Thursday, May 29

The Way others Live: update from the PCT

Periodically I receive an email from Malora and Carrie, chronicalling their travels on the Pacific Crest Trail. So far they have made it through 100+ degree weather, and here is a brief account of their run in with last weeks storm:

Hiked out of Wrightwood Friday morning with 3 other hikers. Summited Mt. Baden-Powell (named after the man who founded the Boy Scouts) at 9,300 ft. - the highest point in the Southern California section of the PCT. The climb was intense but a lot of fun. We lost the trail a few times but we proved to be decent hikers afterall. Camped at 7,500 ft. and woke up to 6 inches of fresh snow and it was still coming down.

In only two days we went from temps over 100 degrees to below freezing. Long story short: about 20 hikers were caught by the storm and due to our 3 season gear weren't quite prepared. The locals came to the rescue...Mt. Waterman Ski Area shuttled 12 soaking, shivering hikers up to their lodge by snowcat. It was like being on a skiing trip with all of our friends. The fire was blazing when we arrived, 6 inch floor mats to sleep on, space to dry all of our stuff, snowboards and boots out of the rental shop, and snowmobile was surreal and so much fun!!

The community of hikers is turning out to be an incredible, outstanding group of people. We are surrounded by generous and genuine people-this was a part of the trail we didn't expect.

Today we arrived at the Saufley's-also known as Hiker Haven. Donna Saufley takes a month off of work to house up to 50 hikers a night. She personally does your laundry. Real clothes are provided to wear. Showers. Internet. 2 vehicles are provided for hikers. Bed, cots, kitchen, unbelievable.

Monday, May 19

First Encounters

I MET MY OTHER TITLE SPONSOR on the way to Firestone, NMBS #3. we didn't talk and frankly the driver gave me a pretty nasty look when i took this photo. But what do you expect from a Truck Driver!The company does a lot for my team and well my ability to wear a stellar Onsie to the races.

A first encounter that did NOT go down as planned: Meeting Wendy Simms. Whatever. I'm over it. we even drove into the venue behind a van with British Columbia plates and a KONA in the back. I knew it wasn't her bike, but i just hoped it was tucked in behind it. No dice.

Here in the IE it is 99 degrees today. Not the ideal set up for PE, so i took the girl into a class room for a little DVD aerobic action. Since i strive to be a wonderful role model, i had to partake in the punishment as well.

KICK BOXING. The girls whine and complain and say its not fair because i am in shape. Well, that may be a fact, but i am NOT inshape for such torture. My hip flexors will probably take a week to recover. oops. And i began to sweat in my school clothes. i HATE that.

Oh yes. i raced my bike this weekend because that's what i do to squander my time, money, and calories. As i say another grand weekend closer to my goals and closer to fitness.

The Fun Factory was in rare form, rolling into Los Olivos with Sarah Kaufman - new addition to our very select club, Christie, Matt, Trevor, Romolo, Carolyn, Shelli and Jesse. Jesse was an integral part of all of our success this weekend. He took pictures which will make us famous and did more walking around that course than i would ever desire to or willing complete on my own. (I am trying to get the rest of them to start blogs too.) Maybe next time, you too can stay with us. it will make everything that much cheaper.

Between random illness, loud hotel guests, scortching heat and lack of sleep, we all seemed to come out alive, happy, and still friends. And thats all that counts!

I must say that i did find the ticket to hydration. Be sick. if you can't breath out of your nose and you can't hear anything because your sinus system is completely plugged, you will inevitably breath out of your mouth causing a severe case of parched throat and mouth. I drank twice as much as usual thus avoiding the perils of heat exhaustion.

i saw girls walking backwards on the course to find shade. I passed girls i have never been near in a race and when i asked them if they were ok the answer was always "NO."

Hopefully everyone is recovered and feeling more normal today!!

I did find these photos on the net which really reminded me of the conditions we were in this weekend:

The parched ground

This, coupled with the make-shift shower out by the trees, conviced me that this venue was in fact better, than Fontana.

Monday, May 12

I have arrived

1.) Junior High kids run from me because i am "so scary and mean." this is great news.

2.) After my ride sunday, (unfortunately) i hear rumblings that some kids are going to ride some bikes.

3.) And here they are. 5 students of mine, rolling the hills behind our house. They had so much fun, they planned another ride for Tuesday! We got to do flat fixes, seat adjustments, and Greg was in rare form slingin' shwag and showing them the ropes!

4.) Five years of yelling during PE and making them run the mile has finally paid off!!

Outside the Box

I think I am a pretty simple person. I feel like my posessions are at an all-time minimum and my spending completely OCD, and my personal-care regimen has been pretty low key.

But then Malora and Carrie came into town. They are hiking home, to Bellingham Washington, via the Pacific Crest Trail. they began in Campo, CA right at the border of Mexico.

Between insane laughing and feeling like i was stuck in an episode of The Office, they lectured me on my abundant showering and water waste. Then they dug into my excessive spending on things like pedicures and dozens of pairs of socks and explained in depth why organic lettuce costs $7.00 a head.

They have spent the last year working on organic farms in Hawaii and Italy where their tasks included picking coffee beans and pulling slugs off of lettuce leafs. Pretty much, i feel like a bad person.

They convinced me to only take one shower on Sunday and to forgo shaving for one day. Thats all i could handle.

Today i had to drop them off in Cabazon, CA at exit 110. The day looked like this. Windy, cold, and sprinkling rain. Carrie asked me to stop using the windshield wipers, it just made her feel better about heading out on the trail.

They are headed towards Big Bear, they should get there by Thursday or Friday. I offered to drive them up there, its like an hour away. that idea got shot down real quick.

They average 20 miles a day at 2mph pace. They are usually out on the trail for a total of 12 hours a day including stops and snack time. You should have seen the blisters on Malora's feet!! They stayed an extra day with me to get them to dry out just a little bit more.

Their packs weigh 20 pounds, depending on how much water they need to carry with them. Everything they have is ultra light and every item specifically selected. I tried to sneak in some candy, but it was quickly rejected due to its weight and being so cumbersom.

It was the oddest feeling watching them walk off into the mist under the "Wind Farm" of wind mills. The wind was so strong, i could hardly close the car door and they had to use their walking sticks on flat land.

One of the dozen things i learned from them this weekend is that if you think you need it, you probably don't. Just walk around the store with it for a few minutes, then put it back on the rack.

A few of their necessities they sent forward to me so they could have the necessary tools for the Sierra's.

Monday, May 5

Sensitive Habitat

Did some biking up in Idyllwild this weekend. The race announcer told us MANY times of the "Sensitive Habitats" that we would be riding through. That we MUST stay on the trails, even if we do not love nature!!

this phrase became the statement of the day.

While having the break through race of my life, with talent and allure so great it would have made the newspaper the next day (pfff, like every other day of my life), i flatted. Not just any flat. one that goes flat again. Now, this is "nobodies fault but my own". (that's a side note quote from the head lady at LA Fitness, yelling at me for cutting the stereo lock with bolt cutters. of course its my fault. i cut the lock) I suck at fixing flats. And i am a stress monkey. Put the two together, you've got CO2 burning my fingers and successfully evading the valve stem. I had to run about a quarter mile to an aid station where i could sort things out.

This sticker was pointed out on my roof rack. That's right, i have stickers up there from 1999. It was an omen.

Then the catching up began. I had lost way too much time to get back up into the 3, but i wanted to see how close i could get. But when in this position, i tend to flail about and take "risks" ie screw up, and proceeded to eat about 8 times. This began creating "Sensitive Habitat" within my personal ecosystem. Arms, legs, buttocks, top-tube. You get the picture. In order to preserve and protect, i backed off the throttle (4.3 mph) and decided to enjoy the habitat.

it was an excellent day. My floundering in the woods landed me $75 and a marble slab. I am going to pull a Coldstone and keep it in the freezer and mix my own ice cream on it, adding whatever i want. Nuggets of peanut butter, gummy bears, the works. Let me know if you want some.

Since in the land of Mountain Bike Racing, winning anything other than a nifty plastic medallion is like a once in a lifetime thing, I took Matt and Trevor out to lunch with my winnings. If you had been in our car, i would have bought you a churro too.

I also went to a birthday party. i clean up well, admit it.

The quality of my life at work is about to increase exponentially with the addition of bleachers in the gym. i love these guys.

In other REALLY exciting news, i had to get up at 6am Sunday morning and do a 5k with some students of mine. I was banking on the fact that they are child-slackers and wouldn't want to run the whole thing. I forgot one item. I am their teacher and i am fantastic. They ran the whole way, making it to the finish line in 30 minutes. Since i had ran so much during the race on Saturday, my cycling shoes had created nice blisters, which were exacerbated by my running shoes. i also broke a sweat, then had to shower again, to go to the above mentioned birthday bash.

I had such a wonderful time running...that i have decided to forgo the next National MTB race and do the XTERRA event in Temecula that same weekend.