Doug Flutie's triathlon debut, at Alcatraz, goes swimmingly
We don't know what Lamisil is paying Doug Flutie to hawk its
foot-odor- and jock-itch-conquering unguents. But we don't think
Flutie, who is expected to start at quarterback for the San Diego
Chargers this season, flew into San Francisco last Saturday to do
some stumping for Lamisil, the title sponsor of the next day's
Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. "I thought I'd be doing some p.r.
work," he said. "I didn't know I had to participate in it."
That oversight helps explain why, the day before the grueling
race, Flutie, 38, unwittingly jogged three miles at the Chargers'
practice facility, did a vicious hill workout, then played 2 1/2
hours of pickup hoops. "My legs were trashed," he says. When he
checked into his hotel, however, Lamisil execs had news for him:
We'll send your wet suit up to your room tonight, they said, and
get you set up on your bike in the morning! "That's when I
started thinking, Oh, boy," says Flutie. "I wasn't scared. I'm in
great shape. I just hadn't trained for this at all."
Most alarming, he hadn't been in a pool in "two or three years."
The swim is by far the nastiest leg of the Escape, and this
year's was the most difficult in recent memory: choppy seas and
San Francisco Bay's powerful currents--one of which pushed
swimmers back toward the ferry from which they had jumped. "I
swam my ass off for 10, 15 minutes, looked back, and the boat was
right there," says Flutie. "That's when I said, 'The heck with
this.'" He signaled for assistance--which was available to every
competitor--and was taken on a smaller boat to calmer water, near
the coast. He finished the leg from there.
As it was, Flutie swam more than a mile of the 1.5-mile course,
completed a hilly, 18-mile bike ride and an eight-mile run in
less than 3 1/2 hours, finishing about an hour and a half slower
than men's winner Chris McCormack. (Olympic silver medalist
Michellie Jones won her sixth women's title, in 2:16:21.) Not bad
for a guy participating in his first tri.
Despite his aquatic ordeal, it was the climbing-intensive bike
leg that Flutie recalled with the least fondness. "At times I
wanted to get off," he said, "but [NBC] had a camera on me. I'll
be damned if I get off the bike while someone's got a camera on
me." --Austin Murphy
A Dark and Stormy Night at the Giro
It was an eerie tableau that unspooled at a San Remo resort on
June 6: 200 Italian paramilitary police raiding 10 luxury hotels
under cover of darkness, one cyclist jumping out a first-floor
window in an attempt to escape, others flinging syringes from
their rooms into the bushes outside. The raid, conducted after
the 17th stage of the Giro d'Italia, turned up banned
performance-enhancing drugs in the rooms of several riders,
including Italy's Dario Frigo, who at the time was running
second. Under Italian law, an athlete convicted of using a banned
substance faces up to three years in jail. Frigo, who withdrew
from the race a day later, said he would cooperate with Italian
authorities. "I am not running from my responsibilities," he
says. "I will speak."
The incident casts an ominous specter over not only the
Giro--which was won by Italy's Gilberto Simoni--but the upcoming
Tour de France as well. The Giro blitz recalls the one French
police staged on a hotel during the 1998 Tour, which led to the
expulsion of nine riders from the race. Although the
International Cycling Union has protested, as it did in '98, what
it calls excessive police tactics, the French sports ministry
promises it won't hesitate to use similar methods when the Tour
starts on July 7. "We will have tests to deter people and to
ensure that cheaters cannot continue to do so," says sports
minister Marie-Georges Buffet. "Naturally, if needed, the police
and the justice system will play their part."
The upwardly mobile are bringing the Alps into their homes with
thin-air devices (at high-altitude prices)
Endurance athletes who can't get to the Alps to train are
bringing the Alps into their bedrooms thanks to altitude houses
(a.k.a. Alp houses), airtight tents or rooms ventilated with
reduced amounts of oxygen to mimic thin mountain air. World
champions such as Aussie triathlete Michellie Jones, British
distance runner Paula Radcliffe and U.S. cyclist Mari Holden
favor a nylon and vinyl zip-up tent from Hypoxico
(www.hypoxico.com) that weighs nine pounds and fits around a
queen-sized bed. Once inside the tent, they flip on a generator
that produces air containing roughly 15% oxygen, the partial
pressure one would find at 9,000 feet. While the tent is used
for sleeping, the larger room system (right) enables you to work
out at the same virtual altitude. Want to go higher? Colorado
Mountain Room (www.altitiudetraining.com) allows athletes to
simulate the air up to 15,000 feet with its sealed bedroom,
which includes three briefcase-sized ventilators that control 02
levels. The only thing thinner than the air in your bedroom may
be your wallet, because the tent goes for $6,500, the room
system for $15,000 and the sealed bedroom for $16,500. But, hey,
it's cheaper than buying a vacation home in Chamonix. --Brian
While European biking was suffering the drug debacle at the Giro
d'Italia, Sunday's U.S. pro cycling championships in Philadelphia
were a wildly successful affair. "The roar out there reminded me
of the Champs-Elysees at the end of the Tour de France," said the
U.S.'s Fred Rodriguez (above), who successfully defended his
title in front of an estimated 750,000 spectators. Said Germany's
Petra Rossner, who won her fifth women's crown, "You will see
more European teams coming over to race. Sponsors are seeing good
things for cycling in the States."...
Doug Flutie wasn't the only NFL star to enter a recent
triathlon. On June 3 safety Pat Tillman of the Arizona Cardinals
completed the Blackwater EagleMan Triathlon in Cambridge, Md.,
in a respectable six hours and 10 minutes. "It would be an
insult to triathletes to compare the fatigue you feel in a
triathlon to the fatigue you feel in a football game," says
Tillman, who was competing in his first half-Ironman. "The
stamina you need is so much greater, especially when you're
trying to finish your run."...
Eric Simonson's climbing team didn't recover Sandy Irvine's body
(or the camera that might shed light on whether he and George
Mallory were the first to reach Everest's summit, in 1924), but
they did save the lives of three climbers, two Russians and a
Guatemalan, whom they found near the summit suffering from
Before there were halfpipes and X Games, there was Michael Lund,
a tanned, long-shanked freestyle skier who dazzled the public in
the 1970s with his aerial acrobatics. In April '78, however, Lund
vanished after he was implicated in a $75 million pot-smuggling
bust in Seattle. While his children grew up believing their
father had been killed by drug dealers, Lund assumed a new
identity, Steven McCain, and started a new family. That secret
life was exposed last month, when his ex-wife from his second
life alleged he had not paid $32,803 in child support. McCain,
65, was thrown in a Colorado jail, where a fingerprint check
identified him as Lund. If convicted on the drug charge, he faces
up to 20 years in prison.
Climbers to summit Mount Everest during a one-hour, 37-minute
window on May 22, a single-day record. Among them was Temba
Tsheri, 16, of Nepal, who became the youngest person to reach the
peak. The final week of the Everest climbing season also
witnessed the oldest person to summit, 64-year-old Sherman Bull
of New Canaan, Conn.
For more adventure, go to siadventure.com and check out these
--Breaking Away: Tips for planning your summer bike trip
--Gear for the serious biker, climber and paddler
--Trail Guide: Complete U.S. National Parks info database
Faces and Feats
Bill Bell, Indian Wells, Calif.
Bell, 78, completed the Ironman California in 16:56:36 to become
the oldest Ironman finisher ever. With that performance the
retired mechanical engineer qualified for his 19th Ironman World
Championships, which will be held in Kona, Hawaii, in October.
Adam Wickwire, Satellite Beach, Fla.
Adam, 13, won the boys' open title at the National Scholastic
Surfing Association Eastern Championships, in Sebastian Inlet,
Fla. In two weeks the seventh-grader--who won last year's Eastern
title--will attempt to win a third straight boys' open national
title, in San Clemente, Calif.
Rachel Throop, Valley Center, Calif.
Rachel, 12, took first place in the women's Junior Olympic
14-and-under division at the NORBA National Championship Series
opener in Big Bear Lake, Calif. The seventh-grader is the current
division leader in each of the three California mountain biking
series in which she competes.
Submit Faces candidates to siadventure.com/faces.