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 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.