With the premiere of the series, this week has simply been surreal. This series has been in the works for 4 years and to think it remained it was basically total anonymity for most of that still blows me away. That being said, now that Endurance Traveler has been introduced to the world. I couldn't be happier with the response. The press has been amazing and so have all the comments. Thank you everyone that showed up at the premier party and everyone that tuned in to Ironman South Africa. If you missed the first episode, re-airs are still happening in many regions around the country so check out http://endurancetraveler.tv/schedule_b.aspx to see when we air in your house. I especially want to say thanks to Caroline, Oscar, Paul, Maneet, Laz, David, Sandra, and Christian who really driving forces to help bring you Endurance Traveler.
The boys at the Premiere
Starting with Colorado, I decided I was't going to be capable of completing the Athens 2 Atlanta (A2A) inline skate if I didn’t learn to skate some hills and increase my distance rapidly. So, I packed my bags and took off for Steamboat Springs. There I was able to take several weeks of hills and long roads to really learn how to skate. That said, I wasn’t any good at it, I was just able to do it, which is a start! I was also able get the filming done for a webisode related to the A2A and several tips from the road we’ll be releasing shortly.
Now, from there we made our way to Boulder, where Brooke Burger and Justin Daerr were nice enough to put me up for a few days. While in Boulder I was able to get a great trail run and skate in. But the real reason I was there was to do interviews. We interviewed Chris McDonald and Justin Daerr while there and got some great footage of them training for their upcoming race in Wisconsin. They went on to finish 4th and 5th respectively. We were supposed to do an interview with Chrissie Wellington also, but that fell through. It was too bad, since we would have used the footage to help promote one of the charities she supports.
A week after returning to Miami, we back at it again as I boarded a flight to Las Vegas for the 2009 Interbike convention. We have a series of webisodes featuring all the cool products, racing and interviews that will be released in just a few days. We fell behind on production because we are so backed up, otherwise this stuff would already be up for your viewing pleasure.
Finally, it was October and while everyone in the triathlon world was ramping up for Hawaii, I was ramping up for an adventure of my own…A2A!!!
We arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday, October 6 where the Hotel Palomar provided lodging. This exquisite and new establishment is beautifully designed inside and out. We were able to shoot inside the hotel, at Pacci it’s Italian restaurant and AltoRex the terrace bar. Production began in earnest the following day when me and the crew hooked up with “Top Chef” Kevin Gillespie and his Sous chef E.J. Hodgkinson to do some slow food cooking at Woodfire Grill. The term Slow food was introduced by Carlo Petrini in Italy to counteract the fast food. It is an effort to preserve the cuisine, produce and animals within a region, without sacrificing too much time in the preparation of meals.
Later that same day was one of the coolest things we could have done…we went scuba diving in the Ocean Voyager exhibit at Georgia Aquarium. I don’t want to give too much away, so that’s all you get.
Thursday, we were off to Athens, where we checked in to the modern and ecologically friendly Indigo Hotel. The Indigo just opened about a month ago and is currently being evaluated for Gold LEED certification, which would make it only the 5th hotel in the world to achieve such status. Oyeah, and Tyler made me a mean Indigo Martini, their signature drink.
Again, this blog is to give you a feel for the show but not give it away. So, I will tell you where we filmed with a few stills, but I can’t give it all away. The Day was spent filming at TRR Cobbs residence, Athens most influential citizen prior to the civil war. After which we went for some lunch and an amazing filming experience at Weaver D’s , “Automatic for the people Y’all”. In the evening we hit up Terrapin Brewery, Athens home grown brewer, where Thursday thru Saturday night they offer festive beer tours, live music, dancing lessons and of course great beers to sample. Finally, we finished the filming night off with a visit to Melting Point, where the Gourds were performing, a “honky-tonk badonka-donk” band from Austin Texas.
Friday was back to Atlanta for the day. We filmed with our feature athletes Jessica Wright and Eddy Matzger along with their respective families and friends over at Flip Burger, where Richard Blais made us some of his crazy concoctions and unreal burgers!! We followed that with a visit to the World of Coke for and interview session with Jessica. Then in the evening, we got Eddy’s interview after the very cool and very fun FRIDAY NIGHT SKATE.
Saturday was a much needed break from the camera for me and I spent the day roaming the streets of Athens with Caroline.
Sunday, it was on! The race started promptly at 7:30 and we were off. I am not giving anything about the event away here. All I will say is that our feature athletes put on an amazing show for the cameras and well I…I did my part too! I can’t wait for you to see this episode in the spring, it may be the best episode yet.
Austria was first on the list, but in order to get there, the Endurance Traveler path went through Munich. Toby Wadinger is a friend of mine from there and happens to be life-long friend and manager for Faris Al-Sultan. After spending a day wandering the streets of Munich, Faris sat down with me for a great interview that we’ll be posting here on Endurance Traveler in the coming days.
My friend and fellow triathlete Meinhard Vintler was gracious enough to have me as a guest at his parents home in St. Michelle about 15 minutes outside the city and at the base of the 10 kilometer climb to the famed Magdalensberg. If, your planning a trip to Klagenfurt, the views cannot be seen any better than this vantage point. It’s also one of the best places to try Kantner Noodle a regional dish.
Me with Meinhards parents
Our first location was the Wörthersee, the lake is this majestic teal, reminiscent of the healing waters of the Havasu in southwestern grand canyon. The Wörthersee ferry system offers visitors a tremendous way to visit all areas of the lake without a vehicle, take in the castles and view all the different architectural influences that have touched the region.
Our next shoot landed us at Burg Hochosterwitz. The castle that is rumored to be Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Cinderellas Castle now famous the world over. Whats even more amazing is the familial history of the Khevenhüller family, owners of the mystical place. They once owned 16 different castles in the modern state of Karinthia, including Castle Feldon, now a Casino hotel located on the Wörthersee’s western banks.
During our race, we were able to cover two athletes from California, Joe Traba (on my right) and Bill Moore (on my left). Both of these guys are great athletes. For Bill, it was his first attempt at the Ironman distance, while Joe was making his 8th attempt and looking to go sub 11 hours. We’ll follow their day during the show.
Following the race, Monday was our last day of filming and a great one. We went to Hirter Brauerei (Brewery), founded by monks in 1270. As we find with most edible products that have outlasted all the others, one of the key ingredients that makes Hirter unique is the water they use. They one of only a few brewers that use natural un-distilled water to make their 12 different styles of beer. Between the water, no pasteurization and the dual fermentation process are all part of making Hirter beer truly dignified.
Faris Al-Sultan, 2005 Ironman Hawaii World Champion lives there and this was a perfect opportunity to catch a few good minutes with him as he does his last minute preparation for Ironman Germany, European Championships. Toby Waldinger, Faris’s manager is a good friend of mine and offered to put me up for the night.
During the day, Toby unleashed me in Marienplatz to check out some of the cathedrals, shops, open market and the Jewish Museum of Munich. All of it was very cool and packed with an even spread of tourist and locals. Of course, like any good Bavarian, Toby made sure I ended up at a beer garden. In this case it was Augustinerkeller, home to the oldest brewery in Munich, dating back to 1328. I am going to find a race near Oktoberfest time, so we can incorporate all of Munich and Augustiner, that’s for sure!
In the morning, I woke to a plethora of German delights, with soft cheese, breads, pretzels, cured meat, fresh eggs and coffee. I almost went back to sleep after eating, but I had Faris’ interview to do. The interview was great and we’ll try to have it up in the next few days. In the mean time I hope you enjoy this little video log of my day in Munich.
The Key West Episode is going to include some great race footage. Along the way, we'll make a meal at Louie's Backyard, a real Key West tradition; do the Duval Crawl; eat some conch fritters in Bahama Town; visit the Hemingway House; fish with Captain Billy and see one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
My film crew in Key West was the most professional group I could have ever requested. Anthony and Greg not only did excellent camera work, but they were stellar in there artistry behind the lens. Kaz was amazing too, she made my job simple. It was the first shoot where I only needed to worry about being on camera and racing. It was a good thing too, since I was so utterly sick. Now, it's time to get myself healthy and get ready for the next Endurance Traveler adventure. In the meantime, we will have some teaser for these episodes posted within the next few days, so please come check them out!!!
The bad news was that my physical performances were seriously impacted, but on a better note, we got all the filming done and I'm sure that it will make for great episodes anyway. After all, if it's easy every time, then where is the personal challenge.
Filming in and around Florianopoilis included Surfing (see the prior Blog post), White water Kayaking,
a visit to an Oyster Farm,
along with 3 restaurants. During the race we followed 2 feature athletes, Marc Tendler and Davide Murdocca.
Both were great and I look forward to presenting their stories. Filming in a foreign country with a language barrier can always be a little challenging, and this time was no exception. My camera operator Sydney was the consummate professional and I only wish that I spoke Portuguese or he spoke better English so that we could have communicated better. Regardless he was great. My other operator Wes, was the better English speaker and therefore took on the roll of lead camera. He also did a good job, but was in a little over his head with the physical capabilities required in a job like this. The first day of filming almost wiped him out in the surf, and there were a few other issues along the way, but he survived and so did the camera he was using.
Not as much can be said for the little Sanyo waterproof camera we were also using. That poor little thing didn't survive Kayaking in St. Amaro. Also, our stills photographer, Giovanni was a local guy that now lives in South Africa. He was a hidden gem, and I hope to work with him again someday. This guy was super nice, his English was great, and he was just an all around cool person.
The bike course is a two looper with several climbs and plenty of opportunities to see your friends on the out and back portions.
A view from the out and back portion of the bike
We will try to get some footage up in the next few days. in the meantime please check back when you get a chance and we will also work on getting som Swim Around Key West pics and video up also!!!
Till then...keep training and traveling!
I spent the morning putting my bike together, cleaning sandy-salty equipment from yesterday and working on shot lists for the crew. Also I forgot one of the highlights that we didn't catch on film last night.
After filming, we went back to the surf house for a little while and Lucy made everyone Chimarrão, also known as Mate in some South American countries. Carlos made the comparison to a pungent green tea and i wold have to agree with that assessment. Even though I pound the coffee, I could tell this stuff was definitely loaded with caffeine.
Getting back to today...Not that much to tell, so rather than bore you, or make up some B.S. just to pass the time, enjoy the video of my walk around town and we'll catch up later. Ciao!