Thursday, November 6, 2014

Get Swoll

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass with aging.  This process begins in your 30's and speeds up as we enter our 40's and is particularly fast (3-5% per decade) for inactive adults.  I hit the 40 mark this past summer (and celebrated with a 1745 mile bike ride down the coast).  After we returned to Colorado from our amazing 6 weeks of biking and enjoying the beach, I got busy with the new school year, coaching cross country, projects at the house and . . . a wedding . . . which was amazing:

So life has been wonderful and pretty full (which is my excuse for the absence of regular blog posts). Running, training and fitness have been further down on my list of priorities.  Then back a couple months ago Micah, my 17 year old son who is quickly approaching adulthood, asked me if we could hit the gym together for a workout.  Glad for the opportunity for some quality father/son time and eager to combat my own muscle atrophy I quickly agreed.  Micah and I have been meeting at Raintree Monday and Wednesdays for 8 weeks now to do some cardio and go through some sets of upper and lower body exercises on the machines and free weights.  It has been a lot of fun and after some pretty acute soreness the first couple weeks, we are both noticing some increases in strength and overall fitness.  Last week we added a Tai Chi class to our routine and that's been a whole new learning experience- more on that in a future post.  I'm not quite at the strength level that I had when I was personal trainer and spent 10+ hours a day at the gym and was 15 years younger, but I think that I could get back there and I'm hopeful that the added strength will provide a needed boost to my running.  And I have been running more lately too.  Nora and I signed up for the Red Hot Moab race in February and we have committed to getting out everyday through the winter to prepare.  It was a rough start, but over the past couple weeks, I feel my running legs coming back to me.  I may be in my 40s now, but I am pretty confident that some of my best running and racing performances are still ahead of me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Bunny Beach

Day 6 - We rode on from our lunch stop in Cannon Beach another 20 miles and stopped for groceries in Manzanita. We set up camp in Nehalem State Park at our first hiker/biker site of the trip. We met Jason and Roman, brothers ~30 years old and 13 years old who are cycling down the coast together on a tandem from Astoria to Crescent City. We shared a picnic table with Rod who had ridden with friend to the Oregon coast from Virginia and would be finishing his 72 day 4500 mile journey the next day in Astoria. 
We walked down to the beach to see the sunset and were amazed by the wide expanse of perfect sandy beach (a 7 mile stretch, we were told).  Back at camp, we made a good dinner of cheesy rice which we enjoyed with some fresh veggies we had picked up at the market and a loaf of bread from the Cannon Beach bakery. We all slept well that night. 
In the morning of Day 7, Mari and I woke early for a run on the beach before a breakfast of coffee and oatmeal and then back on the bikes to return to 101 and continue south. We rode in to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for lunch and ice cream and cheese samples and made contact with my friends Ed and Victoria to discuss plans to meet up for dinner. 
They were driving home to Hillsboro (just west of Portland) from Crescent City, CA and were taking the coastal route to see us. We decided to adjust our camping plans from Cape Lookout State Park to Webb County Park in Pacific City, which turned out to be across the street from Pelican Pub and Brewery, recommended as a good place to stop by Steph from her Portland to San Francisco ride a few years ago. It was a good choice. The last 15 miles of the ride included a giant climb 
into a socked-in point above Cape Lookout. The sun came out as we dropped down the other side to Sand Lake road and into Pacific City.  55 miles for the day and 2000+ feet of vertical.  The county park had 10 tent sites and a hot shower and was right next to a Laundromat where we washed our stinky bike clothes for the first time on the trip. The camp hosts explained that 10 years ago someone had dropped off some bunnies at the camp and they have been doing what bunnies do ever since, so the campground was hopping with rabbits of all sizes. The little girls camped next to us brought carrots and told us that they come to camp at the "bunny beach" several times a year and it is their favorite. 
Nora's sister Jill drove out from Portland to camp with us and bike and camp with us the next day. Ed and Victoria and their beautiful 14 month old twins Sylvia and Skye met us at the brewery for dinner and it was great to talk and laugh and catch up. 
Day 8 began with a beautiful bunny-filled morning with fresh blueberries and Voodoo doughnuts that Jill had brought from Portland. Our extra miles the day before meant a shorter day, which was good because it was our windiest day yet with a couple more good climbs along the scenic Three Capes portion of the bike route. We had a very windy, sandy lunch on the beach in Lincoln City and then continued on with one more climb over Cape Foulweather. The book warned of a big climb and 60+ mph winds but as we braced ourselves for it at wayside lookout, a nice woman pointed out spouting gray whales and told us about a protected one lane road that bypassed the climb with spectacular views of the coast. We took this route and were very thankful for the tip. Our campsite at Beverly Beach State Park was just a few miles further along and it was protected from the wind by beautiful tall pines and tucked away next to a quiet creek. 42 miles for the day. We took a walk down to the beach and then roasted hot dogs and vegan pups on the campfire. It was fun to share our adventure for a day with Jill who decided to ride back to her car in Pacific City instead of taking the bus as she had originally planned. 
Day 9- We rode out from Beverly Beach, said our farewells to Jill and turned south while Jill headed north. We turned off of 101 and traveled parallel to the highway through the pleasant seaside town of Newport. After Newport we had nearly 30 miles of windy coast before we stopped for lunch in the small fishing town of Yachats. We were all feeling really hungry and enjoyed a hearty meal of fresh salmon and slumgullion (clam chowder with shrimp and cheese!). After lunch we rode up to the entrance of the seal caves for a rest stop. We decided not to pay $14 each to ride the elevator down into the caves, but we tasted the fudge and enjoyed a little protection from the wind. Next we had a long ride down into Florence where we picked up groceries, wine and stove fuel for the next couple days at a well-stocked Fred Meyer. Back on the highway for the final 6 miles to the campground, we were waved over by a friend of Mari's who was on a road trip with his family and had been following our travels on FB. We had a fun roadside visit with Hakim; then continued on to Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. This is another one of Oregon's beautiful state parks with a really nice Hiker/Biker site and friendly rangers and hosts. The campground is in the woods on the edge of a vast expanse of sand dunes that stretch 47 miles along the coast from Florence to Coos Bay.  We paid for two nights at the Hiker/Biker site ($30) and set up camp with the relaxed knowledge that the next morning we had nowhere to go and nothing to do except relax and enjoy the park. 62 miles.
Day 10- rest. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cookies at Cannon Beach

We had a nice night on day 2 camping on the Hood Canal at Potlatch State Beach after 70+ miles of cycling. 
Day 3 was a long tough stretch of cycling through mountains, forests and the towns of McCleary, Elma and (very congested) Aberdeen. At the end of the day, we had pedaled 80 miles of back roads, hilly passes and freeway. We arrived at our camping spot at Twin Harbors State Beach after 6:00 pm tired and sore. We showered and slept well and set out on the 4th with a shorter ride to Bush Pioneer County Park.
It was a very nice ride without too much traffic and some nice views of the coast. We had lunch in Raymond with fresh Rainier cherries from a road side stand. 
We celebrated the 4th of July in the small-town feel of Bay Center, which appears to revolve around oyster farming. Splurged on picnic food - roasted hot dogs & veggie burgers over the fire and then enjoyed several informal fireworks displays all around us. It's interesting to spend the 4th in an area of reservations where firework stands were abundant. We lit some sparklers and teeny tiny fireworks at the beach. We somehow fell asleep amongst the thunderous booms late into the night.

Yesterday, we rode across the harrowing 4-mile Astoria Bridge over the Columbia River and into Oregon! 
Celebrated the state crossing with a delicious spread and beers at Fort George Brewery in the seaside town of Astoria.
After lunch, a short ride took us to our camp spot at Fort Stevens State Park, a sprawling and very crowded site for holiday campers. We squeezed our 3 tiny tents between RVs and full set-ups (our neighbors had a mini fridge & TV)! A brief walk along the bike paths helped to stretch the legs and we ended at a beautiful sandy beach - site of a 1906 shipwreck.
 Besides swarms of thirsty mosquitoes, it was a nice last evening with Bill & Ann before we parted ways this morning. We're on our own...
Our ride so far today took us through the beachy resort town of Seaside where we stopped for coffee and a scone.
We are now having a leisurely lunch in Cannon Beach on a perfect summer day on the Oregon Coast.
Only 20 or so miles to go this afternoon to our camping spot at Nehalem State Beach. We've decided that biking down the coast is a pretty good life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Doughnuts in Quilcene

We biked up Nora's parents' (Bill and Ann) driveway in Anacortes yesterday morning and began our 1700 mile journey down the coast.  Nora, Mari, Bill and I rode south off of Fidalgo Island and across Deception Pass Bridge to Whidbey Island. 
We stopped for lunch in Oak Harbor and met up with Ann who had followed us in the car. After lunch Bill took the car and Ann joined us for the remainder of the ride to the Port Townsend ferry. We pulled into the dock just in time to board the ferry across the Sound to PT. 
It was a beautiful sunny and unusually warm day in the Pacific Northwest and the 34 miles we rode made for a great start to the trip.  
In Port Townsend we stayed with Nora's sister Shelly and her husband Jeff and their enthusiastic 5 year old son, Soren. 
We had a wonderful dinner and visit with the Randalls and enjoyed a good night of sleep- our last in a bed for a while. This morning we set off at 8:30 after oatmeal
and fresh berries and Shelly and Soren rode with us for the first 9 miles on the Larry Scott trail. Our destination tonight is Potlatch State Park after 64 miles of rolling treed roads. We are stopped for lunch in Quilcene where Bill met us with doughnuts and lunch. 

It's cloudy and much cooler today, which is welcome relief from yesterday's sun that left us all a little fried :-(. So far I am loving the pace and routine of bike touring. Many adventures to come...

Friday, June 27, 2014

PCBT 2014

Twelve years ago, I bought this book in preparation for a three day ride from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz.  My riding partner got sick on the second day and we didn't finish the ride, but it was still a fun trip and ever since, I've wanted to do the whole thing.  A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to meet someone who was also interested in the adventure of a long bike trip down the coast.  We've spent over a year now talking about it, planning, organizing, collecting equipment and now it is time for the journey to begin.  We're heading out to Anacortes, WA where we will meet up with the rest of our riding team.  Mari, Nora's longtime and closest friend, who is also a bike enthusiast (she doesn't even have a car!) will be riding the whole route with us.  We will begin on July 1st leaving from Nora's parents' driveway to head south down the coast riding between 25 and 80 miles each day, camping and staying with friends and at hostels and enjoying the views  along the coast until we reach my parent's house in Laguna Beach on August 3.  We will post pictures and stories along the way.  It should be quite an adventure.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bolder Boulder #8: New gear, the Blevins BB Racers and training on the track

Maddie at Bolder Boulder 2011

Monday May 26, Maddie, Nora and I along with the 20 other members of the Blevins BB Racers team will be lining up in Boulder to run America's #1 10K.  This will be the 8th year in a row that Maddie and I have run the race in Boulder to celebrate Memorial Day and the beginning of summer.

Race packets arrived yesterday and I'm excited to add another Bolder Boulder t-shirt to my collection.  The good people at Bolder Boulder this year asked me to test some gear from race sponsor Helly Hanson and post my thoughts here.  The gear includes a pair of shorts, a tech-T and a long sleeve tech jersey.
Its always fun to get some free gear, and this is all good stuff.  The shorts are long enough that I can wear them to track practice and the tops are a nice material with a contoured fit.  Helly Hanson is also supporting the BBRacers Club by providing jackets for the coaches.  

Last night was the first Tuesday Night Track workout at CSU with the amazing Jane Welzel.  We ran 6 x 800 meters with a 400 recovery after each.  We all started the first one together to find runners of similar pace.  I only made it on to the track for the tail end of Jane's instructions, so I ran the first 800 with no warm-up.  It was rough and I slogged through a 3:09. I teamed up with Dennis and Mike and we groaned at the prospect of running 5 more.  We did it though coming through at 3:09, 3:13, 3:05, 3:07 and then Mike asked me to make the call on #6.  I said that I'd love to think we could go sub 3:00, but I didn't think I had that in me.  "How about another 3:05? . . . Let's try to get as close to 3 minutes as possible."  Mike was in and took off.  We went out hard and I started to fade on the back stretch of the second.  Mike pulled out in to lane 2 and encouraged me forward.  I pushed around the final turn and we finished in 2:57.  Nothing stellar, but definitely the fastest (only) 800 I've run in the past year.  It was a good night at the track- great to see and catch up with some friends and good to be humbled a bit by my current fitness level.  Lots of work to do to get back to true racing fitness,  but I am on the right track.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Mileage Madness #4 is happening Sunday!

We're on for Sunday and it looks like the weather and trail conditions are on our side.  We'll have starts at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 depending on your pace and distance.  Plan to be back at the house for BBQ/potluck around 1:00 pm.  There might be a few course markings out there, but check out the route descriptions and map (23 mile map and description, 36 mile map and description) and print and bring them with you if you're not familiar with the trails.  There are a couple places to fill water at trail heads and park entrances, but there will be no aid stations, so carry what you'll need.

Bring whatever you like for the post run festivities- food, drinks, something to BBQ.  .  . We'll fire up the BBQ around 1:00 and hang out and eat and drink and enjoy the afternoon until about 4:00.

Send me an email if you have questions or leave a comment below.  Feel free to leave a comment with your start time and planned distance too.

Lots of other pictures and stuff here.

See you Sunday!