Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Steve Larsen: A Study in Balance

In Memoriam: March 13, 1970 – May 19, 2009

Balance. It’s one thing triathletes are famously notorious for lacking. It’s all training, all recovery, all clean nutrition, all the time. No time for movies. No time for anything. Sacrifice, it’s all about personal sacrifice. Courtesy? Empathy? Those are casualties of being a champion. You run across enough athletes—and the pros are the worst—and you become numb to the myopic element of our sport.

Then a guy like Steve Larsen comes along, and reminds you what it’s like to have a life.

Several weeks ago, I caught up with Steve Larsen at the Sea Otter Classic. Steve was racing cross-country long course as prep for the coming Xterra season, but while he had to face the likes of Christoph Sauser and his Xterra nemesis, Conrad Stoltz, he was more fired up about his some Massimo, who was doing his first big race in the junior cross-country event.

Of course, Massimo podiumed, taking second, and dad beamed. Steve had a “whatever” day in the race, but whatever—Massimo podiumed. The drive south from Bend was a roaring success.

By now, the proper obituaries are out; “Steve Larsen, a veteran professional triathlete with a race resume that included road and mountain bike championships, suffered a fatal heart attack Tuesday evening during a track workout in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. He was 39. Before Larsen found triathlon, he had already amassed a lengthy and successful bike racing career, compiling a race resume across a variety of cycling disciplines that will be impossible to replicate. Two NORBA national titles, world championship appearances across five disciplines (road, track, cyclo-cross, mountain biking and triathlon) before devoting his training to triathlon in 2000, earning an Ironman USA Lake Placid victory in 2001 among others…. “ It goes on, the guy with more decorations than a war veteran.

But his real resume reads best as the signature tag on his Slowtwitch handle “Steve Larsen - dad, triathlete, mtbiker, roadie & online retailer”.

The impact that Steve brought to triathlon is immeasurable. A guy with his palmares (we can say palmares when the guy raced the Giro d’Italia) like his has it at his option to be selfish. To be flighty. To be arrogant. Many pros take that option. Steve went the other way—he was a man of his people.

Want an example?

Just before Sea Otter, Steve made a trip to San Diego, driving his Jeep south from Bend to visit with retailers at his online retail storefront. Steve said he was gonna be in town and asked if I wanted to grab a bit with him. As if there was any other answer—I told the office I was gonna be in late, and took whatever time I could having huevos rancheros with one of the baddest cyclists and triathletes to stomp on this earth…. and his son.

Of course I asked about his coming season race plans (he wanted to get back to Hawaii again, but wanted to have a fun Xterra season first) and we chatted about his online storefront—how business was doing, what the good brands were to carry. He let me in on something that tells you a bit about what made Steve Steve, as an aside as we were chatting about his business practice:

“I send out thank you emails to all my customers,” Larsen said. “It’s a little thing, but hey, I want my customers to have a positive experience.”

For cyclists and triathletes, this is akin to getting a personal thank you from the President for voting for him.

Those who met him found it impossible to not get sucked into the vortex of cheer and inclusion that is Larsen’s legacy. While Larsen reached the top of road racing, of mountain biking, and Ironman racing, he was always there for his fans, for the industry, his customers, for the media, fair with everyone, fan or critic. He was open with the triathlon forum community, answering any forumgoer’s question, about anything. In business, Larsen was faithful, a sponsor’s dream, and a well-spoken spokesman. As an online retailer, he was able to personally help plot your purchasing path with truly educated advice. If you had Steve’s endorsement, his suggestion it meant something.

But his family always came first. Five kids. Count ‘em. Five. One wife, Carrie. All those kids, his wife, his job, his training, there’s no place for sleep in there at all, is there? I asked. “I have a very patient family,” he said. “There’s no way I’d be able to race and be the kind of guy I want to be if it wasn’t for them. But…. it’s great when I can get out and do stuff with them,” as he threw a glance over at Massimo.



Selfishly, I was disappointed when he retired from pro racing in 2003, as I always enjoyed watching Steve more than any athlete on the race course. You knew he would have a deficit out of the water. And you knew he was going to tear through the bike and get to the front, making so-called bike specialists look like they were standing still (when you make Normann Stadler say after the Hawaii Ironman in 2003 “he passed me like a motorbike,” that constitutes being on another level). And you knew that based on that gap, he might win that race, because he was no joke on the run.

But that competitive fire burned, and after a few forays as an age grouper, while managing his real estate business, he dove in again as a full-time pro. (while still being a full-time dad, husband and online retailer). I still remember one of Larsen’s first races back from retirement last year, when he donned a CAF race kit and entered Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. He had at that time received coaching consult from TeamTBB’s Brett Sutton, asking me to introduce the two. “I know he can make me faster on the run, and I want to try something different,” Larsen told me as we talked about how to approach Sutton for coaching. “The swim, any gains are negligible, but I’m sure he could help there, too.”

“But the bike, I got that.” I laughed.

Giddy with anticipation of the inevitable as I rode on the back of a photo moto, I awaited the arrival of Steve… and here he comes, cutting through the field to the front. If his male pro competitors were going 24 miles per hour, he was going 28. It was an absolute treat to watch him simply tear past big names who were clearly already giving their all. “How demoralizing for those guys,” I remember thinking, smirking with mirth. Even amid the monotony that triathlon can be, Steve’s bike power, his ability to become one with the bike and push through the air like a rocket was something to witness. Oceanside became like watching him at the Hawaii Ironman in 2001. It was one of those days where watching a guy do his job was like watching for the green flash during a sunset on the Pacific, or seeing Michael Jordan do an up-and-under that defies gravity. It was just a special moment, sporting or otherwise.

I found him after the race and said “Man, it sure is fun seeing you out here again.“ His reply: “It’s good to be back.”

While Steve grew his fame racing alongside Lance Armstrong on the Motorola Racing Team in the mid-90s and on the NORBA circuit, I venture to guess his enjoyment and happiness in sport came in the balance that triathlon afforded him. Balance with family, friends, business and his fellow competitors.

Steve is survived by his wife Carrie, and five children. Steve's business partner tells me that services will be held Saturday at 1 p.m., at the Old Mill near Les Schwab Theatre. There will also be a ride heading out in conjunction, before or after services.

At this point, I’ll let those who were lucky enough to cross paths with Steve speak…

“It was a delight to work with a man that had so little airs and graces for the status he reached in professional sport. To work with him made one realize why, after so many years, he still wanted to compete—he loved it and he was passionate about not just his competition. (He) was one of the few that had reached the top that spent as much time as he could putting back into the sport, and out of the limelight level. I personally, and I am sure all at TeamTBB pass on the warmest heartfelt wishes to his family." —Brett Sutton, TeamTBB head coach

“He had so much focus. When he was gonna go to Hawaii, he just plainly wanted the fastest machine out there. He was sponsored by Mongoose and he said they didn’t care, so we put him on the Lotus. When he came to me, he was a legend. For him to trust me on everything, the fit, I was like” wow, what a huge honor to work with him.” He
He was professional with everything he ever did, and easygoing. He was really enjoying getting back into the industry, it’s his passion. Absolutely the nicest guy. He was magic. My feelings and heart go out to Carrie and the family.” —Craig Turner, Xlab (Former owner/manager, Nytro Multisport)

“I considered Steve a friend. Last couple year he’s really encouraged me in my career, and then we’d slay each other on the Saturday ride. I consider Steve a friend, and I’ll miss that push, and that guy. But more importantly, it’s sad for the community. He has five kids, and they’re all active in the community. The community will come together, but my heart goes out to Carrie and the kids.” — pro triathlete and fellow Bend resident Matt Lieto

“He was a fierce competitor, one of the most fierce I’ve raced against. I was very intimidated by him. He would lose three minutes on the swim, catch me, and put five, six minutes on me. And he didn’t just overtake you—he chopped you down. He could push himself harder than anyone I ever met. On rides, he’d just push until it was just him, I’d just be dropped. But I got to see a side of him most didn’t get to see, as one of the most sincere, nicest people I’ve met in the sport. In 2004 Steve said come to Bend and I took him up on it. He let me stay with his family for a week. I trained there three years, and he was my best friend in Bend. He was my agent one year and was so unselfish about it. He drove me to the Bay Area and we saw sponsors, and afterward it was always Italian and great wine, and we would laugh for hours. I bought from him I sold through him a condo a couple years ago. I was leaving back to South Africa, and in typical Caveman style, I left my renovations unfinished. He finished them for me, then sold the place. Such a very selfless person. At Sea Otter, his son Massimo was like “you have a shoe named after you,” but I was like “hey, your dad has two tires named after you and your sister!” (The Maxxis’ Larsen TT is called TT after Larsen’s daughter Amalia, while the Maxxis Mimo is the nickname for his son Massimo). Everything he touched turned to gold, and he was always so professional. He was an example to me and other athletes of what a true professional was. Two weeks ago, we had drinks after the race, we were talking about the old days. Now he’s gone. I feel really bad for his family. As a friend. It’s not going to be the same to be in Bend.” —reigning Xterra World Champ Conrad Stoltz

“One of the things that struck me most about Steve was his humility. I last spent time with him at Sea Otter in April, where he had an absolute crap race. He told me about a fellow athlete on course, recognizing Steve as he walked along with his bike and blown tire, who slowed down to accompany him for a bit. The racer said that Steve had been his idol growing up, and he was honored just to race together for a few minutes. Steve was pretty emotional, and a bit surprised, as he recounted that story; it really touched him to hear that he had that kind of impact. After Steve’s rough race at Sea Otter, and his son Massimo’s stellar performance, Steve suggested that maybe it was time we switched our sponsorship to Massimo! It was so obvious, seeing those two together, what an amazing father and role model Steve was – and will continue to be – to Massimo and all of his and Carrie’s children.” — Holly Bennett, marketing manager, Gu Sports

“So sad hearing about the loss of Steve Larsen. Leaves a wife and 5 kids. Terrible. He and I were on natl team and Motorola together.”—Lance Armstrong, via Twitter

“We did one race together, one of my 1994, and all I knew and remember was that he was a fierce competitor. It was unique how he went from pro road to mountain biking, to triathlon; not too many that could to that. That’ll be his legacy; succeeding at a world-class level in three sports. I’m really sorry to hear this news.” —Gord Fraser, former Motorola Cycling Team teammate

“At Ironman New Zealand in 2003 he came down with his wife. They were fantastic people and he was such a friendly guy. It took me 18k’s on the run to catch him. That was when I first saw him. But in Hawaii, the speed he’d come past you at, you‘d think he couldn’t keen it up, but he could, he was such an incredible cyclist. It was out of sight, out of mind pretty quickly, an incredible sight to see. With some guys you have a good idea, but with Steve, you could only hope you could pull him back. I am very sorry for his family.” — pro triathlete Cameron Brown

“We first met at the Hawaiian Mountain Tour, he was one of the first Xterra competitors. To have him come back this year was special. When he started in Las Vegas, it was great to see him, full of life, the normal, professional, well spoken guy he is, ready to get down and dirty. We’ve always saluted him and he has a special place in the Xterra family. I’m flabbergasted, I don’t know what to say… it’s a tragic loss.” — Xterra President Janet Clark

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lance's Giro Long TT bike?

So my friend Alex with SRAM travels with a lot of the SRAM teams and athletes at events. Of course, he's at the Giro with the Astana team, one of his component charges.

Alex also updates his Facebook a bunch with pics. And given his access (that is, "all), he generally has some cool photos. But this one caught my eye:It looks like Lance's TT rig for Thursday's loooong time trial; 61.7 kilometers from Sestri Levante to Riomaggiore. From what I've heard, it's lots of hills—hence a bike that recalls Lance's time at the Alpe d'Huez time trial.

Note the Hed ClipLite clip-on aerobars. Note yet another kick-ass Trek custom Livestrong paint for Lance.

Another note: Look closely at Lance's shifters. THESE look different. They look like something I saw on a SRAM-sponsored triathlete's bike recently... but cannot talk about. Yet. Alex, Please? Can I talk??? I'm champing at the bit over here.. I'll buy you a beer in Monaco!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Extra: Jay Buys a Bike Part! (And is happy about it!) A.K.A. the Debut of the K-Edge Chain Catcher

Well, I just installed and tested (in the parking lot of our condo) a new product on my wife’s bike that I just bought and showed up in the mail today. Yeah. Me. Bought. Me, the king of swag, bought a bike part.

Well, it all came after I saw a piece one of our competitors, (great job, James!) did on this product at the Giro d'Italia. It’s the K-Edge Chain Catcher.

Now, I’ve been dreaming of this day for years. Because my wife (bless her heart) ain’t the most mechanically inclined. So when something goes wrong, as it often does, it’s just something she deals with. Dropped chains are something she deals with. Lemme explain.

Two weeks ago at Wildflower, I was heading out to take photos during the race, and I see Donna headed in the opposite direction—was she dropping out? No, she dropped her chain off the front ring as she headed into a climb. She tried so shift it back on before she came to a standstill, no luck.

So she had to circle around, and get it back on as she descended in the opposite direction. What fucking luck. There went about one minute, 30 seconds. That could have gotten her eighth place instead of 10th among the pros. Damn, damn, damn. Mechanical shit like this kills me.

Then this product came along, which I will go into in deeper detail in the coming days, as I just got off the phone with Joe Davola, husband to reigning Olympic time trial gold medalist (and former triathlete) Kristin Armstrong, who co-developed and co-created the AceCo K-Edge Chain Catcher out of necessity.

With the short chainstays and steep shifting angles on tri bikes, chain drop is a fact of life. This product is going to change all that—I will be shocked if about every pro triathlete, and any triathlete who cares enough to add a 10-gram piece to their bike to ensure they will NEVER drop their chain again in training or in a race, doesn’t have this on their bike by year’s end. It’s that important an advance in tri bike technology as I’ve seen in a long time. I have the Third Eye Chainwatcher on my cross bike, clamped onto the round seattube. But the aero tubes of tri bikes makes the Third Eye impossible to use.But the front derailleur bolt mount point for the K-Edge Chain Catcher takes that blockade and throws it out the window.

I’ll go into greater detail in a bit (with some interesting storyline about how it came about), and Joe is sending me a piece to test on my own. But where my wife is leaving for TeamTBB training camp in Switzerland this Wednesday, I saw the value in this, and had to have it for her. So I went online, bought it. Money well, well spent.

Wheeling the bike around in the parking lot just now, cross-chain, slap-dropping the front shifter, doing anything I could to initiate the dropped chain she had experienced on her 5-hour ride just an hour before. No dice. I don’t see that she’ll find anything different either… ever.

More soon on this.

King for a Day: Epic Tri in Ireland to Kick Off in August

This one ain't a gear piece (will get back to that quickly, there's a few new things that are reaaaaally interesting to me, one in particular). And it's kinda long. So settle in...

Anytime a triathlon takes place on a course that people remind that “legend says…” then you know it’ll be an epic. Right?

“Legend says” that Madame Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, is responsible for the heat and winds come one October weekend along the Kohala Coast. Anger her and you’re fate goes to the mumuku winds.

“Legend says” that Lanzarote local Cesar Manrique wanted to attune himself to the raw natural beauty of the rugged volcanic terra of the island. To plot a route for visitors to enjoy the raw beauty, he walked the island—naked. (Anyone who has been through Timanfaya knows how frickin hot and blistering that island is.)

And of course, the birth of the first Ironman in 1978 on the legend of a bar bet, is, well, legendary.

What is it about the upstart, the intrepid spirit of doing what has never been done before? Particularly, what draws us to it? For Commander Collins to come up with a challenge that not only went from a bet to seeing fruition is impressive. It turned Ironman into a sporting juggernaut. Same with ultramarathons. I guess it’s the sheer ridiculousness of it all that pulls us to this stuff like a magnet.

But there are ways of turning it up a notch.

Put the distance events in ardent locales, like with an epic swim at Alcatraz, or a bike at 70.3 Monaco or the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon that leaves you wondering halfway through if you’ll make it through without crashing. Then you really have something.

Put it in a locale that challenges our doubts, at the same time allowing you to take in with wonderment what you’re experiencing (as you do when you flip over and absorb the Golden Gate, Alcatraz Island and The City during the Alcatraz swim, or enjoy the simplicity of a farmer hauling in olives from trees while traversing towns at Monaco—as you’re suffering up a hill.)

There’s a new event on the horizon that I think promises to be that sort of epic event, called Eireman. For anyone who has a sense of adventure can agree that a triathlon in Ireland could be one of those unforgettable experiences. A race director is putting on an Ironman on August 23rd, and we’re hoping to be there to see if this really is a legend in the making.

Why, you ask? Well, envision biking and running over that rugged, untapped escarpment… a bit of misty rain in your face, maybe a bit of crosswind. What comes to mind for me is the Kohala Coast, at a much lower temperature, and with a lot more grass over

Race organizer Eoin Ryan says that while the area is called the Sunshine Coast, because it’s Ireland, there’s a good likeihood for rain. But hell, who said triathlon can only be held in 73 and sunny conditions? Why has Kona, or courses like Lanzarote, or Monaco, or Alcatraz, or become legendary events? It’s because of the heat, or the topography, or in this case, the possible rain.

What might make it legendary? Well, I can only imagine the beauty of riding past castles, forts, abbeys, old monuments, prehistoric burial sites and thinking of just how really old that patch of green earth really is. Celtics, Vikings, Normans, all fought for their piece of territory.

And yes, there’s true legend; thousands of years ago, Garman Garbh stole the crown from the tribe’s queen. The queen got a hand from a local witch, who flooded the mudflats, drowning Garman. The harbor was then called the Lake of Garman, the Gaelic word for Wexford—host county to the race.

And those who were king and queen at the time were called Eireman. So in reality, the man or woman who wins Eireman will be, quite literally, the first king and queen of Wexford in hundreds of years.

Think about that. Is that not epic and legendary?

Of course, it always comes down to the question for those who would want to do the race: what’s the course like? Ryan thinks this course will give Roth a run for its money as one of the worlds fastest.

The race will take place in Courtown Harbour, County Wexford (which is due south of Dublin on the Southeastern tip of Ireland). The day will set off with a swim in the calm Irish Sea in a counter-clockwise fashion in this not only wetsuit-legal, but wetsuit-mandated swim.

The bike is a four-lap 112-mile course (or a two-lap 56-mile bike for the half-Iron-distance event, or one lap for the Olympic-distance event) and as advertised, dead flat, on fully closed highways. Having raced on closed highways for the first time at 70.3 New Orleans not long ago, there is no greater experience (and deterrent to drafting) than a fully open road for cyclists.

After a few snaking turns in the early miles, the run is flat and straight. The out-and-back two-lap marathon moves you from from Courtown Harbor inland to the town of Gorey and back.

While there’s not much prize money on offer as yet (this is an upstart race, after all), the winners will take up an honor not bestowed upon any triathlon, Eireman, king and queen of Ireland. Epic.

What's cool is that on the one day are the various distance events. So one spouse could conceivably do the Ironman-distance event, with the other doing an Olympic, or a half, or a relay, and not wasting their day waiting for their spouse to finish the longer event.

Thanks to a bit of luck of the Irish, Inside Triathlon is jazzed to get a chance to document this inaugural event. Ireland is such a far-flung reach from the North American or Austral-Asian, or even middle-European triathlon centers of the world, that it will undoubtedly recall those early years of our sport, when it wasn’t as heavily vested into marketing as the sport is today. It’s not an M-Dot event as yet—and maybe it’s better that way. We’ll be keen to see how legendary it can be.

Check out the site at and maybe look at booking an air ticket to be part of a kick-ass epic debut.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gear Extra!! New Scott Plasma Images, Shimano proto wheels spied, new Rotor cranks and Nuun's new flavor .. and the Giro TV Schedule

I’ll cut to the quick on a bunch of stuff;

First, Wildflower: killer weekend last weekend. Too much fun with great people. I got to piggyback my wife’s association with TeamTBB, which is sponsored by Avia shoes—which also served as Wildflower’s title sponsor. So Avia was there in full force, and looked after its athletes with a killer team environment for all its athletes, a great spread of food (cooked up by grillmaster Kenny Souza) and even the live pay-per-view broadcast of the Pacquiato-Hatton fight on Saturday night after the long-course race. It was “roughing it” in a cool way. Donna finished 10th, a great result given that she was two weeks removed from taking fourth at Ironman China. Trooper.

On to some other stuff.. namely, gear:

I received a press release from Shimano that Craig Alexander is fully-sponsored by Shimano for the year, meaning he’ll not only be running Shimano parts, but he’ll also be running the new Di2 Electronic tri group. I’ve had a chance to play with the electric shifters, and it’s pretty wicked.

But what caught my eye was the attached image of Crowie. Check this out:
What stands out? How about the deep-section wheels?

I contacted my peeps at Shimano for some comment, and none was forthcoming. Shimano’s Devin Walton said that indeed, Shimano is working on some prototype products, a full-Shimano product (they are Shimano's own rims, not Zipps or anyone elses) that Crowie is testing, but that none of that means it will actually see the light of day in terms of production.

From what we can see, it’s about a 75mm rim, and as with their existing Dura-Ace wheelset, is set on Shimano’s silky D-A hubs. If there’s one thing the public has wanted from Shimano in their wheel line, it’s a deeper, more aero race wheel. (They already have a disc in the PRO line).

What does this all mean? Well, selfishly I hope to see those wheels become production—a deep-sectioned wheel on Dura-Ace hubs will be among the silkiest race wheels on avail. Those hubs are bad-ass. But more importantly, it shows that Shimano is really recognizing the tri market. They’ve slipped as SRAM has come on strong the last few years, but by actually prototyping with the reigning Ironman World Champ, hell, by hiring him on to ride all their products full-time, means they are making an investment.

An aside: for those looking at my previous blog post about Shimano’s new brake levers, the Dura-Ace levers will price at $185 while the alloy one I’m trying to track down pricing for.

Those wheels lead us to our next debut. On the fortnight of the team time trial at the Giro d'Italia, Scott sent the press some info on the new Scott Plasma. I'm gonna read up on it (as I just got the link), but wanted to post not only the below photo but a link to a presentation about the bike, which you will find at

We'll be getting into this one as things settle down to see if and what the application is for triathlon. From my talks with Scott marketing manager Adrian Montgomery, the existing Plasma is still earmarked for triathletes geometrically. So this may be a TT-specific product, built within the handcuffs set forth by the UCI. Stay tuned.

Rotor Cranks is also using the Giro to debut its newest crankset, the 3D. They're doing a Giro version (with some pink accents) for reigning Tour de France champ Carlos Sastre. I was at the tunnel in advance of the Tour of California, and Carlos had a sort-of drillium crankset they were testing. It seems they are moving away from that and going into this new 3D direction. It seems to make a lot more real-world sense on its face. See the press release below;

Cervélo TestTeam and ROTOR collaborate on new 3D Cranks Product to debut at the Giro

Cervélo TestTeam riders will be using the new 3D Cranks from ROTOR Bike Components, when they start the 09 Giro d’Italia.

“The 3D cranks are the first cranks to have been designed with the input of a pro cycling team together with our ROTOR engineers,” said Ignacio Estellés, President ROTOR Bike Components. ”Drawing on a wealth of technical experience, this innovative product was developed collaboratively with Cervélo’s engineers, TestTeam riders and the TestTeam’s mechanic staff. We are passionate about supporting the riders, because they need these products in order to do their job well.”

“We have a four step protocol for product development with the TestTeam,” explained Damon Rinard, Cervélo TestTeam Race Engineer. “A partner, in this case, ROTOR develops and tests the proposed new product. We then review it and check the in-house data, testing it in different riding situations. Then the Cervélo TestTeam mechanics install it and the riders try it in training; both provide us with their feedback. Once it’s been approved at these three levels, the product is then available for the fourth level: use in races.”

The result is the 3D Crank - extremely stiff, to meet the high demands of Thor Hushovd and the TestTeam’s sprinters, yet lightweight enough to satisfy the needs of Carlos Sastre and the climbers on the team.

Utilizing a special manufacturing process, named the “Trinity Drilling System,” an extruded aluminum bar is intricately CNC machined with three drilled holes through the length of the crank. The result is a unique triple hollow crank arm that enables ROTOR’s engineers to remove the excess aluminum in the core while still maintaining the structural strength of the crank. With this new system ROTOR has significantly improved the Hollowminum technology they developed for their Agilis Evo cranks.

No attention to detail has been missed by ROTOR; even the graphic design on the 3D Cranks is unique with their impressive laser graphics. A special limited edition version of the product, with pink stripes along the crank (in a nod to the Giro) has been created for Carlos Sastre, with a special symbol that Sastre contributed etched with his name.

Off gear, onto nutrition: I was just sent some of the newest Nuun flavor: Banananuun. (please excuse the soft iPhone image).

Very, very good stuff. same as the rest of the line in terms of operation (drop in a bottle of water and suddenly you have instant electolyte drink with 180mg of sodium and 50mg of potassium) and ease-of-utility. I dig it, but still like Kona Cola best among their lot. Will have to try it with rum, maybe a bit of Mai Tai mix. Certainly worth trying.

Finally... the Giro on Live TV! his is great news-we can follow the Giro on TV. Below is the stage-by-stage broadcast
schedule for Universal Sports...

LOS ANGELES – May 8, 2009 – Universal Sports announced a multi-year deal today to
broadcast the Giro d'Italia as
the race celebrates its 100th anniversary, starting
tomorrow. Lance Armstrong will make his debut in this race as he
returns from his
retirement. Coverage of the race begins with a team time trial on May 9 from Lido di Venezia on the
Universal Sports Network and live online, all broadcast times available

Universal Sports continues to solidify its commitment to broadcast top cycling events with the multi-year broadcast
agreement. As part of the deal, Universal Sports will
provide television and online coverage, including archived video
and television re-airs,
for the 2009–2012 Giro d'Italia races. Previous to this agreement, the race was available on a
limited basis on the Versus network, and through pay-per-view on
Cycling.TV. In addition to the Giro, Universal
Sports has had a long-term agreement
with the International Cycling Union (UCI) to broadcast world cups and world
championships in Road, Track, Cyclo-cross, Mountain and BMX, as well as the Tour of Basque Country, Tour of
Missouri, Tour of Georgia and the Deutschland Tour.

COVERAGE ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports, available in 45 million homes, will present same-day
coverage of the 2009 Giro d'Italia, with nightly re-airs at 9 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET. The Universal Sports broadcast
team consists of Steve Schlanger and former professional cyclist Todd Gogulski, with Scott Ogle on the ground in Italy.

Date Events Time (all times ET)
May 9 Lido di Venezia 12 p.m.
May 10 Jesolo to Trieste 12 p.m.
May 11 Grado to Valdobbiadene 12 p.m.
May 12 Padova to San Martino di Castrozza 12 p.m.
May 13 San Martino di Castrozza to Alpe di Siusi 12 p.m.
May 14 Bressanone to Mayrhofen 12 p.m.
May 15 Innsbruck to Chiavenna 12 p.m.
May 16 Morbegno to Bergamo 12 p.m.
May 17 Milano 12 p.m.
May 18 Rest day
May 19 Cuneo-Pinerolo 12 p.m.
May 20 Torino to Arenzano 12 p.m.
May 21 Sestri Levante to Riomaggiore 12 p.m.
May 22 Lido di Camaiore to Firenze 12 p.m.
May 23 Campi Bisenzio to San Luca (Bologna) 12 p.m.
May 24 Forli to Faenza 12 p.m.
May 25 Pergola to Monte Petrano 12 p.m.
May 26 Rest day
May 27 Chieti to Blockhaus 12 p.m.
May 28 Sulmona to Benevento 12 p.m.
May 29 Avellino to Monte Vesuvius 12 p.m.
May 30 Napoli to Anagni 12 p.m.
May 31 Roma 12 p.m.

COVERAGE ON UNIVERSALSPORTS.COM: will provide exclusive, live
coverage of the entire Giro d'Italia, starting with the Stage 1 team time trial
Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. Full schedule, as well as full-length videos, highlights, stage
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