Friday, July 15, 2011

I love summer!!!

I almost need a vacation from all the fun I've been having lately. My days off, despite the fact I get four of them, always seem to come to an end too quickly and back to work I go. Lots of early mornings hitting the road or the trail.

For the 4th of July I got double lucky. I was already up early on the dreadmill at the gym when I got the call that I wasn't needed at work!! Woohoo, my run was already nearly done. I headed from there to hit the last 50 minute of master's swim. By 8 am I was done with everything I had planned on doing for the day, so I loaded my bike up and headed to what I hoped would be the least crowded roads I could find. My initial plan was to ride the Gold Lakes loop from Sierraville, but when I got to the turnoff in Bassetts I couldn't decided which way to go. I had never ridden to Downieville and wanted to see what the road was like. I had no clue that the road dropped 4000ft over 17 or so miles. It was a slightly busier road than Gold Lakes and the road surface wasn't as smooth, but it was a sweet ride. The climb back up to Yuba Pass is a perfect gradual gradient.

Yuba Pass above Sierra Valley 6700 ft.

The Sierra Buttes!!

Proof that I made it to Downieville.

On my next day off I headed to my favorite local run trail with the intent of running from Mt. Rose Meadows to Marlette Lake and back. It's mid July and I was itching to get on this trail. The snow has melted a lot since I was up here a month ago, but in the shade there was still 4-6ft of snow. After bushwhacking for an hour and losing the trail numerous times I called it a day and headed back to the car. Maybe it will be open in mid August?!?

There is still a bit of snow on the trail.

Mt. Rose Meadows

I had never been on the Tahoe Rim Trail on the other side of Mt. Rose so I took a chance that maybe the south facing slopes would have less snow. The view was totally worth getting thwarted by the snow once again. Bliksem had a great time, and while I didn't get to run the whole time, I got a fun session done.

Above Tahoe at about 9000ft

The next day I tried out the section of the TRT from Tahoe City. Only a couple of snow banks left there, and the rest of the trail was open to Watson Lake. Sweet riding!! I can't describe how much fun I have riding my mountain bike. Can't wait to head back here and explore the trails a bit more.

The view wasn't bad either.

The real reason I haven't been blogging is that my days have been filled with rides and runs. The next day I got to ride old highway 40 over Donner Pass and try standup paddle boarding. Perfect way to end my days off. Back to work as tired as ever and in need of a vacation.

Rainbow Bridge above Donner Lake

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A taste of Heaven

Another busy week with too much work and too little time to play. I've been squeezing in rides and runs before and after work, but my first day off was bliss. I raced up to Truckee and road the Emigrant Trail and a little section of Lloyds. I can't describe how much fun it was to be back on my mountain bike again. I'm also starting to feel little bits of fitness poke through every now and again.

One of my favorite things to do after work is head out for a night ride. The temps during the day have been in the mid 90's, so it really is ideal to get out after the sun goes down. It's crazy how fast the weather has changed in the past 2-3 weeks. Nighttime is when all the critters come out. I don't mind the scorpions so much, but the rattlers are a whole other story. I not worried about myself, but I do worry about Bliksem getting curious and a little too close. During the day I rarely see anything moving up on the mountain during the hot summer months, but the hills come alive after dark. Mice and rabbits are everywhere and usually gravitate to the light. It takes every little bit of skill to not hit them as they dance around in front of the bike.

I also managed a trip down to visit my dad. I can't believe how many fun places I keep finding in Foresthill that I haven't been before. I managed to squeeze in 4 rides in 4 days and still have time to go boating in the afternoon on Clementine Lake. It would have been even more fun to go boat camping....... next time.

On the Halo Trail above Reno.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Winter is tough..... especially when it lasts through May. With the cold weather and being sick for 6 weeks it has been a really tough couple months for me. Getting outside and playing is how I balance my crazy life. It's when I feel whole and happy, and to be on complete rest for over a month was pure torture. This past week the weather did a complete shift. What had been the high temps were now the lows. This week I got two amazing sessions in. One was snow running on the Tahoe Rim Trail and the other night riding until nearly 11pm under a full moon. I feel so alive again!!

Usually by this time in the season I've already got base and have some races in the legs. One of my favorite places to get in base miles is the Tahoe Rim Trail above Tahoe. I usually head south from Mt. Rose Meadows until I hit Marlette Lake and then back. Since I was finally feeling healthy I headed up to my favorite run spot only discover 5-6 feet of snow covering the trail. Since I'm not as serious at this point in the season and Bliksem was looking particularly excited, I went for a snow run. Snow shoes would have perfect, but I didn't even think about it when I left my house. I didn't even make it close to Marlette, but Bliksem and I did have a blast. I also discovered that I really am happy that I'm not running Western States this year. I can only imagine how much snow is on the trail.

The views on the Rim Trail are amazing!!

Bliks checking the view.

It's going to be a long time before the trail is snow free....

Warm enough to run in a skirt except for when I fell through the top layer of snow

Making dog snow angels

Adventure #2 was spur of the moment. I got off work on time and walked outside and had an itch to go mountain biking. I raced home and loaded the bike, dog, and lights. I got some funny looks at the trail head as I headed out just as the sun was going down.

What a magical night. There was no one out on the trails. It was just me, my dog, and the wind. The sun went down and the full moon came up. It's an amazing experience just to sit on the side of a mountain in the dark. Love it!!

Just before the sun went down

Bliks and the full moon

Moonlight over the city

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A long hiatus

When it rains it pours.... but at least I didn't miss any nice weather. We've been having I've been sick for nearly 6 weeks, but it looks like I'm finally on the correct antibiotic. On the drive to Wildflower at the end of April I got a little bit of a sore throat. I put it at the back of my mind for the race, and a flat ended up taking me out of the race. I guess I really need to learn how to change a tubular.... or at least carry a spare.

On the drive home the sore throat came back. Of course I worked the next day. I didn't feel that bad so I worked that week and headed down to start the Miwok 100K the next weekend. I felt horrible from the start of the race and pulled the plug at the turnaround. I was stoked to get that far. Every year I run as many miles as I am old and mission accomplished..... barely. The views were totally worth getting sick for though. I can't wait until I'm healthy so I can go back and run on these trails again.

Sunrise over Golden Gate Bridge

As usual I worked again the next day and what a mistake. By the next day I couldn't hear out of my ear, swallow, or get my eyes open. I never ever go to the doctor, but this time I knew it was necessary. After four hours hanging around the waiting room I was sent home on antibiotic #1. 3 trips to the doctor and 3 antibiotics later I am finally feeling better.

In the middle of this the Tour of California came to Tahoe. Gary, Keevin, and I had great plans to ride all weekend and follow the race on Sunday and Monday. Then it started dumping snow. Crazy mid winter snow. We opted to drive up and watch the race instead. During the course of the morning we heard the race was on, then it wasn't, then it was, and a final it was canceled. We did have fun hanging out near Emerald Bay, but it wasn't the weekend or weather I had envisioned.

Keevin chasing random cyclists up the hill
Gary and I clowning around

Maybe the racers heard about all the bear attacks and decided not to chance it.

Gary and Keevin on the bridge on the hike to Eagle Lake (above Emerald Bay)

I just retrieved my mountain bike from the shop 2 days ago. Apparently I did a number on it during that 12 hour race in January. The first ride back was pure bliss..... can't believe it's been a couple months with no mountain bike.

Racing plans for the summer have changed drastically. I'm back to base training this week and probably back to racing in August. It was very frustrating at times, but down time did make me focus on what is really important in life.... like my bike. :-)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Way to Cool

This past weekend was the Way to Cool 50K. I was excited about this race when I signed up, but as the race day drew nearer I was most definitely unfit to be racing 50K and it ended up being a long training day. Training has been hit and miss with snow, rain, moving, and starting a new job. Despite being quite under-trained I was still really excited about running on new trails and catching up with friends.

The day before the race was my dad's birthday, so pre-race dinner included lobster and tirimisu.... and of course I had leftovers as breakfast race morning. Oh, and the ever present Girl Scout Cookies to top off the tank.

I was warned that the race would be muddy, but I wasn't prepared for how muddy. I did see a couple people stopping and putting shoes back on in places. It was entertaining to watch people try and hop around the first patches to only later blast right through the middle. My choice of white compression socks may have been a mistake, but I was glad to have the extra support. My legs felt okay for the first 15 or so miles..... never great, but I wasn't expecting great. After 15 miles my legs and stomach began to protest. Maybe one too many Girl Scout Cookies..... With everything hurting I just decided to enjoy the views and the trail. The strange part about this race was always running with someone. With about 700 entrants the trails were busy. It wasn't busy in a bad way, but there was always someone either in front or behind.

Overall I really enjoyed the event despite it hurting much more than a 50K should. Plus it was a good wake up call to start a more organized training program.

Mud?? What mud? One mud pit ran through my leg sank up to my knee.

They were white at the start.

Gary and myself after the race.


Frog cupcakes....

Hanging out post race with Tim Twietmeyer

My travel buddy and her duck. She's a little upset that she didn't get to come along on race day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ditching the trainer

It's been a little bit cold recently with lots of snow and highs in the 20s. Training days had been few and far between. Running in the snow and ice is doable, but I can't seem to motivate enough to get on the trainer. With a short break in the weather I jumped in the car and headed to my dad's house where the food is home cooked, the heat is always on, and the door is always open.

Foresthill is one of my favorite places. If there was a hospital and swimming pool there I'd move in an instant. My dad's been there for about 10 years and I thought I'd explored the surrounding area. Little did I know that this weekend I would discover my new favorite ride...... okay I have a bunch of favorite rides. Any day outside on my bike is a good day, but this weekend was exceptional.

The road to Foresthill is nice enough with light traffic and scenic views, and I usually ride on it to the end of the road and back to my dad's place. This weekend I was craving something a bit longer and made a right hand turn onto Mosquito Ridge road. I can't believe that during all the years I've been coming here I hadn't discovered this road until this trip. If you live anywhere in the area this road ride is a must do. This road truly goes to nowhere and ends somewhere deep in the Sierras without going all the way through. Because it really doesn't go anywhere there is nearly no traffic. During my 4.5hr ride I saw 3 cars, 3 motorcycles, 2 different herds of deer, and a couple turkeys. The road surface is good with no cracks or potholes. The best part is the near perfect climbing and descending. The road ribbons it's way down to the river at that perfect grade where you can pedal the entire 10 mile descent. I climbed and climbed and climbed up the other side of the ravine, but never reached the end. Guess I'll have to go back soon when there is a little more light in the day. Over the 2 days I got 9+ hours of riding outside and only polished off 1 box of Girl Scout Cookies in a bonk induced haze.

Bliksem doesn't like being cold either and can often be found in the only warm spot in the house....directly in front of the heater.

Hanging with Dad, Mary and Amanda. I think Bliksem was off chasing the turkeys.

Bliksem was undeterred by the fact that the turkeys were bigger than her.

The start of Mosquito Ridge road. My goal is to make it to the end of the road this year.

Descending to the American River.

Happy happy!!

Crossing over some fork of the American....

Sierra foothills.

...... and the running is always fun!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interview link

Reno locals check out It's a great local site that has links to just about everything I could think of to get involved in sport in Reno.