Monday, December 21, 2009

Marking Time

Back in the day when I performed with band/Drum and Bugle Corps. We used a technique called "marking time" to keep tempo while playing; it helps you put feet motion together with the music and accelerates the pace at which you learn marching (the actual movement part). Bascially, you lift just your heels off the ground and make sure they hit the ground with the beat.

The point is that you're doing something, but not going anywhere; kind of how I feel at the moment.

Still, some good luck coming my way: I managed to pull a B- out of my a$$ at school and now get the chance to petition for my degree. It's long story, but suffice to say I might be getting out of UCSD. None too soon.

This past week, Luke and I slapped together a ride at the last minute. I spent all day Friday putting a new rim on the race MTB (found a crack back in October) and Saturday we met up in Trabuco Canyon to hit Harding - Upper Holy Jim. I was beat from a big training week and hoping for some chill dirt miles.

I was stoked to see James and Ryan pulled into the parking lot as I haven't seen them in a long time.

Once through O'Neil Park, we headed up past Cook's Corner and over to Harding. I wound up sucking Luke's wheel for most of the day while James hammered away up front.
Ryan mentioned something about coming down with a cold. Kudos to him for hanging in even though he was under the weather. He's the dark dot in the shade of the tree.Harding was the long, uncomfortable climb I remember it as. Similaryl, the climb from Modjeska to Santiago Peak was as rocky and gnarly as ever. It all went by much faster this time than previously, though. I felt like I was climbing pretty well compared to last season; Luke noticed the difference. He can still drop me whenever he wants, though. LOL!

Rest stop at the top of Upper Holy Jim. The guy in the green jersey is James' buddy, Loren. Lots of strong dudes on this ride. I was hurtin' for certain just trying to keep up! P.O.V. shot. This is why I love MTB'ing, folks.I followed Luke down Upper Holy Jim and we were soon faced with DEEP rain ruts and some gnarly rocky sections. Instead of trying to ride the sections, we swallowed our respective prides and walked the rough stuff. No use getting injured now: way too much racing in the coming months!

Money shot of James exiting Upper Holy Jim.
Sunday I headed out to Daley Ranch, met up with the Mann's and picked up the start of Holly's MTB build. I think the 29'er will be good for her to learn on since the bigger wheels are more stable. Plus they gave us a killer deal on the frame/fork combo. I look forward to putting it together.I'm doing the Xmas shopping thing this week and couldn't resist picking up a little something for myself.

Merry Christmas everybody!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Melvin Donald "Don" Palmer

Last Thursday I got a call from Mom that 'medics had taken grampa (Dad's Dad) to the ER and that they'd only say "We're working on him". I spent 10 years as a Paramedic saying those words to familes when the outlook was dire. Mom called back 30 minutes later and told me what I already knew: my grandfather had died.
Grampa was born in Missouri and eventually moved to So Cal with his parents. He started his military career in 1944 and was scheduled to get shipped out to the European theater of WWII but the war endeed before he had to go. He and grandma were High School sweethearts and she traveled by train from So Cal all the way to Pensacola FL so they could marry. My Dad was born in 1945.

In 1948 his unit was recalled for the Korean War where he served as a carrier pilot aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. He stayed in the Navy after the war and wound up flying everything from single engine to multi engine and even helicopters.
Grampa eventually found his way into photo intelligence and worked at the Pentagon in the Chief Naval Officer's Office. Grampa was there when Gary Powers got shot down over Russia in a U-2 and grampa was on board the USS Essex at the Bay of Pigs.
Needless to say, Grampa had the best stories.
What I treasure most are the things he taught me: Golf and the infinite patience it takes to teach someone how to play, especially a 12 year-old. And words I've lived nearly my entire life by: "If you don't love what you do, you ought not to be doing it"
Thanks for reading, if you still are. I guess I just need to say goodbye and I'm having a hard time doig it.
Goodbye Grampa, I'll miss you..

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turkey Weekend

Oh the drama.

Wed. night, Holly and I loaded up the Jeep (cat included) and made the trek up to Mom and Dad's house in the OC. I pulled three workouts and an 8-hour shift lifeguarding and still summoned the energy to pack up and drive 85 miles. Needless to say we piled into bed pretty late.

Thursday morning, I bagged the Rock N' Road annual climb up Harding in favor of sleeping in. I took a leisurely spin around the Fullerton Loop before Holly and I cruised over to her parent's house for the requisite Thanksgiving stuffing (us, not the Turkey). Holly's mom did an awesome job and it was cool to hang out with her family for a change. However, with 3 brothers, 6 cats, 2 dogs and assorted friends, the house got crowded fast.

Friday morning I slept in again (woot!) and headed over to Fullerton Loop for the 6th Annual Le Tour de Tryptophan: underground 24-Solo in the heart of OC. Low key and always a good time.
Tools of the trade.
Sweet T-Shirts. Proceeds from T-Shirt sales go to help a different charity every year. This year it would be the Brent Thomson memorial fund (Bootleg Canyon founder) and help pay medical bills for Dave Collins who has terminal cancer. Ride on, man.Pre-race meeting in the Courthouse parking lot. Quite the turnout!How'd I get out front on a single speed when it's flat!? Gene immediately behind me would be going for the record: 17 laps, which calculates to nearly 190 miles.Geared bikes would pass me on the flats and downhills, but I'd reel 'em all in on the climbs. By lap 5, I was out front by nearly 30 minutes. Rollin' on the big wheels for this one. I think 29'ers fare better on courses with wide open sections. The jury is still out on whether 26" or 29" wheels are better for XC racing (for me at least). Rolling handlebar shot.I pulled the plug after 5 laps like I had planned. Hard to do considering the lead I had, but I'm looking at the big picture.
Saturday, we just chilled. One of my fav. places to eat in OC is a tiny little Mexican food place in Placentia near where I went to high school: "Q-Tortas". THE best mex food in the area. Stop by if you're ever near Cal State Fullerton.

Sunday, we ran some errands and started getting ready for the trip back to S.D. When I went to get my oil changed, the guy tells me my drain plug is stripped and he couldn't change it. My buddy Alex wrenched on cars for a long time and tells me about oversize drain plugs for just such and occasion. I bought one, started the install and...snapped the insert off inside the oil pan. Sh!tty.

Monday I took the car to the mechanic: part's on back-order, lemme see what I can find.

Tuesday: Got the part late and we gotta clean it. It'll be tomorrow.

Wed: Truck's finally done...$750 bucks! Friggin' robbery. Mom and Dad to the rescue again (credit card in hand).

This week is all about buckling down for my last final exam of my undergrad degree (hopefully!). Training's taking a back seat for now, but I'm looking forward to cranking it up once I'm done with my final. Wish me luck!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alive and Kicking

When the 'blog posts quit coming, it means Eric is SUPER BUSY. Thanks to two jobs, coaching, school, training and trying to get stuff squared away in case I have to go to the Po-Po academy I'm constantly going from one thing to the next. I'm skipping my fav. T.V. show right now so ya'll can get yer Zippy fix. Haha!

Last week I spent some time "training"... Yes. It's as fun as it looks! We spent two days learning how to rescue victims in all types of conditions and even practiced picking people off the jettys at So C-Bad. With practice, it's incredible how maneuverable PWC's are (Personal Water Craft).

Money is still tight 'cause the State pays us peanuts.
At least my office has a window with an awesome view. Any other job must totally suck after working at the beach all the time. No wonder we have guys with 20+ years on the job.

We had some BIG surf blow through a while back, which pushed a bunch of Lobster traps into the surf line. Since we don't want people getting caught in the ropes and drowning (which can happen), we go into the water and pull them out. The irony of lifeguards risking getting caught in the lines so other people don't didn't escape me. The difference is we carry knives so we can cut ourselves free.
Where lobsters come from! Mmmmm, butter....
We get one hour of paid "PT" (Physical Training) every day. I take full advantage of it and run the trails at work. Since Torrey Pines sits on a 400 foot high bluff, the trails to the beach are STEEP. Hell yeah that's gonna pay off for Xterra this year.

I went for a walk today and snapped some photos to make ya'll jealous. :D

If you live in the area and haven't stopped by, you're seriously blowing it.
You can just make out the switchbacks in the photo that I run down on my break runs.

Um, yeah. Today was pretty awesome.

More switchbacks to run. Scripps and downtown La Jolla in the distance. There's also a nude beach that's popular with gay men. Yay...
(Random thought: why do naked people like volleyball so much. Anyone??)

More switchbacks on the way back up the cliff. Two loops is about 5 miles and take 45 minutes at a moderate effort. Thankfully, there are no bicycles OR HORSES allowed in the reserve. Loving it.
Livin' the life! Now if it only paid more!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Win, "Win", WIN!

Better than a "Win, Win" situation...

Sorry for lagging on the 'blog posts. I'm working two jobs, trying to pass the last class for my degree, coaching a handful of athletes and still managing to train quite a lot. Luckily, I'm shutting down 2009 for a bit before I start up for 2010.

This past weekend was a big one and I figure I'd share what went down. Friday was my 34th birthday and Holly and my 5-year anniversary (which I forgot...sorry!).

Holly is so amazing, she baked me a cake. Chocolate! Thankfully, there was no singing. My birthday present to myself came in to REI (special order) and I tested it out Sunday. Camelbak Montara. Bomb! Minimal bounce, holds 35 oz of liquid and still has room to carry quite a lot. Best way to carry stuff on long runs that I've found (better than hand-held bottles or bottle waist packs for sure!).

Saturday morning I got up way too early and drove up to San Dimas for the Incycle XC Challenge, the first race in the So Cal Triple Crown. The race was HOT, the course unrelenting and the field was FAST. Thanks to the weak turnout and Marco breaking his chain on lap 1, I got the "win" by default. Now that I'm leading the series, I may have to do the other two races. Hmmmm...
Cool trophy and my first win!

I nabbed my award and hauled ass down to Temecula for Luke and Charressa's wedding. Still hot and kinda windy, but great to see people make a commitment to each other in front of friends and family. Congrats!

Hooked up with the usual suspects at the wedding. I swear it looked like a group ride with Allison, Justin, Slater, Monique, James, Beth, Holly and myself all sporting various swiming, cycling, running and paddling tan lines. Cracking me up.
We tasted Luke's home brews, drank some wine (not me), and did some dancing before heading home and collapsing into bed. Exhausted.

A killer weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


No pics. So those of you who don't like reading will have to wait until next week or so.

Lots going on in life right now: working 2 jobs, going to school and trying to fit training in are all keeping me insanely busy.

This past Saturday I headed out to Temecula for the Fat Tire Epic 50 to support one of my athletes. Despite 3 flats and some stomach issues, Scott finished 3rd in cat 3 in 5:20 or so. Tinker won in 3:22. Animal. We had some fun in the pits, though I was nearly attacked by a random dog that came running out of a camp site. The way it sprinted up to me growling and barking, I thought for sure I was going to get mauled. Some dude called it off and apologized, but it scared the crap out of me. Seriously, how hard is it to keep your mutt on a friggin' leash?

Sunday I took Holly out for her first ever MTB ride and she loved it. I brought the camera, but didn't check the batteries and it turns out they were dead, of course. Zippy fail!

This past week has been all about crash training. Basically, you squeeze two training blocks into one when you're short on time. I'm aiming for the Incycle XC Challenge next week as my last race before I shut down 2009 and take a break before gearing up for 2010 (big plans for next year...BIG PLANS!).

So yesterday, I headed out with Xterra pro Renata Bucher to ride with Arnie Baker and the Cyclo-Vets. I knew the ride would be hard and I was looking forward to it. I've never worked so hard on a road bike for so long before: 65 miles and over 7k vertical feet in 5 hours. Ouch. Today I tok the MTB out and drilled it again. Tomorrow is some welcome recovery and then I'm cranking it back up for the weekend before shutting it down and recovering my ass off for the race.

Looking forward to toe-ing the line for my 4th and final race for 2009.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Going Long

No, I'm still not planning any races longer than 3 hours, but this post has three week's worth of stuff in it and it's all about races lasting 8 hours or more where I crewed for people or had athletes or friends competing. Get comfy...

I saw a post on a from a guy riding the 24 HOA in desperate need of a pit crew since his bailed and his family couldn't make it. Knowing how much racing by yourself sucks and how bad you need a crew for a race like that, I jumped in.

We rolled into Hurkey Friday night and set up camp. I teased Darryl (racer) with some tasty beverages.
Woke up early Saturday and thrashed myself on the Idyllwild Spring Challenge Course; as brutal and beautiful as I remember it. I got misdirected near the end and ran out of water, but backtracked and found my way back to the campground after the race started.

I ran into some really fast guy I haven't seen in a while.

...and watched friend Chris battle his way up to 3rd in the 8 Hour Solo class. STUD.
Athlete Mykyta picked up 7th in the 8-Hour Solo class. Solid day for him.

...and Darryl battled it out with Chuck Wheeler for 12 HOURS for the final podium spot in the 24 Solo category. Not only was it Darryl's first ever 24 Solo attempt, but Chuck is a veteran at the distance. Needless to say we were both shocked when Darryl nabbed 3rd. SWEET!

Self-portrait at 4AM. I'd like to thank PEET's coffee, the French Press and Red Bull for their contributions.

Today, Holly and I woke up super early and headed out to the Laguna Mountains for th eNobal Canyon 50k. Considering she's supported me at nearly every race I've been in for the duration of our 5 year relationship, it was my turn to play Sherpa. Sure she's smiling now...

About 50 degrees at the raace start at 7AM. By the time it hit noon, it was over 80 deg. at the Penny Pines aid station. Roasting.
Holly looked pretty fresh at mile 11. Still smiling.

I snuck out while Holly was running the Pacific Crest/ Big Laguna loop and bagged nearby Garnet Peak. Amazing views from the top. I was stoked to be up there and had it all to myself. Lovin' it.

Part of the Garnet Peak Trail runs along the PCT. Through hiking it is totally on my bucket list.

Holly would fall twice, once into a cactus, and she wasn't so fresh and smiley when I saw her again at mile 21. I paced her halfway to the next aid station, ran back to the car, drove down to the bottom of the course and then chased up the course to make she sure was doing OK. She was cooked from the heat and distance and was relegaed to walking. I walked/ran with her the last 2 miles. Girl sucked it up and ran through the finish line though I'm sure it hure like hell. I'm so proud of her...

We headed home, got some fatty, nasty food on the way and once there I introduced her to ice baths. Hehe. =D

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


By that I mean the busy beach season. For some reason, American's think you're only supposed to go to the beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day. On those holidays (along with July 4th) So Cal beaches are absolutely PACKED with people celebrating the holiday. Personally, I'm greatly relieved when the busy season is over adn I can go back to preventing people from drowning instead of playing "beach cop" by keeping surfers and swimmers in separate areas so they don't hurt each other. Personal responsibility? Not in America...

Last week, my brother called my up and finally pulled the trigger on the Orbea we had in his size. Pretty sweet bike and a SMOKIN' deal thanks to my employee discount =D.

'09 Orbea Gavia

Ultegra, 105 mixed group. Not "blingy", but solid components proven to perform.Mmm...10-speed...I like the little Orbea "O" touches on the seat and brake calipers. Classy. And a Selle Italia saddle to boot. Very nice for his first road bike. So I wrapped up a recovery week last week and I put down February numbers duing my cycling test. Not bad considering I haven't ridden much since May.

I spent Sunday and Monday doin' the lifeguard thing and keeping people from hurting themselves. Sunday, I pulled 3 kids out of the lagoon mouth rip at Torrey and Monday I nabbed a boogie boarder in the Seaside rip that claimed a life 4 years ago. I love what do.
Season's over. See you next year.