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Triathlon Woman

We mentioned earlier how Shanghai enjoys a lively post-midnight bar scene that doesn’t exist to the same extent in Silicon Valley. This well-reported piece in the New York Times (sub required) explains what Silicon Valley does have. It has a great outdoors. So perhaps we in Silicon Valley have opted for the early-morning option voluntarily.

Still, lest people get the wrong idea, we note there are plenty of engineers here who don’t like getting up early, and who don’t do this obsessive sports stuff.

The passion for adventure sports has even changed mating rituals in the region. “It’s hard to go on a date in San Francisco and not go on a date with a girl who has not been in five triathlons,” said Auren Hoffman, 31, the chairman of Stonebrick, a high-tech consulting company. “That means that people go to bed early because they wake up at 7 a.m. to go on their run or their ride. The whole social scene changes because of sports.”

That sort of endorphin-charged enthusiasm for outdoor sports makes sense in a region blessed with temperate weather, nearby mountains and miles of beaches. But it also seems to suit the corporate culture of Silicon Valley, a suburban hothouse of youth-obsessed, risk-addicted entrepreneurs with plenty of disposable income to spend on toys, multiple hours of job stress to work off and unfettered ambitions to pursue.

Scott Milener, a founder of Browster, an Internet company in San Francisco, recalled holding many business discussions with venture capitalists and board members along rocky mountain biking trails in places like Skeggs Point, a trendy spot near Woodside. “If you’re sitting around the boardroom, around the table, it’s all stiff,” Mr. Milener, 38, said. “As soon as you’re out mountain biking together, you’re bonding in a way that you just can’t do otherwise. You’re sharing a skill. You’re sharing pain.”