Morgantown Triathlon weekend

What an incredible weekend for the Valley Health boys. The weather was perfect, the course great and the people fantastic. After registration at 6:00 pm on Friday night we all headed out to dinner at a mexican restaurant in Morgantown. The food was good but the energy generated by the group was almost electric. As Jerry (Mr. Buff) would say, “I am pumped!”.   It would be hard to explain in words the excitement around the table on Friday night. The testosterone wafted through the air like a cheap cigar ( I don’t smoke or ever have but that always seemed like a great metaphor) and the conversation always returned to the race or the months of stories generated during training. In a way it was a sad time because it marked the end of a grueling but fun training season and a relief to know that you could ease up and relax. Jerry (Mr. Buff) and Rich (The Coal Miner) are hoping their backs gets better, Rich (The Streak) is nursing a hip, Johnny (The Hulk) is nursing a leg muscle and I (Gramps) am taping a gimpy ankle…but soon it will be over and we can all heal.
After dinner everyone headed to their rooms to settle down for a good nights sleep to prepare for the upcoming race. If you can use your imagination for a short time, I want you to visualize The Coal Miner, Mr. Buff, The Streak, and Troy Crane (The Iron man) all staying in one room with two beds…This boggles the mind! Everyone brought ear plugs and more incredible, they all fell asleep. Of course there had to be some pranking. At 4:00am The Coal Miner got up quietly, dressed for the race and laid quietly back under the covers. When the alarm went off, he jumped up fully dressed and announced he was ready to go. None of these guys are early risers so it caused much confusion in their half asleep state.
Everyone arrived at about 7:00 am and checked in the registration site where they placed our race number and our age on our arm with a black permanent maker. I heard that many of the women were a little upset about their age being written on their arm and leg in clear view of everyone, but they managed to get by that. At 7:30 we were summonsed to the pool area in a staging system to prepare for the race. Every 10 minutes the pool was cleared and a new group started. If you failed to complete the predetermined distance in the allotted time you were given a default time of 10 minutes plus 1 minute penalty for each uncompleted lap, and sent to your bike. We finally entered the pool at 8:00 am. The Streak, the first out of the pool, finished in a little over five minutes. We all finished in less than seven minutes and headed for the transition area to head out on our bike leg of the race.
The bike ride was 11.5 mile, slightly uphill. To the non-cyclist this sounds great, but riding 11.5 miles with no down hills or up hills, between 20 and 25 miles an hour is a little tougher than one might think. You are on the pedals the entire time and the minute you ease up you are dropping off your pace. Mr. Buff lead our group to the bike finish line and Jeff Twigg (The Boss) and I came in together to finish out our group. There was one mishap on the bike ride…The Hulk crashed and popped his tire and was done for the day and survived with minor scrapes. After all that work, I am sure he was disappointed but life has a way of doing things like that to us. We just have to deal with it. He will be back!

The run was uneventful as everyone came across the finish line close to where they wanted to be.

At 10:30 Art Mills (Mohawk) And Tom Vanway (Wolverine) began their race. Both were very concerned about swimming but managed to get through the swim leg and head out for the bikes. They both finished the race with respectable time as the rest of the Valley Boys cheered them on at each transition. At the end we were all there rooting them on as they crossed the finish line.

The total results of the race were very impressive for the Valley boys;

1st in the-25-29 group was Richie Davis The Streak-30th overall

1st in the 50-54 group was Rich Davis The Coal Miner-38th overall

1st in the Clydesdale division (over 200 lbs) and 5th in his age group was Jerry Dean, Mr Buff-20th overall with a time of 1:00:01…Oh so close.

2nd in the very old division 50-59 group was me, Gramps- 120th overall

Troy Crane was 26th over all and 9th in his age group

David Loar was 76 over all and 8th in his age group

Jeff Twigg  most improved was 90th over all and 11th in his age group

Art Mills finished 9th in his age group of 50-54

Tom VanWay finished 19tth in his age group 45-49

Johnny wrecked his bike and was unable to finish. He would have been near Richie Davis if he finished.

You can see these results at   under morgantown sprint splash spin.

On another note, I found this listing of salaries for Health Care companies. Take a look and wonder what you might do with some of this money…I found this at what seemed to be a reliable source.

Health Administration Responsibility Project

HMO Executive Salaries
Reprinted from FAMILIES USA

The HMOs complain that any increase in their costs of treating patients will require them to raise premiums, making them too costly, and causing many to go without insurance.

Are their budgets really so spare that they couldn’t absorb any cost increases without raising premiums?

For a start, we might look at the amount of premium dollars removed from patient care by being paid to executives.

You decide how much room there is for savings.

The 25 Highest Paid HMO Executives 1996 Annual Compensation
Exclusive of Unexercised Stock Options

Stephen Wiggins, CEO, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


Wilson Taylor, Chairman and CEO, CIGNA Corporation


David Snow, Executive Vice President, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


Robert Smoler, Executive Vice President, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


William Sullivan, President, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


Joseph Sebastianelli, President, Aetna, Inc.


Michael Cardillo, Executive Vice President, Aetna, Inc.


Leonard Schaeffer, Chairman and CEO, WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.


George Jochum, President and CEO, Mid-Atlantic Medical Services, Inc.


Ronald Compton, Chairman and CEO, Aetna, Inc.


Wayne Smith, Former President, Humana, Inc.


James Stewart, Executive Vice President, CIGNA Corporation


Richard Huber, Vice Chairman, Aetna, Inc.


Roger Taylor, Executive Vice President, PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc.


Daniel Crowley, CEO and President, Foundation Health Corporation


Gerald Isom, President, Property and Casualty, CIGNA Corporation


Alan Hoops, President and CEO, PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc.


Daniel Kearney, Executive Vice President, Aetna, Inc


D. Mark Weinberg, Exec. Vice President, WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.


Donald Levinson, Executive Vice President, CIGNA Corporation


Ronald Williams, Exec. Vice President, WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.


Allen Wise, Executive Vice President, United HealthCare Corporation


Jeffrey Elder, Senior Vice President, Foundation Health Corporation


H. Edward Hanway, President CIGNA HealthCare, CIGNA Corporation


Kirk Benson, President and COO, Foundation Health Corporation


Totals, by Company, of Executives in above list only:

Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


Aetna, Inc


CIGNA Corporation


WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.


Foundation Health Corporation


Mid-Atlantic Medical Services, Inc.


PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc.


Humana, Inc.


United HealthCare Corporation


Cumulative Total


The 25 Executives with the Largest Unexercised
Stock Option Packages in 1996

Stephen Wiggins, CEO, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


William McGuire, CEO, United HealthCare Corporation


David Snow, Executive Vice President, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


William Sullivan, President, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


Alan Hoops, President and CEO, PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc.


Robert Smoler, Executive Vice President, Oxford Health Plans, Inc.


Wilson Taylor, Chairman and CEO, CIGNA Corporation


Samuel Miller, Executive Vice President, United Wisconsin Services, Inc.


Wayne Smith, Former President, Humana, Inc.


Ronald Compton, Chairman and CEO, Aetna, Inc.


Peter Ratican, CEO and President, Maxicare Health Plans, Inc.


I would like to introduce you to Art Mills

The older I get the more heroes I meet. These folks are not supermen, or have been bitten by a spider and can weave webs with their hands, but their presence and deeds tell me that they are real heroes. Every time I walk down the sidewalk or visit the mall I walk past them with no idea of the heroic deeds they may have accomplished. As I have crept up the aging scale, I have made it a point to try and notice these heroes in my daily life. Being a hero does not just mean pulling a drowning person from an icy lake or running several miles to save someone’s life. It can be a personal battle to save ones own life.
This is the case in my new friend, Art.
You may have noticed Art’s name on earlier blogs with the triathlon group. He is a former IBM employee who, without a college degree, made his way to engineer with hard work, smarts and determination. He gave his all for 30 years and then decided to retire and move to Slaneville WV, near his family. After a brief time as a retiree his earlier stressful, non-healthy life began to show its ugly side. Art had all the classic American ailments, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blocked arteries, liver issues and general poor physical condition.
Then in 2007 He had a heart attack and in his words, “I should not be here”. Well Art is still here and last nigh I watched him swim almost ¼ mile in the pool as we all swam for the last time before our triathlon on Saturday. Over the last several months I have biked with him, run with him and swam with him and in his face is a determination that is unmatched.
Yes, Art is an inspiration to us all. The same determination that allowed him to buck the odds and move up in IBM is now being channeled towards a healthy life. I have always said that we teach by example…maybe we can be heroes by example also.
Art, I have only known you for two months and you are one of my heroes!
Your new friend Charlie

Tension is mounting

It is Thursday and the tensions are mounting. In two days myself and nine other Romneyites will be headed to Morgantown to participate in the Sprint, Splash, Spin Triathlon. We have all been training hard preparing for the race. Lately injuries have been cropping up as we work harder, but it looks like everyone will be there to participate on Saturday. Johnny Duncan’s (The Hulk) calf seems to be better and Jerry Dean’s (Mr Buff) back seems to be coming around. Either way there is a medical crew there to take care of all our geriatric needs.
Here is the list of triathletes from youngest to oldest;

Richie Davis “The Flash”
Johnny Duncan “The Hulk”
Jerry Dean “Mr. Buff”
Troy Crane “The Iron Man”
Jeff Twigg “The Boss”
Dave Loar “The Streak”
Tom VanWay “Wolverine”
Art Mills “Mohawk”
Rich Davis “The Coal Miner”
Charlie Streisel “Gramps”

Most of us start at 8:00am Saturday except Art and Tom who start at 10:30am.
I will update you on the results early next week.

On a sad note, we have to say goodbye to Ted Kennedy. Years ago I was with one of my students, Becky Oates of Capon Bridge, representing West Virginia at the Bi-centennial Science Celebration in Washington DC. Becky, myself and 49 other teachers from around the country had breakfast with Ted. When he came to our table to shake hands, I noticed an empty chair and invited him to join us for a moment. The belly laugh that came from him was deep and loud as he slapped me on the back and moved to the next table. I never knew how I should take that…
He was a good man and will be missed even if he did not want to sit with me.

Hello, my name is Charlie

I guess I should introduce myself first for those of you who do not know me and made the mistake of clicking on my blog. My name is Charlie Streisel and I am a retired science/math/gifted teacher for the Hampshire County School system.

I am currently a part time tour bus driver for Schrock Tours out of Winchester, Va., work for FEMA as a DAE (Disaster Assistance Employee), just finished a two week stay at Green Bank, West Virginia at the Governors Honors Science and Math Camp and do occasional science shows for public and private schools under the name of COSMIC CHARLEY.

Enough boring stuff…I am coming off of a great summer.  In July, our family spent a week at the Outer Banks in NC.  What a great place to relax and spend some quality time with the most important people in my life.  As I mentioned earlier, I spent two weeks with some really smart young adults at the GSMS. During all this time I have been riding my bike, running and swimming in preparation for the triathlon on August 29 in Morgantown.

You may have driven down River Road outside of Romney recently and seen a bunch of guys ripping down the road on their bikes with their blue and white Valley Health shirts on. You are witnessing the Valley Health sponsored Triathlon team.  We range from mid 20’s to me, the relic of the team.  Look for me in the back, being the oldest and slowest, wishing oh so hard that I was younger.  We are always welcoming new members to our group.  It is a little late for the upcoming Morgantown race but we are already thinking about the Rocky Gap race next spring…and maybe you should too.  Even though we are all very competitive, that is not what we are about. It is so much fun working out with other people. Amongst all the clever jabs and jokes, we are there for each other.  There are no preconceived expectations.  We all do what we can do.

I consider myself the spiritual leader of the group because of my age, bicycle mechanic skills and previous triathlon experience.  Jerry Dean is our physical leader with his big muscles and fast times, even though today, I saw him hurt his back just days before the big race. Rich Davis (the old one) is our motivational leader always pushing us to work harder.  Troy Crane is an inspiration to us all with his hard headed approach to working hard.  Richie Davis (the young one)  is our reminder of days gone by with his age, when we could lose weight quickly. David Loar is always ready to take a picture when you least expect it. There are more of us who I will talk about after the race on Saturday.  Anyway, think about it. I hope you plan on joining us through the winter and running in the Rocky Gap Triathlon in the spring.  If you think you are too old…you are wrong!  There were several guys in their late 60’s that beat me…I am working on that for the next race…

It is about staying in shape and feeling better about yourself!


This is the GBT telescope in Green Bank West Virginia. Largest in the world.

While working at Governors camp I met a young lady from Hampshire County. Her name was Melanie Hott.  After returning home I called her and asked her a few questions about her experience at camp. I asked her what her favorite thing about camp was. She said using the GBT (Great Big telescope) was the most exciting thing about camp. She also appreciated the incredible opportunity that the Governors Program offers students in West Virginia, the many new friends she made, and learning how to construct circuit boards. “I hope to go back to the middle school next year and convince more students to apply for camp” was her hope for next year. Good job Melanie Hott! Hampshire County is proud of your hard work!

On a political note, I am watching with interest the debate over health care. I have several friends who have no health care of any kind. I watch as they make decisions about their health based on how much it will cost. I have listened to many people discuss the issue and it seems to me that the insurance companies are making a lot of money and the average person is paying a lot of money to get medical help.  Even with health insurance I pay several hundred dollars every month to different doctors. I can not imagine what it would be like to have no health care. I  believe President Obama wants to help the people, young and old who do not have health care. You can call it socialism or capitalism or whatever you want; we need to take care of all Americans, not just the ones who can afford it. A return to the old days when people new how and what to eat would also be big help to health care.

You all have a great day!