Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Biggest Losers Compete in San Francisco Triathlon 2009


A month or so back Blaine from Season 7 contacted some of us about coming out to San Francisco to do a Triathlon. He had been contacted by a company called Tri-California about rounding up some former fat folk from tv for a serious athletic challenge. I and others immediately said yeah, blocked out the dates on our calendar and hoped everything would fall into place. Boy did it ever.

Behind the scenes the folk at Tri-California were feverishly putting together the pieces to get us Losers to California. We did not know how hard they were working but they put a lot together in a short amount of time.

They contacted their sponsors for equipment, made flight arrangements and even put us in contact with their company’s triathlon coaches Reid and Eileen. Some Losers, myself included did not avail ourselves of the coaching because we did not take the offer seriously (in the reality tv world when people tell you to ‘contact me’ they really mean ‘don’t bug me’ so some of us did not know that this was a real offer of assistance by Reid and Eileen).

I arrived in San Fran on Thursday and greeted by our executive driver Russ with his white limo who chauffeured us to the very nice Galleria Hotel in the market district. Actually it was a white van but I might as well make it appear like it was a limo! I was greeted by a goody sack that included a workout bag, bike helmet, googles other tri stuff, protein bars and Godiva Chocolates! AUUGGH. I immediately gave my Godiva to the bellman but since I had not eaten in like 12 hours I knocked out 1200 calories of protein bars! Crap!

Now after zero hours sleep on Wednesday night and a five + hour flight in cramped conditions I was exhausted. However I knew that I would not be working out on Friday in preparation for Saturdays event so I needed to get a workout in on Thursday. Especially since I have only been averaging two workouts per week over the last month. So after settling into the the hotel and catching up on some work, texting other Losers that I had arrived and taking a nap I went for a quick tour of the city – Biggest Loser style. I hopped onto google maps and got a route and jogged from my hotel on Sutter down Embarcadero to the World Famous Fishermans Wharf and back. Running is a great way to see the sights of a city.

After getting back to the room and settling down for some more work Blaine sent me a text to ‘stop working and come relax’. How did he know what I was doing? I don’t know but I shut the pc and caught up with him and Dane. We gathered in the lobby to head out for dinner where we met up with the rest of the Losers who had arrived in town. There was Hollie, Coleen, Bernie, Brittany, Heba and Ed, Blaine and Dane. We went to a Mexican(?) restaurant where I had half a roast chicken and veggies and a salad.

While at the restaurant I found out that my Alumni from my Season were in town. Matt, Suzy and Seth (and his wife Chelsea) BL2 were in town and had gone out to dinner. I called Seth and caught up with them at the hotel briefly in-between my appetizer and main entrée.

Friday Morning I was able to get up early enough to sneak in a 30 minute resistance workout before meeting Russ in the lobby to head out to Treasure Island which is a former military base. The sights on the bridges alone were amazing.

At the Island we meet up with our underutilized triathlon coaches Reid and Eileen who gave us instructions on maximizing our experience. Then we were fitted for our Bikes and I got a chance to ride an actual road bike instead of the terrain bike I am used to. Very different feel but all-together cool. Why are there no road bike rental places in Mi?

We then went to Lunch to do press meet and greet and then eventually back to the hotel for a hot minute before attending a dinner time reception at the Hotel with fans of the show and a private dinner afterward. Then it was time to rest up.

Race Day

The air was palatable with excitement as the overcast horizon hid the sun that would soon shine on our success. Whatever that means.

We woke up and met in the lobby and rode to Treasure Island where we spent the next hour rounding up our bikes and laying out our gear in the transition area. I tried to do what Blaine and Dane did since they were pretty seasoned at this stuff.


Helen Phillips broke her wrist and toe a couple weeks back while bike riding on Mackinac Island so she was our Official Starter and Head Cheerleader.

Relay Teams

Team Hoover – Suzy (Swim and Bike) Suzys Friend (Run)

Team Believe It Be It – Ali (Swim) Brittany (Bike) Bernie (Sprint – I run – He sprints)

Full Tri’s

Blaine, Dane, Matt, Ed, Pete, Holly, Heba, Coleen

Swim Leg

We BL’ers had our own ‘wave’ that launched around 7:30am. We started off in the water and the temperature was very reasonable considering the sky was overcast and it was a rather windy 70 degrees or so. It also really helped that I had a great wet suit from Patty at It was a tri-bouy set up and you swim around the bouys twice for a toal of .93 miles. This was the first time I had been swimming since my Sophomore year of high school. “How hard can it be?”, I thought. “I am from The Biggest Loser. I can do anything!”

It was Hard as H-E double hockey sticks! I remember thinking, “What did I sign up for? Black folk don’t swim?” Then I would remember my Goddaughter Carlee Jackson and Olympic Gold medalist Cullen Jones.

It was rough. I started off slow, slowed down further and knew it would be a long swim when a turtle with one flipper passed me by and asked me to stay in my lane. I started getting cramps in my thighs and my arms did not want to move at all. I had to fall into a pattern of 30 regular strokes, 30 backstrokes, 3 minutes floating then 6 minutes floating.

The worst thing of all was that the back of my neck was on fire! My swimming form was so poor (I never put my head in the water so imagine a human bobble head) and the wetsuit was rubbing a increbible rash into my neck. The saltwater salve was not helping either.

When I thought I might want to give up I had to talk to myself: “Phillipians4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then I thought to myself “What if Christ did not strengthen you to do this, you dummy?” Then I sang to myself, “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”. Then I thought – “You should not be proud of this, your floating like a harpooned seal!” Then as I would look over and see the Jet Ski with the little stretcher on the back to take in troubled swimmers, I started hearing Jillian: “If you quit I am going to kick you A!#”. Then I knew I would finish. It might be as they are closing the course, but I would finish.

Finally I got to shore after an hour in the water (most of the others finished around 30 minutes) and as I got out of the water I was so incredibly dizzy I had to sit down on the launch steps. I understood later that as you swim most of your blood goes to your upper body and as your body readjust you get the willys. It was really weird!

I made it to the transition area with Coach Reid’s assistance and asked him about my neck. He told me I would be fine, put some body glide on it and figuratively kicked me in the tail to get me off on my bike leg.

Bike Leg

It took a lap or so just to get my bearings after that swim. Did I mention how hard that swim was? Let me tell you about it. Oh I digress.

Anyway the Bike course was termed ‘technical’ meaning there are like 200 turns over the course of the entire 24 miles (6 laps) including a slight hill at the conclusion of each lap. I made sure I grabbed and guzzled at least 20 oz of water or PowerAid on nearly every lap to help me recover from the swim. If was also different getting accustomed to a real road bike (provided by Sports Basement) as opposed to my Hybrid beast of a road/ mountain bike.

After a couple laps I got into a grove with my bike and actually started passing kids on tricycles and even lapped and jogger who was pushing a stroller. I was getting the hang of this thing! Coaches Reid and Eileen and Helen and other Tri-Cal folks and fans were cheering us on!

The only rough patch was when my inner thigh started cramping up! I had never felt that before so I had to adjust how I sat and pedaled etc. Then on the last hill I (I usually take hills standing up) I caught the mother of all quad cramps and it was seizing up something serious as I came into the transition area (the pros caught a pic of me grimmacing). I literally had to sit down and try to stretch out my quad before I go up to start my run. I was afraid Coach Reid would come over again and give me the boot so I had to boogie onto the run course.

Run Leg

I knew with the leg cramp that I had to hydrate so I took water and Powerade and Bananas and Glucose drops all during the run of 6.2 miles (three laps).

Thanks to Phil at Hyperkat Racing I had fresh batteries for my Polar heartrate monitor and I settled into my aerobic heartrate zone and each lap was within a few seconds of the prior. I had not fully recovered from the swim but at least I knew I would was in my element. That swim was rough. Did I tell you about that swim? I don’t think you understand!

As I crossed the finished line nearly all of the Losers cheered me on and I felt remarkably refreshed for an almost 4 hour workout. I knew it had to do with the fact that we Losers were there together as a team pushing through and cheering for each other. Not to mention the encouragement from other triathletes along the way like the gentleman who was competing on his 67th birthday.

And then there was ‘Crash girl’;

I witnessed a female triathlete in an ugly crash with another cyclist. She was bent over in pain and crying. Then I saw her later finishing up on the run course. And she had the nerve to encourage us along the run. She was the stud! No quit whatsoever. That’s B.L. style right there.

Here is Tri-Cal’s TV Page and YouTube Channel

Expect a Bl excerpt soon and see Blaine and Dane do a Half-Ironman before the BL finale. Sick!

You can go to EternalTiming’s web site and view our results by team, by gender as well as our split times per event, Swim Bike and Run. You can also see pictures from the professional photographers who were on site.

Search by CLASS and look for Biggest Loser M (Male) F (Female) or R (Relay)

After all the Losers finished some of us grabbed a bite to eat at the course. I must have easily eaten over 2000 calories of Granola and yogurt and other ‘healthy’ junk foodf. I turned my heart rate monitor on during the second lap of the Bike leg and by the end of the run had burned 5100 calories. That’s amazing. But I still should have eaten better post race.

Some of us then went to the hotel to rest and some of us stayed and watched the professionals race and I got some medical attention for my neck. Today I can’t turn my head to either side without pain but I am told it will blister and scab up and it is the mark of a Triathlete so I should shut up and be proud. I got back to the hotel and got some work done and took a 30 minute nap before heading out to dinner.

One of the regular triathletes who also has ownership in a restaurant called ROE shut down one floor in the establishment for all BL and Tri-Cal staff to gather and celebrate our accomplishment. Tri-Cal gave us awards for the Top BL Team (Ali, Brittany and Bernie) and the Top Male (Blaine) and Female (Hollie).  Also Blaine gave us all awards that uniquely described our race that day. Ali got the ‘Speedboat’ award and I got the ‘Rowboat’ award. Hmm, I wonder why. Did I tell you about…

In conclusion the Triathlon may well become a new love if I can get a hold of good equipment (why are there no road bike rental companies in Ann Arbor?) I plan to look up Triathlon events in Michigan today.

As a company, Tri-Cal is full of incredible people like Terry, Colleen, Megan, Meredith, Liz, Russ, Eileen, Natalie, Reid, Nick and everyone else I forgot to mention.

The sport of Triathlon is full of incredibly helpful people such as, HyperKat Racing, Sports Basement and all the other sponsers.

So here is the video summary from the weekend.

As for my summary from the weekend: It was great! Amazing even!

San Fran farmers 0709091205.jpg Biggest Loser Triathlon Contestants 2009 San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island - Pete (17) San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island - Pete (16)

We contestants have a special bond with those contestants from our own Seasons primarily and then with other BL alumni and now with our fellow BL Trithletes. I hope to do many more triathlons and potentially introduce others to the sport. After I line up sponsors for the equipment and take a masters swim class of course!

Hope our weekend inspires you to go out and do something you have not done before.

Talk to you soon and remember,

There’s a Winner Within You!


6 Responses to “Biggest Losers Compete in San Francisco Triathlon 2009”
  1. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
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  2. Warner Hallback says:

    Leg cramps, also known as night leg cramps, especially calf-muscle cramps, are fairly common. Some people experience cramps in the muscles of their feet, as well as their thigh muscles. In most cases these types of cramps occur while the individual is sleeping or resting. “

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  3. Margarite Hudy says:

    Too much sprinting and running around can cause leg cramps but leg cramps is usually worst if you are swimming for long periods of time. ;

    Our blog site

  4. Congratulations Pete! Welcome to the triathlon adventure. We hope you are out swimming, cycling & running soon!
    Rachel Sears Casanta

  5. RAE says:

    It looks like all of you had fun. I am doing the Duathlons this year and I like them. I am working with Isabeau and she is training me to do a half ironman in Nov. I have to agree with you on the swimming I am working on that too.


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