You are here


Tunnel Vision

Monday, January 13, 2014

He had only been a triathlete for a little more than a year, but by 1983 the legend of Mark Allen had already begun to emerge. He was known by his JDavid teammates as “The Grip,” short for “The Grip of Death,” a reference to what it felt like to train with the guy when he was having a good day and you were having… well, a good day too. But as hard as he drove his training partners, he pushed himself even harder, exploring his own physical limitations with intellectual fervor.

The Pen that Launched a Thousand Triathlons

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

At the end of a regular college day in late spring, the threat of final exams and the promise of summer in the air, I opened the mail box. It was May 14 of 1979 and mixed with a utility bill and a “your rent is late again” note from the landlord was a copy of Sports Illustrated Magazine (SI). Hmmm, must belong to the neighbors. I don’t read about team sports. I pondered the mag until seeing the hand-written note clipped to the cover that featured a horse named Spectacular Bid.

Something in the Water: The 1982 United States Triathlon Series, Los Angeles

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The first thing you need to know about the second professional triathlon ever held was that it wasn’t very professional. It was touted as “the Los Angeles stop of the 1982 U.S. Triathlon Series” but it wasn’t   held in Los Angeles. Two weeks after USTS’ inaugural San Diego race (staged at Del Mar’s Torrey Pines Beach), event organizers, Carl A. Thomas and Jim Curl, moved their show north on the SoCal coast to Marine Stadium, a cement and myler-lined drainage ditch on the southern rim of Long Beach, California.

Game Change – The Malibu Triathlon, 1982

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It was November, 1982, and the sport of triathlon had just begun a claw its way out of the primordial multi-sport ooze.  This was back before aero bars, or even Power Bars.  It was a time when the choice of technical rehydration was mostly limited to green and orange Gatorade, and when a “professional” triathlete was anyone capable of running six miles off the bike in less than 46 minutes, and willing to do so in a Speedo, in public.  There was no such thing as an Ironman back then; there was only the Ironman -- one race, one place -- and the fact that the e

Bill Phillips, The First Doctor of Speed

Monday, January 6, 2014
Bill Phillips, The First Doctor of Speed

I first saw Bill Phillip’s speedo’d ass as it followed his arms and legs out of the water. Phillips was about to win the 1976 Mission Bay Triathlon and I was over a minute behind, groping along in 3rd place on the final leg of that year’s only known triathlon. I had lifted my head from the murky Mission Bay to catch a glimpse of Phillips’ butt running up the beach and wondered who the other old guy was besides 38 year old barkeep, Tom Warren, my goofy Pacific Beach neighbor who swam between Phillips and me. At 19 years old it didn’t seem right.