Friday, September 24, 2010

Mission Accomplished. (Almost.)

15:13:39. This is the time it took me to complete Ironman Wisconsin.

I swam 2.4 miles in 1:38:24.
I rode 112 miles (and climbed 7000 ft.) in 7:31:42.
I ran 26.2 miles in 5:46:46.

But, most important — THANKS TO MANY OF YOU — I raised $6560.80 for RACE4EARTH and The Center for Biological Diversity to help promote environmental conservation. This is a wonderful accomplishment and I am extremely grateful for your help in achieving it.

I am gratified about my Ironman finish too. It took many months of hard work to pull it off. Although,I must admit my satisfaction has been muted and overshadowed by my sincere disappointment in failing to accomplish my fundraising goal of $25,000. I am $18,439.20 short.

Who would have guessed it would be easier for me to run, bike and swim 140.6 miles than to raise money to protect endangered species and preserve our planet's natural beauty from pollution, over-development and the waste of humankind?

Perhaps my ambitions were too lofty? Perhaps I didn't work hard enough to make a compelling case? Perhaps there is someone who still hasn't taken the opportunity to contribute?

Fact is, we only have one planet and it's irreplaceable. We must take care of it. We are Earth's custodians and it's a solemn responsibility. We can't afford to take the air we breathe and the water we drink for granted. Air, water and wilderness are limited resources. When they're gone, we're gone. This is why RACE4EARTH is so important to me and why I dedicated my Ironman Wisconsin race to it.

Thankfully, it's not too late to support me in this worthy cause. You can still donate. Perhaps you can help close my fundraising gap? Perhaps you need a big tax break this year and you want to make up the difference? Whatever it is, now is time to show you care about preserving nature's beauty for future generations.

So, if you haven't yet taken the time to make your tax deductible donation - or if want to donate again - please do so by clicking here now. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Damn Good Times

Why I care...

Rustic living, Northern Manitoba, 1991. (That's me on the right.)

Hauling my sled past open rapids at -40 below.
I am who I am today because of the lessons I learned from Mother Nature. You see, back in 1991, when I was 20 years old, my friend David Scott and I went to live like Grizzly Adams for one year in northern Manitoba, Canada. We built a cabin and lived without electricity, plumbing or communications, 120 miles away from the nearest town, Churchill, Manitoba, The Polar Bear Capital of the World. Living in the wilderness changed me profoundly and forever. I learned lessons I may not have learned otherwise. It taught me patience. It taught me the difference between wants and needs. It taught me the importance of weighing the consequences of my choices. It taught me the importance of conservation and sustainability. It taught me how fragile and tough nature is.  It taught me about the interdependence and connectedness of life and our environment. It taught me death is simply part of natures way. It taught me how amazing running hot potable water and abundant chocolate are! I learned all of this and much, much more. Many of the lessons I learned, perhaps the most profound ones, I am convinced are best taught by Mother Nature in wild places. Having spent much time in major cities too, I am also convinced many of these life lessons cannot be learned in a city. This is why I believe it is so important to preserve and protect wilderness. I am afraid that if we lose wilderness, we will lose are ability to have an accurate perspective about what life really is and our role in it. This would not only be tragic. It would be self-destructive and devastating to the human race.
On the Churchill River, mapping our progress.

The Little Beaver River.

Pictures from my training in Mammoth, CA...

Swimming at June Lake.

My bike. Ready for action.

Long ride ahead.

Wide open spaces.

Friendly faces along the way.

Beautiful California.

The air is thin at 7625 above sea level.

A little Mammoth history: the first tow rope ski lift.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Training in Mammoth Lakes, CA

This weekend I've decided to combine my training with visiting great friends who live near Mammoth Lakes, CA, where the elevation is about 8000 ft. I've brought my wet suit, bike and running gear and I'm ready to go! Today, I will swim in June Lake for an hour, then I'll bike and run for an hour each around the lake, after my swim. Tomorrow, I'll bike for about 5 hours and I can't wait to go as I've been told about about a beautiful ride which sounds amazing. Our planet is an amazing place and the beauty of Mammoth Lakes reminds me how important it is for us to take good care of it. And, I'm honored to be dedicating my IM race to RACE4EARTH and the Center for Biological Diversity. And, if you haven't already done so, please be sure to support their vital work!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just 8 weeks before the gun goes off...

The time is fast approaching when I will wade into the water with 2000+ other triathletes to begin our 2.4 mile swim. The first event of a very long day. 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running all within 17 hours! Fortunately, I feel pretty good about it all. I think I'll be ready. Currently, I'm sore and tired from all the training, but am anxious to do the race. Believe it or not, the race is the fun part! Truth is, life has thrown some curve balls at me over the last few weeks, which has made finding the time to train a bit more difficult. Other than that, I am feeling very confident about how my training has gone to date. I am feeling strong and fit. I'm pretty tan too! :-)

Salazar's New Moratorium A Good Start For Protecting People, Environment But Ignores Ongoing Dangers of Shallow-water Drilling

Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, issued this statement today in response to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s latest order for a moratorium on certain offshore oil and gas operations. “We applaud Secretary Salazar’s new moratorium on risky deepwater drilling. The catastrophe in the Gulf has given us all a nightmarish education on just how dangerous offshore oil drilling is. The moratorium is essential to protecting the people, wildlife and beaches of the Gulf Coast.”
 “However, we’re deeply disappointed that the secretary is still ignoring the very real dangers of shallow water drilling. The largest oil spill in the world last year was in shallow water as was the largest Gulf spill before the BP explosion. All offshore drilling — no matter the depth — is dangerous and should be suspended.” A Minerals Management Service review of blowouts between 1992 and 2006 concluded that “most blowouts occurred during the drilling of wells in water depths of less than 500 ft.” The agency found one blowout per 362 wells drilled in 500 feet of water or less and just one blowout per 523 wells drilled in deeper waters. The same report also found that 56 percent of all blowouts — whether in deep or shallow waters — happened before the true vertical depth of the well bore depth reached 5,000 feet. The blowout in the Deepwater Horizon drill occurred at about 18,000 feet below sea level. “The latest moratorium only goes halfway in protecting the people of the Gulf and its wildlife. Leaving these other rigs to continue business as usual ignores the terrible lessons we’ve been taught since April 20,” Suckling said.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Small world. Smaller Ironman world.

Yesterday, as I was waiting to board my flight back to LA from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, I saw a tanned guy who was wearing an Ironman t-shirt. Of course, I said hello and asked him what IM race he had done. Turns out, he was one of the two thousand plus participants who finished Ironman Coeur d'Alene just last week on June 27th, AND it was his first Ironman 140.6 finish! It was truly a "small world" moment because, as I told him, IM Coeur d'Alene had been my first (and only) IM finish too! His name was Justin and he was in Mexico with his wife and daughter celebrating his fine accomplishment. It was great to see his wife's pride and his quite satisfaction of his worthy accomplishment. There's nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes going the distance to finish an Ironman race. There's a saying about Ironman which goes like this: You can quite anytime you want, but no one will care and you'll always know. I love that.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BP Is Pursuing Alaska Drilling Some Call Risky

From today's New York Times by Ian Urbina...

The future of BP’s offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico has been thrown into doubt by the recent drilling disaster and court wrangling over a moratorium.
 But about three miles off the coast of Alaska, BP is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally to reach what is believed to be a 100-million-barrel reservoir of oil under federal waters.
 All other new projects in the Arctic have been halted by the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore drilling, including more traditional projects like Shell Oil’s plans to drill three wells in the Chukchi Sea and two in the Beaufort.
But BP’s project, called Liberty, has been exempted as regulators have granted it status as an “onshore” project even though it is about three miles off the coast in the Beaufort Sea. The reason: it sits on an artificial island — a 31-acre pile of gravel in about 22 feet of water — built by BP.
The project has already received its state and federal environmental permits, but BP has yet to file its final application to federal regulators to begin drilling, which it expects to start in the fall.
Some scientists and environmentalists say that other factors have helped keep the project moving forward.
Rather than conducting their own independent analysis, federal regulators, in a break from usual practice, allowed BP in 2007 to write its own environmental review for the project as well as its own consultation documents relating to the Endangered Species Act, according to two scientists from the Alaska office of the federal Mineral Management Service that oversees drilling.
The environmental assessment was taken away from the agency’s unit that typically handles such reviews, and put in the hands of a different division that was more pro-drilling, said the scientists, who discussed the process because they remained opposed to how it was handled.
“The whole process for approving Liberty was bizarre,” one of the federal scientists said.
The scientists and other critics say they are worried about a replay of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico because the Liberty project involves a method of drilling called extended reach that experts say is more prone to the types of gas kicks that triggered the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.
“It makes no sense,” said Rebecca Noblin, the Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental watchdog group. “BP pushes the envelope in the gulf and ends up causing the moratorium. And now in the Arctic they are forging ahead again with untested technology, and as a result they’re the only ones left being allowed to drill there.”
BP has defended the project in its proposal, saying it is safe and environmentally friendly. It declined to respond to requests for further comment.
Extended-reach drilling has advantages. Drilling at an angle might be less threatening to sensitive habitats. But engineers say that this type of drilling is riskier and more complicated than traditional drilling because it is relatively new and gas kicks are more frequent and tougher to detect.
And because of the distance and angles involved, drilling requires far more powerful machinery, putting extra pressure on pipes and well casings.
Several companies have built artificial islands to drill offshore in the Arctic and elsewhere, in part because surging ice floes can destroy conventional floating or metal-legged offshore drilling platforms.
Critics say that such islands are so tiny that a large oil spill will quickly flow into the surrounding waters.
BP officials say that by accessing the Liberty oil field from far away, the project reduces its environmental impact in the delicate North Shore area.
The Liberty field lies about five miles from land under the shallow waters of the Beaufort Sea in an area populated during the winter by seals and polar bears and covered by thick floating ice.
During the summer, bowhead whales migrate through the region.
“The overall Liberty Project has been planned and designed to minimize adverse effects to biological resources,” BP wrote in 2007 in the development proposal to federal regulators. “Impacts to wetlands have been significantly reduced including shoreline and tundra habitat for birds and caribou.”
The project will also involve nearly 400 workers in a region where jobs are scarce, according to BP.
But concerns exist about the project’s oversight and critics say the project offers another example of dangerous coziness between industry and regulators.
For example, the federal scientists say that BP should never have been allowed to do environmental reviews that are the responsibility of the regulators. And yet, the language of the “environmental consequences” sections of the final 2007 federal assessment and BP’s own assessment submitted earlier the same year are virtually identical.
No such overlap existed in the documents for other major projects approved by the same office around the same time, a review of the documents shows.
Both assessments concluded that the effects from a large spill potentially could have a major impact on wildlife, but discounted the threat because they judged the likelihood of spill to be very remote.
They also asserted that BP’s spill response plan would be able to handle a worst case — which BP estimated as a spill of 20,000 barrels per day.
Officials from the minerals agency declined to answer questions about the handling of the BP’s environmental assessment, but they added, “In light of the BP oil spill in the gulf and new safety requirements, we will be reviewing the adequacy of the current version of the Liberty project’s spill plan.”
In promotional materials, BP acknowledges that the Liberty project will push boundaries of drilling technology.
To reduce weight on the rig, BP has developed a new steel alloy for the drill pipe.
So much force is needed to power a drill over such long distances that BP had to invest more than $200 million to have a company build what it describes as the largest land rig in the world.
The drill’s top drive is rated at 105,000 foot-pounds of torque, while North Slope rigs are typically rated at 40,000 foot-pounds.
“It will take all of this technology that we’ve developed and exploited in Prudhoe Bay and extend it to a new realm,” Gary Christman, BP’s director of Alaska drilling and wells, told Petroleum News in 2007.
But engineers say that realm includes greater risk.
John Choe, an expert in extended-reach drilling and director of the department of energy resources at Seoul National University, said that it was less safe than conventional types of drilling because gas kicks that can turn into blowouts are tougher to detect as they climb more slowly toward the rig.
“So, you may not detect it until it becomes serious,” he said. “In that case, the kick or drilling related problems become too big to be managed easily.”
A 2004 study commissioned by the Minerals Management Service came to a similar conclusion.
“A gas kick represents probably the most dangerous situation that can occur when drilling a well since it can easily develop to a blowout if it is not controlled promptly,” it said. Extended-reach drilling wells “are more prone to kicks and lost-circulation problems than more conventional and vertical wells, but have some advantages when the well takes a kick because gas migration rates are lower.”
Despite these concerns, the Liberty’s 614-page environmental assessment says nothing about how the project would handle the unique risks posed by this type of drilling.
Mike Mims, a former owner of a company that specialized in extended-reach drilling, said he believed that the worries about this type of drilling were overblown. “The kicks can occur but they move slower and the bubbles don’t expand as fast,” he said.
“It all comes down to personnel,” he added, “If your people understand the risks and handle the work carefully, this drilling is entirely safe.”
BP discovered the Liberty oil field in 1997, began construction of a rig there in 2008, and was nearing final preparations this April when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.
Two weeks after the Obama administration declared a moratorium on offshore drilling on May 27, BP announced that the Liberty project would continue, with drilling scheduled to start in the fall, generating its first oil production by 2011. By 2013, BP estimates, Liberty will yield 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
If approved, the Liberty will be the longest horizontal well of its kind in the world. BP’s production plan for the Liberty notes that drilling studies only support horizontal wells up to 8.33 miles. Any horizontal wells longer than that, the plan says, “have not been studied.”
State regulators have faulted BP for not being prepared to handle a spill at a similar, though less ambitious project, known as the Northstar field. That project involves vertical drilling and sits on an artificial island six miles northwest of Prudhoe Bay in the Beaufort Sea.
The Liberty project will tie into the Endicott pipeline when complete. On April 20, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration warned BP that it was in “probable violation” of federal standards because of corrosion found on its Endicott oil pipeline and a lack of records indicating corrosion protection and monitoring efforts.
BP has faced a number of challenges at its Alaska facilities. The company sustained two corrosion-caused leaks in its rigs in Prudhoe Bay in 2006, including a leak of over 200,000 gallons that cost the company around $20 million in fines and restitution. This was the largest spill to have occurred on Alaska’s North Slope.
Robbie Brown contributed reporting.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great day of training!

Today was fantastic. First, I rode my bike for an hour, after which I immediately ran for one hour. Then, I swam 90 minutes. I felt strong the whole time and I'm not even tired! Tomorrow, I will ride my bike again — for 3.5 hours. I think I'll be tired tomorrow night! ;-)

How to Train for Your First Ironman |

How to Train for Your First Ironman |

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Please help me protect our beautiful planet...

Time is not on our side when it comes to stopping global warming, saving endangered species and protecting our planet from man-made destruction. Every second counts if we hope to stop the corporations and the government from ruining our planet's fragile ecosystem and preserve its natural resources for future generations. Truth is, we are in a race against time.

My name is Scott Power and, as a outdoor enthusiast, I want to help protect our imperiled planet, preserve nature's beauty and raise awareness about the important link between human health and the health of our planet. So, on September 12 in Madison, Wisconsin, I will ‘RACE4EARTH’ to help raise $25,000 for environmental conservation by attempting to finish Ironman Wisconsin, a 140.6 mile endurance triathlon.

To be clear, finishing an Ironman triathlon will not be easy. And, since I only have two speeds — slow and slower — I won't be setting any records either. Fact is, I'll be lucky to finish! Because to complete the 140.6 mile Ironman endurance race, I must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles within 17 hours. Being an amateur athlete at best, I will train seven days a week for six months during which I will swim approximately 47 miles, bike 2000 miles and run 443 miles. Of course, I will do all of this while working 60 hours a week and tending to my responsibilities as a husband, uncle, son, brother and friend.

Please support me in this important cause by donating $1 for every mile I will swim, bike and run — that’s $140.60 total. To raise $25,000, I need 177 people to donate $140.60. All proceeds are tax deductible and go the Center for Biological Diversity, the most effective environmental organization acting to protect our beautiful planet and its natural resources. 

I hope you agree my cause is worthy of your financial support. For all of us, there is an inherent link between our well being and a healthy planet. We must do all we can to preserve and protect both.

Finally, I will update this blog frequently. Please be sure to come back often to learn more about the important environmental issues and follow my progress as I attempt to RACE4EARTH on September 12. Thank you!