First Triathlon Experience

First Triathlon Experience

First Triathlon Experience By: BSK Associates, South Valley Regional Manager, On Man Lau, PE, GE.

First Triathlon Experience written by BSK, South Valley Regional Manager, On Man Lau, PE, GE. featuring Malibu Triathlon experience.


Conquering the Triathlon Fear

This past September 26th, 2021, I had my first triathlon experience in Malibu, CA. The race included 0.5 mile of open water swimming in the Ocean, 17 miles of cycling, and 4 miles of running. The idea of entering a triathlon has always been on my bucket list. However, I am not a strong swimmer, and had never swam in open water. As with many of my excursions, this experience was the result of a challenge from my brother.

Once I decided to enter, I knew I had to focus my training on my weakest element. My goal is to overcome my fear of swimming, and build my endurance for the other portions of the race. In order to accomplish swimming a half mile distance in open water, I needed to focus on proper technique. I was lucky to connect with several experienced swimmers at the gym, and they all gave me valuable pointers and feedback. Even though I was only able to swim a couple of laps at the time, the swimmers I met during my daily training encouraged and energized me to push through and persist. In addition, YouTube also provided me with valuable tips from professional triathletes and swimming enthusiasts. Within three months, I was able to complete thirty laps at the gym without stopping!

Gradually, I began to believe that I could complete the triathlon. This race was an opportunity to face my lifelong fear of water, and for the first time, I felt confident that I could overcome!

The Triathlon Experience

On the long awaited day of the triathlon, the excitement and overall exuberant energy at the event was palpable. The thrill and anticipation of it all was made more meaningful by the attendance of all the families and supporters of the participants. There seemed to be endless poster signs from loved ones. I would soon realize how important these shows of affections were, as I would look for, and locate my family throughout the race.

The first leg of the triathlon requires the athletes to swim past the waves before moving on to the half mile required distance. It was definitely discouraging to see many young athletic swimmers struggling to get through the waves before our turn to start. As luck would have it, just prior to my group’s start to go into the water, the DJ played the theme song from Rocky, as I had requested earlier. The lively music was just what I needed to propel myself into the task at hand.

The Triathlon Struggle

As I fought with the waves to begin swimming, the reality of the open water was a shock to my system. Due to my inexperience, I inadvertently swallowed excessive amounts of salt water, and the view of the vast ocean was overwhelming. As I began to panic, a nearby lifeguard, Joe, came to my rescue. While I took respite on his floater, Joe offered some reassurance, “On Man, you still have a long way to swim…there’s no shame in quitting this part of the race…”.

My mind absorbed Joe’s advice. for a split second, I contemplated quitting while starring at the distance still to swim. However, I envisioned the looks of support and pride in my family’s eyes as they waited with excitement for me. Just as I can always count on their support in everything I do, I knew without a doubt that they have confidence in my ability to overcome my fears and conquer the quest that awaits me.

The Triathlon Reward

In an instant, I was able to renew my determination, and pushed forward to continue on. Just as the experts predicted, swimming proved to be the most difficult portion of the triathlon. Once completed, the burst of endorphins enabled me to maintain a study pace during the cycling and running components. Each time I caught a glimpse of my cheering family throughout the race, the love I felt from them provided wind on my back to carry me through.

What did I learn from participating my first triathlon experience at the 2021 Malibu Triathlon?

I learned the importance of consistent training to prepare for physical challenges. On the other hand, mental challenges are harder to overcome. For me, the defining factor to prevail over my mental obstacles were the support of my family. This experience has provided me the life lessons of importance of unconditional love and support. It has also taught me to be courageous to face our fears for the benefit of personal growth.

Want to have your own first triathlon experience? Click here for upcoming triathlons in California.

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BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end it’s all about community.

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BSK approved for UCMR5


We are proud to announce that we have received our approval from the EPA to participate in UCMR5 which is scheduled to start in 2023! The approval was based on our successful results on the performance testing samples, for Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by EPA 537.1 and EPA 533, as well as Lithium by EPA 200.7.

The EPA uses the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) to look for contaminants that are suspected to be present in drinking water.

We are proud to be helping to keep our drinking water safe!  

For more information about UCMR5 and information provided by the EPA please click HERE. If you or someone you know is in need of UCMR5 testing or other water testing needs do not hesitate to call BSK today for a price quote, at 559-262-7036 or fill click on the blue ribbon above to fill out a contact form.


BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end it’s all about community.

Like us on Facebook. Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Additionally, explore our other projects here!

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage
Looking for a Great Places to Work? Because, you’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Moreover, don’t forget to check out our job opportunities page for more details.

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK proudly performed the geotechnical engineering and provided construction materials testing and special inspection for the newly remodeled Cuyama Buckhorn hotel and restaurant. BSK’s services during construction included soil compaction testing, concrete sampling testing and special inspection services for the new pool, and spa and new lobby.

The newly remodeled Cuyama Buckhorn hotel has been featured in several prestigious media outlets including Forbes, Hospitality Design, and Aprils issue of the Food & Home Magazine. Just to name a few. For more information about the Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel remodel please follow the link!

Press Room — Cuyama Buckhorn

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK selected for on-call contract

BSK selected for on-call contract

BSK has provided the City of Fremont with on-call materials testing and special inspection services since 2016. As part of this on-going contract, #BSK has provided support to the City’s annual pavement rehabilitation projects and also directly supplemented the City’s in-house laboratory. Our initial on-call contract with the City expired at the end of 2020 and subsequently the City solicited another on-call contract Request for Qualifications for a period of up to 5 years to which BSK responded and was selected by the City for the new agreement. BSK is thankful to have the opportunity to continue supporting the City of Fremont where typical services include onsite and offsite materials sampling and testing for earthwork, concrete, and hot mix asphalt construction.

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK Laboratories can now meet all California PFAS analysis and monitoring requirements with our recent DoD ELAP Accreditation.

Our laboratories have performed PFAS analyses for over 8 years.  During that time, the laboratory completed thousands of EPA Method 537 analyses while participating in the EPA’s UCMR3 monitoring program as well as Drinking Water analysis by EPA 537.1.

BSK is well versed in reporting and regulatory quality requirements needed for these analytes and we are now ready to accept your groundwater and soil samples.

BSK Certified PFAS compounds

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method


CA Accreditations:

  • Drinking Water – EPA 537.1
  • Non-potable Water – DoD QSM v. 5.1
  • Soils/Solids/Haz Waste – DoD QSM v. 5.1

Additional capabilities:

Drinking water by EPA 533

For more information please contact: 

Stephane Maupas (Fresno) – 559-497-2888 x212 or

Cole Mackelprang (Southern California) – 650-302-2223 or

Tina Green (Bakersfield) – 559-262-7036 or

Renea Rangell (Pacific Northwest) – 360-750-0055 x405 or

Brenda Hamilton (Sacramento) – 916-853-9293 x306 or

Not only is BSK’s analytical laboratory certified for PFAS testing, but BSK’s engineering division also has experience in PFAS sampling, investigations, agency negotiations and mitigation.  If there are any questions or if our engineering division can be of further assistance please contact Robert “Tony” Martin, PG (CA) at or (916) 853-9293 x.338


Additional PFAS Information Can Also Be Found at:

CA Water Board PFAS FAQs

Sampling Guidelines

US EPA PFAS Information

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method


What Are PFAS?

PFAS are man-made chemicals that include Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), GenX, and several additional chemicals. In fact, PFAS are made up of more than 3,000 man-made chemicals that are largely unregulated.

The U.S. began manufacturing these chemicals during the 1940’s. In 2006, the EPA launched the PFOA Stewardship Program which eliminated the use of several PFAS chemicals. Unfortunately, the U.S. still receives these PFAS compounds from imported goods from around the world.

PFAS are a concern because they do not break down and therefore bio accumulate over time. Furthermore, food, household products, animals, drinking water, and humans have all tested positive for PFAS. In fact, research has indicated that most people have detectable amounts of PFAS in their blood. Additionally, it is believed that everyone, even those who have not consumed drinking water that has been contaminated, will have some exposure to PFAS during their lifetime.

PFAS exposure can lead to many adverse health effects in humans including (but not limited to) thyroid hormone disruption, liver and kidney toxicity,  reproductive system and developmental damage, low infant birth weights, harmful effects on the immune system, and several different forms of cancer.

Click here for more information on PFAS and how BSK Associates can help!

Are you aware of the California SWRCB’s PFAS orders for:

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BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and work.  Above all, our goal is to have a positive impact on the people we serve.

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK events, and community service projects?

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage

Looking for a Great Place to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.


BSK is certified for California Small Business for Public Works projects. 

BSK Associates Laboratory

BSK Associates’ Laboratory was recently tapped by Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle) to perform analytical testing for the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, California. Services include testing and reporting of numerous analytical constituents in drinking water and groundwater matrices to support the installation’s compliance programs. The contract is in place through October 2022. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to working with Battelle on this project.

Gilbert Road Bridge










BSK is proud to be supporting Stanislaus County with the quality assurance materials testing and inspection services for the Gilbert Road Bridge over Turlock Irrigation District (TID) Ceres Main Canal project.  This Federally Funded project is located in Stanislaus County just south of the Hatch Road and Gilbert Road intersection, and will replace the “functionally obsolete” bridge with a double box culvert.  The project improves the roadway to accommodate local traffic and will bring the intersection of Gilbert Road and Hatch Road up to current County and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards.  BSK is providing inspection and testing of earthwork, concrete and hot mix asphalt to the project.






BSK Provides Testing Support After Fire Devastation

Metals analysis determines extent of soil contamination after fires.

Fires of recent magnitude have caused a danger to the environment that could potentially take years to clean up. Any building that has burned to a non-salvageable degree has the potential to cause toxic pollution. Immediate concerns include materials and finishes that were used in the construction of these buildings. Most paints used until 1978 contained lead, and from the 1940s to the 1970s, PCB’s were widely added as preservatives. And, until 1990, they also contained mercury. These heavy metals were used to improve flow, durability, flexibility and ironically, to increase resistance to fire damage and moisture. When plastic is burned it also releases toxic chemical fumes (like dioxins, furans and styrene gas) into the air that is harmful for humans and the environment. Many destroyed structures had roofs that may have been shingled in asbestos and filled with treated wood that can release arsenic and chromium when burned. An incinerated television can expose heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. Even seemingly innocuous items, such as collectible antique Fiesta ware crockery, may contain radioactive uranium. Mercury can leak from old thermometers and there may be radioactive isotopes from burned-up antique crock ware, cupboards of incinerated household cleaners, and asbestos from old siding.
Cleanup crews will be looking for things like burned bottles of bleach, melted cans of paint, and corroded car batteries, which will then be tagged and removed. Samples of the surrounding soil are collected for testing, and if needed, will scrape away layers to get to clean earth, free from oil and gasoline. Heavy metals, chemicals and biological contaminants left behind demand a cleanup of extraordinary scale, before any permanent return is safe. It is only after the properties have received certification that they have been remediated that residents can begin rebuilding.
BSK Analytical has vast experience testing soil samples after devastating fires. Our laboratory routinely analyzes soils for metals on a rush basis at very low detection levels. We have automated sample digestion and preparation equipment to achieve higher throughput of samples for this purpose. Our 6 automated systems can prepare over 400 samples overnight for analysis the next morning. In addition, our state-of-the-art autosampler provides for sample introduction that greatly optimizes fast analysis on the ICP/MS without sacrificing low reporting sensitivity.
BSK’s expertise includes the ability to analyze Mercury by ICP/MS rather than the more traditional Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption (CVAA) method. We have perfected ICP/MS mercury analysis allowing for only one digestion and one analysis for the CAM 17 metals, rather than having to perform them separately. ICP/MS is a preferred method for mercury when analyzing samples from a fire site because of the potential for the presence of volatile organics such as benzene generated by melted piping. Some volatile organics can cause positive interference for mercury when analyzed by CVAA.
We are deeply saddened by the devastation felt by those in the communities that fell victim to the fires, but we are excited for the opportunity to be part of the effort to help these communities recover and rebuild.
For more information on wildfires and resulting impacts on water bodies and drinking water please click here to watch this free webinar featured in the EPA ‘s September webinar series.

Hwy 101 / Blossom Hill Road Interchange Improvement Project

BSK is currently providing Quality Assurance Materials Testing and Source Inspection Services to the US 101/Blossom Hill Road Interchange Improvement Project. The purpose of this project will improve traffic on the freeways and local roadways in the vicinity and improve bicycle and pedestrian travel along Blossom Hill Road and surrounding areas. The project has multiple components and phases including construction of a bridge structure over US 101, widening of the existing US 101 northbound off-ramp, reconfiguration of the eastbound approach to the Blossom Hill Road/northbound off-ramp, widening of the existing US 101 southbound off-ramp, realignment of the entrances to the existing US 101 southbound and northbound loop on-ramps, reconfiguration of Monterey Road to eastbound Blossom Hill Road connector ramp, and installation of a Bicycle/Pedestrian path.
BSK’s services include materials testing of soils, aggregate base, hot-mix asphalt, structural concrete, and structural steel elements. BSK’s source inspection scope included prefabricated concrete and steel items, as well as anchorage, epoxy coated reinforcement, welded rebar hoops, rebar couplers, reinforcing steel and prestressing tendons, column casings, and a prefabricated steel pedestrian bridge.

Centennial Corridor Project

BSK Associates has proudly partnered with AECOM to provide Quality Assurance Materials Testing and Source Inspection services for Phases 3 and 4 of the Centennial Corridor Project as part of the City of Bakersfield’s Thomas Roads Improvement Program. The Centennial Corridor Project constructs a new alignment and provides route continuity for State Route 58 from Cottonwood Road on existing SR 58 (East) to Interstate 5 (West).

The $48.6 million dollar Phase 3 project, known as Bakersfield Freeway Connector Project includes reconstruction of the westbound and southbound loop ramp at SR 99 entrance to Ming Avenue off-ramp and a new barrier-separated connector ramp to Ming Avenue. Major design elements include constructing two (2) new cast-in-place post tensioned prestress box girder bridges with four spans 1,165 feet in length and 39 feet wide, and one (1) cast-in-place post-tensioned box girder approximately 40 feet wide and 392 feet in length to widen the existing bridge, one (1) cast-in-place concrete pumping station with storage box and several retaining walls.

The $147 million dollar Phase 4 project, known as Mainline includes construction of a new freeway section between SR 99 and the Westside Parkway as part of the future SR 58 Centennial Corridor. The project includes construction of ten (10) new bridges including one (1) Viaduct, four (4) undercrossings, three (3) overcrossings, and two (2) connector overcrossings. In total, there will be approximately 40,000 cubic yards of concrete placed for bridge deck structures, approximately 673,000 cubic yards of import borrow, 41,100 tons of HMA paving, 41,200 cubic yards of continually reinforced concrete paving, and more than 83,000 linear feet of precast and cast-in-drilled hole concrete piling to support the structures.

BSK Associates has proudly served the City of Bakersfield and the surrounding communities since 1972. Bakersfield Freeway Connector Project and Centennial Corridor Mainline photos by City of Bakersfield.