May 27, 2008

Lost in Aliso...

This weekend we were off again to explore and with a whole three days of the weekend ahead to get our big list of tasks complete we would have plenty of time to get in some good training sessions too. I got in a paddle on Friday, good ride on Saturday, ride and paddle on Sunday and treked it out on Monday... We actually ended up getting lost in Aliso Woods on Monday but somehow all of the chaos of recent days got sorted out as we sorted out our way back through Aliso laughing it up with friends about how we were out over 3 hours with no water in the heat of the day... Looking back it was just the confirmation we needed that we made the right decision.

The stress from the last few weeks, that became painfully obvious when my back went out, came to a boil a week ago before Xterra West but the result is now a decision that Monique and I have set in stone and put into motion.... We are moving! It is interesting how much turmoil surrounds the decisions that are not yet made but continue to be wighted in the balances and weigh on the mind... Considering every option, outcome and result of the "possible" action is exhausting. However, when the choice is made all of that energy can be put in motion and as we are feeling first hand the momentum that it brings when you know you are moving in the right direction.

It has been a long time coming but one of the biggest decisions we made was deciding to move back to Orange County after giving it MUCH MUCH thought and prayer. This really revolved around so many other decisions as Monique and I desire our "ministry" to explore, have new job opportunities, have an avenue for the business we just started and so many other decisions just fall into place once this is decided. Crazy how much this took a toll on me when it is not that bad after the choice is made.

Do all roads lead to God? We were lost in Aliso and in a mix of road, off-road, in bush and over rock... We did have a destination but the fun of getting lost with Josiah, Melissa, Jeff, Joe and Mo was so much fun that the route selection was low on the order of importance. The time it took did not matter as long as we would have the resources to get there. . . and we would but it was all about being complete at your destination. Timing is critical . . . at times ;-)

Walking back to the car I was so stoked about our time in Bakersfield and knowing that it is complete. I would not change it for the world and Monique and I are shocked at how we have grown in the last two years. We know exactly what we want, where we have been and have a distinct momentum for where we are going. I love getting lost! and I have found that I am pretty good at it ;-) We really didn't start racing, blogging or many of the things that we do everyday until we moved to Bako and I discovered first hand the power and love of Monique was far beyond what I thought that little girl could dish out. A changing of times and a circle run complete. Loving our maker, life, friends and where we now live more than ever.

May 16, 2008


I still dont know how exactly it happened. Even if I have spent the last four days reflecting again and again about all the possible causes that lead up to my current state I just cannot figure out what exact event caused it. I guess that is always how it goes with injuries... Plenty of time to sit and think about it when you have nothing else to do. Maybe it the increase in paddling, stress or driving that caused my back to go out? I dont want to ask anymore questions or lay in bed but it looks like it is my only option at this point...

All things break at some point. I got to my bike after the last ride only to find that my crank was not turning around unless I put some serious pressure on it. How long has it been like this? After I took it apart I found that I completely gridded away the bearings and it was filled with water inside the bottom bracket.

Somethings you plan and sometimes you change plans because that is life. I really have not planned out too many races as far as training, tapering, etc but the Xterra West was a big one for me and now it looks like I am out... Am I bummed? Dude, words cannot describe but I also realize that now that I am out on my back that there are bigger things to be focused on. The stress that got me here in the first place around my job, business and "life" will demand focus one way or another and that is just how it goes. If there is one think I have learned about asking questions it is that I need to stop and ask the Lord "how do we fix this" and not "why is this broken"... I may never know "why" it breaks but I will always have an opportunity to learn "how" to get it going again. For now that means just laying here which SUCKS!! but I am trying to make use of my time. Until I am out of bed I just feel broken.

May 12, 2008

Auburn Trails

Well, the wedding was a blast and the "biggest little town in the world" has some pretty cool stuff going on... This weekend was the Reno River Festival that had the restaurants and bars full of some river rats. Very interesting crowd! We should have planned on a paddle or run race but it was nice to just hang with the family. Everyone made it up for the weekend also and we were the only ones from down south to drive up. I guess OC is still a few more hours than Bako and Monique and I are just driving machines now ;-)

On the way back we got to stop in on some of those world famous Auburn trails. Oh, so nice. We didnt have a plan of where to ride but it was not hard to find a trail. Everywhere around was lush forest and sick singletrack so we stopped a one turn out on the road with some cars parked. The empty bike racks and a glimpse of the trail was all we needed.

Such a fun trail with forest covering and little climbs here and there. The view was amazing and the water from the river was so clear we could see the bottom from the trail. I wish we could have ridden for hours and then paddled back in the cold water!

After I got the GPS dump and checked it out in Google Earth it looks like we were on the Forest Hill Road trail. It goes on connecting to trails for MILES and is so plush! I think you can manage a few hundred mile loops without using the same trail twice. Amazing up thar! Amazing.

Part of our ride... We will have to complete it again next time we are heading north or maybe another trip with a camp out between trail days? Auburn is on the books for us!

May 09, 2008

NorCal Hills

This weekend, Moniques cousin Brandy is getting married to a German dude so we are on the drive up to Reno for the party... Good times all around. Last night we got as far north as Folsom and decided to pull into the campground where we stayed for the Xterra race just a month ago. Even in the black of night it was easy to find our way through the Granite Bay hood and it felt like we were home. This morning we awoke to the sight out of our tent of the NorCal trees and smell of the wild. Wonderful!

We wanted to get a ride in at Auburn on the way up or maybe stop by Tahoe for a ride on the flume trail but we decided not to pass up the opportunity with the lake and the trails so close by... Starbucks and some hill repeats were on the breakfast menu and it was a perfect mix.

I know we should be doing some interval training about 6-8 weeks before a race but I figured that it is never too late to start and it may be better to have a solid base before cranking up the intensity. I have managed to stay injury free and now that I know I can go the distance it was a good change to add in some intervals. I am learning but it went a little something like this -> Hard climbs for about a minute or two up and a nice jog down with about one minute rest... I stopped at four. Run flat or on the rolling hills for about five minutes and repeat the hills for another four climbs. I think I could have done a few more but it was nice to finish with something left and it was short and sweet. Monique ran more today than she has in a normal week and it was amping me up watching her face glow red as we passed eachother on the single track going up and down. She is so cute when she is all red and fired up. Oh, the view was just enough to motivate and distract too! Very nice!

On the road again and we are now in Auburn but we may need to pass on the trails for now. We need to meet up with the family in a few hours and we are saving some time to stop by the Patagonia outlet on the way up in Reno. We stopped at Sbucks again to check some email, send out some proposals for work and refuel.. Back to the road and some con-calls.

May 07, 2008

The good life

Off Road - Love it.

I feel so blessed to have the job and wife, life that I have in order to be "free" enough to get out and be able to explore my little world and the challenges in it. Honestly, I am blessed beyond measure and think it all comes down to the freedom go after what I am passionate about... Dirt, people and the relationships made in the muddy waters...

I have been getting back out and paddling the last three weeks and it brings back the adventure racing feelings and thoughts from what got me all excited to push it to the next level, explore myself in a new angle and get into something "over my head".  It is rewarding to train for and complete/beat a time record or get on the podium but there is just something that adds a faith element when you attempt something that you have not trained for or something that would be against the odds just to finish.  I guess it is the reaching deep and finding limits you did not know about that is so exciting.

Perhaps that is what draws me so close to the trial and the desire for adventure racing.  Limits and performance are measured on a totally different scale.  I only wish I could get a team to get out on a multi-day trip...  

With the memories of Hurkey Creek and the Xterra races in our minds we have just lost the luster for road races.  The only memories that I have from the start of the OC Marathon was walking behind THOUSANDS of people and the sound of so many feet on the ground.  Interesting experience but just not what floats my boat.  We are questioning the drive for Boise (in more ways than one). . .  It would be a  big race and new distances for us but perhaps we are in better shape for a 24 hour adventure race and more motivated for it?  The 12 hours of Temecula mountain bike race is just a few weeks away...  Funny how motivating the thought of those races are... We are stoked to have the freedom to explore and be at any race we are motivated to do and even more stoked that we are settled on the off road adventures.   To me it is the good life!

May 05, 2008

Time to rest...and reflect

We are almost "there" and made it though the last major week of training before the Xterra West race... By choice and necessity we are turning it down until the race because we are totally spent!! I dont know if we were 100% recovered from Hurkey Creek but this week we pushed through a few hard workouts, stress at work and some interesting future plans with just enough energy to get out and enjoy the weekend. We are both overtrained for sure but I am stoked that Monique is so patient with me and we have no "workout" plans this weekend so we can start a easy shift until the race. Short, intensity, race simulation until race day from now on out...

We wore ourselves out all week with a crunch towards the weekend..... This week we started a company and finalized some plans so we were home Saturday morning to finish it up and get in a swim and then we were heading south again.. More biznesss...We made it out friday stopping to purchased a bike rack and camper shell for the truck(finally!) and made it just in time to stop the work and get on the trail with family. Perfect!! We headed out to El Moro with my Bro and the family to explore the trails and caves off of the lizard trail. Sick trail! I have never ridden it (yet) but will need to get back there fo sho.

My nieces and nephew are SOOO cute and SOOO big now! They say the funniest things and I wish we had more time to hang out with them. We will need to make some more plans and it was definitely overdue and time well spent. We made it out of the park just before the sun set and we were off to stay at my buddy Nicks house...

The next morning we got up early (felt super early!) and we were so tired... Drag our butts out to Temecula for the Xterra pre-ride/run review of the course. Temecula hot? Actually, it was not bad at all with a light breeze but who knows how it will turn out on race day. The longer race is starting a couple of hours earlier this year so hopefully that will help. I was really questioning going to the longer race after the first few climbs on the bike but I just need to suck it up and slow down and I will make it. Monique is ready to go and if Nick made the entire pre-ride when it was only his 4th or 5th time on a mountain bike then I gotta step up. Nick is ready to take it on however and is somewhat of a natural...

I also got to talk with Jon Clark after our run about training a bit and I learned a ton... Mostly confirmed my "theory" about volume and intensity but I think I can get much faster by changing a few things around...Maybe work on it next season but I am learning that you have to think "long term" when it comes to fitness and making changes. This year I was trying to maintain consistency and stay injury free. I have done that so far and this is probably the first time all year I feel overtrained but I have a rest ahead and I am injury free ;-)

Looking at the year (that is flyyying by) and some changes/lessons learned I see a few key areas where I can make HUGE improvements.

#1 - Frequency -
I went from riding 2 times a week average last year to about 3 this year. I also went from an average of 1 swim a week to about two now. BIG HELP! However, I think that if I could cut the volume of the sessions down and get in 4-5 times a week it would be an even better use of the time with better results
a) it would allow me more frequency to have specific sessions (skills, hills, etc) compared to "go out and swim/bike/run hard" a few times a week. I could "practice with a purpose"
b) it would allow for optimal recovery and focus on intensity. I could gain a lot from quality sessions of only 30min at a high intensity and still be able to recover to keep the frequency up.

#2 - Balance -
This takes on more areas than I could or care to explore right now but to be specific I need to work on the balance between the sports. I have been getting in a whopping 1-2 runs per week but at least one has been off the bike. I think every multisport athlete is constantly working on this and by adjusting #1 I should be able to get more frequency/balance between all sports.

#3 - Race Selection -
I love to race. I LOVE to race ;-)
This takes on two major areas for me
a) Going long requires you to focus on a few "key races" and it is really hard for me to give up a month our four for just one race. I signed up for three half ironmans and an ironman this year and I just cannot commit to putting away that much time for a few races... Maybe someday but it is just an expensive learning lesson for now.

b)I realized this year there is a BIG difference between racing for "fun" and really going for it at a state that is mentally and physically demanding enough to only do a hand full of times per season. This is yet another "filter" for race selection where I want to "perform" at my best. Pick it and stick it!

c)This follows to a final race selection that equals dirt. I love the dirt. I am not really interested in doing the ironman except to make the goal and push my limits but there are plenty of ways to do that without reaching for the Ironman. At best I would be pushing to break 10hrs or maybe make it to Kona.... Is that the ultimate endurance challenge? Would getting there be the journey that I am looking for? I would MUCH rather spend 24hrs in an adventure race with a team of friends getting scratched up from the brush, lost in the woods and push through the dark in the dirt. To me that is true accomplishment and good times and the road to the race could be built with lots of ultra trail runs, endurance mountain bike races and epic paddle sessions. Exciting!

So...Next year I think I will focus even more around off-road type racing. It just fuels me like nothing else. Adventure races, off road triathlons, trail runs and mountain bike races. Looking at my blog I am also shocked at how much time is focused on the "bike". I have only done the Vision Quest and Hurkey Creek races but I think I will spend more time on the bike than anything else and have never done a cross country race. I may give one a go this year and try to do a series of some sort next year.

Wow... I was going to pop out a quick post but this was more insightful than I thought!! ;-)

Good times and rest ahead

May 02, 2008

AY UP! a new lighting system

I have to say that I have not been this excited about a unique product since I came across the Wingnut packs. Both of these common and somewhat necessary items that have seen countless innovations over the years yet they both step way above and beyond a "common" backpack and lighting system with the features and custom touches that bring them into a new category for gear.

The AY UP lights not only look good on the many places you can mount them to but they actually perform better than anything out there I have ever seen!! The weight is lighter than anything out there for bike lights but the fact that they are water proof and do not heat up brings the use to so many other areas like my mid week night paddles...greatly extending the value for a multisport athlete! You also get multiple lights with the kit so you have the option for mounting the lights on your head and your bars at the same time and with the convienient charger you can charge two batteries at once. You even have the option to charge them in the car on your way out! Now that is convienient!

The first time I had heard of the AY UP! setup was at the Desert Winds race put on by Kayak Lake Mead where they had announced them as the new race sponsor for their night Adventure Race...A race we were planning on doing. I checked out their website and it almost sounded to good to be true. Double LED lights, multiple Lithium battery packs, waterproof and super lite-weight... It all looked good on paper or html but how did they perform? I was interested to give them a go because they had a few to demo for the night adventure race but our plans changed and I never got to test them out. However, time proves all things and wouldn't you know the AY UP crew is getting quite a reputation already and I was stoked to see them at the 24 Hours of Hurkey Creek this weekend. My first look at those amazing little lights.

"Ay Up Batteries have been designed to withstand a repeated 5 meter drop onto a concrete floor so are well suited for extreme MTB environments"

After seeing how bright and lite these were I was impressed and I dont think I will have to suffer the load from my old light any longer or brave the dim light of my headlamp for my next night paddle. Shortly after I got home the order was placed for my new Ay Ups. I am that convinced and in love with them.