applause for sitting through the long, hot race and cheering for the racers.

  • Gulf Coast Triathlon (1.2m Swim/56m Bike/13.1m Run), (4:57:45 35:49,3:51,2:23:35,2:39,1:51:53 84/226AG,429/1425), Panama City Beach, FL, 09 May 1998

    Ha, ha! I finish with a vitually identical time to last year! My bike is 15 minutes faster due to low-wind conditions, but my run is 15 minutes slower due to lack of training and a knee injury. The port-a-potty stop I took during the second transition also added a few minutes, but shows up in my run time. All the racers had a lucky day because the days immediately before and after the race raged with high seas and high winds.

    My nemesis Adam Gruman thoroughly thrashes me by 20 minutes with a 4 minute faster swim, equal bike, and a 15 minute faster run. I used to be that fast! Adam's fiancee Beatriz (Nematriz?) also trashes me by one minute with an equal swim, 5 minute slower bike and 6 minute faster run. My new nemesis Steve O'Beirne also beats me, with an equal swim, 5 minutes slower bike (thanks to 12 minutes of drafting penalties), and 10 minute faster run. By the gods Krom and Odin, I hope to come back next year and trash these guys!

    Once again, this event is a great mini-vacation. I meet old friends from Boca Raton, Gainsville, Atlanta, Memphis and Austin. The party is smashing baby as we eat good food, drink free drinks, and see race day highlights at the multilevel Spinnaker's bar. I force Shawn Rogers to do a tequila shot with me (watch this space).


1997 was a great year for racing. I found a great variety of races, all within a 3 to 4 hour drive of Austin. As usual, I eagerly attended races of Olympic distance and longer.

Here are the details on the races.

  • Sunmart Texas Trail Endurance Run (50M Run), Did Not Finish, Huntsville, TX, 13 Dec 1997.

    Twenty five miles into the race I had a feeling this would be a struggle. Thirty eight miles into the race I called it quits.

    Three weeks prior to the race I felt a tightening on the outside of my left knee - I had developed tendonitis. I tried to rest my knee and was able to work my way up to 16 miles the week before the race. Yet on race day it started tightening again. I monitored it carefully during the race trying not to aggravate it. Yet midway during th race I had to make a decision. I felt that I could have finished the race, but with the expense of being injured for a few months. The other alternative was to drop out and rest and recover.

    A bit of a let-down after a fine season, but I will recover.

  • The Great Floridian (2.4M Swim/112M Bike/26.2M Run), (12:14:161:25:28/4:32/5:59:20/6:54/4:38:00 ), (35/112 AG, 157/708 OV), Clermont, FL, 25 Oct 1997.

    Despite difficulties in all three events and my slowest ironman split, I have a great day and an extremely fun race. I walk away from this event with little soreness, no problems, and nothing but the elation of doing a thing I love with a lot of fun-loving and like-minded people.

    My swim is plagued by broken goggles at mile marker 0.5. I swim the rest of the course with my eyes closed, surfacing every 10 strokes to navigate to the next buoy. My bike is plagued by a broken shifter post. I hold the shifters in my hands and manage to finish the course in less than 6 hours. My run is plagued by a sandspur in the outside pad of my right foot that I cannot see and cannot remove. Luckily, I only feel the pain when the road banks sharply to the right. I finish with my slowest ironman ever, but with the feeling that I could have been 45 minutes faster if it were not for these problems.

    As always, Fred Sommers puts on a great, well-organized event. One great touch was a pair of floodlights pointed out toward the swim course. These giant blobs of bright light silouetted against the dark tree background are the best swim navigation aids ever invented!

    More photos are located on the Photos Page .

  • Austin Open Water Swim (5k Swim), (1:17:52), (3/3 AG), Austin, TX, 14 Sep 1997.

    This is a beautiful tour of downtown Austin from the constant-level Town Lake. Conditions are calm and placid. The event is much like swimming in one of the lagoons at a ride in Disney World. As you gently glide through the warm water, people on the shore are drinking their Sunday morning coffee. They look at you, and smile, and wave. You skim by majestic, overhanging oak trees. The sun rises over the mountain.

    After the first mile, I realize I am swimming alone. I wonder if I am in last place. At the halfway turn-around I glance around me and see two large packs, one in front of me and one behind. I resolve to catch the pack in front, a gap of about two hundred yards.

    I concentrate on form, and I start to push my aerobic limit. I see a women near the back of the crowd; I will catch her; she is my prey. With every time she reverts to breast stroke to navigate, I close the distance a few lengths, but she is a better swimmer and pulls away from me in the crawl stroke. I double my efforts. I will catch her.

    With a quarter mile to go, I am within twenty five yards of her. I see the final buoy and a sharp left turn to the shore. I plan my strategy. I will cut the corner tightly, and sprint the last length to shore.

    She swings wide. I corner tightly against the bouy. The race is on. I push as hard as I can. I race up the ramp and hand in my number. I am victorious.

    Then I turn to congratulate my competitor. At this point I feel a little shame taking a place away from an 11 year old girl.

  • Texas Hill Country Triathlon (1.5M Swim/48M Bike/10M Run), (4:34:15 43:34,2:11,2:22:18,1:10,1:25:01 20/66 AG),
    New Braunfels, TX, 06 Sep 1997.

    A fantastically difficult course running over hill after hill around Canyon Lake in Hill Country... Luckily, the conditions are nice with a smooth 82 degree lake and little wind. Many are deceived by the bike, pushing hard, only to end up walking the run. The run is equally hilly, and the merciless sun beats down upon you the entire way.

    I run the race with the onset of the flu. My run is poor as I battle cramps in my diaphragm. I finish and immediately have to seek shade and ice in order to cool down. Goose bumps, pale, clammy skin, and nausea indicate heat exhaustion.

    Nevertheless, the course is absolutely gorgeous and scenic, and the event is among the best supported with themes at most aid stations: UFOs, South Pacific, Graveyard, and Woodstock. The pre and post race parties are tremendous with lots of food and a nice video show celebrating the tenth anniversary of the event.

  • Wool Capital Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), (2:22:44 27:46,1:09:26,45:50 7/27AG,51/173),
    San Angelo, TX, 10 Aug 1997.

    An enjoyable race in a beautiful west Texas town. The swim is in the cool, clean Concho river beneath willow trees and canyon-like cliffs. The bike is fast and flat with wide roads and well marked corners. The run is off-road and leads up and over a grueling set of hills. As the day's heat sets in and reflects off the red clay soil, many runners are forced to walk the last few miles. I gut it out and finish in 2:22:XX and am happy.

    The organization and the host hotel, the La Quinta Inn, are superb. For dog lovers, this hotel allows pets and there were many for legged guests: boxers, labs, terriers, beagles, and our own Harriet spectating her second race.

  • Capital of Texas Tri (~1.5k Swim/1k Run/15M Bike/5k Run), (1:45:26 14/83AG,63/375ML,80/556),
    Austin, TX, 27 July 1997.

    Arguably, this is the toughest sprint triathlon in the nation. What is billed as a 0.5 mile swim requires 22 minutes. (I finish a 1500m swim in this time). The swim is followed by a transition and a 1k run up a steep hill. The mini run is followed by another transition and a 15M bike through at least 12 tough climbs, some requiring several minutes to top, others requiring standing on the pegs. Then, a third transition and a 5k run with 4 steep hills. Top it all off with 86 degree water and 90 degree air temperatures. I run with leaden feet. Tough!

    Nevertheless, the hometown triathlon is well run and has plenty of water on the run and plenty of sandwiches, cola, water and CytoMax at the finish. I finish this race feeling like I have run an Olympic Tri or more.

  • Advantage Texas Triathlon (1M Swim/6.4M Run/21M Bike), (2:09:17 21:49,47:42,59:46 10/44AG,47/335)
    Boerne, TX, 13 July 1997.

    This is a very enjoyable race for many reasons. First of all, the course is a great change of pace with the run as the second event and the ride as the third. The run is cross country for a mile or so as it winds its way along the grassy hills of I-10. The bicycle can almost be said to be cross country as the road surface is quite rough, gravelly and filled with pot holes. Despite the road surface, the views are beautiful as the bike course winds its way up and down Hill Country.

    Second of all, the race directors do a wonderful job with the pre and post race events - not bad for a local, small town event. Prior to the event we get three sky divers, and after the event we get a band, good local beer, and lots of food. Not just bananas, but substantial sandwiches, pierogies, and all the soda and sports drinks you could want.

    Finally, I enjoy the race by making a good effort - an enjoyable thing after crashing and burning in the previous race. I power evenly through the swim, I catch many people on the run, and I scream like a madman in the last mile of the bike with the long downhill descent and the wind at my back. Ahhh, what a fine day!

  • Buffalo Springs Lake (1.2m Swim/56m Bike/13.1m Run), (5:43:40 36:58,2:38,2:52:53,1:48,2:09:53 53/85AG,278/492), Lubbock, TX, 29 June 1997.

    Everyone is entitled to a bad race once in a while, even veterans. As I often say, racing is like taking an exam, and you can take the pain in one big lump on race day, or you can take it in tiny bits by preparing and training in the days leading to the event.

    This event was difficult for me. The course beat me, chewed me up, spat me out, and knocked me down. I was underprepared for this course and finished in pain in 5:46:40.

    The course is a tough one. The bike is mostly flat with 8-10 half mile ascents of 10% grade as the road winds its way out and back across scenic Horseshoe Bend and Yellow House Canyons. Nearly all stood on the pegs. This year we also had 95 degree weather and steady 20 mph winds, so the flats were just as challenging. The run is mostly out in the open with no trees. There are 4-5 half mile ascents of about 10% grade.

    Part of the trouble was the "Race Day" sports drink served during the bike. I never used this drink before, and it sat in my stomach and would not go down. By the time I began the run I had no energy. Even when I attempted to while the time away by singing a song, I could not think of ANY song lyrics. Others also complained of stomach problems, and I saw 3-4 people vomiting on the run. After washing down as much water as I could drink, I felt my energy return, running when possible, walking through the rest stops and up the hills.

    I came away from the race relearning a hard lesson. Prepare hard for the race and the race will be less hard.

  • Gulf Coast Triathlon (1.2m Swim/56m Bike/13.1m Run), (4:57:06 33:46,3:47,2:40:49,2:47,1:35:39 79/204AG,337/1292), Panama City Beach, FL, 11 May 1997

    A very windy and overcast day. Despite decent times in the swim, bike, and run, Adam Gruman demolishes me by a margin of 18 minutes. I finish with a 4:57:06. What is more amazing to me is that Adam, who normally loses time to me in the run, gained time on all three events - a thorough thrashing.

    Nevertheless, this event is a great mini-vacation. I meet old friends from Boca Raton, Gainsville, Atlanta, Memphis and Austin. The party atmosphere is top notch and the food, the bands, the expos, and the race-night fireworks all make this event another special event in my career.

  • The Kona 'N Texas Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), Clear Lake, TX, 13 Apr 1997.

    38 degrees, 20 mile per hour winds, 62 degree water: that describes the tenor of this race. More of a battle against the elements than against each other.

    Clear Lake is a coastal town near Houston. The host hotel and swim is directly across Route 346 from the Johnson Space Center ("Houston, we have a problem.") The bike course is flat. The run is on NASA Road 1, the perimeter road around the space center. Old Mercury, Gemini, and Saturn V rockets are visible from the road.

    This was nearly the coldest triathlon I ever attempted. (I say nearly because the first tri that I did in May of 1984, the Jersey Shore Triathlon, had a water temperature of 55 degrees.) Luckily, the race director provided stationary bikes for warming up. I pedaled with about 10 other cyclists in the stiff wind until I was giving off heat. Then I plunged into the chilly waters of Clear Lake. Thankfully I had a wet suit; many wore long john suits and neoprene headgear. Others did not. Two swimmers were pulled from the water and treated for hypothermia.

    The bike course was no better with stiff 20 mph winds. I wore three cycle jerseys, one long sleeve, and still my fingernails were blue. There were some tremendous potholes and seams in the road. Mountain bikes skills came in handy. Many people lost bottles or tires at the more difficult sections. I could not feel my feet from the numbness, and I kept my pace up to try to warm up. Still, it was cold and my muscles were not very supple.

    At last came the run. For two miles, I did not feel my feet. When they did finally warm, I felt many rocks and twigs in my socks. I finished the event and felt good. This was an extremely tough race against the elements, but I held a moderate pace during the entire event, and had no problems with mechanical difficulty, fear, or doubt.


1996 was a very pleasant year for me. Much of time was spent adjusting to the Texas climate and finding new races and running routes after moving to Austin in February. I must say that the climate ranges to the extremes, from freezing to high heat, but the hills of Austin are great training. The variety of races and the number of courses at any distance are attractive.

The year is capped up by some very high points:

  • A fun ironman race with Adam Gruman in October in Clermont, Florida
  • The San Antonio Marathon in November, which is just a warmup for
  • The Sunmart Texas Trails Endurance Run in December, my first 50 mile run.
Here are the details on the various races.
  • The Sunmart Texas Trails Endurance Run (50M Run), Huntsville, TX 14 Dec 1996

    Call me Ultraman, I just finished my first ultramarathon. This was an enjoyable experience, 8:48:04 of running through the trails and woods around a lake in Huntsville State Park. I met many nice people and had a great time running.

    In some ways, a 50 mile run is tougher than an ironman race. Although an ironman lasts longer, the 50 mile run is tough because you spend more time using the same muscles. Often during this race I had to stretch my feet and hamstrings. I also realized that I am not ready to tackle a 100 mile race. I need to give my plantar's ligaments more time to get ready for running on the trails.

  • The Great Floridian Triathlon (2.4M Swim/112.5M Bike/26.2M Run), Clermont, FL, 26 Oct 1996

    A fantastic race with great friends on a sunny, hot Florida day. I race with Adam and Joni Vanderveen in a happy reunion in Florida.

    In an epic battle, Adam and I trade positions many times before the outcome is decided. Adam leads by two minutes after swimming the two loop rectangular course in a time of 1:02:22. I catch him on the bike in the hills of the Ferndale Loop at the 20 mile mark. We talk for 5 miles before I drop him at the SugarLoaf Mountain climb. Unexpectedly, Adam catches me at the 40 mile mark and drops me for the rest of the 112 mile ride. Later on the run, I catch him at the climb up Citrus Tower hill at the 2 mile mark. We chat and I leave him for what I think is the last time.

    But the heat takes its toll, and once again Adam reels me in at the 11 mile mark on the run. Knowing that running is my strong suit, I vow to stay with him, and by mile marker 19 I pull away. With the sun and the temperatures dropping, I feel great and finish the race in 11:54:00. Adam follows in 12:10:20.

    Later that evening, Adam has a rough night, suffering from severe dehydration, vomiting, and delirium. Joni and Jeri bring him to the hospital at 3 a.m. After a rehydrating I/V and a night's sleep , Adam recovers to attend post race awards ceremony the next day.

    See some new photos on the photo page.

  • Gulf Coast Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run) Galveston Island, Texas, 22 September 1996

    For the first time I can say I know what it is like to be in last place in a triathlon. FIVE flat tires on the bike add nearly forty minutes to my bike time.

    As I am changing my fifth flat of the ride, the sag wagon, a yellow school bus full of injured and mechanically-impaired cyclists, pulls up behind me on the road shoulder. The motorcycle escort asks if I think I am going to make it. A pick up truck of volunteers follows the bus and removes the traffic cones from the course. A police car with flashing lights follows the volunteers.

    "Yes," I shout, "I am going to make it!" I place the wheel back on the bike and pedal away from the scene. At this time I know the rough course has put two legitimate punctures in my bike tires. I also know the Park speed patches have not been standing up to the heat, the high pressure tires, the road repairs, and the trolley tracks. Yet I am back in the race, slowly leaving the sag wagon behind.

    I recall saying, "Bad luck in Galveston today," to the spectators watching me change my first flat. The local replied, "You bring your own luck to Galveston."

    A decent run brings me a few tens of places out of last place. I finish in 3:02:14, my worst Olympic distance race of all time.

  • Wool Capital Triathlon (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run) San Angelo, Texas, 11 August 1996

    They call the run for this race the "Dirt Road from Hell" - a hilly, muddy, rocky road, not much unlike the pit of a monster truck tractor pull. The red clay sticks to your feet, making your shoes weigh about 10 pounds each.

    The swim is in the Concho River, a calm, 82 degree freshwater dream. The bike course is flat with rough roads.

  • Advantage Texas Triathlon (1.5k Swim/6.4m Run/21m Bike), Boerne, Texas, 14 July 1996

    Doing the bike last is an interesting twist. My legs are ready for shutdown by the end of the run and do not push the bike uphill very well. Perhaps 5 hours of mountain biking the previous day have something to do with this?

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed this race and the course over the hilly Texas countryside. Boerne City Lake is clean, shallow, and warm (82 degrees). The ride is scenic with hills and cattle ranches and wilderness, but the pavement is rough and strewn with potholes. I finish in 69th place (out of 500), 14th in my age group (of about 60).

  • Capital of Texas Triathlon (1k Swim/18m Bike/5k Run), Austin, Texas, 15 June 1996

    This is a wonderfully challenging course on my home turf. The swim is in chilly (70 degree), fresh-water Lake Austin. The bike route is on my training ride that I do two to three times a week. The run is in a hilly section of west Austin.

    I have a flawless race, although the hills and the heat lead to a slow 5k run. Nevertheless, I have an enjoyable time in my first Texas race.

  • Gulf Coast Triathlon (1.2m Swim/56m Bike/13.1m Run), Panama City Beach, FL, 12 May 1996

    The best race conditions at this site in years did not help me avoid a flat tire during the bicycle. I lose to Adam by a margin of 7 minutes. Nevertheless, the race is a homecoming as I meet old friends who have relocated around the country: Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Boca Raton.


  • Summer Sizzler (1m Swim/30m Bike/7.3m Run), Clermont, FL, 6 Aug 95
    Despite good swim and run, a flat tire on bike leg ruins my hope for a trophy.
  • Howie-in-the-Hills (1.5k Swim/27m Bike/10k Run), Howie-in-the-Hills, FL, 9 Jul 95
    Five minute mega-victory for Adam.
  • Boca Sprint (0.5m Swim/10m Bike/5k Run), Boca Raton, FL, 30 Apr 95
    1. Adam, 2. Phil, 3. Dan, all within one minute.
  • Gulf Coast (1.2m Swim/56m Bike/13.1m Run), Panama City Beach, FL, 13 May 95
    Lack of training and record heat lead to steady but slow loss to Phil.
  • St. Anthony's (1.5k Swim/40k Bike/10k Run), St. Petersburg, FL, 30 Apr 95
    Adam trashes me thoroughly.
  • Collegiate Southern Regionals (0.5m Swim/20m Bike/5m Run), Clermont, FL, 16 Apr 95
    Miami loses to thirty member Tri-Gator team. Dan Becker, oldest fart in collegiate division, comes in the middle of the pack.


Many races in Florida. Little information recorded because the races were done before this web site existed.


    Jersey Shore Spring Tri
  • Jersey Shore Triathlon, Island Beach State Park, (0.5m/10m/5m T=1:18:12) Island Beach, NJ. May 1984

    This was my first official triathlon event.

    The swim was held in cold Barnegate Bay, about 58 degrees. I swan in my running shorts. I recall a helicoptor and a megaphone urging swimmers to get down in the shallow water (2 feet deep) and swim and not run it.

    The bike was a flat out-and-back. I had my Schwinn Le-Tour, cleats, and clip on straps. I borrowed a helmet. I wore a sweatshirt because I was so cold from the swim.

    The run was flat. I wore the running shorts thoughout the event. Also, I wore the event shirt for the run, considered bad luck by many. I finished in about one hour and 18 minutes. With nothing but a few 5k and 10k runs, this was my longest event to date. Good times and memories that set me up for a life time of events.

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Last modified: Sunday, 28-Apr-2019 13:54:51 MST.