Friday, July 30, 2010

Life back to normal.....

Riley is gone but the boys are back, Zen seems to have calmed down and believes we are staying around.

Work is buys!  That is a good thing- busy = money.  nuff said!

Official Kona training kicked off this week.  11 weeks (from last Saturday) to race day.   So that means 9 solid weeks to put it all together, gain fitness and then let it all soak in.  Usually 11 weeks out I just wait for my schedule from coach and roll with it.  But, um, I am the coach.  So I started with race week and started working backwards.  I made it 2 weeks and realized I needed to lay out this week or I was not going to have a plan to follow.

I am really liking riding to swim 1- logs extra bike miles and 2- saves me $3-4 parking money each time and that =  a trip to Starbucks!  3- saves gas too!

So I am riding to swim Mon-Wed-Friday and will add on the ride one day for 3 hour mid week ride.  Really trying to focus on my run!  My hip flared up after 2 weeks at track and I backed off, went back for 3 weeks and was dealing with the nagging issue.  I am taking tack off the schedule (with this volume) and adding in temp run instead,  Nailed a really nice one on Tuesday. 9 miles (not all was tempo) and had a nice building set in the middle.  Was able to back it up with a solid run on Thursday, not as hard but still a solid run.  And my run felt great and my hip does too!   Today was longer than planned as I was riding with Jen and well we get talking and it is just so much fun we keep going.  The pace was not tough so I figured an extra hour on the bike is no biggie.  Forced the Friday afternoon run and the way I negotiated it was to finish my run at Cool Cravings ( my favorite yogurt shop and JD's new place of employment)  My reward was a yogurt but it could not be obscenely large as I had to run the 1 mile home.  So it was all good!

Long ride tomorrow and then run Sunday and assuming all goes well I will have executed my biggest volume week ever!  Granted I have a 5:30 ride and 2 hour run to go, but I am feeling good this afternoon!!!

Next week....another big training challenge!  Tue/Wed/Thur:  1 hour swim. 3 hour ride. 1 hour run each day!  15 hours 3 days....will see how it lays out!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Riding Dirt Bikes

So while I am sending Riley off on her ocean adventure....I later find out JD and Braman are zooming all over Moab on dirt bikes.

Could the kid be any happier!

They had an adventure for sure..... Night 1 in the Suite at the Sheraton Steamboat. Night 2- riding dirt bikes until dark and cooking chicken over an open fire while camping in Utah. Night 3- a seedy motel near Hoover Dam where it was 124 degrees.

A movie star..... (in his bike jersey)  love that guy

Last stop Hoover Dam

I was excited when they rolled in on Monday afternoon....dirty, smelly, car trashed and Zen and I happily greeted them!   Nice to have 3/4 of the family together for now. 

RIley's Big Adventure!

As Riley enters High School we decided that a summer adventure like no other would be a great idea!  When I say we (that is JB and I).....this was news to Riley.  She was set to play lacrosse, go to a 4 day lacrosse camp, hang out with friends texting, going to the mall and the beach.   

After an exhaustive search of camps, summer plans etc I stumbled upon the Tole Mour.  A Tall Ship Sailing adventure which is a unique summer program that is a 3 week live aboard camp that focuses on sail training, marine science and island exploration.  It stimulates minds, encourages teamwork, develops self esteem and is guaranteed fun!   For the entire voyage, campers are immersed in sailing, marine science and teamwork.  The Tole Mour is the largest sailing school vessel on the West Coast.  Over the 3 weeks they will learn how to sail the ship  and professional crew gradually turns over the responsibility of running the ship to the trainees.  They also study marine science through the use of  Remote Operated Vehicle and spend as much time as possible in the water.  

We really wanted to expose her something different, surround her by people who care about the ocean and the environment and who make learning about the world around us fun.  And to live without modern culture for a bit and hopefully come home energized and excited!  

Riley was just certified to Scuba Dive so she will be diving in kelp forests and up and down the Channel Islands (along the CA coast)  They also will be boogie boarding at remote beaches, kayaking in beautiful locations, climbing aloft the mast of the ship, camping on islands, standing watch on the ship an so much more. 

One duffel bag for 3 weeks! NO electronics.  8 berths in a cabin and a very small head (bathroom), laundry by hand and hopefully an adventure of a lifetime.

She was startled at first, wanted to hear more and soon embraced the opportunity!   I love that kid. Open minded and willing to take on adventure.

So 24 hours after flying in from Steamboat, she packed up and we headed to the Port of Long Beach,.

Here she is ready to go! 
Her home for 3 weeks! Not sure where she stores her gear but someplace behind the berth

Once she dropped off her gear she was directed to the bow to get fitted for her wet suit.  They want them to get in the water as much and as soon as possible.

She was directed to get her ":mug" the one she will use for all liquids for the next 3 weeks.  Recommended she decorate it well so she is sure which is hers.  And that was it....time for me to go.  She hugged and kissed me and skipped off onto the ship.   Wow, my baby is growing up that is for sure. 

I hung around the docks for a bit talking with other parents. Was happy to see most looked like the shopped at REI or other outdoor like shops.  Seems any parent shipping their kid off sailing for 3 weeks must be pretty down to earth as well.

And then I was one at home ( JD and John were driving back from CO) and nothing to do.   I stopped at Starbucks, read the paper, chilled out and then made my way home.  Zen was happy to see me and we spent the day working in the yard.  Cooked a nice dinner and settled down with my stack of magazines.  Being alone in my house is a rare thing- I enjoyed it immensely for 2 nights and then was eager to have my husband and boy come home. 

Love you and miss you already!!! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You know it is a good vacation when.....

All blog posting cease.....after the big hike the week just rolled along!

Making plans for a bid day of fishing! 

JD fishing with a random Dog - sure makes a good picture

Tuesday- JD and my Dad headed out for a day of Fly Fishing at the "private" fishing club.  Sort of like a Country Club but well you fish - not sure if there is a bar or not but seems like a lot of standing and waiting.  Apparently JD had a few good nibbles of a nice trout- but he lacked the skills to set the hook.  Much different than landing a catfish or a lake trout. He came home tired, eaten by mosquitoes and still with the zeal to fish and fish some more.

While JD was fishing the families split up went adventuring. Riley headed off with the Hancock's for a short hike to a waterfall for some fun!
Uncle Scott, Taz, Jax and Riley

The Hancock- DeRose family was out riding bikes and eventually Riley joined them for lunch and adventure.  Me...I had a few hours of work and then did a very painful run and went for a swim.  By the time I was done, everyone was gathering again and it was time for another big dinner. Fun to gather with all 17 for dinner each night- chaotic yes, fun absolutely!!

Riley, Jamie and Willa at the top of the mountain

Riley telling the group about her upcoming 3 week sailing adventure

Wed was the big backpacking trip....Scott, Taz (5), Jax (3), Kathleen and John, Jamie (7), Willa (5) and JD and Riley.  My take on the trip.....not interested!  A huge amount of hassle, 2 mile walk that is sure to take a few hours, another night of not sleeping while camping, a great opportunity for JD and Riley to bond with their cousins and Uncles and Aunt without me.   Oh and we only have 2 backpacks and a 2 man tent.  So really no equipment for me.  Someone did point out I could rent a pack and a tent...but well, no.  And the whole saving money concept....right frugal Julie.   If my kids were small and needed supervision I would have been there but they are not small and they were both carrying extra weight to take some of the load off Scott.  After a lot of work and prep they all left around 10am....and off they went.

I was left behind, sad and lonely!  Okay not really, I was on my bike soon there after and tackled Rabbit Ears Pass again!  5000 ft climb and the elevation seemed a bit more tolerable. Even the climb back to the house was okay.  I had more work to do....even a conference call!  And then, okay confession time, I booked a 90 minute massage.  It was heavenly!   After that I did decide to drive up to where they were camping...,my plan was to drive to base camp and run in the 2 miles, say hello and then run out and be back in time for the our adult dinner at a local restaurant.   Good idea!  NOT....the road to base camp once you turn off the highway was 4 miles and it was narrow, gutted, filled with puddles, cliffs on some side and I was going about 8 miles an hour.  Suddenly it occurred to me if anything happened I was out here, no one knew where I was, I could not turn the car around.....crazy.  As soon as I could turn around I did and said forget it!  Meanwhile my sister-in-law (who did not go either) had the same idea and had turned around about 30 minutes before me because the truck she was driving was fishtailing all over and she did wan to plunge to her death!

As it turns out they had a marvelous time!! So glad for all of them and we had a mediocre dinner in a wonderful setting along the Yampa River.

The Backpackers

Gotta have a fire

My favorite....the lovely hat to ward off the mosquitos, hooded for the same reason and of course drying her socks on the fire as it had just poured rain.  Looks like a lot of fun (for them) :) 

They rolled back in Thursday....after I attempted running to the top of the Gondola and nearly died!   More on Thursday's adventure later this blog posting is too long already!  

Monday, July 19, 2010

Devils Causeway Hike

Sunday was a recovery day so it seemed like a great idea for a 10 mile hike!  The most recommended hike was Devils Causeway- so we went for it.  About an hour drive from our house but it was well worth it.  My brother and sis-in-law, JD, Riley and I headed out around 7am. We were on the trail by 8:30 ready to hike.
JD, Riley and Nancy (sis-in-law)

We started around 8000ft and immediately started climbing.  The scenery was beautiful, wildflowers all over and open meadows, lakes and beautiful clear skies.  Hiking is not one of my usual activities so I have to readjust my expectations- slower pace, this is not a race and just settle in an enjoy.  I was a bit skeptical about the kids but they did great. 

We moved along, the air got thinner and we stopped a few times to ensure everyone was happy :)  

Stopping and looking back was rewarding as well just to prove we really were making progress.

We passed after the bulk of the climbing before the final push to the top and the Devils'Causeway.  We were warned that many do not make it across the causeway- the actual causeway is about 100 ft across and is quite treacherous as you can see in the first photo.  But we crab walked, went on all 4's and managed to successfully make it across!

JD was excited about the cow scull and was going to bring it home as a souvenir, but soon realized it was a bit too fresh for his liking.

Scott (my brother) and Nancy- pausing as we trekked up
Here we are approaching the Causeway

Riley, Scott, JD and me are successfully across and are waiting for Nancy- Riley is holding her breath - sometimes it's harder to watch someone else cross.  

Success! We all made it across and now it was a long hike around down and around back to the car.
It was mostly downhill so it was easier to breath- but I have to say when we were at 11.000+ ft - the air was thin!

All in all I was so impressed by the kids!  Riley rolled her ankle toward the end but was a  trooper and moved right along.   It was hot, there were a lot of mosquitoes- poor Riley, JD and Nancy got eaten alive. I killed a lot but did only suffered a few bites.

One wrong move and this was what you would roll down off the causeway. So really it was quite frightening.

The top was definitely above the tree line and Riley even found some snow.  Not exactly fresh powder but still fun to come upon.  She got a burst of energy once on top, she was running along and sprinting to various points.  Really- 11,000 ft- girl was not phased. 
 Our car was parked at the far end of the lake pictured.  Long way away!  

It was just so great to spend the day with the kids and family.  Having them of an age to hike and do such fun things is really special.  Hike was 5 hours in total and we were hot and dusty by the time we made it back to the car.  Different muscles are sore from all the walking, that is for sure! 

JD and GJ (Grandpa Jim- my Dad) were up early for some Fly Fishing.  My Dad was an avid fly fisherman when we were young and lived in Denver and JD is an aspiring fisherman.  The opportunity came up to go to a "fishing club" with my Dad's friend of old who lives up here. So the week before we took off, Dad came over to give JD his first lesson in fly fishing.

So off the went today in hopes of catching (and releasing) some fish at Skylark.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steamboat Fun.....

WooHoo we arrived in Steamboat!  3 days in Boulder were awesome and we hit the road again.   Jamie (my 7 year old niece) and I in the car.   We loaded up the iTunes and played name that tune with iPod.  She soon learned that Lady Gaga was Riley's music and ACDC was JD's music.   3 1/2 hours later, a bag of Oreo's when she got bored and we rolled into stunning Steamboat.

Our house is quite idyllic.  We are mid mountain and the house is perfect for the 17 of us.   Settled in and it was outstanding to all be together.

First night was not a late night as we had the Tour de Steamboat the next morning.  So 7 days after the Death Ride, we rolled out at 6:30am for 110 mile ride.

Start was chilly and soon it warmed up....boy did it warm up.  95 degrees in the mountains.  Come on!  First pass was Rabbit Ears Pass 9426elevation.  16 mile climb and we summited.   Started with my bro-in-law who is a Cat 4 Roadie and he dropped me fast on the climb.  So I settled in for a good IM paced ride.   At the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass I met a local who wanted to work together and I was game for that.  

Awesome descent and some rolling hills!  Next up Gore Pass 9527ft elevation and the climb was 6 miles and very reasonable.  Another mechanical for me!  Ah- I am so sorry for neglection Ruby!!!  Front derailleur issue but thanks to Tom and his mobile tool kit - we were only stopped for 20 minutes.  At the top of Gore, I met up with John (my bro in law) and we began the last 40 miles which was mostly a wicked fun descent with a few rollers.

The worst part of the ride was the last 3 miles back to our place....Serious grade and tough climb back to the house.  111 miles and 8900 ft of elevation and we were back home!  I paced the ride well and felt great.  Not decimated and the altitude was not too bad. Maybe, just maybe I am acclimating to living at 6000ft.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Made it Finally!

So road tripping is NOT my idea of a good time.  This was planned for my husband who always is eager to drive and I want to fly.  Well work got in the way and he flies  home and I am left driving from Tahoe to Boulder. Day 1 was doable....8+ hours but enough podcasts, pumpkin seeds and varied terrain to keep me motivated.

But the 2nd day....other than waking up and taking an amazing run in Park City- was just not a fun day.   But the fun first....I was up early thanks to the hotel's complimentary 5am wake up call that I did not order.  Really tried to go back to sleep as was finally a day I did not have to get up early but no luck.  So I eventually got up and went for a run through wonderful trails that slowly worked their way up toward the site for the Olympic Ski Jumping. Energized and ready to roll, I hit Starbucks and was on the road by 9.

On today's tour was the rest of Utah, a long time in Wyoming and then finally Colorado.  Wyoming, at least the portion I was driving through was not all that sensational.  No Tetons or beautiful scenery, but a lot of flat plains and not a lot to enjoy.  Grumpy is the word of the day.

But by 6pm I rolled into Boulder and it has been awesome since arrival....

Ran up Boulder Canyon Wed AM- ugh! 10 miles, altitude and going up.   Slow indeed but was a great run.  Checked out noon masters just to see who was there...sure enough Sam McGlone and Matt Reid were swimming. Fun to see some of the rock stars of the sport.  The pool quite frankly sucked- 25 meters, 6 lanes and wavy as all get out.  UCSD seriously is an awesome pool and should be appreciated.   The workout was fine until we started the main set and coach Jane moved me over a lane and let's just say I sprinted for close to 2000 meters and was just hanging on.  Kicked me rear big time- but frankly, awesome!

Thursday, my bro-in-law took me on a 4 hour ride.  Plan was recovery ride, nothing major.  Okay, so he is a Cat 4 Roadie and it was not exactly a recovery ride. He showed me mercy and backed off when I really wimped out.  The roads, riding out here is awesome.  Few cars and all over the county.  Now I see why this is the Tri-Meca.  Maybe, maybe some day we too will leave here.

Had a lot of work to do and then dealt with my bike- Ruby is having trouble...broken cable and spoke on the Death Ride.   Replaced the wheel- it's all good.  Needed to replace the chain, with the new cassette and old chain it just was not riding well.  Got that done- bribed the tech with a 6 pack of beer to do it ASAP.   All good and then I notice a loose cage.  I have been meaning to replace the cages for a while and found some sweet Specialized cages to match the new pimped out bike.  As I go got take off the top  tube cage I realize the screw is stripped and not coming out.  I work and work with no luck.  Back to the bike shop and they figure out how to get it out and then realize there is a small fracture in the frame where the screw was.  No hope of replacing the cage and they told me Specialized will most likely replace the frame because that is not supposed to happen.  That could be sweet!!!  Okay to ride but will have to carry a bottle in my jersey for the Steamboat Century tomorrow.

Up early today for BAM (Boulder Aquatic Masters)  found the 50 meter pool- again nothing like UCSD. Shallow, dirty and warm. Good work out and hit the Boulder Canyon again and now we are packing up for Steamboat.

We rented a very cool Chalet- Edelweiss

Whole family....Mom and Billy, Dad and Kathi, Scott and Nancy + Taz and Jax,  Kathleen and John + Jamie and Willa and the Dunkles (less Braman- :( since he has to work)

Looking forward to a lot of running, mountain biking and hanging with the family!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1 Star to 5 Stars

So we have been in Mammoth, South Lake Tahoe and working our way to Colorado. But I have a bit of business that needs to be done. One of my clients is interested in the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe so I volunteered to check it out- I know big sacrifice from my vacation.

This morning we left the lumpy bed, tiny room, bathroom across the hall and I had to (sadly) drop John at the airport as he has to go home and work and I drove to North Lake Tahoe.  No desire to ride, run or swim so I am taking the day off- coach (me) says so.  I found a terrific Farmers Market in Tahoe and wandered around for a long time and just enjoyed the mountain air, ate volumes of grapes and roasted nuts and finally bought the NY  Times and a latte and hung in the shade. Serious vacation!! 

So I drive up to the Ritz and it is mid mountain at Northstar and is stunning! 

Having to work here is really not too shabby....Wonderful room and I am so thrilled for wi-fi, phone service and some down time.  I laid low and relaxed....early dinner and was in bed by 8pm.  Love the black out curtains.

10 hours later I was up and bright eyed!  Went for a painful run in the mountains but so very scenic.  Few hours of work and was going to hit the road but really wanted to take a spin and check out the area.  Well the problem with being mid mountain is that I rode 4 miles downhill and then cruised into Truckee which is quite a cool town- for some reason I thought it was a podunk town but it is really nice.  Snagged an iced coffee and rode back.  I was thinking my legs were feeling pretty good until I started the 4 mile 2100 ft climb....okay, a bit sore from the Death Ride.

Glad I did the run+ ride...because then had to hit the road and make my way to Boulder. Since my travel buddy and husband had to fly home I was solo.   Drive was manageable.....talked to a lot of people, listened to 5 podcasts, book on tape, 4 Starbucks stops, a lot of pumpkin seeds, grapes and a menagerie of other snacks.   Rolled into Park City, UT and found a great hotel for the night.   7 hours to Boulder.... yeah

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Death Ride 2010

We are set to wake up 4:15 but in our "luxury" accommodations the walls may as well be made of cardboard and the ya hoo's next door got up at 3am.  Open door, shut door, open, shut and that goes on. Loud voices, I mean really loud banter.  Microwave in the hallway for the "guests" (or hostages) door open, door shut, set timer and timer goes off- repeat x 5!  This goes on and on and we give up and decided to get up.

Up and packed in the dark and it is chilly- 50 degrees.  We are 17 miles from the start and there is a fair amount of traffic. We park 2 miles from the start-  cars are already backed up this far so we pull over and park.  I know it is going to get hot but I am freezing- 45 degrees so I wear my arm coolers + arm socks and vest.  We roll to the start and it is first light and I am shivering.  We roll out around 5:40 and start if not hectic because there is not official start time.  A bunch of crazies roll at 3:30 to get most of the climbing done before the head.

So we are off and having a good time. Sun is up and it is stunning.  So this ride is not a loop or point to point. There are 5 passes to be climbed but 2 of them you ride up, down the back side, back up and down.

Starting elevation is 5501 ft and the first climb is is up to 8314 to the top of  Monitor Pass. Pretty uneventful and climb was doable.  I thinking this is going to be a really fun day!  John and I were split by the top- he really wanted to be cautious on the pacing and I wanted to go a bit harder..  Now the fun comes....screaming down the back side of Monitor and it seemed like a blink of an eye and we turn around and go back up.  It has warmed up and this side is steeper. I settle in and slowly, I mean slowly start clicking off the miles.  A few miles in it feels like my brakes are rubbing, but then again it always feels that way when one is struggling on a climb. After another mile I am convinced it really is rubbing.  I hop off and realize I broke a spoke- so now with every wheel revolution the wheel rubs the brakes.  I open the brakes up as much as possible and realize I have to climb with the rubbing.  Not, can I say, not a fun climb!

Back on top I have to stop and fortunately there was a tent with some techs for such issues.  The guy was outstanding- he did not have a Shimano spoke but he was "fairly"" confident he could jury rig one and it would work.  45 minutes later I am back on my bike.  Ugh, enough time for my legs to lock up- but the good news is flying back down!!

About 3/4 of the way down you take a left and head up Ebbett's Pass- top is 8710 ft.  This was a tough climb. Steeper and has warmed up and the realization of a long day is now setting in.   The scenery is beautiful.

I met some cool people on this climb- locals so they were not looking for an oxygen tank as I was.   Nancy rolled up and commented on my jersey and we became fast friends.  She is a roadie and a strong cyclist.  We had a good pace going up and we managed to chatter non stop (kind of like home)  to the top!  Definitely a good distraction.   As we rolled in I see John!  He has gone by while I was on my "fix my bike" break but I had missed him.  I lost Nancy but picked up John and we screamed down the back side of Ebbett's, made a UTurn and headed back up.  We had to get more water as it was a hot, hot climb- over 90 degrees.  I was feeling pretty optimistic until I looked at my ride time  5 1/2 hours and only 65 miles.  It then hit me- we were seriously going to be on our bikes for 9-10 hours-  I knew that, but to really comprehend that is not easy.

Good news is we had 4 passes done!!!  Massive descent and thewww.idropboys.comn the longest climb for the 5th pass - Carson Pass.  This is where it gets tough- you literally drive by your car around mile 86. Seriously you can get in your car and be done-  61/2 hours not a shabby day- why keep going?   This is not a race, no official timing, no qualifying slots...oh I know why- you get a patch and a pin :)  And bragging rights indeed.  I am grumpy now- my plan to train on my road bike did not happen so my sit bones are painful due to the different saddle, my arms are sore from holding myself up - no resting in the aero bars and my lower back is screaming.  I am not  happy....did I mention that.

On we go and I shift, nothing, again, nothing and then I realize my rear cable has snapped.  Crap- careful what I wish for.   But lucky for me, my husband is McGiver. Seriously he must be the only guy to have cable in his saddle bag. 15-20 minutes later he has replaced my cable and we are rolling.  My plan was to hammer the last climb and go for it...but John had just saved me so I became his domestique. As we turn the corner to start the 20 mile climb we are hit with a massive head wind. Ugh!  So John tucks in behind me and dictates the pace- he shouts too fast, too fast so I slow down, he recovers a bit and says okay let's pick it up and then I do, then I hear not that much.  A few miles into the climb a guy goes by at a reasonable pace and the road flattens a bit so we  jump on he pulls for the next 4 miles-  a welcome break and then we settle in and climb.  It is hot, I could not stomach another shot block or GU or gel and I was over Cytomax.  I discovered peanut butter and bananas! Yummmm!!!  1 was a good idea, 2 was delicious but regrettable a bit later.  Filled one of my bottles with Coke- yup real coke. See I always get a Starbucks Double Shot and sometimes 2 on big rides and there were none of those AND I forgot my Motivator.  So I was running on no caffeine.

On we went and ticked away the miles. About 2 miles from the summit- John wanted to slow down and I said I have to go- I was tired, grump and just wanted to be done!   We met at the top- signed the Death Ride Poster and drank more coke!!

25 miles to go.....We hop on and the fun begins!!  We flew down....when I looked down and say 48mph I just kept on going...I so wanted to be done!!!   The last 3 miles are a grind of a climb but we took them slowly and were cruising along. About 2 miles  to go (John thought we had.25 miles to go) he attacks and flies by me. WTF I pulled his ass up the mountain and these last 2 miles with him dictating the pace and this?  Well I had something left and I jumped out of the saddle and caught up and rode by him.  At the same time I pass 2 guys and I hear a guy say sarcastically " oh yeah, drop the boys the last 2 miles"  whatever I  settle in and am riding comfortably when all of a sudden these 2 guys fly by me.  I am not getting sucked in....well they pass me and  then slow down. With my steady pace I realize I am going to pass them and we have about 1/2 mile to go.  So I don't get out of my saddle but ride hard and cruise by fast and don't look back. All I hear is "whatever just let her go"  A little fun after a VERY long day.  9:45 ride time!

No transition run for me.....we rolled to the finish-  delicious Mexican food and we ate and ate!! The 2 mile ride back to the car was a bit tough! is fun!  I love it and we all have a good time with it. Wearing the kit on a ride like this was great fun.  Minimum 50 people commented on the kit.  Most were it, way to go, awesome!   Girls loved it.  Except for some girl - I was talking to her friend (she was on a TT bike) at the base of a climb and we chatted it up about Ironman etc.  As the grade increased she started to struggle and clearly did not want to chat it up.  I picked up the pace and rode away and her friend says "that was just rude" and not in a friendly manner- whatever.  Passing guys most would laugh and say things like,"OS check out her jersey - we just got dropped"  " nice" " come on have a heart" etc.  It started up a lot of conversations, made for a lot of fun and naturally aggravated some of the ego maniacal guys.  

All said and done....the big question- do it again?  Really kind of feeling like this goes in the same list as Ironman St George - been there done that!

Pros....ride was stunningly beautiful, great training ride. 4 of the passes were closed to cars so riding on closed roads was great,  support was terrific, fun day with my husband, bragging rights

Cons.....sucked, it was bloody hard., how can you enjoy a view with that much suffering, why do this and Ironman, hot, Carson pass is open to traffic and that was not too fun,

So for now....not sure what the verdict is.  Glad we did it and enjoyed the day!!

Huge thank you to the Kelsberg's for feeding us for 2 nights- Caples "Resort" is out in the middle of no where, no stores wtihin miles so we would have been hungry if Tammy did not feed us both nights.

We were thinking it would be fun to do multiple rides up here for 3-4 days - rent out a bunch of cabins on the lake and do some serious rides.  It would be great triathlon training- mega rides at elevations, running all over and swimming in the lake!  It is far but would be a lot of fun!

Waking up in Mammoth and off to the Death Ride

I love the mountains and I miss the mountains!!!  So awesome to wake up in the fresh air with trees everywhere. Sun is shining and it is nice and cool.

On with my running gear and out for a nice run.   We are up near the base of Mammoth ski area so I start my run and head down hill a mile + and am thinking, really  this is not so bad. I can handle the altitude no problem. Well then I make the turn to run up a beautiful path, no knowing where it leads.  It heads up and keeps going up....2 miles later, HR around 170, pace is embarrassing I turn and and run back down. Okay the 8000+ feet I am at now is killing me.  2 miles down, oh not so bad and then the painful 1 mile back to the hotel.  HS altitude takes a toll!

Regroup...guzzle water, electrolytes, eat a banana- my gosh I am feeling like I ran 15 miles.  Okay HR normal, re hydrated and we head out on our bikes for a spin- knowing what is in store for tomorrow we are just cruising.  Uphill yes but cruising.  I soon realize John is hollering like a wounded animal and I turn around and he is peddling up to me gasping for air. He later says his lungs were surely bleeding.... Okay my gasping does not seem so bad if he is having a severe medical emergency.  He turns back and I ride up to so many beautiful lakes- I am NOT one to stop and take photo's but really I was so happy to see all the trees and lakes I just had to.   And then the fun of course - screaming down hill fast!

Went for coffee at the Crazy Bean and rolled back to the hotel- perfect breakfast of yogurt, hard boiled eggs and loads of fresh fruit.

We packed up and hit the road by 11- destination Tahoe!  Ez drive and the temperature was climbing.  Soon it was 90- holy cow this will be a hot day.   We rolled into the registration for the Death Ride and it was over 90 but fun!  Cyclists everywhere and the anticipation of a race is always a good feeling.   Lots of people had their bikes and I began to check out peoples gearing.  I was seeing bigger cassettes than I had ever seen. One was so big I had to ask a guy and he said it was a 34!  This was literally a pie plate AND he rolls with a compact crank.  And he did not look out of shape or like a slacker.  I saw a few more massive cassettes and began to question my 12-25 set up.  Asked a few, fit guys and they all said they roll a 27 -28 for the death ride.  Hmmmmmm  129 miles, 15,000 ft of climbing- I think I need more gears.

We head for South Lake Tahoe and promptly stop at the first bike shop we see- WattaBikeShop  Sweet 12-27 in stock and yes they will put it on the bike.  Glad we are not messing with that later today.....Only issue is that chain is work with my other cassette so the shifting is not 100% clean.  The guy was a stud he was committed to getting this to shift smoothly -  I was totally impressed. He worked and worked and got it as good as it is going to get.  I am happy to deal with a bit of rough shifting for 2 more gears- I am sure of that.

Next stop Caples Lake Resort-  17 miles from the start and stunning views...

Accommodations are primitive- not a dive (ok it is a dive)  tiny room with a private bath across the hall. Our bikes are in the bathroom because the room is so small.  But we have a big window and out the window is the lake and mountains.  No cell phone service and no Internet access.

No problem, we had a lot of organizing to do, bike bottles, gear, numbers....a bit like Ironman but well not really since 1- this is not a race and 2- there is not a marathon involved.   But seriously we are thinking this may be 9-10 hours of riding.   The riding seems to be up or down, not a lot of flats.

We met up with some friends who (smartly) had rented one of the quaint cabins- it was rustic and quaint but very comfortable and functional. Bathroom actually in the unit.   Early dinner and feeling a bit like a pre- race meal, but well we enjoyed some wine.

Off to bed...alarm set for 4:15AM!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On our way....

Packed up and ready to roll by 9am as planned and JB and I hit the road for our 1st stop - Mammoth.  Uneventful drive and nice to hang with my hubby for a bit.  We rolled into Mammoth by 3pm and it was sunny (not like San Diego) and much cooler than Bishop (97 degrees)  Comfortable 84 degrees and wonderful mountain air.  

It was tempting to camp at Convict Lake (okay not really tempting - camping always sounds like so much fun but having camped twice in the last month - it is fun, but it is exhausting.  I just don't sleep well on the hard ground, up at 5:30 (same time as at home) but having woken up 5+ times the night before just does not bode well for feeling well rested.   So we headed to Mammoth Lakes proper and cruised about. There is a funky hotel at the base of Canyon Lodge - the Austria Hof and I always wanted to stay there skiing- 1- walking distance to the lift 2- hot tub on the 3rd floor overlooking the mountain (very desirable after skiing all day) 3- cool outdoor patio bar.  So we called and for $99 secured a great room overlooking the Mountain.

We are officially on vacation!!  I headed up stairs for some "work" and soon was so overwhelmed with fatigue I found myself in bed at 4pm and sound asleep.  30 minutes later I am waking up a bit confused and realize my husband still is not in the room.  Bless him - he was finishing up a 2 hour antenna install on the car.  

We are now starving and head to town and check out the local bike shop and ended up a local spot for dinner. Nothing like BBQ in the Mountains- Hard Cider, BBQ and  that was a terrific launch to our vacation. 8:00 and ready for bed! This is definitely vacation :)