Sunday, April 24, 2011


I'm putting together a presentation for work and I needed some plant/nature photos. I put out the call for help to the online community last week, but using my own shots feels better than getting them off the web. The photographers that I've been working with have been more than generous with their time and property rights. Thanks to everyone that's been helping me out.

I was able to re-hab the MTB from last month's race (braks pads F and R, F brake bleed cleaning etc) and decided to grab the camera and see what I could do on my own. It's been beautiful in Monterey all week and I woke up Sunday morning to cold temps, wind and light drizzle. Great. Nothing for it but grab a jacket and HTFU. 

Lucky for me, the recent rain meant tacky trails (woot!) and flowers blooming everywhere. I spent quite a bit of time snapping pics and just enjoying being out on the dirt after way too long of a lay-off.

Black Sage (Salvia mellifera). This stuff was going CRAZY.
California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)...I think. Feel free to correct me if I have the plants wrong.
There were entire hillsides absolutely covered in these purple flowers. No idea what they are, though.
Poison Oak! (Toxicodendron diversilobum). The water on the leaves is from the rain Tons of this stuff all over the place as well. Some of it growing right next to and even reaching out over the trail itself with leaves as big as the palm of my hand. Crossing my fingers and hoping I don't get a reaction. There's so much of it up here, I'm thinking of buying some PO soap just as a precaution. Yuck.
Overcast, windy and rainy all day, but I didn't care I was so glad to be out riding. I started from the west end of Fort Ord, hooked up with the Sea Otter Cat 1 course, did a loop and headed back. Lost some data, but probably 30+ miles and about 3:20 or so with all the stops. No hurry, just chillin'.

I was so blow away by how green everything was. I've been locked up in my room for so long that I totally missed the transition from Winter to Spring. Well Spring is here with a vengeance and I'm going to make sure I get out and start enjoying it!
Black Sage blooming all over the place. Crazy!

That's it for now. One more week of interpretive training complete with a test and 20 minute presentation, followed by 3 weeks of first aid and rifle training (woot!) and then 2-weeks of VACATION! I can't wait.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


For those of you who weren't aware, I've been sequestered in Monterey since October training for a new job with State Parks. Last Thursday (4/7) we graduated from the po-po phase of training and moved into the interpretive portion. If things all go well, I should be "home" May 20th. Home is in quotes because I'll be incredibly busy with field training for another 12 weeks though I'll by physically home, I won't be relaxing as field training is the make-or-break part.

I've been assigned to Crystal Cove State Park and, though I've been there before, I took advantage of the 3-day weekend and paid my new park a visit.

You're jealous...I know.

Part of interpretive training requires us to create and present a 20-minute talk or campfire program and I was in the park taking photos for that. Alas, I didn't take many pictures of the back country since it was closed due to some heavy rains we got that weekend. Holly and I lucked out and scored a rad day, though. Suffice to say there are almost 2500 acres in the back country, and most of you in So Cal are familiar with the trails in "El Moro". That's my park. Training opportunities? Oh yeah! I'm pretty sure it's practically Slater's back yard.

Coincidentally, lots of people get married in the CC historic district because,'s pretty! Hey, Holly and I are looking for a wedding site...

Not bad, right? It's got an awesome view of Catalina Island.

We're still deciding, but this one goes on the list for sure.

Training and racing are on the back burner for now. I'm still getting out whenever I can and racing when the opportunity presents itself, but securing a career for the next 30 years of my life needs to take priority over "hobbies" at the moment. It kills me watching all my crazy friends win races left and right, but I gotta finish this chapter of my life off before I add multi-sport back into the mix. Can't wait to get back to training and racing at the level I enjoy.

I squeezed in Xterra REAL at the end of March and pulled of a halfway decent result considering the lack of training I've been getting in. Results here. A muddy mess for sure, but I pulled off 7th AG and 20th OA. First tri of the season under the belt; onward and upward from here. Photos here (1)(2). I'm not going into a full race report because this post is getting too long, but I'll sum it up:

The water was SUPER cold (48.5) and swimming in water that cold sucks. The bike and run were so muddy my bike is still acting funny, my clothes still have mud in them and I had to retire my running shoes. I raced on a shoddy base and I could tell the top-end wasn't there. I gave what I had, but yearned for the days when I had more to give. A little disappointing.

More "Death by Power Point" this week and next as my enginerd friends call it. Hopefully, I'll have more time to check in from now on.