Friday, August 31, 2007

jonah’ll drink it

“Yuk, this stuff is awful! Maybe Jonah will drink it.” That’s probably what Eric said when he realized his recent protein shake mix purchase was a total disaster. Maybe he thought that because I’m a vegetarian I would like to drink something with ‘greens” in its name. I’m not really sure.

Or maybe he knows me better than I realize. Maybe he knows that sometimes I don’t feel like going to the grocery store and often times my cupboards run bare and when that happens I’ll scrounge around and eat just about anything.

Well, that day has come. The cupboards are bare and this green mix is all that’s left. And, yes, it’s semi-awful, but I diluted it with 4 times the suggested water and at that point I can at least pour it down my throat quickly.

Hilary tasted it, too: “I like it in the beginning and the end, but it also tastes like it’s got mushrooms in it.”

Motivation comes in mysterious ways. Thanks Eric, for motivating me to get out to the grocery store.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

more world track championships

I’ve gained a new appreciation for the steeplechase. It looks like a really difficult event. I’m amazed at how fluid and strong and agile those runners are. Even after a few kilometers they still looked like waves of antelope bounding over the 3-foot(?) high barrier hurdles. (At the end of one of my runs, I often have trouble just clearing the 8–inch curb to get up onto the sidewalk again after crossing the street. I just know that one of these days I’m going to catch my toe on that curb and face plant.) And, they do the whole thing with wet shoes, due to the water crossings. Good show.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

snapping out of it

I’ve been really tired the last few days. I basically did nothing between my last draining bridge run on Saturday and this morning’s bridge run with Hilary. This morning I actually felt pretty good on the run, although it took me a couple of blocks to get the flow going.

Energy flow is a complicated thing. I think there were a lot of factors that were dragging me down, including: jet lag, general fatigue, depleted energy reserves left over from my crash diet, readapting to the heat after a couple weeks of cool drizzle… So, I guess this dip in the flow should have been expected, but there are many times when my energy flow takes a dip and I can’t really explain it. It’s also tough to know when to push through it and when to let your body rest it out.

One of the things that helped me regain some of my mojo today was watching the World Championships of Track and Field over the weekend – I saw a qualifying round of the women’s 10,000 meters. It was really impressive. They’ve got some incredible strides. I tried to copy them on this mornings run and I immediately felt that energy flow kick up.

There’s a race this weekend that I’m considering running in. It’s the Mt. Baldy Run to the Top. It’s on one of my favorite mountains in the world (tied for first with Brown Mtn, of course). It’s an eight-mile course to the top/finish. It’s a pretty steep course (about 4,000 feet of elevation gain), and it’ll be pretty hot, but it will certainly be beautiful up there. I’m just not sure yet where my energy level will be and I’m honestly not sure if I want to wake up that early. Anyway, maybe this year, maybe next…

Monday, August 27, 2007

a little jet lagged

Run: 22 = 6+6+3+7(this bridge run was a struggle)
Bike: 14 = 3+11
Burrito: 2 = 1+1
Beer: 7 = 1+3+3… six weeks in a row at 7 or less!
Car: 32 = 20+5+7

Sunday, August 26, 2007

copyright infringement

I saw a great looking motorcycle the other day. I haven’t been to conscious of motorcycles lately. I’ve only got space in my head for one two wheeled passion, but I still have a little of that little boy “wow, a motorbike” feeling occasionally. This bike was a new Red Honda CBR 600RR – basically a street legal race bike – very sleek – looks like a rocket – the style you’ve surely seen screaming through traffic at 100 miles an hour. So, anyway, I got home and had to check it out on the web. After regaining my sanity and deciding not to buy a ten thousand dollar motorcycle, I clicked over to the scooter page, and that’s when I saw it - my mantra. Right there on the Honda website – Ride Happy. So, I guess I won’t be mass marketing those Ride Happy t-shirts after all.

It really is a good thing to remember, though. Of course we want to enjoy our rides and life and be happy, but there’s more to it than just that. Ride Happy is about separating oneself from the rush that we are caught up in. It is about slowing down and being aware of the irregularities in the flow of traffic. It’s about sharing the road. It’s about getting to your destination in a refreshed mood rather than in the middle of a rant about asshole car drivers. I’m really convinced that this riding style makes it better for everyone out there.

So I’m going to keep using the mantra - I hope the scooter gangs don’t come after me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

back in cali

Okay, so I’m back. I’ve been traveling around in planes, trains, and automobiles for the past two weeks – and one boat, a bus, and a couple elevators. So much for all the car miles I’ve been saving over the past year – my carbon footprint just went through the roof with something like 12,000 miles of air travel.

I’ll be brief with my travel itinerary. Basically, it goes like this:

Boston: a wedding - congrats Mark and Becca! And five beers.

Amsterdam: Oh my, that’s a lot of bikes. But why are so many just locked up and rusting away and flatted out? Drank a real Amstel (not light) - good stuff. And a romantic moonlight dinner cruise through the canals with Hilary.

Brussels: Nice big park called Van de Wolfens or something. Lots of Irish pubs around. Everyone seems to speak Dutch and French and English.

London: I must have slept through the Chunnel; I don’t remember it. Hyde park was big and great for running. We went to Buckingham Palace to make the guards laugh and saw Billy Elliot (the musical).

All in all: a good trip with lots of drizzly rain and running and parks and cafes and trains and a few wacky experiences.

Fixies are all over Boston and London.

Running on unfamiliar routes is really hard. I kept thinking I was running twice as far as I was. It was super nice to run in the cool rain.

I lost 10lbs on the amazing euro diet. (So, I’m not posting my leg circumference, yet.) It goes something like this: don’t eat much of anything and walk around all day long and don’t sleep at night and stop drinking water and you’ll probably lose about a pound a day, too.

I sure missed Mindful Mule (the amazing electric midnight purple mountain cycle) over the last couple weeks. I think I’ll make it up to her with some On-One Mary bars.

It’s good to be back and catching up on all your blogs.

2-week backlog:
Run: 39
Bike: 32
Burrito: 2
Beer: 13
Car: 90
Plane: half way around the earth equivalent

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

temporary loss of momentum

I finally went for my first run of the week this evening with Hilary – just a short one. That and a couple of short rides around town to the hardware store, the grocery store, and city hall for a city council meeting (see next paragraph). It’s been a pretty lazy week. This seems fine, though. I’ve been pretty active the last few weeks, so maybe this is just the natural ebb and flow thing. I’ll probably still manage to get in another couple easy runs and maybe a Brown Mtn ride before heading east for a wedding and some travel.

Pasadena is trying to ban the peloton ride around the Rose Bowl loop that has taken place twice a week for many years. “They” say it is dangerous. Their solution is to make it illegal for bicyclists to ride more than two abreast on city streets. This would also impact almost any group ride. This is not what bicycling needs right now. Very strange timing, too, since the Tour of California is supposed to be coming here in February to ride in a peloton around the very same Rose Bowl loop. I wonder if professional cyclists get their citations paid for by their sponsors…

I’ll post again in a couple weeks.
Ride happy…

Monday, August 6, 2007

yesterday’s ride

Although I never figured out what the name “Naked Crow” meant, the ride was pretty fun. And pretty small – about 80 riders. (I’ll try to steal some photos from the race website as soon as they're posted.)

We had some nice cloud cover early in the morning to keep the temps down. Hilary and I rode up to the start on cool quiet streets early Sunday morning. She was my race crew. She guarded my breakfast and read (H)arry Potter during the race.

This was the first year of this race. Apparently, the organizers have been trying to get the Forest Service to allow the race for seven years!

I guess this is about as slow a start as I’ve taken to get into the bike race world. I’ve been thinking about doing a race for about twelve years. I liked the experience of racing. It definitely pushed me to ride a little harder. I’ll ride this race again next year, but I doubt if I’ll do too much other racing. It’s hard to smell the roses when you’re pushing so hard.

The race was only about 8.5 miles long. Half of it was on the route I frequently ride to Brown Mountain. It was mostly dirt fire road with about a mile of paved road at the finish.

I was most impressed with the single-speed-no-suspension riders – one male and one female – both of them beat me to the finish by a few minutes.

I’m not sure exactly what place I finished in – somewhere around 24th (just like Hincapie in Le Tour.) I was hoping to finish in the top half, so I guess that works.

My bike quickly gained all of its weight back last night, so it’s ready for urban transport again. Can’t wait to get back up on the trail again soon.

Last Week:
Run: 28 = 12+9+7 (ytd: 642)
Bike: 62 = 13+6+3+6+26+8 (ytd: 1876)
Car: 0 = zero
Burrito: 2
Drink: 5 = 2+2+1

Saturday, August 4, 2007

“uncorking the headers”

I did a little weight reduction work on the bike this morning to get ready for tomorrow’s race/ride. It’s hard to tell from the before and after photos, but the bike is now close to seven pounds lighter - sort of unbelievable, really. I think a good portion of that was dirt. Of course, it’s hard to weigh a bike on a bathroom scale… maybe it only lost five pounds - either way, way lighter. I’m excited for tomorrow. Have a happy weekend of riding…



Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Le Tour c’est fin

Just in case anyone was beginning to worry, I’m back on the coffee. And those first few days back were really great. My tolerance was way down so the caffeine kick was actually noticeable. Of course, these experiences are fleeting, and now I’m ready for a triple shot of anything by about noon.

The return to coffee came just in time, too, to help counteract my post Tour de France depression. I didn’t sleep much during Le Tour. I’d find myself awake at four in the morning ready to watch the early coverage. Yes, there were a few bummers this year, as usual, with the doping and all, but still I enjoyed it. I was glad to see Hincapie do so well in the time trials – was it 3rd and 7th, not bad – and a top 25 finish – good show!

There’s also something relaxing about watching for hours as the French countryside passes by. And the fans partying on the side of the road, and the devil, and the hay bale art, and Bob Roll in your ear.

So, now what? Well, some other bloggers are beginning to talk about plans for the future, so maybe I’ll do that too, just to help me get back on track. Then I’m going to make some more coffee…

Things I dream about doing sometime in the future, maybe next year, maybe in ten or thirty years, or maybe just in dreams:

Run 1000 miles in 2007 (374 to go).

Run to the top of Brown Mountain and back. This would follow my frequent bike route and be close to 28 miles in length. It would be free, and I wouldn’t get a t-shirt.

Ride to the base of Mt. Baldy (10,064), hike to the top and back, then ride home. Biking would be something like 70 or 90 miles, hiking would be about 9. Total elevation gain would be about 9500 feet.

Ride my bike along the Pacific coast to Alaska.

Run the Angeles Crest 100.

Ride a bike with suspension.

Eat a giant burrito.

Drink a giant beer.

Take a long nap.

See a wild California Condor.

Watch the sunset from a mountaintop.

And maybe some other things, too...