Archive for the ‘Adventures & Travel’ Category

Chichen Itza & Taking Flickr Embeds for a spin

December 18th, 2013, 7:17pm by Jake

Back from Mexico late Sunday, no time to go through the dozens (shockingly not thousands) on my regular camera. But here’s a shot from the iPhone, really a perfect sky to get this, from blue to gray.

Going to have to test this w/ a non-pano. Nothing from Mexico right now, here’s the Icebox calendar in the wild.

And another, trying to figure out how Flickr decided which features to include based on image dimensions.

LA Triathlon!

September 29th, 2013, 8:23pm by Jake

I actually owe Pyslent about 4 race reports (Born to Run 50K, Culver City 5K, Conquer the Bridge Half Marathon, Pacific Coast Sprint Tri & a 16 mile R/T run up & down a 4000 foot climb. LA Triathlon? I killed it. 

My swim is what it is, 42:20 for 1500m. Transitions still suck, 6:20 getting on the bike. Then I cruised, 40km (25 miles) in 1:21:30. Second half was faster than the first. Another slow transition (4:28), then the run. I had to hold myself back to hold a decent pace. Then my mile splits. Get this! 8:50, 9:02, 7:43, 8:37, 8:44 and the last mile in a ridiculous (for me) 7:03. I’ve only ever run 1 race mile that fast, and it included a 300 foot downhill. I was flying! Final time 3:05:19! That’s a full 25 minutes faster than my 2 year old previous Olympic race.  Yeah, I kicked ass at the LA Triathlon!

Catalina Marathon 2013

March 11th, 2013, 3:19am by Jake

Cross posted.

The easiest way to tell the tell is simply from start to finish. So let’s begin at the beginning and go on forward from there. Really, the story goes back to May 2005, when I ran San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon ready to take on the world. I crashed hard in that race, swore off marathons for a good while and decided I’d only run if I really ran. Fast forward to May 2006, and I ran my fastest half marathon ever on a tough Palos Verdes course. Renewed & rededicated, I trained hard for the 2006 Santa Clarita Marathon. I had a great race that day despite some knee pain & 90+ degree heat. But no PR. But it did give me the confidence to enter the Catalina Marathon, which had appealed to me and frightened me for so long. Why? Two pictures are worth two thousand words. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s more than 4000 feet climbing, 4000 feet descending. Now wonder I was scared!

[Forget all this, just show me the photos!]

Catalina Marathon race profile Catalina Marathon route

But WOW! I did it. Man, I really did it. With no exaggeration, the 2007 Catalina Marathon was my best race ever, 4:28 and I’m sure I beat some guys who ran 3:00-3:30 marathons on flat courses. I returned the next 4 years, each one a different sort of adventure. In 2008, it was all about a very bumpy boat ride. In 2009 I was paced for 10+ miles by the other Jake (and his doppelganger). The next year my brother Aaron joined me, until the race started! That year we camped near the start, and after he ditched at mile 0.01, only to rejoin my 2.5 miles from the finish, which both pissed me off & gave me a little adrenaline boost (mostly the latter). Sam was about 10 marathons into Operation Jack, no idea how deep my involvement would be by the end of it. And I need to shout out to Vinay, for watching me finish 3 years straight! In 2011, the race was bittersweet. That was the carrot that kept me motivated through the worst winter of my life, and that other Jake returned to run/ walk/ jog the whole 26.2 miles was deeply meaningful for me. I worked so hard to return to the race, that I couldn’t contemplate ever missing an event.

But yet, I did miss 2012. I never really got pumped for the race, so I wasn’t in shape. Overworked, and given the substantial costs it just wasn’t going to work. The change in race management (and name) was a big part of it, but only part of the story. In fact, I didn’t run another marathon for 2 years, until yesterday. I kept busy, entering the Hermosa 24 in 2011 & 2012, and taking a swing at the Magic Mountain Man triathlon in 2011 & 2012 as well. After tweaking my hip during tri training, I let it heal for 2+ months with no road running. Then, just like that, ran the Operation Jack Half Marathon on December 26. My legs were THRASHED from the pounding, but my hip felt great. Game on. Fast forward 2.5 months and several hundred miles later over road and beach alike.

Spotting a whale

My journey began as I parked at the Long Beach parking structure for the Catalina Express ferry service. Then I caught a cab to San Pedro, and boarded the boat. The ocean was moderately bumpy, no real issues. Whale spouts were spotted! We headed direct to Two Harbors on a fine Friday afternoon, arriving after the rain had stopped falling in town. I got the key my cabin, dropped my bags there & left the door unlocked so the busted light bulb could be replaced. Ate too much at dinner, and soon headed to sleep. Now let’s get this show on the road!

The boat arrives from Avalon Andrea & Brian

The Avalon boat arrived late, a monohull that took an extra 20-30 minutes battling the elements, and rocking the passengers something fierce. I’ve been there before and can feel their pain! Unlike years past, there was no boat arriving from Marina del Rey with mainland runners. Unless someone decided to arrive in Long Beach at 1 AM to hitch a ride over, if you ran the race you needed to spend the night on the island. More on this later. As I watched the arriving runners, Andrea from We ROCK! spotted me and I snapped a shot of her & her husband. We ROCK! trains Orange County students to run races up to marathons, and 2 of her students would tackle the distance that day. The late boat delayed the start only 5 minutes, so I wandered to the start– still huddling in my "Obama" jacket & sweatpants, as the mercury was still south of 50. But the sun was out and the weather would be perfect on this day, likely not getting much above 55 with a nice breeze more or less all way. I saw Andrea again at the start, along with Julie Weiss, aka Marathon Goddess, who was running her penultimate marathon in her 52 for you fundraising effort– 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer research. 

Julie lining up for marathon 51 of 52 Starting the first run across the island

Then we lined up and away we went! The first 9-10 miles were fairly uneventful. I started slow but felt good. Unlike years past, the first 9 mile markers were spot on. Mile 10 was more like mile 9.6, and after that every mile seemed to be just a little bit longer. So yeah, wearing a GPS is still a good idea. Let’s just post some photos and I’ll get back to the text in a bit. Don’t go away.

  Streak of light Shadows
 Last prep
Little Harbor
"I get this shot every year."

Snaking around, descending

Sometimes pictures can’t tell the story. Around mile 9, my gut started to bug me. And my hip was squawking. And my left knee was trying to get my attention. So I drank some extra Gatorade, took a leak, had a Lara bar and popped a couple Advil. By mile 14, I was in worse shape. My pulse was rising, my legs were slowing, I felt like I was about to have a cold sweat. I scanned the horizon desperately for a port-a-potty. the issue was in my GI tract, and I knew something had to give. But no luck. So I jogged at a pace I could maintain. Stopped drinking Gatorade and instead went for water & soggy pretzels. Stopped eating GU, since I suspected the sugar wasn’t helping. And by the time I rolled up to the bottom of Pump House Hill at mile 17.5 or thereabouts, my stomach was settling and I was considered I may be ready to waltz past the port-a-potty atop the climb. 

Then I power walked for 6 or 7 minutes to get past the nastiest bits of Pumphouse Hill, and that did the trick. Pretzels, water & a Kind fruit & nut bar and you know what? It worked! Stomach better. Aches & pains gone. No more odd sweats. And hot damn, I felt downright good! A sneak preview of my finish, hear are my times for the 6 marathons I’ve run on Catalina. I was 8 minutes off my 2008-2010 average, but nearly all that time was lost in the first 16.  The last 7.5-8 miles, I walked maybe one time for one minute, and after 8 or 9 miles of being passed and passing in equal numbers, it was time to mow some people down!!!

Catalina Marathon mile splits, 2007-2011, 2013

So I ran. I ran the flats. I flew down the hills. I powered through the climbs and I kept moving. My training had paid off, and I really did feel better at 20 than I felt at 5. Atop the ridge, only a few climbs remained, and one big surprise (I’ve held in reserve). Oh there was a monstrous buffalo, 100 feet from the trail. A cloudless sky. A clear view of Palos Verdes and points nearby. A guy in a Lakers jersey again and again. And people again! After running alone through Middle Ranch, we were everywhere. Picture time!

We know it's a Challenge! But you'll make it, Relax!

I conquered Pumphouse Hill!!! Wrigley Tower, sighted

Big Bison

Big boy, close to the road

Signs, signs everywhere signs
Onward, upward

Everybody walks up PHH. At least at my speed. Brutal climb. Not the longest, or the steepest, but few other climbs rise so quickly after a non-stop 6+ mile ascent.

Avalon below

So yeah, just after I passed Mile 22 and was looking forward to the final descent, there he was in bright orange. Vinay!!!! Much to my happy surprise, Vinay had jogged up the course 4 miles and waited for me. He joined along, and we kept moving. After a little gap, I slowed for just a minute and Vinay rejoined me and we ran the descent at a solid 8-9 minute/ mile pace until we reached town, trading the lead as Dr. Goyal gave me a very welcome shot of adrenaline. Awesome! Just before mile 25, Vinay slowed to deal with some phlegm, and I then raced to my FASTEST final mile ever in Catalina or perhaps any marathon, 8:35. Boom, finished just over 4:53 according to my clock. 

Downhill racers
Vinay turns on the juice!
With Vinay after the run

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 135 out of 413, almost precisely in the top third. Ran about 2:33 the first half, 2:20 the second half. Probably my best negative split in any race, ever. The 2nd half is undoubtedly easier, but I’d guess most slow as they get worn out. I may be slow, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get stronger! Vinay and I had a fine lunch, then caught a boat back to Long Beach (thus completing the quadrangular journey), and with a surprising burst of energy I went to celebrate another occasion with Olivia into the late evening hours. Thus today, I’m completely beyond wiped out. I’m going to post a few more photos from the post race, then be back with a few words on the past, present & the future of the race itself. Hang in there, we’re almost done!

Close!!!!
Number 6 in the books!
Those shoes are WAY too clean!!!!

So this was my 6th marathon, but the first time running the Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon, which began in 2012 after the conservancy refused to grant Pacific Sports a permit and decided to host the race themselves. Pacific Sports had run the race for more than a dozen years, and grew the race tremendously, with as many as 800 finishers some years. This year, just over 400 finished, down about 20% from the last years of the Pacific Sports events. I think there are a few reasons for that, and I really hope the organizers work to make it a great event for runners & walkers by putting them first. It seems to this observer is that some changes are geared more towards overtly supporting island businesses and forcing the runners to accept those compromises. I’m just going to hit on a few things here that I think the Conservancy & Spectrum should do to get more folks back to the island. Even if a smaller percentage spend the weekend in Avalon, I suspect that with 30-40% more runners the island will see greater benefits by making the event more runner friendly.

First, get a morning boat from Marina del Rey. I did that twice, catching 4:30 boats. That’s early, but manageable. It’s an expensive race with race fees and boat costs reaching $200. Some people don’t do camping, and with many Avalon hotels requiring 2-night stays, that cost can quickly approach $1000 for the weekend. There are many enthusiastic runners & walkers that would LOVE the race, but can’t justify the price. This race shouldn’t be excluded to only the affluent. This year’s "morning" boat left from a remote terminal in Long Beach at 2 AM, which meant 4.5 hours on the boat and no sleep anyways. It wasn’t a realistic option. 

Second, move the award ceremony to earlier in the day. It was held at 3:30 this year. That’s nice for the last of the finishers. But for everyone else? Those not spending the night would catch a 2:05 or 3:45 boat to Long Beach, or wait until 6 and not get back to mainland until well after dark on a very long. This seemed, in part, like another way to "encourage" runners to stay longer on the island. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the runners would prefer a much earlier ceremony. 

Third, bring back the catamaran for the morning boat from Avalon. It’s often a tough ride to the start. So early in the morning, in the dark, makes it even more likely to get sick runners. Those catamarans give a smoother ride. If the race was about Runners First, there would be a catamaran, no question.

Fourth, market the race more effectively. Mud runs, Tough Mudder and Spartan races are all the rage. This is tougher than any of those. Word of mouth is great for the long term, but the event needs a big push now.

Fifth, bring back the real name of the race. I know there are lawsuits going on; those are a real drag on the event. Work like heck to reach a fair settlement, and recognize that the name itself has value.

And more should run. From start to finish, the race was smooth & well run, so props to Spectrum Sports & the Conservancy and all the volunteers. Water stations seemed well stocked to this mid-packer. The course was marked, the mile markers were… well, always an adventure! So I have no issue with the race itself. It’s all the ancillary stuff that makes the race than appealing to runners. Work to accommodate all runners across the economic spectrum, and this great race will get back to being the 800 runner event it deserves to be. With that, I close with a few more of my favorite photos.

"I'm gonna get you gator!"

Runners running every which way

Half Ironman Triathlon tomorrow!

October 13th, 2012, 1:53pm by Jake

It’s payback time! Of course, in keeping with tradition, it’s going to be 90 at Castaic Lake tomorrow. Same as last year‘s Magic Mountain Man Triathlon. Same as the 2 marathons. Somehow, the 3 half marathons I have run have there been on days where the mercury barely touched 70. Just my luck. Heading up there soon to get my bib & set up the transition. Going to be a tough day. I might post an update or two during the race, but don’t count on it.

Hermosa 24! More pain in 2012

July 3rd, 2012, 12:05am by Jake

[Cross posted on my other blogs.]

Well, here we are again at The Hermosa 24. It’s been little more than a year since the 2nd annual Hermosa 24. The inaugural event saw one man, Christian Burke (also winner of the inaugural 2010 Operation Jack Marathon) run 24 hours straight to break the world record for most miles run in the soft sand in 24 hours… a whopping 83+ miles! In 2011, it became a race with 8 solo entrants and 8 more relay teams, including both Team CORE & Team Structures (I ran for both). And we witnessed Manhattan Beach phenom Patrick Sweeney (winner of the 2011 Operation Jack Half Marathon) break the recently established world record by running 87+ miles!

Sweeney finishes his 94th mile in the deep soft sand. Effing nutjob!

So I knew I needed to come back for 2012. But this time, I planned on running solo. So I recruited hard to get 10 people signed up for each team. And I did! But then 3 folks dropped out, but we were still strong. Team Structures was anchored by returning runners Vinay & Francisco who were joined by Jimmy, Ryan, Stu, Sean and Alla along with Captain Zach. Team CORE was highlighted by returning members (and CORE co-founders) Chuck & Todd, aided by CORE President Bill and joined by Alex, Christian, William, Shin and Captain Tom. All told, there were 18 of us, five veterans and 13 braving (or is it stupiding) the hot sands for the first time. So how did we do?

William & Shin bring it in!

Well, that’s William (paced by Shin) finishing their 6th and Team CORE’s 28th lap with less than 10 minutes to spare! That’s 2 more than last year. More than 94 miles. Ninety four miles on the deepest, driest sand you’ll find anywhere. Team Structures was strong as well, finishing in 4th place among the teams, with 24 laps despite a 1.5 hour gap with no running. That compares to 23 official laps or 26 unofficial laps in 2011. Really, really good guys! After breaking down camp, Zach, William, Shin & I decamped to Islands (the one in the Manhattan Village Mall) for a well-earned lunch… I enjoyed a full 4-course meal of lemonade, tortilla soup, tacos & an ice cream Sunday. Oh, and a 2 hour nap a little later. Everyone was great, but a special shout out to Tom, William & Shin who each ran 6 laps, and Stu & Ryan who each completed 5 laps. That’s more than solid! Zach covered 4.5 (including a half lap unofficial to help drag me across the line) and Sean ran 4 total, including the 2 where he paced Alla.

Team CORE!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about me! I had the ambitious yet achievable goal of completing 50 miles, which is 15 laps. I was right on track, with 9 laps complete by midnight and an even dozen by 6 AM. Then, exhaustion set in. I had to rest for 10 minutes mid-lap, and upon returning I consumed 3 pastries and passed out in the team camp (2 canopies, 1 large tent, 1 small tent, 10 folding chairs, 2 coolers, a case of Gatorade, a case of Propel, assorted sleeping bags, spare sand socks, first aid supplies and assorted other sundry items). 2 hours later, I woke up shivering from cold & exhaustion and declared myself done after 40 miles. Christian Burke would have none of that! I knew I had one more lap in me, but not sure about two. So I carefully timed my final lap so no one would be tempted to declare that my penultimate lap in retrospect! During the first 11 laps I averaged about 59.5 minutes per lap. The last two? About 1:15 each. I was toast. All told, 43.7 miles officially, but I think it would easily top 45 if I counted all the yards traveled from base camp to the start/ finish line! Below are the full stats for Team CORE, Team Structures, and ummm, Team “Jake.” Official results are on The Hermosa 24 website.

So how did Patrick do? I guess he did OK, I guess. In fact, he single-handedly matched 9-member Team CORE by completing 28 laps, more than 94 miles (even more impressive, more than 150 kilometers). Shattered his own world record. There’s an excellent race preview on Easy Reader, news coverage at the local Patch sites, a small news piece on the local CBS station and surely more to follow in the days ahead. Christian was set to give Pat a run for his money, but a foot injury in the first 10 miles put an end to those plans. I did have the opportunity to travel a mile with both Pat & Christian late in the race. I count both among my friends, and they are pretty much the reason why I started running on the beach. Many days this spring (when the sand was a LOT more forgiving) I would pass Pat on the beach and he’d run 5 or 10 miles with me. Keep your eyes on the event’s Facebook page for updates that are sure to flow through from organizers & entrants alike. At times I outlasted the King of the Beach! But not today. Thanks to both those guys, as well as all the other entrants–solo & relay. And of course other volunteers, especially Mike Naylor who volunteered to feed my parking meter when Christian was threatening to have it towed (not quite), and Kara Lubin who was there all night (I think?) with an upbeat attitude for the ultramarathoners and those embarking on the 1-lap challenge. It was great to see all the kids hanging out too, bringing the sort of energy that come only come from youth.

3rd place relay, Team CORE!

So that’s about that. I’ll leave you now with a picture of the remaining members of CORE posing on the podium recognizing their 3rd place finish. Sweeney wasn’t done yet, as he managed to photobomb the team photo… that bastard! And last thing, I’ll plug the 2012 Operation Jack Marathon & Half Marathon. Same great course, new start/finish line, new expo and many more improvements. Same day after Christmas tradition, might be the only Wednesday marathon you have the opportunity to run.

Holy canoli, Hermosa 24!

June 30th, 2012, 1:20am by Jake

It’s today! Starts at high noon, back & forth b/w Hermosa Beach & Manhattan Beach piers. Last year I anchored 2 teams and covered 9 laps (30 miles). This year, I’m running solo, hoping to cover 15 laps (50 miles) over the course of the day, preferably with a few hours of sleep mixed in and time for a decent meal or two. Here’s the website and Facebook page (where there will surely be updates). Also, keep your eye on the webcam. And wish me luck!

Day Old Earth

April 29th, 2012, 6:25am by Jake

Day old earth

Really. Seriously.

It was a 5.5 mile hike along lava fields to get here. Hoping to see molten lava… we didn’t see that (there was none clearly flowing). But we got close enough that rocks were hot enough to burn. I stepped on one rock and it felt as if it were floating. This, along with the 140-degree breeze blowing off the surface, convinced me that we were walking atop very recent lava flows. Maybe right above it. At every crack from the ground, hot air poured out. Not enough to scald, but not far off. The sulfur smell was fairly mild. The vents in the distant identified the path of the lava as it snaked largely underground. Under me.

Seriously. Hot.

So yeah, after my brief episode of lava boarding we knew it was time to turn back. Much of the lava of silver gray, the newest stuff. Everything for hundreds of yards was shiny, every bit just a year old maximum. A friend flying above us in a helicopter spooted us, and we asked about any lava near our position. He reported that the magma was only visible in the crater itself. I’m certain the flow could have likely been seen within 50 feet of our last position but there was no safe way to get there. So we turned back. It was a wise choice… we were likely atop a river that could have shifted any moment.

Well worth the 7 hour ago, not just for the journey but also for the destination.

Countdown to Big Sur!

February 11th, 2012, 1:53am by Jake

Is it really only 3 weeks away… what the heck! So I know the plan is pretty sketch now, but seems like this is the best place to plan, more or less. So, what are the must-see sights in the Monterey-Big Sur area? A quick glance found a lodge at the park in Big Sur. And a whole website devoted to killer hikes. Mostly I’m looking forward to hanging out with good friends. Maybe a few brews, a bit of hiking and probably way too many photos. Beyond that, it’s all good as someone besides me has a plan.

I’m a Half Ironman!

October 9th, 2011, 10:55pm by Jake

Oh man, it was a brutal course on a brutal day! The race started off well enough, with cool 55 degree termperature, a warm calm lake, and the sun breaking over the peaks surrounding Castaic Lake (lagoon, actually) as I neared the swim finish. The swim is 1.2 miles, which happens to be the furthest I’ve ever swum. I didn’t start great– not warmed up enough, so the first half I alternated between side stroke, rescue crawl and regular crawl. 2nd half I found my rhythm & swam crawl the rest. Out of the water in 57 minutes, followed by a 10-minute Transition 1 which included a restroom break.

So onto the bike. A 7-mile climb, 1700 feet vertical to climb. I was so surprised & proud to pass 4 people! Then the gnarly descent, sadly interrupted by a flat tire which cost about 15 minutes. Ugh. Well, nothing to do but go. Back up, then down, up down up down up down. All told, there were 6800 feet of climbing the first 42 or 46 miles (my GPS measured the course at 52 miles). I was worried I wouldn’t make the 6:15 Bike+Swim cutoff. But, thanks in art to the missing 4 miles, I easily made the mark. Flew down the last 10+ miles, and pulled back to the transition area after 4:35 on the bike. My longest bike ride ever. Detecting a theme? Six minutes gearing up for the run, then away I went.

At this point, I should mention the weather. It was a beautiful, clear California day. Perfect weather, really, for just about any activity. Other than running. Or cycling up hill. I was hydrating well, but my body could only metabolize so much fluid. By the time I started the run, the mercury hit a crisp 85 degrees. A pleasant, dry, non Santa Ana 85. But 85 still. So I started to run. Initially, the worry was my lower back, totally stiff and very hard to run. Plus a mild cramp in my right calf. The back loosened a tiny bit after 2 miles and the cramp resolved itself. I was running about 10/mile, feeling good but warm. But then, about mile 4 or 5, the heat really took its toll. No matter how much water or Heed I drank, no matter how many salt pills or GU I ingested, no matter how many ice cold towels  or cups of ice I cooled my body with, I could not get my core body temperature down.

So slow, slow, slow. I was hoping for a 2:15 half marathon– that was NOT in the cards! Instead, I staggered through in 2:45 and didn’t have a whole lot in reserve. Every time I ran more than 3-4 minutes, my brain would give my body an ultimatum– stop running or I’m shutting this down! Even with that, walking sometimes 10 minutes at a time, my heart rate was upwards of 160. I was dehydrated, but could metabolize the liquids. I was overheated, and every step I ran exacerbated it. Alas, I pushed through & proudly crossed the finish line 8:34 or thereabouts. I had dreams of a 7:30 and expectations of 8 flat, but the heat & the flat ended that. “Running” the half was harder than the 2nd half of any marathon I’ve run no matter the heat. Just couldn’t get hydrated fast enough during the bike, and started the run already overheated.

Regardless, I’m proud of what I managed to pull off. I only had this idea 6 weeks ago, started training 5 weeks ago, ran my first Tri 4 weeks ago and bought the bike 2 weeks ago. All of that, and I finished one of the toughest 1/2 Ironman races in the world with brutal hills on the bike, a flat and temperatures not suited to running. It seemed like a crazy idea a month ago, even crazier when I glanced the course, but I did it!

Results here: http://www.geminitiming.com/posts/magic-mountain-man-long-course-and-olympic-triathlon/

I’ll post the link to photos when they’re posted.

Triathlon!

September 24th, 2011, 11:51pm by Jake

Second race is tomorrow, and the costs are adding up fast! Before the first Sprint Tri (1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile rune) I bought a wetsuit, biking shirt, Tri shorts & some knickknacks. That went well enough. The swim was sort of brutal, as it was the first time I’d ever been in the water with a wetsuit. First time swimming in the ocean in years. First time ever in a swim race. Longest ocean swim ever. Decent set of waves at the start. Bottom line, totally lost my nerve in the first 30 seconds and struggled through the swim. Shocked when I finished in just 18.5 minutes, about 12 minutes faster than my slow goal and honestly 6.5 minutes faster than expected. Bike was fine, run was great. Results here: http://www.geminitiming.com/posts/pacific-coast-triathlon-results/

So that was with a hybrid bike. Next step required a real road bike. So long money! So long new camera! So long new lens! $1400 (bike) and then some (shoes, pedals, etc.) later, I got a sweet ride that should remove crap ass bike from the excuse list. So there’s that. Back to the point, tomorrow is the Bonelli Olympic Distance Triathlon. A 0.9 mile swim, 24 mile bike and 10K run. This is in a lake, and I’ve got a game plan for the swim. After that, it’s a matter of pushing it on the bike & seeing what I have left on foot.

If that goes well, the next step in this trifecta is the Magic Mountain Man Triathlon, a full half Ironman. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, half marathon. The bike includes 6600′ of climbing, which means the whole race is UP or DOWN. I do good on both at slight inclines, but this is pretty steep. Will see. If tomorrow is good, then onward in just 2 weeks. If not… I guess I’ll spend the year getting in bike shape & be ready for next fall. The funny part is seeing the reaction of people when I tell them my plan. The bike store guy looked at my not-so-slim physique and asked me “have you ever ridden before?” And seemed certain that there was no way I could complete a half IM. My friend Todd from the Hermosa 24– he was more confident, having some idea of my endurance abilities & commitment even if unsure of my ability on the bike.

So there it is. Wish me luck for the morning. Hope it goes well, if so it’s onward again to the welcoming environs of the Santa Clarita Valley.


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