Sunday, February 24, 2008

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid...

Recovery week also means fitness testing. Thursday I did a broken 1000-yard swimming test set that wasn't any faster than the cycle before, but my consistency improved quite a bit. The Coach thinks I might be "muscling" my stroke and wants to look at it to make sure I'm thinking about "length". I think I just need more yardage. *Shrug*.

Saturday I returned to San Juan Trail to repeat my hill climb from last cycle. This time I made it a loop by taking Old San Juan Trail clockwise to Viejo Tie and returning via San Juan Truck Trail (though a truck would NOT fit on it; odd). Anyway, it turned out to be 17.6 miles and 3,260 vertical feet. Friggin' awesome trail; next time I'll remember to stop and snap some photos. I digress....

So I pulled into the parking lot and it was FULL of cars. WTF!? Honestly, in the years I've been riding that trail I've NEVER seen so many people out. The combination of rain the day before and the rocky, sandy soil there meant EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM decided to rid SJT that day. That's what I get for hitting the snooze-bar...

Luckily, I was able to find a parking space in the bushes (SO glad I have 4wd :) ) , throw my gear on and hit it before the really big groups got moving. I'm talking two groups of 5+ people each.

I warmed up by threading my way around people strung out on the trail and found myself a litttle space in front and behind me to do my 20 minute interval. I shifted into the middle ring, hit "lap" on my Garmin and CHARGED....and had to slow down every few minutes to wait for people to find room so they could let me by. A little frustrating. Still, once I got home and read the data, I got a full 1/4 mile and 140 vertical feet further, though I stopped the timer 30 seconds early. Imagine what I could have done with a clear trail! That's a great improvement. I'm stoked.

Sunday was my 5K run test (today as I write this). It was raining when I got up and I stalled as long as I could waiting for the rain to stop. It eased into a sprinkle and I put on my cold weather gear and hit it. I had the track practically all to myself: a welcome change from Saturday morning's trail conditions. I hit the "lap" button to start the interval and went for it. I won't give you my mile splits, but I ran my 5K 20 seconds faster than last month! Another awesome improvement!

So my fitness is improving right on schedule in order for me to accomplish my season goals (swimming is lagging, but it'll come around). I'm really excited because my "season" starts Saturday with the Vision Quest MTB "race". It's supposed to just be a ride, but they "recognize" the top finishers and you get bragging rights for a full year. Last year it took me over 8 hours, this year I'm looking to SMASH 7 hours. Here's the course profile from GeoLadders. Look for a report on it next week.



Monday, February 18, 2008

Rockin' and Rollin

Last week started off pretty crappy with a midterm in Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics. I studied a lot for it and still found myself struggling to come up with answers. Looks like I may have to change tactics...
Training, however, has been going pretty well. Last week was a high-volume week and I managed to get almost everything done that I had planned. I missed a weight session Saturday afternoon, but I wasn't recovered enough to do it. I'm going to see if I can move it so I'm more likely to get it in.
My weekend workouts actually went very well. Saturday I rode San Juan Trail off Ortega Hwy in the Cleveland National Forest:

This shot looks back down the trail towards the trail start. I'm not far into the ride, but it was a pretty day and a good spot for a picture. Unfortunately, you can't see the dozen or so switchbacks that climb out of the canyon and up the slope on the left side of the picture. Maybe I should start carrying a disposable film camera for better resolution; who knows...

Anyway, suffice to say I had a great ride. Here's a Google Earth view of what the area looks like.

The pictures don't do the area justice. Friggin' amazing place to ride. If you're new to SoCal or just a visiting MTB'er, hit this place up. Here's a better look at the trail (sigining on to view it is free and you won't get spam)

My run Sunday also went very well. I didnt have much on the top end, but my pace in zones 1-3 is MUCH faster than ever before. There's a 6 mile loop around my house that I now JOG in the same time it used to take me to run it flat out. Prettty exciting.

This week? RECOVERY!! Just in time too: I was getting some sore spots that I can now pay atention to before I crank out my last Base period going into my early season races. I have a wicked MTB race first thing in March (56 miles, 11K feet of climbing), a 10K around St. Patrick's Day, Lifeguard Requalification (1000 yards open ocean) and my first Xterra of the season to finish the month off.

Can't wait!


Monday, February 11, 2008


While on my way to class this morning, I came across someone's visual arts project randomly placed in one of the dirt areas of campus. I'm not sure what the meaning is, but I think it's hilarious.One eyed, purple potatoes killing bags of potato chips...something about consumerism? Race maybe?

The purple makes me think of that "One eyed, one horned flying purple people eater song"

Creative enough to have them crawling up out of the ground. Hilarious! I laughed out loud; people looked at me like I was weird and kept walking; too busy trapped in their cocoons of comfort (I-Pod, cell phone, name brand clothes, dollar-worship) to realize creativity and a warped sense of humor when they see it. People are stupid...

Maybe that's the point, college doesn't educate people, it just turns them into consuming robots: Graduate, go to grad school, make lots of money so you can buy a big house, a fancy car and pay for your kids to go to private school and perpetuate the soul-robbing cycle. Meanwhile, you work yourself into the grave by 60. NO THANKS!!

For crying out loud, go do something unexpected; run away to Vegas and elope, move somewhere tropical or do something as simple as play hookie from work and lay around in your underwear all day eating junk food and watching day-time TV (or even porn!). Whatever it is, go do something that MAKES YOU HAPPY and quit worrying about what Mom, Dad or your neighbors might think. Your opinion is the only one that truly matters in the end. GET TO IT!!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008


If you ride MTB, it's just par for the course. Over the years, I've become quite adept at clearing prett much anything I come across. Today, however, the trail won. ..
I was riding down a steep section and came to a water bar (a hump built to direct water off the trail to prevent erosion). This water bar is made of fkagstones stuck in the ground on end. Thanks to the recnt rains, more of the rocks must have been sticking out of the ground; normally I shift my weight back and give the bars a little "oomph" and the front tire goes right over followed by the rear. Today? The fron tire stops immediately and I find myself tumbling over the handlebars and towards the ground. I land knees first and instinctively rolled to my right side, protecting my arms and face in the process and smacked the right side of my head HARD on the ground (it made that "BONK!" sound and I had a headache for a while). I sat there for a second to make sure nothing was broken and took my helmet off to make sure it wasn't cracked (I told you I hit hard). Luckily, the lid and bike are fine. I have some nice scrapes here and there, but nothing permanent or training-threatening (though swimming will STING tomorrow). The irony is that Stoltz commented on how he doesn't take as many risks as he used to after he broke his back, he says he'll walk stuff if the fall would be bad trying to ride it clean. I should've taken his advice more seriously.
Right Knee:
and the left knee:

Everything cleaned up nicely and the scrapes and much less severe than the pictures portray. I'm totally going back to ride that section clean, though...


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Caveman and Me

I promised you a picture of me and the Caveman and here it is:
Yes, he's THAT tall (6'3") and I'm THAT short (5'5"). Nice guy, though.

Monday, February 4, 2008


If you don't know who I'm talking about, it's Xterra World Champion Conrad Stoltz. Former Olympic Triathlon athlete in 2000 (Sydney, Aus) and 2004 ( Athens, Greece). He spoke for an hour at B & L in San Diego about everything from where and how he got started to what he's doing this year. I try to go listen to every pro I can since you can ALWAYS learn something from someone who's been where you want to go. Bob Babbitt, publisher of Competitor Magazine, did the interviewing and Conrad stuck around afterwards and signed autographs and chatted with you if you liked. H esigned a promo card for me and gave me some advice about how to pace yourself at Xterra Nationals in Tahoe (or at any altitude race, really). Here's Conrad and Babbitt chatting:

That's no illusion: he realy is THAT tall! He was nice enough to pose with me for a picture and I'll upload it as soon as I get it from my coach, who took it. I even got a cool MTB video and some gloves from the Specialized big wigs that were there. Conrad mentioned he'd be riding a 29'er next year (!!) on a new frame that resembles the Stumpjuper, only in super light carbon, He also talked about how his the carbon on his current Epic is so thin, it'll "give" when you squeeze it; wicked! He also gave us a few other tips that I won't share; if you want cool tips, show up next time!

Saturday I stood on a corner for 9 hours directing traffic for UCSD Cycling's road race (Boulevard) in the feezing cold. I did see Tom there and met Craig from a GPS-geek website we both belong to. Walsh and Vance bagged it and stayed home; wimps...Then I spent all day Sunday working on a paper and P-Chem homework. I didn't get any training in this weekend and felt really sh!tty about that fact. Let's hope it doesn't bite me in the a$$ later in the season.

I'll post the pic of me and Conrad as soon as I get it.

Rock out with yer c*ck out.