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. 



DougSully said...

Awesome write-up!

allison said...

Nice, I dig it ;) Glad you're getting out for good rides and hope the Xterra training is going well!