Archive for July, 2009

No Plans for Cut Bank

I requested earlier that you transport stuff to us on our trans- tour.  I changed my mind:

  • Carrying more stuff doesn’t make sense.
  • We can transport in other ways! [outbound . . . and lighten our load]
  • Plans could inhibit funtential (fun+potential).

If you were thinking or planning on it, sorry.  To make up for it: this is an IOU.  Just print this out; it’s as good as gold.


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Distance Running’s Happy Hour

People are weird.  And, that’s a good thing.

In the past 12 months, I ran nine races; six were marathon distance or longer.  I’m not trying to say that I’m a badass [runner].  I’m trying to say that most races I ran are with experienced, and relatively well-trained runners.

The first thing I noticed running Peter’s Canyon Trail Race #2 — a three run series hosted on Thursday nights, all with 5 mile courses — is the lack of running etiquette.  I ran up the first hill with a woman exhaling like I would imagine a hippopotamus would sound on that hill.   The second hill I ran with a dude who had a beeping watch, for tempo.  For the love of man, shut that friggin’ thing off!

That’s when I noted why I was there: for fun. On our 12.3mi 4:56am 7/8/09 run, jeff made the comment that the 5 mile race is like a happy hour for distance runners.  Just enough to wet your appetite, but still functional after the event.

The event brought together two runners from different ends of the spectrum in our running club, LT and Wendy.  LT is an ultra-beast, to put it humbly: his goal is to run 100 miles 9 times in ’09 and 12 100-mile races in 2010.  This race was his first single digit mileage race, and he placed in the single digits (7th) to boot!  And, this was Wendy’s first race back after 6 weeks of injury recovery, who also won: she is still still injury free!

Sam, LT, Lori, Skip, Wendy, Pete, and E-Rod at the finish line. I have a patriotic number, 1776; go 'merica! Photo from Wendy. Photo Artist: dre

As for me, it felt great plowing up the hills, relative to the roadie pack I was in.  It felt fun to “only pace” for 5 miles.  It was great to employ running psychology again, bursting past runners so they wouldn’t pace off my heels.  I grabbed some adrenaline from the crowd in the last half mile, and I crossed the finish line around 6:00/mile, a pace that is somewhat of a memory to me.

Change is good, and so are happy hours.

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The Privilege to Travel with Willie

The first thing I read after my mid-year performance review was Biking Bis‘ book review of Travels with Willie, Adventure Cyclist, by Willie Weir.  I received this book Friday evening, and I finished the book by Monday morning. I found the book hard to put down.

I’ve only rode one tour so far, so the book still had many how-to’s that I could pick up on, not only for bike touring but also for traveling.

Initiating Kindness

Willie’s most interesting concept involves getting out of your comfort zone, and knock on doors.  The phrase initiating kindness refers to Weir’s premise that people want to be kind but are scared, given the craziness of how the world is perceived.  He says this often leads to “home-cooked meals and soft feather beds.”  He thinks the simplicity of his loaded-down bicycle (or “passport” for social exchanges)  immediately shows the vulnerability of the bike tourist, who is often times taken in with a rich cultural exchange. . . much more so than an isolated campsite has to offer.

Willie personalizes copies of his book to your request. Mine was "To the best aquadumper this side of the Mississippi"!

Defining Adventure

The first part of this idea identifies that the definitions of adventure he has looked up all include “risk or hazard,” as opposed to pleasure, rest, or relaxation (vacation). Not every vacation needs to be an adventure, but an adventure has more discomfort and will probably be more memorable.  The second, implementation, involves fending off the naysayers.  The people who get you to worry for worrying’s cause.  His method is asking the worry-warts “Have you been there (in that location, situation, etc)?”  If they haven’t, he has no problem shrugging them off.  I wish I had this piece of advice before going to Kenya during civil unrest, in January 2008.

Go with the Flow

As Tuna and Bender say, allow yourself to “flow with the go,” by Willie’s methods this is by not over-planning before or during the trip.  Willie learned to avoid commitments after having to turn down a complimentary horse-back tour, only to later be ditched with the company he previously made plans with.  Now, he uses the phrase “Maybe I’ll see you or maybe I won’t.”

Andy gave me my touring mascot: Strawbranch, the frawg. Willie tours with Zeb, which is a zerbra stuffed animal that lifts his spirits and aids conversations on tours.

The Privilege to Lift Off

The final chapters conclude that Americans have the privilege to travel because of our stable economy and government.  Additionally, to start an adventure — especially for extended periods — requires the traveler to expend the majority of energy to leave home relative to the psychological energy needed on the adventure; this is similar to space shuttle lifting off versus traversing space. If I want to get to Willie’s expert level of bicycling touring, I have plenty of work to get to.  At any rate, it’s a great read for any dreamer, frugal traveler, or bike enthusiast out there.  The book is available on Willie’s website.

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El Morothon

On Friday, MichelleM repeated last year’s marathon in El Moro with the 2nd annual event, now named the “El Morothon.”  With over 25 runners in participation, the El Morothon was a “running party” spread out on three loops in El Moro canyon.

Jimmy, my friend from the Purdue Tri Club, drove down from Hermosa Beach to run with us.  It was a fun way to catch up with Jimmy.  He has spent a lot of time this year crewing and preparing his wife for her big ultra-cycling event this summer: the 500 mile Race Across Oregon.  On Talk Like a Pirate Day, he is also going to pace his friend in the Angeles Crest 100 mile trail race, for the final 25 miles.  It is quite interesting to see Jimmy go from hard-core semi-pro triathlete putting in massive training hours to what he terms now “getting out for 10-15 hours a week of working out.”  In one sense, it is quite a transition; in another sense, it matches that easy-going part of his personality.

Jimmy and I running the first loop, the Perimeter, of El Moro canyon. Photo Credit: Greg

The El Morothon is a blur to me.  I remember the dumb-founded look of a few hikers when jeff showed them on a map the 20 miles we had just ran and the remaining few we had left to end our quest.  I remember seeing the beautiful, yellow mustard with Michelle with 4 miles to go.  I remember blazing an amazing 11:30/mile pace with zipper q. because we could, as he says, “smell the stables.”  What I don’t remember is the joy of running with 25 people in the majority of the run.  Re-grouping at turns with the electricity of 25 energetic runners, just out for something to do that day.

Picture:El Morothon

El Morothon Runners between the first and second loops.

This is what I enjoy most of clubs: gaining second-hand experiences while enduring another task or challenge at hand.  In some ways, it is weird that (road) runners are paying over-priced registration fees to gain this experience.  It is even more awesome when an individual organizes this out her own benevolence, in this case Michelle.  Michelle not only planned the loops, which allowed people to run whatever amount of the three different loops each with planned starting times, she also provided PB&J’s, fruit, potato chips, and other refreshments!

Picture:Finisher/RD Michelle!

Michelle, only two time finisher of the El Morothon. Photo Credit: Eric

Picture:At the Finish!

Age Group winners zipper q. and I looking normal, because of fatigue, in a picture in the El Morothon with our pacer, Lori. Photo Credit: Michelle

Viva la revolucion!

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