Monday, February 27, 2012


I'm a triathlete. As a "jack of all trades, master of none" it suits me right down to the bone.  I might not be a super-stud at any one genre, but being mediocre at three sports works out well for me. For whatever reason, I'm the most "mediocre" at swimming. I think the fact that swimming is SO technique-dependent makes the progress frustratingly slow and lots of very hard work only produces minimal time gains in a race. For me, anyway...

I LOVE riding my mountain bike. I'm getting pretty darn good at running and I actually like doing it where I once dreaded it. I'm not fond of swimming. Maybe that's not entirely correct. I'm good in open water, better than most with my lifeguarding and surf experience. I'm always playing catch up coming out of the water and it's a LOT frustrating.

You've heard me piss and moan about my city pool (small, crowded, odd hours). When we moved in back in June, I was excited to hear the city was opening a brand new, Olympic-sized pool. I waited for 6 months only to have the opening delayed a month so the water slide could be installed. Killing me...


Look! It's a REAL POOL!!!!!

If you're looking at the wet deck and thinking "who swims in the rain?" you're totally blowing it. Rain swims are the BEST. 

More good news: long course (meters) on Tues and Thursday mornings. YES!!!

The bad part? No suit dryers. LAME, but I'll get over it.

More good stuff. The pool is part of a huge sports park. Included with the park is a 1-mile running track that snakes its way through and around the pool and fields. A PERFECT spot to run hard. I get bored running around a 400 meter track lap after lap and this feels like a great alternative. I tested it out Sunday and dug it big time. Lots of dogs and rug rats on the trails. It's funny how people miss or ignore the big ass sign at the front that says "No Dogs Allowed in This Park". 

There's the pre-requisite ball-sports fields (Soccer, Football, Baseball). I was stoked to see the High School Lacrosse team suiting up for practice. Take a closer look; that's TURF people. Can you say barefoot strides? Yes, please! 

I'm thrilled to have this open a mere 5 minutes from my house and parking is even free. Add in that the pool now has lap swim all day and I couldn't be happier...except for the suit dryer thing.

First Xterra race the last weekend in March. Lots of "wet time" needed between now and then. Glub, glub.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Despite all the tips and tricks I've learned during my years as an athlete, student, coach etc. the one thing I cannot answer for my athletes is "why?". Why do you do it? What gets you out the door for a workout when it's: 

or when you're tired and just can't imagine doing anything more than plopping down on the couch.

I might seem odd, but workouts are mentally refreshing for me. For a couple hours every day (longer on big rides like I did today) I relax my mind and let it wander to wherever it wants. I come up with some strange ideas, let me tell you. Today I wondered what it would take to race Xterra on a single speed. Random, I know. 

My work schedule is decidedly non-traditional and I wind up doing my longest rides in the middle of the week. Thankfully, Orange County abuts the Santa Ana Mountains; a perfect spot to get away for a few hours. I started at Trabuco Creek Road and headed through O'Neil Regional Park to Harding Truck Trail. As much as this climb is probably "good for me" it's 9 miles of hurt. 

I'm always happy to see the gate that marks the top. It's always a little bitter-sweet 'cause there's still a good chunk to go until the real top, Santiago Peak. 

Thar she blows! Of the two times I've ridden The Vision Quest, this view always makes me want to cry a little. Seeing the climb to the peak laid out before you like this is pretty disheartening given that your'e 30-something miles into a 56 mile race. Ouch.

Despite the warm temps at the start, it was cool enough that I pulled on my arm warmers. I was glad to have them. 

Joplin Trail Drop-In. I think I rode this trail twice. It's just super-steep and techy. Maybe it's been worked on and it's better, but I don't have fond memories from riding it. Moving on. Nothing to see here. 

I got a little "bonky" on the way up to the peak, but managed to push through. Once on the shady side of the peak, I was treated to a rare sight in So Cal, SNOW! Ok, it was mostly ice, but it's still a bit of a treat to have snow up there. 

Clear enough to get some nice views of the Inland Empire. 

Did I mention the ice part? It got a little dicey in spots. I stayed upright, though. I'm like a Cheetah, baby.


Perfect day! I got a late start (am I EVER on time?) and the length of my shadow told me it was time to press on. 

Right this way...

I liked it better when the cairn was smaller.

Rockin' the Rodder kit. Represent, fool.

It's easy to forget I live so close to such an amazing wilderness area like this. If your'e skeptical about that wild part, I talked to a Forest Ranger volunteer a week or so ago who told me the MTN Lion experts estimate there are 30-40 cats living in the Santa Ana Mountains at any given time. RAD! Glad to hear they're still making it. 

Post ride refuel! That's how I roll, people.

Don't blame me if you go out and get one. I won't judge you, either.