December 31, 2006

50 Miles for 50 Bikes

What a great way to end the year . . . riding fifty miles with great people on a great course for a great cause!

This weekend Doug Grant was turning fifty years old and decided to setup a group ride for 50 miles and invite a few friends. Although the ride was called "50 miles for 50 bikes" I clocked in a bit over 54 miles and thankfully the donations and entries should cover more than just 50 bikes.

The Cause

The ride was in support of Project Rwanda and Doug's original plan was to get 50 riders signed up and raise about $7500 to purchase the bikes. Project Rwanda is an effort to help the economical development of the country of Rwanda, the smallest country in Africa “through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope”. The bicycle is used as a primary transportation and is also used to transport farming goods like Coffee.

And who doesnt like coffee and bikes?? Just like they say on the PR website "Coffee and bicycles go hand in hand. Support Project Rwanda today by purchasing Wooden Bike Rwandan coffee: our goal is to develop a load-bearing longbike for Rwandan coffee-growing families to more efficiently transport coffee cherries to the washing stations, thereby increasing the premium they receive for fresh delivery." If that is not reason enought to get involved just take a look at their current setups!

The Ride

The 50 miles was divided into two main stages of approximately 25 miles each with the head quarters at Cooks Corner . The first 25 miles was an out and back from CC up the hearting truck trail to main divide and back. This was also the same trail that the first and last nine miles of our ultra will be in February so Monique and I were glad to get more comfortable/uncomfortable with the trail. :-p The second half of the ride was through O’Neil regional park and had less climbing but more interesting trails. Geoladders has detailed course routes for each section

1st 25 miles – The Climb

2nd 25 miles – The Cruise

Our climb up Harding truck trail was slow and grinding but we soon found ourselves at the top of main divide with beautiful views and just the downhill ahead of us (for a little while). There was a truck with plenty of water and snacks at the top so after we refueled we were off to bomb the hill… But first we needed to put on our jackets. It was cold in that air up top!

Moniuque is usually fast on the downhill sections but I think the climb got the best of Her and she was getting tired. As we were near the bottom, Monique washed out and took a good digger. She is one tough girl.

Monique rips here new jacket

After a quick brush off we were back on the trail and had one quick climb back to Cooks Corner to refuel again. After a refuel Monique was pooped so She called her sister who lives down the street to pick here up. While she got some food, a shower and a little nap, I was off to the second leg of the ride.

I felt good starting out even though I did not want to go without Monique but I was going to push to try to catch up with Marius, Georgina and Karen who already started out on the second loop. I had been through much of O’Neil parks trails before and it was comforting to know what was up or down the trail ahead. The heat felt like it got cranked up from the first loop so I started ditching clothes and taking advantage of all of the wonderful aid stations along the way.

I was so impressed with the staff and support at the event! They were the most cheerful volunteers wearing red sweaters at every turn and it would be difficult to get lost with all of the ribbons and signs along the way. It is amazing how much it eases the mind when you don’t have to worry about what direction your headed. . . I was deep into my mantra and cranking away on the beautiful single track through the park. I wish I had more pictures of this section because this was the best part of the ride! I think that there about four stream crossings and lots of deep woods with autumn leaves covering the trail. It was easy to ignore the achy feelings starting to creep into my legs and wrist…for a bit :- ) After I finished the ride what hurt most was my jaw. I couldn’t figure it out but it felt like it was going to cramp on me. Later I noticed it was just sore and overworked from me grinding away my teeth. Wow… maybe I need to start bringing some gum on my rides?

This was a wonderful event to be part of and I am so glad that we were able to meet some new people and see a few friends there we did see for a while. I posted my pictures here and there are additional pictures from a few groups a SnapFish too. I hope Doug will plan out a 51 miler for his Birthday next year! I know the people in Rwanda could use some more bikes next year too.

December 27, 2006

Another Day, Another Injury

Well maybe I need to take a break and rest a bit more... Maybe I stretched too much yesterday? My shoulder came out again last night going to sleep and although it was not too sore from the first time, I woke up this morning with it feeling pretty stiff. I guess that swimming was out so Monique and I loaded up the bikes to ride the trails at Bonelli again and explore some more of the park.

It was a beautiful day and Monique and I were able to spend some time and talk a bit about the important things in life like what food we were going to eat when we got back and where we want to live when we are old.

Here is a picture of the Hot Tub rentals that they have a Bonelli. I don’t know if I would ever want to get into one because chlorine only kills so much and who knows what goes on in there!

Its a great view from the tub!

Well my day would not be complete without getting hurt so when we got back we decided to walk our new puppies around the block. The are so cool.

On our way back I steped on a pine cone and sprained my ankle... Crap! What gives? I was thinking that I should put on my trail shoes when we left the house just because of this very reason. I was walking in some oversized soft shoes that were just looking for a twist. Now I will have to put off my trail running and swimming for a while. I am putting it to the ice now...

We have our 50mile ride this weekend so I am hoping that I will be able ride a bit by then.

December 26, 2006

Shoulder problems... Again?

Today I thought that I would head to 24hr to get a swim in. I have not been in the pool at all the last few months except for once last week and that made me realize I need to get to a pool more often. I usually will do a swim workout before or after a light weight session but when I got to 24hr they had a pool jam going on. You know the kind where all these freaks are splashing around led by the instructor who has had too much coffee. Well that was enough for me to start with the weights workout.

In just the first 5 min of the workout I dislocated my shoulder. Agghhh!!! I haven't done that in years and it has been about five years since I had surgery on it. It use to pop it out all of the time snowboarding and it got so bad that it would come out in my sleep and doing just about anything. I though that I was done with all of that....I almost forgot what it felt like until today. At least it went back in after a little effort and some strange looks. I was pretty bummed at first and starting thinking about how I was just planning my season and things always seem to go wrong when I start getting up to speed. I was going home after beating myself up when I decided to stay and make the best of my time there and I am glad that I did.

I ended up finishing some light leg workouts and then went into the steam room for a mad stretching session. I didn’t realize how much I needed this... I rarely stretch and never more than a few bounces before a run if that. This was wonderful. I was not in a hurry and tried to do the same stretch a few times with more flexibility every time. My shoulder actually still feels good and my legs don’t hurt when I walk. Imagine that! :-)

My swim build was postponed again for a while but I, being optimistic, am glad that I learned some good lessons. I often sprain my ankles or pop my shoulder out at the strangest of times. I guess that God knows when I need it. My first two adventure races I sprained the same ankle and ended up walking through the rest of the race. It has been such a good reminder to me that I am lucky to be able to get out and do the things I like while keeping things in perspective.

Lessons learned
- Keep training and races in perspective (fun)!
- Stretching is a good idea! I am going to try to add it in at least once a week.

December 19, 2006

Mud Ride

This weekend (Sat.) we ran the first course preview for the TwinPeaks ultra that covered miles 18-32 of the race. We had a great time and met some really cool people. Next weekend is the second course preview that covers miles 1-9/22-31 (18.6 miles). Although it was pretty cold the rain was very light so we didnt have to contend with the mud on our run. However, Sunday was another story.

I decided to ride some trails that I had never been to at Bonelli park and got stuck in some of the worst mud ever. I spent a lot of time hiking (on my 4" lifted bike shoes) because I couldnt keep the mud from jamming my tires. Most of the time I could get about 8 feet downhill until my front tire locked up. This was a great time to test my equipment though.

It is funny how when you look at pictures after an adventure they never look like you felt at the time. The pain and mud never look as bad as you felt going through it and the beautiy of the trails and mountians just cannot be caputured in a picture the way they can when you are struggling to climb it or racing down one. I guess you just have to get outside and experience it to really know.

My ride was only about 10miles but I as able to get a peek at most of the parks trails. It would be a fun place to connect some of the single track loops though the park if you know it well enough. Maybe when I bring someone with a GPS we can add it to Geoladders? Keep an eye out for that route soon.

December 18, 2006

Planning a season

Another season of races and places to go!

How do you plan on what adventure to go after, what to leave behind and how to fit peaking performance into the mix? You got me! I just go out hard and enjoy the scenery. It has worked for me so far but then again I am not as competitive as some people (and I am a friend of the bonk). This next year however, I will be blogging out my training and the lessons learned to discover what type of progress I am making and have a log of all the good times spent on the trail.

The first triathlon that I ever competed in was an Xterra triathlon and it whooped me bad. I have not been able to race another one since that time but the challenge of that first race sparked a new interest for me to get out and enjoy the outdoors and challenging myself in a new way. This year, I am trying to focus on the Xterra off-road triathlon series as I have never done a "series" race season before. I figured that it would the best approach to take for training because I would get enough swim, bike, run workouts to keep in shape for Adventure Races or trail runs throughout the year. Who knows, maybe I will make it to the Xterra finals? Lately all that I really want to do is run on some trails so if I don’t make the championships I will have more time for some ultras later in the year :-P

Along with the challenge and lessons to be learned I am looking forward to the time spend out on the trail with friends and my wife Monique. After completing our first marathon last month we decided to sign up for our first ultra on February 4th. It is fitting with it being the first Ultra in the OC so we don’t have to worry about breaking any course records yet ;-) The race is called the TwinPeaks Ultra Marathon and covers the two peaks of the Santa Ana mountain range. We signed up for the 50K but there is also a 50miler that has over 11,000 feet of climbing. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

Now. . . I better start running!