January 09, 2007

Baldy and a Bike


My work took me out to Pasadena for an early meeting and it was close enough to sneak in a run in at Baldy. Mt. Baldy is a special place to me. Not only is it where my wife grew up snowboarding but where I lost my wedding ring (the first time) on my first snowboarding trip there. Maybe I was just giving back to the mountain for giving me such a wonderful woman. ;-) Mt Baldy is also the only place where I can run trails and be sore for days afterwards… You know that deep down pain that hurts where your muscle connects to your bones. Well that was not what I was looking for today but it felt great to get out on the trails there again.

I was still a little tired from our hill work on Sunday and I was alone so I choose to run up the service road from Maker Flats campground to the Baldy peak. This is a dirt road the entire way so I could listen to my IPod without having to worry about some animal jumping out of the bushes. At least it made me feel better. I was looking up the AC100 trails and wanted to run some of the finish line trails but I was unfamiliar with the area and scared to go out alone with my recent luck… Besides my ankle and shoulder coming out recently, I got in a car accident on the 405 last week. Better to play it safe for now!

So off I was up to Baldy Notch on my safe fire road. I think that this is one of the few trails on Baldy you can run the entire uphill portion. The service road trail from San Antonio Falls to Baldy Notch is just over 1,600ft gain in about 3 ½ miles. The majority of the other trails have a much steeper incline. For example, the route from the Bear Flat area to the top of Mt. Baldy is only 4.65 miles but climbs over 4,500 feet. I was also trying to keep my HR under 150bpm so I took the run/walk approach for most of the climb.

(looking back down to Manker flats campground)

The views are great from the start and at around 6,000 feet and when I got to the Notch restaurant at the top they were open with food and lots of cold drinks. If I knew that I wouldn’t have hoofed all this water up here! Oh well, that was enough for me to push on to the peak and drink it up on the way because I could fill up on the way back down.

(Mt. Baldy with the fire road trailing up to the Notch)

Most of the top had snow covering the majority of the trail and the wind was really picking up. This would have been a good place to try out my Kahtoola’s! I will have to remember to check it out after the next good snow storm.

(snow covers just enough of the trail to make it fun)

The way down was quick and a lot of fun. I love that feeling of just floating along down the trail. My mind just wanders and I almost forget I am running it is so effortless. Maybe that’s why I always sprain my ankle or get lost! Speaking of which, I needed to get back to work so I was off down the mountain. This time driving…slowly.

The bike

After a few con-calls from Starbucks (I love my job!) I got to finish up the day on MY NEW BIKE!! Last year I test road about seven to nine different triathlon specific bikes. I was ready to drop a few grand to gain a few minutes on my bike splits but it just didn’t work out. I guess that God was saving me some cash and teaching me some patience.

Just a few months back my brother (king of ebay and craigs list) found a great deal on a Felt Tri bike and picked it up as a training bike. He only used it on a trainer inside until he got in his new Mtn. bike which arrives next month. The funny thing is it fit me perfectly and had 90% of what I was looking for in a tri bike at a 3rd of the price. He needed money for his new bike so I paid him what he paid for it a few months back and I got to take it out today for a real test.

(My first real tri bike - no more clip on aero bars!)

I took it out around Bonelli Park because I wanted to see how it felt on the climbs and the fast descents. I also know that road well so I was hoping to get a comparison to my road bike but it has been months since I was on it. I have only read that tri bikes can be harder to control on steep down hills and harder to climb but I did not notice anything. It was definitely different than my mtn bike. I like it! I like it! Maybe it will get me those extra minutes I was looking for after all?

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