Mateo and Daddy


Hi, I'm Mark Rios. I'm a triathlete from Northern California. I don't do triathlons to set records. I just do them to stay in shape within my domain of work and family. Before I found triathlon working out was a bit of a chore. But triathons are interesting and keep life interesting because they are simple, yet beautifully complex. In this sport your workouts are different every single day, which is great because it minimizes the chance of burnout and reduces the risk of injury. Also, in my opinion as of current triathlon is still mainly a science and in its infancy. There's still a lot we don't know. So in terms of being sport, it's still evolving (for example a female professional is on course to be just as fast as the fastest male professional triathletes). But my favorite thing about the sport is that it attracts really great people from all walks of life and of all colors. The cliche, "you can't judge a book by its cover", is so true in triathlon. Never have I ever before in my life enjoyed the company of others from so many varied backgrounds. I'm constantly amazed at who participates in this sport. From the stay at home mom to the 80 year old nun. It's just filled with people of great character, those who will amaze you, and make you question your assumptions on life, reality, and what the human body is capable of.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Swimming for Nacho

It's official. I'm swimming the 2.4 mile swim of the Full Vineman for Nacho. I stepped down from the run due to metatarsalgia, Rod took my place for the 26.2 mi run ( Rod, you da man!) and now I'm stepping back up to the plate. Thanks Nacho!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Road to Ironman from Recovery Town

This morning I went on a two and half mile walk with Maggy. I didn't take a watch with me. I just took the fresh air in and enjoyed the scenery. As I was walking I kept thinking about a conversation I had with Kari Duane last week after the tire changing clinic. She asked me what my plan was? And of course I was a smart ass with a reply and chuckled, "Your the coach". But in all honesty I think planning after being injured is very difficult. As of current when I ride my bike at speed I have flashbacks of what can happen. Earlier this year Kari tumbled on a silly rock and tore her muscles necessary for a run at speed.  And it was a sad sight because it appeared she was on track for a record year.

Kari Duane


From what I know training for IMAZ (Ironman Arizona) starts August 15th assuming HI (Half Ironman) shape. That's roughly seven weeks away and means I should be able to swim 1.2 mi, bike 56 mi, and run 13.1 mi. But there are hurtles in those seven weeks. August 3rd I'm having surgery on my left eye. I'm having an intact inserted to help with my keratoconus. This surgery means no suitable cycling vision in my left eye for the month of July. Furthermore, the surgery means no swimming in the month of August because the eye needs to heal and is vulnerable to bacteria in the water.

Normal eye top, Keratoconus bottom eye

Based on the above, it appears that in July, and possibly in the month of August I will be bound to cycling on the trainer.  This is really bad because though it's a good workout, you're going to lose fitness that only comes from riding outdoors.  Also, with only one eye driving is very dangerous. That means I will be highly dependant on my wife's schedule getting me to the gym with two children, a five year old and an eight month old.

So no swimming in August. That I'm not to worried about because I can regain swimming fitness in September and October.  Also, I've tried very hard to improve my swimming ability with little luck. So I've just reached the conclusion there is basically no loss by not swimming that extra mile. In the end I'll still be a flounder in water. Cycling is an other matter. Not having proper training in July and August is going to really be hurtful. The only conciliation I have is that if everything goes well my metatarsalgia (aka "Stone Bruise, because it feels like you have a rock in your shoe) will not act up in my right foot and I'll still be trekking on the trails.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Bike Crash, Lessons Learned

Riding my bike home from the gym I hit a rock while drafting behind a cyclist. It was a warm summer night, the sun was about an hour from setting. I was feeling great riding on smooth Silva Valley Road in El Dorado Hills. The other rider was just spinning at high rate listening to his Ipod and enjoying the blue sky. We joked a few minutes prior on how the weather was beautiful and how it was a perfect day to ride. It was surely a blessing over the cold spring rains we had earlier during the  year.  We then started heading north. After we passed the library, riding in the bike lane we increased speed. I was drafting behind him, enjoying the pull through the wind, looking forward to eating dinner after a hard workout at the gym. I would be home in a few minutes, and I knew a plate would be waiting for me at the table.

 He then waved his right hand, then motioned towards the ground. By the time I figured out whey he did that it was too little to late and there was no time to make a line adjustment. What I recall was hearing a loud cracking sound upon impact, which was the sound of my front wheel colliding with rock, immediately followed by both my tires blowing out.  Then my vision went into a blur. And then I heard another loud crack which was my helmet hitting the ground, followed by thuds of my body scraping across the ground.   My view of the rider's back tire changed in an instant.  Upon impact I flew off my bike and landed a good 20 to 30 feet from the point impact. In theory in does not sound that bad. But when you consider the fact that I'm a 200 pound man, moving around around 25 mph, flipping over my handle bars it's far from just a minor scratch. As I recall flying through the air prior to the halt, I remember the tip of index finger being ripped off. When I finally came to realizing what had happened, I immediately tried to stand, which is my first instinct after a fall, but this was not like all those other falls. I immediately felt pain on my head, hands, elbows, and buttocks. I had trouble breathing because the wind had been knocked out of me. The impact to my helmet was a hard lashing and my head throbbed as if I'd been hit with a bat. As I looked at bike and its broken parts thrown along the road I was in a daze. Cars were just passing by unaware that I had just crashed. Only I stood there looking at my wounds bleeding and in sever pain. A few seconds later I immediately became sick to my stomach and felt like fainting from the blood, and immense pain. I leaned against a sign post and then had to immediately lay next to the bike on the concrete. I thought for a minute that I had first aid supplies, and that was I prepared. However my right hand was bleeding badly, and was beyond use. There was no way I was capable of accessing the first aid supplies, let alone attending to my wounds. 

Lessons from this event were many.

1. For starters I learned you should never draft behind someone that may not be aware how close you are. In this case it was one hundred percent my fault. Combine the latter with the fact that the warning probably came late due to an Ipod and it was a recipe for disaster.

2. Don't expect motorist to stop after you crash unless you appear very blood and on the ground. I was in a place where drivers eventually started pulling over and asking me for help. However had I not had to laid down getting help from a motorist would have been unlikely. In my case a man who was a former nurse was walking by with his family, he offered and I first denied his help. That was a mistake and he came back to see if I need help again. He stayed with me. He then asked who was the president. What month it was, which I got wrong. And he helped gather my bike and things. The lesson here is that if a person offers you help, accept it! And ask them to make sure you're thinking straight and, or call for help.

3. If you carry first aid don't expect to use it on yourself. After a crash you may be in a daze and in severe pain. Wave someone down if you need to use it.

4. It's difficult describing your location to others after a hard crash. In this case I was in such agony that it took me a few seconds to be able to put the words together necessary to communicate my location.

5. I recommend never riding alone. Having a companion in a severe emergency can save your life.

6. My cell phone was my saving grace. With it I was able to call my wife. She then picked me up and took me to Kaiser emergency for a six hour visit.

7. Don't wear an expensive watch or gps device on your wrist. Its likely it will be sustain some damage from the impact. I recommend mounting any expensive technology behind your bike stem.

8. The road rash tore down to tender tissue. It's been ten days now. And I still have exposed tissue which is prone to infection. Be prepared to have trouble sleeping. Also, be prepared for the ooze that comes out of these wounds, along with the itching associated with healing.

9. I recommend if you have a desk job that you wear full finger gloves. Typing with a reattached finger tip is painful.

10. Don't expect for doctors to discover all the damage to you after a crash. The pain from them scrubbing out road rash with exposed tissue is nauseating. You may feel other shooting pains later on, in unusual places, like your lower back or parts of your body that were not associated with points of impact. In my case I have extreme pain standing up and laying down.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Photos and Videos from EDH Tri Club Mock Tri, June 12, 2010

One mile swim, twenty five mile bike, six mile run at 8 am, for pleasure, for pain, for six pack abs? Yes sir, may I have an other? For those not in the know the following documents a mock triathlon put on by Kari Duane, coach of El Dorado Hills Triathlon Club.  This was at Beals Point off of Folsom-Auburn Road, on Lake Folsom.  I was the man with the camera at this event. And though my hand was killing 
from a bike accident, I managed to keep it together, both on the camera and while deeply wishing I was participating.

Much Love,
Club Rios


I Signed Up for Ironman Arizona, Oh No.

I generally like to point fingers when things don't go as planned. In this case I was sold on the idea of doing an Ironman. The sales person was Kari Duane, coach for El Dorado Hills Triathlon Club. Before being solicited I was just planning on doing Olympic and Sprint triathlons just to stay in shape. This to me sounded reasonable for a family man. A little play time with the kids in the back yard and the ability of running a few miles without dropping dead sounded reasonable. And then I met Kari. A women with six kids, capable of eating a box of chinese food from Nugget and then running ten miles.

Alright, well I'm not a genetic over achiever. I have two kids. But I was sold on the Ironman image. Six pack abs, spandex, and getting a cool tatoo on my calf of the Ironman.  Plus I could sport the Ironman sticker on my car all while inhaling a box of chowmein. Sweet.

Now I have to justify this decision with some real rational. Part of me feels like triathlons are just something yuppies do now, similar to running marathons in the 1980s with perms and velcro tennis shoes. Now in 2010 we have raised the bar to get that water cooler pride. Marathon runners are a dime a dozen now. Everyone and their mother wants or has qualified for Boston. Now the yuppy bar is set at swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and then running 26.2 miles in one day. Furthermore, in the 1980s you could get by with a good pair of sneakers. Now you have a triathlon bike that cost more than your first car.

Back to reasoing, it could be I'm a macho man. I like doing things that no one in my family has ever done. Lets see, get a degree in mathematics from the most prestigous math department in the world, check. Work for a leading actuarial consulting firm, check. Speak three different languages fluently, check. Hmm... swim in the San Francisco Bay with Sea Lion feces, check.

Useful Links for Triathletes for EDH and Folsom Triathletes

Understanding Hammer Perpetuem - The Fuel for Extreme Endurance

I've read good things about Perpetuem but before buying it I really wanted to understand the product by studying the  ingredients. Particulary those ingredients which you don't necessarily make your shopping list. Ingredients like vanilla flavoring or caffeine or amino acids are common place in our modern diet. But when I read that Perpetuem contains commercial grade cleaner found at Home Depot, my interest was peaked.

There are two flavors of Perpetuem: Caffee Late and Orange Vanilla and there is also flavorless. For my personal research I chose the Caffe Late flavor since I enjoy coffee.

Each serving of Perpetuem Caffe Late has the following:

1. Long Chained Maltodextrin

2. Soy Protein Isolates

3. Energy Smart (proprietary)

4. Lecithin (soy)

5. Trisodium Phosphate

6. Stevia

7. Coline Bitartrate

8. Chromium Polynicotinate

Long Chained Maltodextrin

According to this is a short chain linked dextrose, also known as gluclose. They also state the term refers to a family of gluclose chains, up to twenty. The "long chained" verbage may refer to a high number of dextrose units linked together. So the term Long Chained Maltodextrin is really ambigious nutrionally. In any case according to this is produced by hydrolysis from corn, wheat or potatoes.

Soy Protein Isolates

There are two Soy based ingredients in Perpetuem. Soy Protein Isolate is one and Lecithin mentioned below is the other. This simple ingredient is just protein extracted from soy beans. Protein isolate can also come from Whey.

Energy Smart

Hammer claims this is a sweetner which comes from fruit sugars and sugars from grains. The process of making Energy Smart maintains the integrity of the grain dextrin enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

Lecithin (Soy)

According to the United Soybean Board this is made up of phospholipids from Soy Bean Oil. Lecithin is used to stabliize foods, including margarine and cosmetic products. It's also excellent source of choline.

Trisodium Phosphate

You can buy this at any hardware store in the paint section. I first used it to clean walls prior to painting. It's also used to clean wax and grease off garage floors. But it's non-toxic and according to Fhosphate Facts it's used by our muscles and all living animals


This is the second sweetner in Perpetuam but unlike Energy Smart which is grain based Stevia is herb based. Stevia is derived from the Stevia plant. Per Wikipedia it's 300 times sweeter than sugar however it never obtained FDA approval.

Coline Bitartrate

Amonia salts, derivatives of eggs and soy. Just a guess, but this is added as an electrolyte.

Chromium Polynicotinate

Regulates blood sugar in Diabetics. I could see this being useful in a long course endurance event. Keep the blood sugar nice and steady so you don't crash.

Great Song