Monday, September 29, 2008

Littering aaannnd...?

Results from my Ranger/Lifeguard interview came in the mail today. Out of the thousands of people that took the exam and interviewed for the Ranger position where did I place? 13th!

My Lifeguard rank is even better...5th!

I think I'll start growing the mustache tomorrow. The Rayban aviator sunglasses are on order. Ha!

Lock it up! (2008 re-cap)

So my 2008 eason is in the books and I'm just over a week into my off-season. I think it's time to look back and evaluate the season. Hindsight is 20-20 afterall...

I had the chance to listen to Brad Kearns (retired Pro Triathlete) speak and something he said stuck with me. I'll paraphrase:

In order to truly enjoy Triathlon, you need to release yourself from your objectives. He clarified by giving an example of his best race ever. He merely focused on having the best race he was capable of putting together on that day. Despite the cold water, rain and seriously delayed race start, he found himself in front on the bike course with a chance to win. By ignoring the conditions, his competitions reactions to them and by focusing on maximizing his own performance, he was able to win.

I raced 2008 with that same mentality: ignore what other people are doing and race your own race. Chucky V. said something similar in his Pacific Crest Trail journal that amounted to "hike your own hike".

I definitely feel that intrinsic motivators are more powerful than racing for a place or arbitrary time goal. Can you miss a time or place goal and still have a "good race"? I'd like to think so; otherwise my 2008 season was lackluster at best.

Vision Quest:
Personal best by 20 minutes. Still think I could've gone faster if not for my GPS foul-up. Totally my fault, though.

Racers and Chasers:
A prettty big let-down. Dead F'ing Last (DFL) in my AG. This plus Xterra REAL put a huge "?" on my seasson.

Xterra REAL:
Took 2 weeks off before this race to focus on school. Same time and placing as last year, but all I had at this point in the season.

Arizona Xtreme Triathlon:
Hot, Hot, HOT! I suck in the heat, but managed a respectable finish considering the heat and the stacked field.

Idyllwild Spring Challenge:
A training race for me, but I pulled top 5 outta my a$$ and qualified for NORBA Nationals as a reault. I also beat some guys that whooped my a$$ last year. Hands down, my most surprising race of the year results wise.

Xterra West Championships:
Again; hot, hot, HOT!
A strong race for me. Camping in the heat probably put me in a hydration deficit, but still redeemd myself after last year's broken chain debacle.

Xterra Snow Valley:
Missed opportunity. Here's where Brad's (and my) philosophy broke down. I raced my own race and got 4th, when I had 3rd in my grasp. This one still stings a little.

It looks like I'm stil learning how to race up to my potential. Some guys have that innate ability to push themselves right up to the brink of their fitness, and beyond if necessary (yeah, that's James for sure!). They have that intangible "thing" that drives them and allows them to acheive amazing physical feats. I find myself wondering if I have "it".

Perhaps I need a paradigm shift. A switch from "zone" defense to "man-to-man". Develop my "killer instinct".

At Idyllwild I told myself I'd hang with the front pack until I blew up. Amazingly, I hung on for much longer than I thought I could. Maybe it's time "race your own race" gets replaced by "fake it 'till you make it".



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

24 Hours of...spectating!

Saturday morning, Holly and I headed up to Idyllwild for Luke's 24 Hours of Adrenaline solo attempt. He'd raced 8 and 12 hours races before, but this would be his first solo 24 bid. If you're clueless about 24 hour MTB racing, you basically do laps from noon Saturday until noon Sunday. The guy (or team) with the most laps in the shortest amount of time wins. Simple right?

Races like this start with a run to your bike so the field spreads out a little on the first lap. I can only imagine the chaos of a mass start.

Bikes lined up at the start. Luke's is the orange and white Kona in the middle of the photo.
Luke getting started on lap one...of many.
Heading out for lap one. Fresh as a daisy!
I did my best to give Luke accurate splits to the guys up front. Didn't know how much his pit crew knew, so I gave him the info I'd like if I was racing.
Once it started getting dark Holly got cold. We headed over to Lake Hemet where we had picked out a campsite and stashed the truck and most of our gear before the race start. Off season means we had our pick of the tent camping sites. While we were gone, a lage group set up in the next area next to us; they blasted Ranchero music for a few hours, but stopped at bed time. Small miracle!

Our view of the lake.Holly said this looks like a commercial for Jeep. The mountains are pretty in the sunset, a phenomenon called "alpenglow". The colors of the sunset really accentuate the features of the mountains; absolutely beautiful. Setting up the tent. Rainflys can help keep heat in even though it's not raining. Holly asked if we'd need it since the daytime temps were nice and bordering on warm. Good thing I threw it on; it got COLD!
I woke up in the early morning to pee and noticed Holly shivering in her sleeping bag; teeth chattering too! I tried crawling into her bag to warm her up; which worked; but we were too big for the bag. We swapped bags, which helped. I feel bad for her being so cold when we go camping; a huge fire at night, hot food and my thermals did little to help her stay warm throughout the night. She just needs a "real" sleeping bag: the Wal-Mart Coleman bags are good for summer camping, but not fall in the mountains.

Sunday morning we packed up early and headed back over to the race venue. It was still very cold and we heard LOTS of talk about how cold it was that night. We were enjoying our hot brakfast just as Luke came out of his pit. He'd done 13 laps before retreating to his car for some heat and sleep "did 13, got some sleep, gonna go get some more laps".

The mountains are so pretty. Early morning at the start/finish. Luke fought hard trying to make it onto the podium, but it was not to be this time around. He managed to grab a solid 4th place by turning 16 laps. Stud.

Finish! If you look closely, Luke is in the brown in the background. In the foreground is MTB Pro and race director Robert Herber. Herber's team "Team Heat" pulled 30 laps. SICK!

Once Luke finished, we congratulated him and then beat feet home. Holly and I were both tired from lousy sleep in the cold. We later found out the temps dropped into the low 30's/ high 20's!

Huge props to Luke for riding night laps in weather that cold, I don't think I would have been able to do so.

Props also go to Holly for taking ALL the pics and for dealing with the weather and the Ranchero music with a smile on her face.

All in all, an awesome weekend and a great mini-vacation since I scrapped the Tahoe plans.

Back to school Thursday...yuck.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's Official...

My season is over.

The calf/ soleus problem I've been having is getting worse. It's progressed from painful anfd tight to cramping and spasm-ing.

I'm sad to have to pull the plug on my season (teared up when I e-mailed my coach), but I'm afraid of causing permanent damage. If I haven't already.

So my off-season starts now. I might do the "Le Tour de Tryptophan": 24 hours at the Fullerton Loop Thanksgiving weekend, but no more "racing" until 2009.

This weekend, Holly and I are heading out to Idyllwild to watch Luke race the 24 Hours of Adrenaline. We're trying to get a cowbell.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


My name is Eric, and I am easily distracted...

They say the first step to conquering an addiction is acknowledging you have a problem.

Frequently, when I'm faced with a task that I find stressful or unpleasant, I look for something else to occupy myself with until the deadline for the task has passed. OR I wait until the last minute such that the quality of my work suffers. This applies to school, training, coaching ( I have a few people I'm helping on the side for free) and whatever else I'm doing with myself at the present.

Lately, I've been looking for ways to sabotage my Tahoe race so that I'll have an excuse for a poor result.

If you're familiar with what's been going on with the surf recently, you know exactly why it's so easy to blow off training: a big West swell last week followed by a South swell this week. How can I be expected to swim at work when the waves are coming in with 7-8' faces? Seriously, my boogie board has taken up permanent residence in the back of my Jeep. At least I'm getting in a killer leg workout I've been doing so much kicking with fins...

I also need to confess that I'm a chronic snooze-bar abuser. I love sleeping in and getting my ass up at 5 to make it to the pool by 6 so I can get in 2 workouts before work and then be in my tower by 10 isn't happening right now. It's so much easier to get workouts in during the school year; I just skip class. See what I mean about being easily distracted? Sheesh! That explains my less-than-stellar GPA.

Back to the awesome surf: I boogied the Cardiff Reef yesterday. A very popular and crowded surf break where Professional surfers hone their skills when they're in town. I felt a little out of place as the only "sponger" there (surf slang for boogie boarder) but I now see why it's as popular as it is. Great waves.

Returning from the surf tangent (see how easily distracted I am!?). My hobbies tend to run a 5-year course. I find something that interests me, I go way overboard and become obsessed with something and then I get tired of it and find something else to obsess over. Right now I'm conflicted about what to do about triathlon. I like being fit and fast, but I keep finding excuses to skip workouts; mostly swimming and hard running workouts.

I need motivation.

The closer Tahoe gets, the less likely it seems like Holly and I will be going. When you tally it all up, it's going to cost around $1K and we simply don't have that kind of disposable income lying around.

We are planning on heading up to Hurkey Creek for Luke's 24 Hours of Adrenaline race. I'm trying to get a campsite for us, but the race promoter rented all 100+ campsites so he can hand them out to racers. I'm trying to see if there will be any extras, but the word, so far, is "ask me later". If we can't get a site, we (or just me) will be heading up just for the day. Camping would be nice, though; I love camping.

Still waiting to hear from the State about the results from my interview.


Friday, September 5, 2008


I was coming back from checking the mail just as one of my neighbors was pulling into his garage. I gave him the noncommittal head nod. Just as I passed him, he asked if I like fish; "Uhh...I guess". Him: "I just caught this Yellowfin and I have a bunch if you want some" Hell yeah!

I went back to my place and gave him time to clean up before I went back to is place and hit him up for the goods. I've never even met the guy and he gives me three huge steaks.
Then he mentions he's going to try canning the rest and said he'd give me some if he got it right. San Diego is so awesome. These babies were swimming a few hours ago.
A little garlic, some butter, salt and pepper is all you need. So fresh it didn't stink up the condo. Awesome.
Hands down, the BEST fish I've ever had. Threw in a little salad for good measure and Holly's tummy and mine are way happy...

...and we only cooked up 1/3 of what our neighbor gave us. We're totally ruined for store bought or restaurant fish from now on. How can it get better?

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Some changes to the 'blog and just in general. I'm still trying to find that guy in the the photo up top. He's here somewhere, either hiding or taking a nap, but I'll find him eventually.

So the beach season is OVER! The Tuesday after Labor Day felt like the morning after a raging party: quiet, a few people passed out on the floor and you sneak out so you don't wake anyone up.

Labor Day weekend was absolute chaos on the beaches; crowded and some huge tidal swings that caused "flash" rip currents on the outgoing tide. Kept me "on edge" all weekend. I had a few rescues, but I didn't keep track...too busy.

Speaking of busy, this post is a few days late because I've been working so much: I jst finished a 7-day straight stretch and finally get a couple days off. I'm still working 40-hour weeks, but the low beach attendance makes it less physically challenging than the busy season.

I'm trying to get back into training, it's going slowly and it's still difficult getting workouts in around a full work schedule.

Tahoe: still can't decide. If I do it, it'll be more so I don't kick myself for not going to a Naional Championship than out of any real desire to do well. I'm still working out the finances; if Holly and I determine we can't afford it, I might crash a local Olympic Road Tri on the same day and call it a season.

This week, my best friend for 20+ years texts me that he and his fiancee are splitting up after 7 years of being together. All 3 of us used to hang out together and I consider her a good friend and them breaking up maks me wonder what the heck is going to happen between all 3 of us. Messy. I hope they can work things out.

My Lifeguard/Ranger interview went very well. My district supervisor wound up on the interview panel, which should be a big help. I should hear back in 4-6 weeks and next up is the Physical Agility, which should be a piece of cake. I just hope they do the ocean swimming part before the water cools down too much.