July 29, 2008

Big Bear Limiters

I am seriously SORE from this weekend and I really had to suck it up throughout this race! In the past, I have almost never cramped during a race but this weekend gave me a grand introduction to how much longer it takes to recover from a race when you really hit the bottom of your reserves. . . and that is what it feels like it took for me to get through this one! I loved every second of it! ;-)

Mentally, I am still a little beat and I have been sitting through PowerPoint presentations all day my works mid-year sales meeting up in Tahoe so I am scrambled to say the least… Yes, it is hard to be at the Hyatt in an conference room overlooking Lake Tahoe and be this sore and stuck to a seat but I am hoping to get a hike in by Wednesday. For now, I just wanted to brain dump my “lessons learned” and work on my limiters for the next race @ SLO. I am more stoked than ever to be a part of the California Multisport races! Now on to limiting my limiters...and some learning

My biggest limiter / lesson learned all round was something that I have NEVER ran into before. Nutrition! I always read about this and have always adopted the Hammer Nutrition fueling strategy but this race I paid the price for not following it thought. Not that I didn’t prepare . . . I had a gel before the race and a gel flask on my bike and surf ski but ended up losing both gel flasks. Not only did I have to slow the pace but the cramps and going out too fast just made it harder to keep it going. Nutrition effects every part of the race!

Run –
I don’t want to say that I blew up but I just was short on the distance… The run looked a bit like this _/\_ and although I reached the top with plenty of gas and was ready to hit the downhill with some speed I ended up sputtering out near the end.

Pace - I could have started a bit slower

Hydration – I decided not to take water and should have had some gu and H20 on the run

No socks – This helps for transitions but with the run/bike/paddle transition I should have worn socks. I ended up getting blisters on the way down and although I could deal with the pain it may have lead to a slower time and cramps due to the above and technique change from blisters(different muscle groups).

Bike –
My bike was solid for what I had going into it. I needed to recover from the run and did on the first half of the bike and it was probably still my best leg. The only one that the distance was not a factor and I felt like I could have pushed much more if I was not recovering/cramping. The biggest lesson learned on the bike was losing my gel flask after not having anything and going to hard on the run. I was doomed to cramp/slow and I had to keep that pace I could manage on the bike. Missing the turn on the loop back didn’t help but didn’t hurt that much either. I got my feet out on the way back and had a good transition after the bike.

Paddle –
Although run should not be included here it was a significant part of the paddle due to the mile out and back from transition and it would grind my run to a walk. I walked a lot of this! Another limiter to my run and race in general is my lack of running volume. Running once/twice a week or a total of less than 10miles a week is hurting in more ways than one.

Paddle was OK but due to the waves and lack of skill in rough water I could not hold a solid technique for the majority of the paddle. This was not only slower but also inefficient because of using the wrong muscles and making me even more fatigued. On the paddle I just had to use what I was left with. I fell out about 4-5 times from cramping in my calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and back.

I need more rough water paddling and technique work on a boat that I can rock in any condition(and be powerfully relaxed). After looking more into surfski.info I have decided to do some additional video analysis and get some help with technique in open waves on the ski. My overall volume is still pretty low in paddling also with only about one paddle a week of less than 5 miles so adding more sessions/distance per week will help me paddle stronger

July 26, 2008

Big Bear Fun

Ready to race... I finally feel caught up and ready to go. Not sure about the elevation yet but so stoked to be up here spending time with Monique and meeting friends old and new. We need to get up here more!!!

(photo courtesy of Nancy - Thanks!)

Some more pix over here: http://slater.smugmug.com/gallery/5586110_wqwmL

July 24, 2008


Well... I always say it is about getting to the starting line and for some reason(s) we just couldn't manage to get out for the Night Adventure Race this year. It may have worked out even better now with me getting some rest for the Big Bear race and we have a chance to run through the course as Robert the race director is leaving the check points up for a while. We may even take a few friends along...We order some maps and will have a trip out to the heat soon...

It really helped on some lessons learned . . . even if we didn't race. For starters. . . I was way overtrained! Big surprise but after I started resting for the Big B Multisport race, I realized that I would have been totally blown if we did Roberts race. . . Only one team actually finished the race!! The other big lesson was in how much we wanted to get out for some adventure. "Sometimes the walls are there to show us how much we really want something" Robert could not have said it any better with these awesome words in an email to the racers

"We all seek adventure, athleticism, challenge - outdoor athletic challenge. In the adventure race format, we seek these things in the company of friends and companions - teammates.

I make a course as I would want a course. I believe this course was a good, imaginative course. It was well laid out and the CP's were accurate. But, it was a tough course and so I ask myself and I ask you; was it too tough?

I have found that with every race and or adventure that I've either been successful at or have failed at - I learned the best, most deeply lasting lessons from my mistakes. So in a sense, my best adventures have been my worst.

Some of you had a very successful race, some of you didn't. But, I know that all of you learned more about yourselves and or your team this past weekend; about your strengths and your weaknesses."

July 15, 2008

2008 Scout Challenge Adventure Race

An adventure race is just that. . . An ADVENTURE! Sometimes that adventure is found when you are pushing your limits in speed during the race, sometimes it is facing a new distance that everyone on your team will need to support eachother throughout to complete and sometimes that adventure is just making it to the finish line.

This would be my third time racing the Scout Challenge Adventure Race and while I expected a unique outcome I underestimated just how "different" this race would be. At last years race, Monique, Marius, Cisco and I really pushed hard and finished strong. We were working as a team good speed with little problems throughout the race and made a top 5 finish. This year however, problems or "adventure" would find us throughout the day and we were surprised to finish at all. . .

This time around Monique and I were stoked to be racing with our good friends Jeff and Josiah. It took almost two years to get any of our "non-racing" friends to get to the starting line with us but this was a perfect race for the first timers. When we showed up for this years race and got our maps we discovered two things right away.

1) Navigation would not be a problem at all. Not only were most of the checkpoints right off of the road but the route selection would be minimal because we needed to pick up each CP in order.
2) It was going to be a fast race! Fast roads, easy travel and everyone going in the same direction. We anticipated a sprint from start to finish.

This was a good and bad thing for our team. It may have been easier/faster to stick to the roads but the pace required all of us to focus on fueling that much more. This turned out to turn our race around in a hurry.

Just before the 4am start time we were handed another small map that outlined the first state of the race. Four checkpoints on foot before returning to out starting point and heading out on our bikes. We finished running through the darkness after picking up all four checkpoints and headed out climbing on bikes before the sun was fully set. Burning calories but moving forward.

The bike checkpoints went by pretty quickly. At checkpoint #2 we were posed a math problem that we had to solve or wait it out 20min before heading out. We took our 20min rest and found later that it was needed for our team to keep going at this pace...

Before we knew it we had dropped our bikes and we were off on foot again running to a few checkpoints. Working as a team and gaining ground. We all ran, talked, waked and kind of wished that it was more "adventurous". Be careful what you ask for!!

Pace... It started to slow way down after we reached the Trippet Ranch visitor center and Josiah was looking all pink and hot. he he he... Josiah, whats up buddy? Monique got into the questions about eating and drinking. She had been on us as our food monitor and we had all acknowledge that we had been eating and drinking but the question was HOW MUCH? Then Josiah said something about having two bars... and his stomach hurt too much to try to eat anything more...

Now we posed a math problem to Josiah... It is 9am and we have been racing for six hours. If you have been burning about 500 calories (conservative number) an hour and you have only eaten 2 or 3 bars9400-600 calories).... What is your caloric deficit? It was a shock to us and we knew then the day was only going to get longer. Here comes the adventure!

Monique tried to take Josiah's pack but he wouldn't budge... We gave him a tow, got our shirts wet and huddled around to bring him back. The real problem was that he was already so far behind in calories/hydration that his stomach felt locked up. "if I eat something I am going to throw up!". Well.... It was bound to happen sooner or later ;-)

By now our "adventure" and race really started. No longer worried about anything much but getting Josiah back we were on a mission to get down the mountain. Luckily, by the time the full body crams set in we only had a short section of the backbone trail left before returning to the start/finish area. Unfortunately, that last stretch took fooooreveeeerr and we started getting pretty worried about Josiah. He could not ride without crashing and most of the time needed some help just to walk down the trail. We got him on a bike at one point and started making faster progress until he got a flat front tire!!! Oh, it just was not his day!


I am so proud to have raced with our crew... We still managed to pick up the last two checkpoints on the way back and Josiah was able to ride in to the finish line. We finished as a ranked team with 15min to spare. ha haa.. What a day.

We thought that all was well when we got back but Josiah just kept the puke going. . . and going... Dang... I though that you were not drinking water but you have been putting out a lot of liquid. Jeff ended up taking Josiah to the hospital on the way home were we found that his kidneys had shut down for a couple of hours. They kept him overnight and into the next day.

We were looking for adventure and we expected teamwork but this took it to a new level in a direction that we did not expect. To our supprise... Josiah and a few of our friends are even more stoked to get out and give adventure racing a go and they have a big jump on the learning curve now. I am sure Josiah will be forcing food and water down everyones throat the next time around. Thank God he is back to normal and stronger than ever now.

July 14, 2008

Testing the waters...

What a looong day of racing yesterday. The Scout Challenge Adventure Race is behind us but our team is still feeling the effects from the race in more ways than one... Unfortunately, we still had Josiah in the hospital today but he is back on track to a fast recovery. I am still a bit scrambled and cannot really type out a race report but I can say it was a long day and we were working as a team like no other.
It was R&R day for Monique and me and a little time with M&M. We met up with Marius and Mandy in Laguna for a little swim session and some testing of new gear for our Night Race this weekend. Dry bags to drag our gear behind us and give us a float when we are feeling weak. It worked perfect and we are so looking forward to the race although we will have some major lessons learned to review after this weekends race. More on that to come....

M&M have been so busy getting ready for the wedding day and after we departed for home we were welcomed with the best dinner ever!! Keevin and Heidi got back from the Rim Nordic race and had a feast prepared. Copper River Salmon surrounded with everything nice and an evening of great stories.

Hoping for a renewed Josiah and recovery this week before we get into adventure again this weekend...

July 11, 2008

Peters run to Scout

This has been somewhat of a blow out week for me. . . I have been able to get in a few high intensity / interval sessions with some weight sessions too (my legs are still so sore!). My hopes are to finish the Scout AR this weekend and then start some slowing down next week before the Night AR and continue the trend into the Multisport. Hopefully, I wont get injured or blow up before then!

Tonight was another high intensity kicker with the Peters Canyon Trail Run stop #2. A super fun 5 Miles of trail with lots of ups and downs... Last year, I ran the first of the series and I think there was about 50 people. Now that number has grown to over 300 on a Thursday night! NICE!! This is just the type of race that Monique and I would love to put on too. Relaxed crowd, BBQ, Kids races...Fun!

The run was tough to hold the pace and I averaged a 6:45 pace overall. Not bad for feeling beat. Nick was also back on the race path and he knocked this out like he was jogging around the block. I am sure he will be ready for the Coastal Challenge! We had a good group running and got to catch up with a bunch of friends after the race as we enjoyed the BBQ. Everyone was just as stoked as us about moving back and it looks like we will make round #3 and trips to Peters Canyon on a regular basis.

We also had our "team ringsting" gear and race prep after the run. Josiah and Jeff will be joining Monique and me in the fun on Saturday and we are so stoked to race with them. This will be the first (hopefully of many) adventure races!! They have a big gear stop at REI (fun!) but we should be ready for a long day.

After the sun went down. . .Keevin, Monique and I went for a spin around Peters. Killer night and perfect timing... Cant wait until our next trip around the park.

July 08, 2008


Back to Mammoth again and although we have been hundreds of times now (no joke) this trip was unique in so many ways. For starters, we took some boats and started off Friday morning with an EARLY morning paddle. . . cold but watching the sunset rise through the trees as it spread over the hills surrounding the lake was unbelievable. WCD (words cannot describe).

After we loaded up and warmed up with a stop at Starbucks we were back to our comfortable 15 person condo to gear up for a long day of riding. The "fast guys" were off to ride all day while the "party people" made a journey out of our day on and around the mountain. The weather could not have been better and was only exceeded in greatness by the company we were with. . . Seriously, it was a funny group of people and we were all pushing, pulling and laughing it up. These are the trips that make me just LOVE being out and adventurous. Good times!

Riding all day caused some real hunger for the crew so we headed out for some burgers . . . at Burgers. Agghhh.... Nice. It was the day before the 4th of July and we had about 30 Birthday Songs to sing to Andrew... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW!

James led the entertainment for the evening and due to our lack of sleep and looong day we decided to go for an easy hike the next morning... Jeff, Monique and I had stopped at the visitor station to get a map or two and we found a little 1.75 mile hike around Lake George that sounded promising. 1.75 miles? What are we going to do after that we thought... It was a good thing that everyone was looking for "ADVENTURE" because that is what guided our trek the entire day.

While the "fast guys" got out early for another long day of ridding... Monique, Melissa, Kryistie, James, Josiah, Jeff, Corby, Joe, and I headed into the trails around Lake George. Corby wanted to head back early to get more riding in and I though fo sho I would be back to ride with him before dark. It was something like 10am and it was not like we were going to get lost or something...? Corby and Joe headed back and we headed for the hills.

Who would not want to get lost here?

Our 1.75 mile trip turned into an all day "EPIC" on the ridges around countless lakes in every direction and nowhere close to our "standard" Mammoth mountain trip. Love it. . . again, words cannot describe the views and changes in landscape along the way. The team we had was so committed and positive that we pushed on for over 7 hours even after only packing water and food for a little 1.75 mile trip. I think that one of the requirements for an "epic" trip is running out of food and/or water right?? We were motivated and carried by the momentum of our adventure and on or off the trail it directed our route in a grand loop around Duc lake. Where to next?? What is MOST adventurous??

(do you see Josiah?)

We made it back just before dark and just before we all split up... I have some blame about running ahead to fetch the car(without letting anyone know) but we met up in time to get some food and miss the fireworks(We had some candles for James early BDAY to make it up). This has got to be one of the best hikes that I have ever done and the company was top notch. USA, USA, USA!!

The next day we packed up and headed to Convict Lake for some relaxation and paddle time. I got to test the waters with some eskimo kayak rolls and it was a camera dropping experience.... Those boats are harder to roll than I thought and we need to get some practice in just in case.