Monday, November 16, 2009


So the question goes - how do you kill a Saab? Well...besides just driving it and trusting it will do the job itself (which it will, I promise - see Viggen in the dictionary), you could speed the matter up with a blow torch, a plasma cutter, and other fun tools.

Below you'll find the sequential pictures of the 1982 Saab dying a rather quick and dirty death...all to save the roll cage and get it into the 1989 Saab. We'll donate the engine (its worth more as scrap) to Tony.

This is Bruce and Brian having the time of their lives cutting up our race car. The claim it only caught fire "4 or 5 times" and that they lost 3-7 years off their lives due to the Swedish fumes. (and yes, Bruce still refuses to call our car a "race" car.)


Looks just like a 900 Convertible.

Seems to be a bit nose heavy. Notice the steering wheel is still attached.

(this one below looks like the Swedish version of a rickshaw)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Farewell - and good riddance

Here are the final pictures of the 1982 Saab, just prior to being packed up to goto the glue factory. This is what it looked like after sitting in the mud for 10 months. And you know what - the darn thing started right up (mostly). Too bad the clutch was totally shot (see race report - 2009). So it still had to be pushed to the curb, where I'm surprised it didn't burst one final radiator hose in disgust.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Once....twice.....three times a laaaddyyyy.

After a 10 month vacation doing non-Lemony things, to put it mildly...we're BACK. And this time, we brought a turbo with us. For those of you curious about naming our blog post after a Lionel Richie song, first watch this clip, which is my favorite Seinfeld clip of all time:

We're bound to end up similarly.

First, we bought the blue 1982 Saab 900. The unturbo version. We raced it two times with marginal success (one race was a blown engine, one race was a blown clutch / brain). The car was a trusted sidekick, as long as you didn't trust it. This car is currently in Dallas having its roll cage extracted the hard way (as in - lets just cut the car in half and do it that way), so we can put that same roll cage in another car.

Shortly after purchasing the blue bomber unturbo, for some reason, I bought a 2000 Saab Viggen. Don't know why, but I did. I sold my dead-solid reliable pickup for a dead-crappy GM-Saab. It blew up last week. Says Bobby the Mechanic - "all I see is schrapnel inside your cylinder". Good Swedish times these days.

Yes, we bought a THIRD Saab. Except this one is better (cough cough). Its a 1989 Saab 900 Turbo.
1) its newer, and newer is always better right?
2) its got a T-U-R-B-O. In other words, an additional weak-ass Swedish part to break during the race.
3) it has 4 doors. Which means its uglier. A lot uglier.
4) we're going back to a Swedish theme this time.

Below are some pics of the next car (which is also my daily driver while the Viggen gets a transplant). Stay tuned for more updates as we again prove we haven't learned a single lesson in the past 2 years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am writing this on Tuesday, 60 hours after the race, and still my legs barely work. Lets go through this sequentially though, because legs are a topic all to themselves.

We (Tessins and Crokers) stayed at Bodega Bay on the California coast for the 4 day race weekend. Temperatures were in the low 50's to the mid 70's all weekend. How hot can it possibly be hot 25 miles to the east of here where the race is?!?

The race is a tad unique in that it has two separate transition areas. The first is a rocky beach on the side of the Russian River. The beach is not particularly large, and once you put 2200 bikes there, its even smaller.

SWIM (1900 meters) - 37:00 minutes (top 36%)
Dave and I swam in the same swim wave, which is only the second time that's happened in 2 years. My goal for the swim was to complete the swim in around 35:30, and finished slightly slower than that. During the swim (which got pretty boring, apart from the woman who I mistakenly slapped on the butt during the swim), Dave and I swam literally next to one another for the first half. He eventually pulled away, and finished about 30 seconds quicker. One odd thing about swimming in a shallow river - you sometimes have people running in the shallow water next to you rather than swim. And yes, your hands do hit the bottom of the river every now and then. I had some slight calf cramping at the end of the swim, but wasn't alarmed by it due to achilles problems recently. Coming out of the water and the first transition area, I was about 1:30 behind my goal.

Here is a picture of our swim start:

Picture of me coming in from the swim:

BIKE (56 Miles) - 2:54:00 (top 38%)
The bike ride was incredible. Very scenic, and moderately hilly. Coming out of the water, it was a cool 60 degrees, and slowly warmed up over the next 3 hours. I rode most of the race with the same group of people, and had a running joke about passing them on the downhills, and they passing me on the uphills. Definitely broke up the ride boredom. My goal was to average 18mph, and actually averaged 19.1mph. The ride has 2 major hill climbs...the first one was pretty unremarkable, and Chalk Hill was harder than expected. Chalk Hill is the signature part of the ride, and there was ONE person spectating there. One. And he wasn't even clapping. He just said "you're at the top." Thanks dude.

At the top of the hill, and for the next 5 miles, I had a quad cramp, which was a first for me on a ride. I rode the last 10 miles pretty easy, knowing I was way ahead of my goal and trying to save my legs for the half marathon approaching. And it was getting hot.

Coming out of the 2nd transition area, I was around 8-9 minutes ahead of my goal. Both Dave and I expected an exceedingly hard ride given the terrain, but both of us believe that our training rides were quite a bit tougher than this route...most notably the Chappell Hill routes west of Houston.

Some pictures from the ride from the Crew:

Mile 27 (I about hit that guy in front of me while paying attention to the fans!)

Finish line for the bike

Caroline waiting on Daddy!

End of the ride - feeling very good for the run.

RUN (13.1 miles) - 3 hours 50 minutes (top 80%)
No that isn't typo. And no, it wasn't a full marathon distance! Yes, I ran the 13 miles at a 17:45 pace per mile. I'll go through this in order. Coming out of transition, I felt better than I have EVER felt going into a run in a triathlon. My legs felt amazing, my heart rate was low, my hamstrings were fresh....

Here I am passing the Crew at around 300 yards into the run.

At around 350 yards (as in, like 30 seconds after passing them), my race started to unravel at a pace that was very alarming. I immediately started cramping in both quads, bad enough that I had to stop and stretch for 2-3 minutes for them to release. After that, I tried to run for about 2 minutes, and walk 1-2 minutes for the next 3 miles or so. My original goal was to run without stopping to mile 6.5, and survive the rest. My first mile was a 12 minute pace, my second mile was a 13 minute pace, and at mile 3, the run started getting hilly. For most people, these hills were a joke. For someone from Houston, they felt massive. My running is basically a thing of the past, and I am facing walking almost every inch of this race.

Around mile 5, I was running for maybe 30 seconds, cramping in some leg area (you name it, it cramped up), and walking for 3-5 minutes. Cramping was now in my quads, calves, and hamstrings, but subsided everytime. I saw Dave around mile 5.5 (he was at mile 8), and he looked pretty dang good (though he said he was really struggling). At this point, I was also trading places with a 55 year old man, who was only walking. He was outpacing my jog-walk-jog-walk strategy, which was pretty demoralizing!

Its worth noting here that it was hot. DAMN HOT. 95-98 degrees hot according to, and the run route had minimal shade. It was blistering out there. And I forgot to take my salt tablets during the race (big mistake I think).

After mile 6, running was no longer an option. Now I was speed walking like a fairy. In spandex. I think around mile 8, my overall goal of 6 hours passed, which was pretty funny to me at the time.

At mile 9.5, both calves and both quads totally locked up on me. I fell over immediately on the road screaming words that I can't repeat here. A couple people tried to help me stretch the cramps, but it was so bad they couldn't move my ankles or feet. Totally locked. And I was sitting on a 100 degree piece of road. They rolled me over into the dirt in the shade, and left me for dead. And thanks to the runners who ran over me while laying in the road. You guys were great. Really.

I stayed in the dirt for 10-15 minutes until my leg muscles released, got up, and started progressively walking more and more. 2 steps. Stop. Stretch for 2 minutes. 4 steps. Stretch. etc etc. Everyone who passed me on the run asked why my back was covered in dirt. "Did you pass out?" "Did you crash?" "Were you wrestling a cow?" "Were you helping repave these roads?"

The back of the race is full of great people, all fighting various problems (mostly cramping this day). Very encouraging people, and all in a lot of pain. But all positive. Very positive. It was definitely the highlight of the race for me. I eventually walked all the way to the finish line, having walked 90% of the 13.1 miles. I figured my cheering Crew had left and gone home by this point!

The finish line was pretty funny, as Caroline and Landon both walked across with me. The announcer was making fun of me, because neither kid would hold my hand since I probably smelled so bad. I did trot across the last 5 feet though.

Here is a picture of the finish:

Walking over to the tent after finishing...

I finished in 7 hours, 34 know, roughly 94 minutes slower than my goal (top 76%). Would I do it again? Of course (but not anytime soon). I really need to be another 20-25 lbs lighter to do this again, and that will become the next goal. Overall, the race was easier (through the bike) than I expected, and significantly harder than I expected on the run (obviously). I think the running injuries in the past 5-6 weeks didn't do me any favors, though none of that seemed to have crept up during the race. I think the majority of my problems were race-nutrition related...and things that are easily solved. We're planning on doing the Austin Triathlon in September, then concentrating on strength and speed through the fall.

Dave had an awesome race. I was blown away by his pace. He averaged 20.5mph (2.5 above his goal), and bought enough time on the bike that his slower-than-expected run didn't keep him from beating his goal by 3 minutes (he finished in 5 hours 40 minutes). He fought some cramping at the end as well, but nothing too bad. He really had an incredible race, and at the end said he had hit hit endurance limit for these types of races and wasn't interested in going further or doing it again. The next day, he was already plotting the next 70.3 race.

Picture from beginning of Dave's run

Picture of Dave finishing:

The CREW!!!
We had an incredible support crew made up of Mom, Dad, Candice, Caroline, Landon, Jennifer Tessin, and Paige Tessin....all wearing custom made yellow shirts (turns out there was a DJ crew from Sacramento called "Phil and Dave" who were racing too, and some thought they were cheering for them). They were super easy to spot on the course (partly due to the shirts, mostly due to their loud cheering). It was also a ton of fun with Landon and his "code word". Everytime we saw each other, we yelled "SALAMI!!!!" to each other. The word ultimately was appropriate, because the race turned me into fatty, cooked meat. The crew was awesome, and made the race WAY more fun and was something to look forward to over the 70 miles. They endured a LONG day in the heat, and I think I would have rather been out there racing than corraling kids!!! Candice also deserves a big thank you for allowing me to train for this big event, as it took a significant amount of time away from the family.

Here's a picture of everyone at the finish, and other pictures of the Crew.

Jennifer, Paige, and Caroline

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WE'RE OFF!'s time to race this Sunday. After...
  • 300 miles of running this year
  • 68000 meters of swimming (sounds way more impressive in meters than saying 42 miles)
  • 800 miles of riding (a huge short-fall really)
  • 5 flat tires & 2 broken spokes
  • 1 achilles injury and 1 sore hamstring that won't go away
  • 184 days of Dave cursing at me while I stretch (he doesn't stretch)
  • 8 warmup races, well, 7.5 for me if you take into account Flattire-a-Palooza this past May
  • 1 running accident in front of an entire crew of road workers (they were very entertained)
...the Vineman 70.3 is finally here. For up-to-date results after the race, goto Goals for the race for me is to beat 6 hours, and for Dave to beat 5:45. We'll be hanging out on the coast before and after the race getting ready for 6 hours of pain. Preparation know....look like this:

Monday, June 22, 2009

My New Dubs

Got my new (used) wheels on Friday, a pair of carbon fiber HED 3's. Supposed to be some of the most aerodynamic wheels available, which helps offset the big fat lug on top of the bike. I rode with them on Sunday for our 60 mile ride in Cleveland. Yes, I was still slower than Dave. But it felt faster than before.

Turns out that the Cleveland ride is a great approximator of the Vineman ride. The graph of the elevation change (in meters) for the Cleveland ride vs. the Vineman is in the graph below. That climb in the middle of the black graph (~mile 30) was a real gut buster.

2 more long training rides left before we ship the bikes to California...

The new gear:

Thursday, June 18, 2009


With the Big Race in 30 days (no, not a LeMons race), its time to change the theme of the blog somewhat to include triathlons. Fellow Slaab driver Dave Tessin and I are wrapping up the 6 month build up to the Half Ironman (plus the 5 races we did in 2008), with over 60,000 meters of swimming done, almost 300 miles of running, and over 600 miles of riding (not nearly enough)...its almost time. Assuming we survive this race, I'll be posting our race summary here LeMon's style.

The race? Vineman 70.3
The distance? 1.2 miles swim / 56 mile ride / 13.1 mile run
The date? July 19th - 7:58am start time.
The goal? Me - break 6 hours. Dave - 5 hours 30 minutes. (oh, and do not die is goal #2)

Vineman Triathlon

Here is my race report from the Cap Tex Triathlon in May, the last triathlon prior to Vineman:

Yesterday was the last triathlon / warmup before the Half Ironman (which is in 7 weeks!). This was an Olympic distance race (think – ¼ Ironman), and is similar to the race we did in Austin last August (and the one we did earlier this year in Galveston). Goals were pretty aggressive for this race – I wanted to lower my time by 13 minutes compared to a year ago. This was going to require better times in all three events…

Let me summarize the race easily – DISASTER.

Early Morning / Preparation –

· Alarm didn’t work that morning, so my morning routine was all messed up. Woke up to the sound of my phone ringing (Dave calling to wonder where I was). Not good.

· In the transition area before the race started, I went to pump up my rear tire, and accidently unscrewed the entire stem from the tire (instead of the end piece to fill it up). Woops.


· Swim was 1500 meters (Vineman race is 1900M). Water was 69 degrees – which is pretty cold. Anyway – the swim went very very well. I got comfortable quickly and felt good. The 2nd half of the swim was pretty consistent, and was passing people pretty steadily (a good sign). Had one incident where someone kicked the goggles clean off my face (that was a surprise), and another instance where I purposefully elbowed someone in the ribs (MOVE OVER!) while dunking someone on the other side (YOU TOO!). Needless to say, they stopped swimming for a moment and I passed them. Goal time for the swim – 27:30. Actual time -27:32. Best swim yet in two years. That was in the top 28% of all the swimmers out there (1,300 people). Dave swam it in 26:09 (top 20%).


· Another slow transition for me. Goal was 3:30, and actual was 4:15. Hard to sprint straight out of the water and straight onto the bike without catching your breath somewhere.


· Got onto the bike, and the first 2 miles or so is uphill. I was amazed at how dead my legs were during this part. Once we got to the top of the hill near the Capital Bldg, there was a downhill section and I hit 30mph, which felt great. Until my tire burst. At 30mph.

· On the side of the road – I figured my stem broke after my incident earlier that morning with my tire. So I tightened it up, got my CO2 canister out, and tried to fill the tire up. Didn’t work. Then I took my tire off (I carry a spare tube), and broke the tire tool which helps get the tire/tube off the rim. At that point, my tool was broke, my CO2 was empty, and I was seriously pissed.

· I started walking the bike back to the transition area (I broke down around 17th street. The transition area was around 1st street. A long ways). Got about ¼ of the way, and decided to try again at removing the tire, and I would attempt to flag Dave down when he rode past to take his CO2 from his bike (bike route was 4 laps…so I would see him multiple times). Dave throws me his CO2, I had the new tube on the tire…things were going GREAT. Got the CO2 working right….filled up the tire….put the tire back on the bike….and the tire burst on the spot.

· At this point – I’m done. I walk the bike all the way back to the transition area….stopping to talk with Candice / Landon / Caroline (who were wondering where the heck I was on the bike route)…and Candice talks me into going and at least finishing the race by running the 6 mile run.


· Man – I felt great on the run. Of course – I hadn’t done anything since the swim, so that’s obvious. My goal was to run a 9 minute average pace. First mile – 8:52. Second mile – 8:15. Third mile – 8:50. Fourth mile - ~10:30. Fifth mile - ~9:30. Sixth mile - ~9:15. Which one doesn’t belong?!? I have no idea what happened at mile 4….but clearly I passed out somewhere on the road. I ran the race at a 9:20 pace, which is really irritating since a) I was fresh and b) my pace was so good for most of the run. I also was trying a new product out on the run (for the Vineman) which was called LiquidShot (400 calorie gel). Really interested to see how it would work. Yeah – it fell out before mile 1. Never got to try it. Run was in the top 46% of the race, by far my best result in a race….and by far the most tainted since I didn’t do the bike. At one point – some old geezer told me I was doing great as I passed him. I turned around and said “YEAH – BUT I DIDN”T DO THE BIKE!”. He looked at me, and said “REALLY?!?”

· Dave almost made his goal – he wanted to finish in 2 hours 24 mintutes, and missed it by 4 minutes. His finish time was around 15 minutes faster than my goal time.

Anyway – not a great event to lead into the BIG ONE for me. But oh well. We still have a ton of training to do to be able to finish a longer event. Dave and I both agree that we’re going to have to really slow down our pace to finish Vineman (we’re pushing our times pretty aggressively in these shorter races). We’re in great shape for the swim….the bike is getting there…and our run will have to slow down to get more distance. Vineman – swim will be roughly the same as we just did in this race…bike will be double, run will be double.