Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LoToJa A Look Back on 206 miles of riding.

September 11th. 2010.

A day never to be forgotten by any American or Resident of the USA who lived through 911, 2001.
I know we all know what we were doing exactly on this day in 01, I was in Steamboat Springs living with my good friend Ian Cox ( Englishman) living in the boat for over 30 yrs now and a great training partner for the bike. 911, A sad day and yet a Victory to see how one country yet torn apart by Politics, corruption, Fame & Immigration comes together on this Special Day and moves forward. A true sign of leadership and growth for America and the rest of the World

This day was not onIt was 35 degree's at  3:50 am, I awoke without any alarm clock. Sleeping 6 hrs or just under but very sound sleep and well rested. Felt very relaxed as I was unaware what to expect on this day.
It was an adventure, asked by good Friend John who was hit just recently by a car while riding his bike. Thank God John can live to tell his story and left the accident with stitches in his elbow, and a hip that has not stopped hurting ever since that day.

We left on Friday around 3pm from Salt Lake City to Logan Utah. I was traveling with Tammy & John Drury & staying at the Hotel as John has done this race Logan Utah to Jackson Wyoming, 206 miles,
 six times now so his experience was key.

The LOTOJA race is scheduled the first Saturday in September, After Labor Day.
In a typical year, 85% will cross the line of its 3,000 riders as well relay Teams of 4-5 riders.
Average Age is 40 yrs old,
Over 400 course and neutral support volunteers help on race day, approx 100 are radio operators.
Mens Course Record 9:02:52 (2009). This year the record was 9:01:?? (2010).
Woman's Course Record : Tiffany Mainor, Las Vagas, NV 9:55:06 (2006)...
Its estimated 10,000 to 15,000 calories will be burned per racing cyclist.
Since 1983 , 2:3 million miles have been pedal by LOTOJA cyclist.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Home, Back on USA soil. Life Is A Journey!

August 12th, 2010.
I'm back in Park City where I'm based until Sept 20th. Then San Diego for 7-10 days, then Kona Hawaii for the Ironman Championships..
Picked up by good friend John Drury from Salt Lake City Airport who actually brought crutches for me. I was flying back from Frankfurt Germany into Dallas on to Utah. Long Flight and very happy even though I still cannot walk, I was wheelchair during all flights which was such a blessing especially since flying increased the pressure, causing swelling. So Yes, the crutches have come in handy even though its 2 weeks  since Immenstadt  ITU World Long Course Championships.

Over my time in Europe I learnt many things about myself and was open to receive what ever came my way. Learning the cultures, language, visiting Museums, Cities with such history allowed me to see how very small I am in this world full of strangers.

Life Is A Journey,
Not so much to a destination, but a Transformation.
Looking back, My Richest times come right in the mist of our hardest.
Transformation is tough and we don't always end up where we think we will.
When we struggle to believe in Him, He will ALWAYS believe in US!
He fills our life with PURPOSE  and PASSION if we just let him.
The best part of the Journey is the God of the Universe sometimes allows us, to play a part in changing the World.  "What a RUSH".

I have many faces from this experience which bring such a story behind each one. But everyone of them were selfless, givers. Not thinking of self. 90% were not Christians, but all of them were placed in my path for a reason. Most happy but deep inside wanted more in life, from life. All of my new friends blessed me with their stories, time, presence and sometimes gifts. This is what makes life so awesome to be able to share time on the other side of the World with a stranger who comes into your life and makes a difference. The biggest blessing was to see this gift through a different pair of eyes. Seeing within a person, as most of the time we did not speak the same language, yet some how we could communicate through Universal Language (me talking with my hands). Again blessing you can only see if you are at peace with yourself inside.

With my injury today, I have now seen Dr Massimo Testa MD. Sports and Exercise Medicine in Utah.
He was Italian and just came back from the Tour the France.
Buon giorno, I greeted Massimo.
He examine my foot and could not believe I have being walking around with a rupture Plantar Fasa tendon for the past 2 weeks. This is unheard of as people can't walk period with this injury.
Then he told me about 2 Australians. Saying You Australians are not human. "CRAZY"

Story 1:
I was working with Cadel Evans and you know he broke his elbow? Yes, I said, well when he had the accident they radio me up to treat him while he was riding. I look over it and Cadel was in pain but had movement. I gave him a tablet for pain and he finished the day after the crash on stage 11 and this day put him in the yellow jersey. I examined him and started to press around the elbow later and he started to jump when I press on certain points of the elbow, Och that is hurting, his movement was little.
I told him that he had broken his elbow. You must go to hospital.
Cadel said, we cannot tell anyone, I'm in Yellow, I must Go on. So that evening we went undercover to an arranged physician away from the press and everybody else. We had it examine and it was bad. Again Cadel said we must not tell anyone, OK. We will see how you GO.
He rode on the rest day and could not pull on the handle bars because of the pain. Climbing is all about pulling on the handle bars and the next few days were the naming of the Tour De France, "The ALPS".
 Stage 13, riding the Alps is the same day I saw Cadel in Yellow, I was on the second of 4 huge mountain climbs this day. Cadel was right in the second pack with all the big names. Just perfect were everybody expect him to be, "UNBELIEVABLE " now I know his elbow was broken.
The end of the day Cadel had lost the yellow jersey and I only found out through late night news. Unaware why he lost it thinking he got beat on the last couple of miles.
That evening Cadel and I spoke and I told him he must quit and fix this elbow now that he has lost the Yellow Jersey.
 Massimo, I still have the World Champion Jersey and this is the Tour De France!
You have to have the World Champion Jersey in the Tour De France.
Cadel met with the TEAM that evening and announce he had broken his elbow to the Team and he would still Go on. The Team was unaware as well everybody else too, because Cadel didn't let pain stop him.

Story 2:
Massimo was working with Chris Leito and Macca.
Macca forgot his shoes and Massimo told Macca that he would not be able to do the test on the treadmill without shoes.
Macca's response was I don't need shoes mate and did the test with 5:10 minute miles "BAREFOOT".

Story 3:
Massimo said that you Australians, he has never seen such toughness. With me walking around Europe without any treatment, ice, crutches, staying in bed, leg above heart with 3-5 pillows under it.
Ironman Hawaii.
The Pain was unbearable many times walking 3 kms  (2miles) was not possible anymore. So Yes the foot hurt and prevented me doing many things. The pain would be so intense I would fine myself wiping a tear from my eye. This is not possible. God give me strength, let me able to walk the last 500 yards to the Hotel and not call for a taxi. No one would understand me catching a cab 500 yards. Yet now knowing people can't walk period with a rupture tendon. I don't feel weak or beat myself up.
I now know I'm as fit as people get to the point ordinary people feel pain where we live it, as athletes.
Example, When I broke my back back on June 12th 2001, I was hit by a passing RV Van on switch backs climbing Gore Pass just outside Steamboat Springs, CO.
After everything I was back on my bike riding back into Steamboat Springs. I made it another 20-30 miles before the bandages were dipping with blood, plus the FEAR set in and we call for a ride.
Each day for the next 5-6 days I try to push my body through the pain, again my body would not listen which made me beat myself up inside my head. Every thought would enter your head. Your a loser, your a quitter, you will never make it, you will never make something of your life. Your stupid, your not good enough, you'll always be a nobody, You just need an excuse.
Then the body just would not move. Perfect example would be to watch Ali the movie. In his fight against Joe Fraser, Ali would not be able to move his body the way his mind was telling it. His mind would say here comes the hook now, step back, move,  the next sene would be Ali being hit by a hook from Fraser and Ali going down.
Well this is the exact feeling and you get frustrated with yourself, pushing your body harder being angry with yourself. So then apart from mainly sleeping the next 2 weeks after my accident, I decided to do a local road race expecting in my condition to WIN. My first bike race ever and I placed 8th.
 I was mad with myself again my body felt sluggish racing. I went back to training the following week and slept more than one is suppose too. So made a decision that I must run this race in Steamboat Springs on the 4th of July. It was a 400 meter race up the main street after the 4th of July parade. Thousands of locals lined the street and watch the parade. The race was about to begin. I was visualizing me winning as we had a few track stars against me. But I was ready and determine as this was much more than a race for me. This was to bring me the confidence I desperately needed towards my Lake Placid Ironman in 5 weeks placing 12th last year, sponsors with Timex, Profile design, Brooks and Ripwear clothing signing me on contracts this was my year. I could not fail,  I was expect a TOP 5 finish the best ever.
The athletes stood along the starting line, the main attraction was about to start, looking up people lined both sides of the street the entire length screaming. I was the nobody, the unknown.
Only few knew of me from the past 4 yrs coming for the summer to train. That's all I did was train, so I never had time to meet others, not to be selfish, I was just Focus and knew what I wanted and applied everything I had to become the BEST. I see clearly now it was Christ that gave me the strength to punish my body the way I did back then. To give me the drive to train and the strength to push on day in & out.

The gun goes off, I started out 75% pace and by 40 meters I was third, now around 90%, I started to hit it hard around 60 meters with only one athlete in front, within a few seconds I was all alone by myself out in front, I was giving it every ounce of strength I had now 110%. I was 10 yards from the finish then a sharp PAIN started under the center of my chest and went straight down both legs and instantly my legs became heavy concert blocks and I could not lift as I fell like a cribble. I know it was more of the embarrassment that made me not fall down. I got within 2 meters and walked across the line at this time another athlete hits the line before me. The race was OVER and I was not sure if I was going to collapse as I was dizzy and looking for my good friend Ian Cox to grab his shoulder for support. We found one another and Ian helped me over in front of the courthouse lawn where I would laid down and then had trouble breathing. The EMS came and I was taken to hospital where Dr Sisk came out after the MRI'S explaining I had a broken back his words, YOU BROKE YOUR BACK!

I was then taken by mentor Tim Parchinski and we spend a few days riding in Glenwood Springs in the national Parks to erase the Fears being back on the bike. Then over to Boulder to train with another Team member of Timex Tim Lurchinski, Yes they both have the same names, pretty cool.
While in Boulder I did what I could with the injuries I had. It was obvious I was hurt when it came to the running, but swimming and biking I was still beating Tim (Timex).

Lake Placid Ironman:
I swam a 53 minute 2:3 mile swim, the first 50 miles of the bike I was doing pretty well up the front. I could not believe it. By mile 45 I started with the back pain. The next 67 miles of biking tested me mentally and physically. I did not put my running shoes in T2 because if I got of the bike I knew I would run. Not having shoes prevented me doing anything crazy. I was in no shape to run, I barely made it to the middle of the Lake Placid field downtown and hopped into a hot tub. I watch from there the bikers come into T2, then going out on the run. Again I saw how far up the front I was even though the entire time while riding I was beating myself up mentally, its emotional to understand why I do this.

But I did race the Ironman Lake Placid Race in 2001 and it was the only Ironman of 10 I've never finished. I have only not finished 3 races in my career.
The others I did not finish was a 70:3 on the Gold Coast, I had "mono".
The other was Honu 70:3 Hawaii I was not ready for my comeback from my back.

Point of this story is too show how fit an athlete gets to where what pain for normal people is,
it's a daily living for most athletes.
Are you sure you want to be a Professional athlete?
Think of it for the one that don't get paid the millions of $.

From an early age champions master the art of turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
"No excuses, just results" becomes their philosophy.
I trained on cold wet days in the rain, In fact I'm allergic to the cold I believe, if you have desire,
 you won't let poor facilities, poor equipment, or anything keep you from reaching your GOALS.
Determination is everything.    It's alot of hard work with dedication.
I call it the three D"s, Desire, Determination with Dedication without the three D's, you will never achieve any task Great.
All of us like to practice the skills we do well. But winners discipline themselves to work on their weaknesses until they become their strengths.


I am now in Park City. I am also seeing my attitude has changed towards others. This trip has changed my life for the better.  I'm BACK.
 I was in the worst bankruptcy in the world = the person who has lost his enthusiasm for life.
Now 2 years later, I feel I'm Dreaming again. I encourage you all to DREAM & Travel.
Dream Big, believe in your Dreams and apply the three D's principle.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 3rd.
My foot has swollen and turn purple in the arch. Still very sore, cannot apply pressure.
 In Immenstadt Germany still and will be taken out tonight by the owners of the apartment I have being staying at.
Try to posted my entire Race Report as well all the days of my diary, but lost it. Bloody computers. Still trying to work out the New MacBook Pro.
Will rewrite my diary and Race report.

Had a great time with Tanja and Marcus tonight (dinning). "Very beautiful people". I must say I have been very blessed to be around such great people while traveling throughout Europe.

Trying to stay off my foot as much as possible. In great spirit and looking forward to fixing my foot and getting back into training. Thanks to Tammy and John Drury in Utah, arranging my visit with Doctor Testa, who actually worked in the medical assist car following the Peloton of The Tour De France this yr. Dr Testa has being involved with the Tour for over 20 yrs  working on the 7-11 Team, Motorola Pro Team, MG-Technogym, Mapei Pro Team and has worked with Chris Lieto and know I have the best care ahead. So I thank everyone for your prayers as "FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS".
"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me"......

Tonight I met so many Germanys who had traveled throughout Australia. They love Australians and we love them.
We started the evening at a cafe with our server a young man 21yrs old, lived in Sydney for 6 mths.
We then went to dinner and our waitress had travel the entire East coast of Australia for 6 mths starting of in Sydney and finishing in Cairns, North Queensland.
Stephan Wahl worked in the mining off Fremantle Perth who was the bar tender at "Pat Murphy's"- Irish Pub, later in the evening. A good night to finish off in Immenstadt, Germany.

August 4th:
Packed and travel to Munich. A huge City and will stay at the Flemings Hotel downtown for a night then onto Prague, Czech Republic, before making it to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The 50 meter Pool all to myself every morning.  "Unbelievable"
Top 50 overall of the 895 athletes out of the water( 4 kms) in Immenstadt Germany  World Championship .
Top 20 of the wave start of 800 athletes.

Hotel Poiano, Resort

Lake Garda, Italy.

Lake Garda,Italy.

July 18th, Up early for a swim (3 kms) in the pool which was closed, but arranged for myself to swim before opening. This was heaven in a 50 meter pool outdoors crystal clear water which is checked 4 times daily by pool maintenance. Breakfast at the restaurant which I'm greeted with a smile by wonderful Hotel Poiano Staff. Then off on a ride.

July 16th, Arrived at Hotel Poiano Lake Garda, Italy.
 Introduce to Riccardo a Tennis Pro at the resort who would be my guide and help with direction any needs and translating.
We organized a run together along Lake Garda. 7pm  ran 11:3 miles in 1 hr 18 mins a good pace and felt strong, we walked 10 mins as it seemed to be like midday Kona weather. The heat was intense more intense than expected.
PM:  Back at the Hotel I swam 3 kms in the pool.

July 17th:  Swim early morning 3 kms, then a 8 mile run. Organize my bike for minor repairs and a few parts etc hand pump. That evening went to dinner with Riccardo along the Lake which is a very popular tourist attraction a huge lake with many restaurants, Garda Disneyland Fun Park and habours filled with boats in the middle of the Italy mountains. The restaurant was an old Castle without walls surrounded by modern pools. People everywhere and what better to have than Tuna Tartare, Fresh pasta/seafood second course, and BBQ Sea Bass main course. Water ( Aqua no gas) meaning no bubbles. 

July 18th, Up early for a swim (3 kms) in the pool which was closed, but arranged during my stay the next 12 days for myself to swim before opening or late evening. This was heaven in a 50 meter pool outdoors crystal clear water which is checked 4 times daily by pool maintenance. Breakfast at the restaurant which I'm greeted with a smile by wonderful Hotel Poiano Staff. Then off on a ride around the Lake and over these mountains of Italy near Verona.
Started from the resort through Castermano, Castion Veronese, S.Zeno di Montagna, Villanova, Prada, Brenzone, Down the switch backs of Porto di Brenzone back along the LAKE to Riva del Garda.
Return along the Lake Garda with heavy traffic for a Sunday. Total 85 miles  with the first 25 all hills.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Europe July 8th

Arrived in Frankfurt Germany early on the morning of the 8th. Got from Auto Europe my
 New Ford station wagon with only 5 kms/ 3 miles on the clock.
Driving 750kms into France, Bourg-en-Bresse Stage 10 of the Tour De France.
 The town was sold out and I manage to get the last room in a Hotel.

Learning to speak France comes alot easier when in France. Having my Rick Stevens Franch, Italian & German Phrase book has come in handy. I highly recommended the book for those wanting to travel to Europe. The Motorway has tolls which costs are high, but this is the price you pay to drive 160kms/hr.

The fuel cost Euro $1.35 per litre which is approx $7.50 a gallon, so now I'm not complaining anymore when fuel hits $4 per gallon in the USA. Thank God my car gets great mileage per gallon.
I have falling in love with Europe. Everything is so different and I feel like a kid experiencing this country. The first day I met Brad Phillips a Chaplain in the Air Force & wife from Atlanta America at a fuel station in Switzerland. They were on there way to a huge conference Chaplains and pastors of Europe.
WE had lunch together and felt God plan the meeting. A great encouragement

Arriving the next day in Annecy France which is on a huge lake. Sports of all kinds you could imagine is done here from scuba, water skiing, wind surfing, swimming to Kite surfing, rock climbing, para gliding of the tops of the Mountains, parasailing, boating, fishing.

 Met up with Christine & Rob Hemphill a family I stayed with in Bondi Sydney who have decided to pick up and move the two boys Jackson 6 & Liam  4 to France for the next couple of yrs.
I stay a few nights with the family and did the picnic on the lake & a nice 4km fresh water swim with Christine in the lake as well, playing jumping off the diving board with the two boys either side which was a blast for us all.

Day 3 the 11th of July, Christine and I roaded with the Annecy triathlon club and push me on the mountains in the Alps. We started this ride around the lake meeting the crew from the local club.
A 160km ride and I really enjoyed it this time with my Specialize M4 road bike.
Not having my Cervelo P4 for the mountains. I learnt the hard way in New Zealand in JANUARY.

 The P4 is not for the mountains. So I'm riding a road bike for the World Long Course Championship in Germany August 1st representing Australia.
Again all my preparation is for Ironman Hawaii October 9th. Everything else is building towards this race.

PM was a 3:6 km swim in the local 50 meter pool on the lake downtown with a coffee & bagel afterwards at the market.

Then a walk around window shopping at real estate enjoying Annecy.
Meeting Marty Jenkins wife from the US Postal Team which were doing a bicycle Tour following the Tour as well. Marty was Team mates with Chan MaCre who was the US road Champion before switching to Ironman and becoming my Team mate for the TIMEX Team.

The evening went fast and I had a blast ordering my first meal in French on my own.

12th July was a rest day for the Tour. Rob, Christine and myself decided we would climb day 13th into the Alps, over and back De Col Columbia  probably spell it wrong. This was awesome to experience the same course the tour riders ride the day before and the course was filled with energy as Motorhomes were arriving to take the prime spots and off course riders/tours wanted to do the Mountain, who wouldn't.

13th July. Tour De France was coming to town. The entire Town came alive with thousands of people lining the course with there chairs Team colors and bells. Ben Ferris,  Phil  from Brisbane Australia, (the same place I was born) & myself headed up the mountain, the first  mile Ben & I lost Phil, Christine & Rob, it was that crowded. We were on our bikes off course and I was wearing the King of Mountain Jersey. Ben & I managed to find a great location under the ski village lift carriage in a restaurant and met a few other fellow Australians, South Africans & Englishmen. We had a few beers & a packed lunch which put us in the right mood to really let lose, which that is exactly what Benny did in his speedo's (with Australia written across the bum).
 Ben decided to run along with the cyclist as they came bye climbing, which made him a favorite with the crowd of tourist wanting photos of themselves with Ben.

It worked out well putting a smile on Cadel Evans face from Australia, which Cadel was in Yellow on this day.        AUSSIE,AUSSIE,AUSSIE.......

Once the Tour went bye everyone left. It was amazing to see everyone come out hrs before to leave minutes after.
I decide to drive around and experience the ski resort in the Alps. Following the course to the top of climb 2 of 4 on this day. Had a late lunch up top and made my plans for the departure into Milano, Italy.

14th July, I drove to Milano after having breakfast with Rob, Jackson & Liam.
Jackson was teaching me French a 6yr old who was extremely good.

Merci beaucoup,   Au revoir.   Bonne chance,  Bon voyage.  Je ne parle pas Francais un petite peu.

Thank You Very Much,  Goodbye. Good Luck, Have a good trip.   I don't speak French, just a little.

Italy here I come, Milano was a 190km drive East which only took 1 1/2hrs. The thrill was driving through Mont Blanc 15,000ft. The same Mont Blanc watches which we know are top of the line watches.  The view of the snow was incredible on the top of Mont Blanc, driving through a mountain cost me $50 approx at the toll gate for 15kms and then you come out the other side into Italy.

Buon giorno, Benvenuto to Italy.
Good Day, welcome to Italy.

Arriving in Milano the Capital for Fashion. This was the Dream to come here 15 yrs ago to walk the runway as a model. But found Christ and became Born Again in Charleston South Carolina.
 Funny how God has a plan for us as this lead me in Professional sports as a Triathlete. Still I travelled all over the world & yet 15 yrs later I'm staying right in the middle of town in Milano, Italy.

I went to the Center mall and started with a visit to the second largest church in the World. What a site & then a lite snack before dinner enjoying the sun going down with this huge church as the setting.
Wine, crackers, cheese.  In Europe people don't go out to dinner until normally 10pm.

The next morning off to visit the Museum, a display of famous painters dating back in the 1400's.
90% of the artist paintings were of Christ. I'm talking thousands of paintings which some as big as a wall, Michelangelo size etc.  
Its pretty amazing that a man named Jesus 2,000 yrs ago who only had a ministry of 3 yrs left a mark today in every part of the World. That millions of people worship and thousands of artist paint and preach his teachings. Name me another man who has had this effect?
That is over a hundred plus famous painters from the 1400's - 1875 painted pictures Burri e Fontana a Brera. Incredible!               Thank God I believe!!!!!        I pray for those that don't.

After 2 days in Milano walking the streets, eating true Italian food & taking pictures, it was time to get back to training in the hills of Verona. Staying in the town of Garda, this place is by far the best place yet in Europe.
Staying at the Hotel Poiano, a 50 meter outdoor pool, unlimited hills and a lake which is approx 200 kms
around in length.  The owner of the Hotel is the Count and Contessa which I am a guess staying here until the 26th/27th July.

I get to swim in the second best pool ever, the first being the Olympic pool just outside of Auckland New Zealand in JANUARY 2010.

Pictures to come.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


To read more about Epic Camp go to

Please check back for more updates.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

2009 Ford Ironman World Championships Hawaii (10/10) - Build-up

The race is close now, but I really am not nervous. “Stressed” would be a better word, as I find myself doing so much more than just training. I spent all today moving furniture out of a tenant’s apartment and

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 Ford Ironman World Championships Hawaii (10/10) - Travels prior to

Upcoming Events :
October 10th Hawaii Ironman World Championships
November 26, 27 & 28 Ultra-Man World Championships on the big island of Hawaii

I've been travelling for the past the two weeks. First I was in Vegas for Eric Van Moorlehem bachelor's Party. This was my first bachelors, there were 18 guys 14 were ER doctors. I met great new friends as all

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Mission

I have found that in my walk in Christ, I don’t have to tell people of my faith. They see it and believe if I walk in love, I allow that to shine with positive energy & sooner than later people are drawn to this

My Purpose

Is to keep the people I’ve met in my travels, friends and loved ones, updated on my journey and
To motivate, encourage and inspire with a positive attitude.
I’ve met many people on my journey. I am very focused on my goals this year and cannot keep up with all



Margaret River Western Australia Surfing Safari (May 09)

Surfing Margaret River Point10-15 ft on a perfect early winter morning