I thought today would be an excellent blog day since it is a once in a century triple nine day. It is also the 5 year anniversary of the day I was hit by an RV while riding my bicycle in Kansas. Further, today is the start of my father’s big Hubbell Extreme building project in Des Moines. He is building a nine-plex home for nine families in nine days. The project is in conjunction with Anawim housing. The housing is free and is being donated by a whole slew of companies and contractors. My dad’s company, Hubbell Realty, is overseeing the whole the project. Pretty cool, Go Dad!


So after my race in New Hampshire at Timberman I relocated with Ashley and the entire TYR crew of athletes to a remote lake in New Hampshire for a photo shoot with TYR. The shoot was focused on the launch of the 2010 product line which will be unveiled at Interbike in a few weeks. While I have done several photo shoots for TYR in the past. This shoot was by far the most intensive. TYR not only had 5 athletes at the shoot (Andy, Chrissie, Mags, Becky, and me) but also the designers, photographers, makeup artist (yes I did wear some makeup, but not in all the photos and just enough really show my inner beauty!), videographers, and TYR ownership. We were all staying in various cabins on this remote lake, with little to no cell phone service and one cabin with a wireless internet router. It was remote and isolated which was good for the shoot, just difficult to stay in touch with the rest of the world. Anybody who knows me well knows I don’t survive long without an internet connection, so at least I was provided the luxury of staying in the cabin with internet. I managed just fine.


We took off Sunday after the race and arrived in time for dinner, we went over the schedule for the next three days which looked like this; Monday: Sample new fabrics and garments with design team and provide feedback for the existing product line. Tuesday: Shoot, photos and video all day. Wednesday: Shoot in the morning then depart in the evening. Monday was actually a really cool day. The TYR design team came and presented us with all the latest in fabric technology and let us sample and actually workout in just about every piece of technical apparel you could imagine. This was a fantastic way to really see what types of fabrics work well for different applications. I have some definite favorites but I can’t spill the beans on what will come. Each athlete had an intensive one on one with the designers to go over the current line and what type of improvements we would like to see.


Tuesday was the shoot and the photographers were ready and amped early in the morning for us. I did manage to get out for a nice long open water swim before we started and photographer Eric Wynn was able to follow me in the kayak and get some awesome shots in the morning light. We did a series of group and individual shots with very little downtown but of course a lot of time between shots where we did some excellent team bonding. While Andy Potts was shooting solo and the rest of us were waiting for our turn to pose for the photographers, Chrissie Wellington devised the TYR Sayonara Olympics. The Olympics consisted of 4 athletes, Magali Tisseyre, Becky Lavelle, Chrissie Wellington, and me. We divided into teams of two, Mags and Becky vs. Chrissie and me. We were all dressed in the TYR Sayonara swimskin which made the Olympics an even better spectacle. The first competition was the wheel barrow race. Up first was me carrying Chrissie’s legs vs. Becky carrying Mag’s legs. Chrissie and I got smoked…bad! So to repeat the event we decided to switch places and then with Chrissie carrying my legs we were able to win. Next event was the three legged race. We tied a rope around our ankles and did a nice little jog on the beyach. While Mags and Becky were tied up first, Chrissie and I were worried they had too much practice time, but Chrissie and I totally dominated this event. So after 3 races the score was Chrissie and TJ 2: Becky and Mags 1. Next up was the Leap Frog. The Leap Frog entailed jumping over your partner’s back while he or she is crouched on all fours in the sand then crouching yourself once the jump is completed and having your partner jump over your back.  The first run of the race ended with both teams being disqualified for running after the jumps (Chrissie and Becky were both guilty). The second run ended in a tight race but with Becky and Mags coming out on top. Now the score was tied at 2-2 and we needed one more event to decide the gold medal. Piggy Back Race! After much arguing about the fairness of a piggy back race and having a guy on only one of the teams, we decided it would be fair if I carried Chrissie and Becky carried Mags. This was actually a much better match than originally predicted. In a very close race, Beck and Mags took a dive in the sand over the finish line to win and take the gold medal. I had to settle for silver (or last depending on how you look at it) with Chrissie. Andy missed all the action of the TYR Sayonara Olympics but since he actually competed in the real Olympics, he didn’t think he was missing much, shows how little he knows. The day ended very late and I was super tired and ready for bed.


Wednesday was also an early morning and I woke up with Ryan Dolan knocking on my door telling me I had 15 minutes to get ready for a shot. The last shot we did was a group and individual running shot on a gravel road through the woods. The light was awesome and the shot looked really cool. We had to take turns running first in a group then running individually in a loop right at the camera. My favorite quote of the weekend was Chrissie running into the camera “There are no brakes on this machine!” The last few shots of the day were Andy and me running together up the hill. The very last shot and wrap for the whole shoot was a race and $10 bet from the photographer to see who could sprint the 100m up the hill to the circle spot on the gravel first. It was just Andy and me and when the photographer said "GO!” we both took off at full speed, just a small chance for me to highlight my fast twitch ability and take a shot at Andy. While I have never beaten Andy Potts in a triathlon race, I did give him a thorough beating in the gravel road sprint. The last shot the photographer got was me with a stupid grin on my face, sticking my tongue out over my teeth in a small celebration. That was a perfect ending. Andy tells me, “Great, now if we ever have a sprint finish, that is all you are going to remember” I told him, “The worst part is…that is all you are going to remember!”


Ashley and I took off later in the evening and drove back to Boston to leave for home after being on the road for 10 days. From Des Moines, to Utah, to Boston, to two lakes in New Hampshire, back to Boston, then home. It was a whirlwind tour and exhausting. I’m not sure Ashley will ever accompany me to a photo shoot again unless maybe it is on a beach in Hawaii or something. There’s an idea, next year we can all fly to Hawaii for the shoot. Count me in. I want a rematch of the TYR Olympics, I’m never happy with second place.


Work Hard,