24 February 2008

for serious

Today the Iditarod Trail Invitational started in Knik Lake, Alaska. I'm not sure what to say about this race. The first thing that comes to mind is that no matter what you can think of doing, there is something longer, harder or colder (or hotter). It's very humbling and important for keeping ego in check while expanding the realm of possibilities. Reading about this race got me to reading about the legendary John Stamstad. This article,That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stranger, is especially enlightening. Five hours on a trainer staring at a blank wall? Most people can't run a 5k without head phones. Amazing. To think of all the small things I spend time complaining or worrying about...

18 February 2008

Butterfield Double

In my haze as I left the comforts of bed at 455am I was reminded of all the training I've done in preparation for long bike events: being a paperboy. For almost four years (14-17 yrs old) I delivered 60-80 newspapers in my neighborhood by bicycle every day. I knew exactly how long my route took and slept as late as possible (530am) so that I would have to leap out of bed, get dressed and be outside on my bike by 535am. If Donna the Secretary from the High School did not have her paper by 6am I would hear about it later at school.
As I got older I started staying up until the newspapers were dropped at my house at 2 or 3am, sometimes even leaving parties, doing my paper route and then returning. Once I even convinced an older kid to drive me around in this girl's convertible and we took turns throwing the papers at peoples' stoop. That job was a requirement from my parents, who got sick of buying me new bike parts every time I broke some forks or cranks. I learned quickly about the exchange of labor for payment and it did not take me long to realize that the less money I spent, the less I would have to work...

So 15 yrs later I am off on my bike at 515am riding to the start of the Butterfield double century. Rolled up just as the main group (150 or so) were leaving (my tardiness would of let my paper route boss down). Still had to run in and drop my bag, but I caught up a few miles down the road. This soon to be renamed route is new, covering some of (sub)urban OC, coastal areas like Laguna, Newport Beach, San Clemente and Oceanside, Canyon areas in East SD County and South OC before ending back in Irvine. Whenever I ride the section of bike paths along the coast and through the bike tunnel I think about my bike trip to Belize with Justin. We rode this section before we entered Mexico, Guatemala, Belize...only 5 short years ago!

Back to 2008. I rolled with the front group for 45 miles, got dropped. Rode with another group, got dropped, then, after I patched my flat, ended up with a couple of guys about my speed. It felt so good to be on my bike, pushing a bit. Why pay money to do an organized ride when you could ride it yourself?
1) You ride harder and you won't shorten the mileage for some made up concern which is easy when you are out there alone.
2) To get stoked by others. Like Timmer, a 54-yr old guy who lives in Mammoth and commutes to work on his fixed gear in sub-zero weather. Or Chris, who has done iron-distance triathlons all over the world and flew out from Chicago for this (below).

Finished in 12hr 35min. Results and report here.

The trip back to LA this morning was amazing. Wish every day was a holiday. Empty trains, empty roads... and this jewel on my street:

13 February 2008

Feel My Legs, I'm a Racer 2008 info

A Swarm! event. Tell others.

Sat Feb 23
Feel My Legs, I'm a Racer
10 hills, 10 stages, 1 morning
A race for some, an epic adventure for others.
It is a tour of some of the less traveled streets in Los Angeles, from downtown to Silver Lake and beyond.
There is no entry fee and limited support. No car support please, spectators welcome on bicycles (you won't have to ride the hills).
Just riding up any one of these hills is an accomplishment. 10 in one day is seriously hard. Be prepared.

Meet at Sunset Blvd and EdgeCliffe Dr. (Silver Lake Farmers Market)
Sign-up at 845am, leave at 915 (!!)

Last year's report
GPS data from last year

08 February 2008

The 196 Pound Vegan

An NFL player? An Ultimate Fighter?
No, it's me.

I'm up 20 pounds from my 'race weight' (I've never used that term before) in May 07. Too many Vegan Treats? Too much reading/internet and not riding?

The result of my weight gain is actually the result of taking my training a little more seriously. Here are a few explanations:

  1. Last year I was pretty fit by March. A fast double and a marathon on the first weekend (write-up here) and some good events in April and May. I had trouble keeping my fitness up for Norseman and PBP in August and by September I was done. That's why I backed out of doing the Furnace Creek 508 in October.
  2. I've been hitting the weights pretty hard, three or four times a week. An Olympic runner at the YMCA wrote me two workouts specific to triathletes and they are 'killer'. Mike T and I bro down hard.
My logic is this: Build a stronger base (literally) further into the 'season' and carry weight for longer (to maximize muscle development). When I trim up from the heavy volume of the Spring I'll definitely lose pounds and aim to be where I need to be later in the year (full-iron in August, 508 in October). The question is this: Will being able to bench my weight or do 45 hanging crunches make me a better swimmer, cyclist or runner?

Since I am on the topic, here is the workout schedule I attempt:

Sunday- Long run (2+ hrs) or long bike (4+ hrs)
Monday-Swim (3o-60 min), Weights (1.5hr), Pilates (optional)
Tuesday- Tempo run (20-45 min)
Wednesday- Bike (2 hrs), Weights (1.5hr), Pilates (optional)
Thursday- Maintenance run (30+ min)
Friday- Swim (technique or long), Weights (1.5 hr)
Saturday- Long bike or run (depending on Sunday), weights (optional)

03 February 2008


In how many cities can you take a 20-min train ride to mountain bike trails? Thursday morning Budge wanted to take out his new single-speed 29er (fixed gears are so 2005. 2008 is all about SS 29ers) so we rode 10 minutes to Chinatown and hopped on the Gold Line to Pasadena. We ran into an urban planner friend of mine on his way to Pasadena for a meeting about their new 'Bicycle Boulevard'. For us, we had a short jaunt through a neighborhood and we're at JPL.

It's a bit of everything back there. Long, dry climbs, with beautiful views. For the single-track it's cold and wet with multiple stream crossings (record rain fall in LA has led to snow at high elevations and heavy flow in the rivers).

I pinch-flatted twice riding the cross bike (700x32 knobby-less tires), but otherwise, what a great way to spend a week-day morning! We rode back home along the Arroyo-Seco watershed past the Rose Bowl and through Highland Park. Budge tried to talk me into eating at Cinnamon Vegetarian, but I actually had to get to work.
His blog has some more photos.

The thermometer in our kitchen.
Who says it doesn't get cold in LA?