Sunday, December 28, 2008


I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. My sis and I survived the first Christmas away from home, spending it at her home in Phoenix. I drove out Christmas eve, and thanks to the crazy no daylight savings time change in AZ, I made it to church at 10:24pm, just in time for the "midnight" mass at 10:30. The service was beautiful with a full choir and small orchestra. Got home and I opened the traditional 1 present. (Ironman, no my parent's didn't sign me up for a race; I got the movie). We called my brother and he relayed that santa had given him a new cell phone. Christmas morning we woke at 8 and started the carmel rolls which turned out super duper delicious! Santa brought me a Garmin Forerunner 305! It rained all Christmas day (sad I know) so I didn't take it out until Friday. After presents and food we took a long nap. The kitty seemed to like me. Or at least my flannel pj's. Woke up and started preparing dinner. My Grandma Viv and Grandpa Leroy made the journey from northern Arizona. Megan did a great job with dinner, and yes I helped. We had ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans with bacon, salad, rolls, cranberries, and jello. Yum. More lounging and tv watching. Star Trek. Gotta love your grandparents. It actually felt like home since that's my father's show of choice.
Friday we slept in but I was eager to test out the new garmin. I brought my bike along and took it out for a 34 mile ride from her house. It was super windy and I still have my Zipps on which make for an interesting ride. North/south traveling was tricky; there were a couple times I had to get out of my aero bars for fear of being blown over. Not to mention when I turned west into the head wind. Ahh! I can't remember the last time I went on a ride alone. It was alright. Surprisingly I wasn't bored. Hmm, garmin? A random man reading in the park took this picture of me. I ended up averaging 17.0mph which I was happy with. The tail wind on the way back helped. Garmin performed wonderfully. I love the heart rate function. (166bpm average) There is also a grade feature which was interesting. Hmm, I'm slowing, it seems like a hill, check the watch, yeah 5% grade. Climbing confirmed. lol.
Saturday, my birthday, was interesting to say the least. Throw in a little frustration. Add a little alcohol and bam, you're 25. Meg and I woke early and headed to Flagstaff, to the Arizona Snowbowl to go snowboarding. I brought my snowboard and extra warm stuff for her. It took about 3 hours to get there (including the slow driving up the mountain). I dropped her off at the rental shop while I found a place to park. I got my free lift ticket and headed out for 2 runs. An hour and a half later, after waiting in line, Meg calls to tell me they are out of snowboard boots in her size. In fact, 9.5 is the smallest. Great! We decided since the weather was beautiful and the snow was perfect, and it was in fact my birthday, that I should get a couple runs in while she sadly stayed in the chalet to drink. The lift lines were long, and the lifts were slow, but the runs weren't that crowded. Everyone was at the bottom waiting! The main lift tops out at 11,500' and the base is at 9,000' which makes for a pretty sweet run. After getting in about six runs in a matter of four hours I decided to call it quits. We headed down only to find traffic backed up. I had to put on my patient hat which I don't do very well. I will put this as hands down worst driving experience of my life. In 3 hours we moved 17 miles. You do the math, and it calculates to me only breaking for 17 miles. As if my calves weren't sore enough from boarding. We finally made it to the interstate with only 140 miles left. That part was fine. 2 hours. Got home...I need a drink. We went out to Salty's with meg's college friend, Jessi, and her mom and friend. Let's just say I don't have the tolerance of a 21 year old anymore. Today has been lazy. Time to fire up the Garmin. I'm heading out for a quick run before I head home to San Diego. (Where I hear a Dairy Queen ice cream cake awaits!!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weekend Contender

Back in August I had a post about the best weekend in California. This past weekend was a challenger. For now: the best winter weekend in California. Theme: Excessive craziness.
After last weeks big storm I checked the snow report: 41-55 inches of new snow?! Mt. High. Now.
Stephen and I had reduced tickets from Snow Jam and they were early/late season passes, expiring on Friday. Mt. High. Now. Closing 3 autos in a week at work: sick day required on Friday. Mt. High. Now.
As my co-worker put it:

Lift ticket: $13

Burger: $9

Gas: $10

Spending your day getting paid shredding on fresh powder when your boss thinks you are praying to the porcelain gods: priceless
So Friday Stephen, Anatoly, Vineet, John and I were out of Solana Beach by 7am heading up to the mountain. I think we were on the lift at 11am. Boarded till 7pm. It was pretty warm at the bottom, yet the lift rides up were a bit chilly. After the sun set we added another layer and were fine. Speaking of, the sunset was gorgeous! It was great to get back on the snow! The halfpipe was pretty powdery which for most wouldn’t be fun but was awesome for landings! None of that ice crap! Of course, I brought my camera, but the battery died as Im taking a picture of Joshua Trees covered in snow! Thankfully, Stephen got a couple on his phone.
After an exhausting day, the craziness inside woke us up at 6:10am on Saturday morning for Rachel’s ride. (not me)
Quick overview:
4 Starbucks hot chocolates: $18
3 Pieces of Pie: $9
1 Large Pizza Port pizza: $26
Spending 83 miles on your bike with a great friend: crazy
We rode to Vons by the 56 hwy. It was the wrong Vons. It was 41
°. F-it! Wheres the Starbucks?! Two stores down, two hours, and four hot chocolates later we were warm enough and on our way for our own ride. We ended up doing the Swamis loop. At mile 51 (close to home) Stephen mentioned pie. We both had this crazy thought about a PIES sign along the 101. So we kept riding north. Dropped this other couple (sweet!) and were blazing alongsearching out this darn PIES sign. Well, we made it to Carlsbad, no sign of the sign. Stopped to google pies on the phone, found one! (not on the 101) I had a delicious piece of cherry pie and pickles! Stephen had a piece of chocolate and Dutch apple. We decided to take it easy on the way backyeah right! I think the last 20 miles we averaged 20mph. It was insane. He wants me to remind him not to eat pie during his Ironman.

Total trip: 83.2 miles. 5 hours 12 min of actual biking time. Longest ride of my life. Remembering back to the first 80+ mile ride with bob I’m happy to say my body responded unexpectedly better. I didnt have the hip flexor pain. I wasnt about to collapse at the end. I felt surprisingly amazing. Sweet! Did someone say large Pizza Port veggie pizza with pepperoni and Canadian bacon on whole wheat crust? Yes. Enjoying the pizza while watching the sunset. Amazing. Only in California in December.

Sunday we let our bodies sleep in (after a late night of Bond watching). Made yummy pancakes and bacon and decided to enjoy the beautiful day. We went to Torrey Pines High School in search of tennis courts. Played for a couple hours and then "enjoyed" some Golden Spoon fro-yo. My least favorite by far. We went to the new Bond at the theater in Oceanside and then out for yummy sushi at Harney Sushi to complete the amazing weekend. It was weird to have all non-Asian white dudes behind the bar, but I would actually recommend this place.

Winter in San Diego has been great. However, the Christmas Spirit isn't as strong as it normally was back in MN, but I'll live. I've forced myself into "wintery" situations (skating, snowboarding, christmas shopping, present wrapping) but it still hasn't hit. Tonight we are going to look at the Garrison block Christmas light craziness. I have to say, the house lights don't sparkle quite as nice without the snow reflections. Christmas eve, my brother, sister and I typically sleep in the same room. We set our alarm for an undisclosed time to get up to see what Santa brought. (We got sabotaged one year by disclosing our wakeup time too loudly. Santa came after we went back to bed disapointed.) This year will be different. I will be spending Christmas eve with my sister (in her bed in Arizona). We decided we are calling Robby (unbenounced to him) at 3am and making him wake up to see what Santa brought. Also, Meg has been slaving away baking and grocery shopping for our amazing Christmas Dinner. Okay, I've typed Christmas now six times in this paragraph. I think I'm feeling the spirit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Year End

My year end thoughts have brought me to elaborate on my Christmas letter and summarize the majority of my 2008 blog. Most prominently on my mind…the amazingness of my bike. The greatness of the cove. The wonderful life I live in San Diego.
2008 has been a year of changes…
Before I left MN I became an AASI certified snowboard instructor after a season of coaching with Blizzard Ski and Snowboard School. Hurray for retro-pay. After the move I became a triathlete, finishing my first in the Mission Bay Spring Sprint. I joined the Triathlon Club of San Diego and my summer got busy with club races and more training. I was fed up with my year old bike (sad, I really liked Felty) so I dove in and waited seven weeks to become a custom Guru bike owner. It’s beautiful and every time I get off I can’t wait until the next time I can get back on. I would now consider myself a pseudo-runner (not quite all the way there yet). I never expected the day to come where I would enjoy a run (they still don’t come that often). It is a part of the sport, and my weak leg, thus the focus should turn, especially training for my next endeavor, The Superfrog half ironman at the end of March. Swim training has mainly come in the form of Ocean swimming after getting sick of masters swimming. I rave about the La Jolla Cove a lot, but it’s worth the text. I think I swam every Friday evening with TCSD besides the 4th of July (climbing trip) and my two MN trips. Sunday afternoons on non-race weekends as well as Buck’s August Moonlight Swim made for many cove swimming miles this summer. I won my age group in the Tour of the Buoys 5 mile swim race in August. I got the channel swimming itch and hope to swim the 26 miles from Catalina Island to California sometime in my life.

Alongside training I’ve managed to fit coaching into my schedule. Nikee volunteered me as a substitute for the TCSD JCC swims. After a week I became a permanent fixture in the Wednesday night technique lane. After seeing significant improvement with a couple of my regular “students” it really makes it worth it. Coaching adults has some challenges but the willingness to learn is there. Stephen, one of my students, picked me up, and now he’s a great boyfriend and training partner. It makes being lazy on the couch after seem okay. After helping him with my sport he introduced me to his, underwater hockey. I traveled to San Jose for my first tournament after playing only four games prior. Following the 10 losses in 11 games, I still had a smile on my face, and still enjoyed the sport.

I couldn’t completely let climbing slip away and I did get to take a couple trips this year. Red Rocks (twice), multiple Joshua Tree trips, the North Shore in MN, Idylwild and a couple local San Diego craigs filled random weekends throughout the year. I met Paul, a triathlete climber, and went on some pretty epic trips with him including a hiking trip up San Gorgonio. I think it was around 23 miles and almost 6,000 ft of elevation gain, hiking for 12 hours. We got rained out in the middle of a climb in j-tree and had to leave a Camelot, I dropped his camera off the side mission gorge, and made it through a lightening storm on Tahquitz. After all that, we finally had a “successful” day in Red Rock Canyon completing 7 pitches on Crimson Chrysalis a day after finishing my first olympic distance triathlon. He left the amazingness of San diego and moved back to New York (and he is missed). I became a traditional climbing leader earlier in the year, getting to play with some gear. My MN friend Amanda flew out for a Thanksgiving J-tree trip where she got on her first trad lead as well. I got to meet Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden at the Red Rock Rendezvous right after moving to San Diego. Even while drooling I managed to learn how to tie the bunny ears anchor figure 8 knot (I’m sure there’s a more precise name).

I headed back to Minnesota in May for my brother’s and sister’s graduation from High School and College respectively. Again, in September I went for Katie & Phil’s wedding, along with some climbing and family time. Yet another Pink Lady reunion/wedding; next up, Kayley and Nick. I had some visitors this summer. First, my brother and his girlfriend Paige came out and we saw Wiked in LA. Next, Mare, my college swimming buddy, came out for a quick summer weekend (and yes I brought her to the cove). My mom and sister came to visit in August and we took a trip to Catalina Island (on a ferry). I won’t be able to make it back for Christmas, so I’m spending it with my sister and grandparents in Arizona. The rest of my family will be missed. Other than that I’m officially a California driver’s license holder, and a resident of Point Loma in a house with three lovely ladies, one of which I met in the beginning of all this triathlon craziness. Bethany has been a great friend and now roommate. She's recovering from spinal fusion surgery from scoliosis and I can't believe her progression. She is also a great training buddy. I'll post my 2009 goals after the new year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

ice skating...

On the beach in San Diego!
I had been itching to go ice skating all "winter" and I actually missed the Minnesota rinks. It's been super hard to get in the Christmas spirit with all this nice weather. I wasn't even motivated to go shopping. I convinced Stephen into a fun date Friday night. I took my skates out of the attic (I knew there was a reason I moved them to San Diego!) and we were off. The Hotel Del Coronado has a small outdoor rink during the holidays on their front lawn looking out onto the beach and ocean. (I know, crazy, right?) It’s awesome! And it’s real ice! Simply amazing. The rink was a bit crowded with a bunch of teenagers, but I was still smiling the entire time. Ah, I love skating! I even found a little ice for a couple spins and my infamous waltz jump. I attempted to teach Stephen how to skate backwards, but with the traffic we decided that would have to wait for some indoor ice time on a bigger rink. Afterwards, we got some hot chocolate and a mini smores kit to roast marshmallows over a real fire. Skating and smores…so much fun.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Native American Navigational Skills

For those of you who don't know, I'm a registered member of a Native American tribe in northern Wisconsin. I am a card carrying member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians. This gives me rights such as spear fishing and wild rice harvesting on the reservation. Granted I have only been there twice, once for the ID card and the second for a family reunion a couple summers ago. No, I do not receive any monetary benefits. Check out the Casino, the website says something about the area. However, on a blood level (I'm a quarter Indian) I feel my navigational skills come more naturally than most. Yes, my mother has diluted me some, but overall I have found this sense to be useful.

This weekend wasn't an exception. Saturday morning Stephen drove me up to the TCSD Duathlon in Carlsbad. I was a little nervous to do a race without a swim. My starting strategy changed from insisting on being at the front of the line in the water, to the back of the pack on the road. The course was a 2.25 mile trail run, a 14 mile bike, and finished with the same 2.25 mile run. The first loop was alright, I just tried to stay with the people in front of me. Navigating downhill with my zoots was a bit challenging and I knew I'd have to really pay attention on the final run section when I know my legs will be tired. Up, down, around, the trail was winding around a lake and back to the transition area. Cammi was just ahead of me into transition and I was out before her. I also passed another girl about a mile into the bike. Other than that it was me and these three other men going back and fourth on the short downhills and the crazy long uphills. What?? Who said this was a "rolling hills" course! On the final large downhill I was in my aero bars and cranking hard...I look down and I'm going 39.8mph...freak out! I think it's time for the breaks. And don't get too excited; the bike finished with another long uphill. That smile is deceiving. I love my bike, I hate hills. Hmm, I wonder how my legs are going to feel after this?

I head into transition and someone sort of yelled 1st woman. I blew it off because I knew everyone should be ahead of me. I head out of transition and hear it again. wtf? I get onto the trail and Ann is directing traffic and she says "Yeah girl! First woman!" So finally I'm like "What happened to everyone else?" where she responds something about the leaders getting lost. Argh, now I have to try? Trucking along on the run feeling pretty slow, but trying to pick up my heels. I actually ended up getting off course with this man for a bit but quickly found my way back down. Almost done, wow I feel like crap. The finish was yet again up a hill. Number? 39. Congrats you won. What?
Sweet. I won by default. I won by navigational skills. I suppose it is a part of the race. Later I heard there was only 2 women in the lost pack. Still, it felt a bit awkward getting announced, receiving a medal and winning some swag. But I guess I can't complain. A 'W' is a 'W'.

I also won a squid lid from Osamu who was giving it to the person who reasoned why they would get the most use out of it. Of course it would be me, lover of the cove! He had received it as a gift from Jim McCann, the previous TCSD president who we lost suddenly before I moved to San Diego. I will wear it proudly! Thanks Osamu! (He also took the pictures posted above) Friday I swam in the cove...I wasn't frozen yet, but it would've helped then. Sunday I had more cold water exposure, surfing with Anatoly, Greg, and Vineet in a half suit!

I'll end with a little shout out to my directionally challenged friends. I'm here for you. As Annie would say during our first solo Minneapolis driving adventures, "Thanks for knowing, buddies."

Monday, December 1, 2008

giving thanks

dear blogger:
I'm thankful for:
my family, my friends, my life in san diego.

MN climbing friend Amanda flew into SD on Wednesday evening where I took her to experience the famous In and Out Burger. (thumbs up!) Thanksgiving was spent at hockey friend Mysti's in Poway. We had an amazing dinner and then headed out to Joshua Tree to get on some rock! Of course, the entire park camping was listed as full...but I had hope. We drove around the sites looking for a spot with only 1 car. Jackpot! Boys from Denver and Phoenix were hanging out by their fire, and as shy girls we argued who was going to ask. She did, and we were in. Enjoyed the fire but crashed pretty early. A cold evening led to sleeping in till 10am! There was no way we were climbing any earlier than that. Our first climb was The Bong which happens to be my first trad lead. Amanda geared up and "manned up" to dive into her first trad lead...with her shiny new gear. She did amazing! We did two more leads (one for me one for her) and got on a top rope problem. We had a pretty interesting (read: unhealthy) dinner in town. Burgers, onion rings, fried cucumber, and hot chocolate. Mmm...and then ugh! Saturday was a pretty lazy day, after having felt successful on Friday, we did Big Mo and the Aiquille de Joshua Tree. (pictures to come) We looked at another route but decided to head out after a large party had already set up. We arrived back in San Diego, had dinner at Phil's BBQ (delicious!) and went bowling (and cheap beer drinking) with a bunch of my triathlon friends. Sunday I went for a very hungover relaxed ride with Buck and Bethany. Ahh recovery. I took Amanda up the coast to show her my favorite place and then to Pizza Port for some much needed carbs before her plane departed.

So, after a great 4 day weekend I'm back to the grind. Trying to get serious about this whole half ironman training. I ran 30 min on Monday and an hour today up in Solana Beach with Stephen. Yesterday was JT's ride. I'm thinking about doing the tri club duathlon this weekend in Carlsbad. Hmm, what am I going to do without the swim?

Bethany and I are on this eating healthy kick; necessary after the binge of a weekend! It's nice to actually have a kitchen as well as a buddy to keep me in check. I'll end with some pictures of our delicious concoctions.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fiesta de Bicicletas

It’s been one big party on the bike. Almost 200 miles in a week and a half and I still can’t wait to get back on it. Last week I managed to make it to JT’s ride Tuesday and Thursday. It’s starting to look like masters swimming is taking a back burner. It’s hard enough to get on the bike with arm warmers that early in the morning; I can’t imagine jumping into a cold outdoor pool. Boohoo, I know I live in San Diego; it’s what, 55 degrees in the morning?
Last Saturday was the November club race; my first one on Fiesta Island. The race was awesome - even after only running once since P-man…hmm, could it be this new gleaming machine I get to ride on? Or the extended calm swim? (thanks Cory!) Whatever it was, the race couldn’t have been better. I ended up 2nd for the women.
Here’s the breakdown:
1:19.40 Final Time
1000 yard swim 11:08
12.5 mile bike 35:37
1st loop (2 miles) 17:56
2nd loop (2 miles) 14:59
The swim was amazing. Yes, I still love my De Soto wetsuit. I ended up 2nd out of the water (behind a UCSD guy, and one second ahead of Jim Vance who was drafting off me almost the entire way back). I hopped on my bike, using Dianna Black’s socks – hey I was moving this weekend = scatter brain. 5 laps around the south loop. I paced myself as if I was swimming the 500. First lap settle down heart rate/spin, second lap get into the pace, third is about control, fourth increases intensity and fifth would normally be all out (swimming) but I kept the pace of the fourth. Elizabeth caught me on the final quarter mile and we were exchanging conversation about JT giving her crap. We headed into the transition together, and I was out first…but we all know that ended right away into the run. First lap…not too many men passing me, but I know I’m running slow. I feel heavy and sluggish like I’m running through jello. I’m thirsty. I grab my water as JT is running behind me through the transition cheering me on, take a swig, and toss it back at him. Brendan catches me at the first turn and is running with me. Wow Brendan, thanks! He has water (lifesaver!) and begins to tell me to push the pace. He continues to look back for a girl who I assume is hunting me down. No sign yet. I’m feeling surprisingly better with the increased pace. I knew I’d have to put the hammer down, so “at the next sign” we’ll pick it up. We passed a man who passed me at the beginning of the 2nd lap. Crap, did I pick a sign too far out? Am I going to bonk? Why am I doing this again? No get those thoughts out! Finish hard. You’re still in 2nd. Don’t give up now. Continue to lift those heels. Finish!
Woohoo! I got a pretty orange medal and $25 gift certificate to the Running Institute. Sweet! Plus the usual yummy yogurt/fruit/granola post race meal. Here are some of the great pictures Caleb took at the race. I smile when I run? Must have been the only moment.
Onwards with the weekend: Moving in my tri outfit. Yeah I was dirty, didn’t feel like a shower and it was 95 degrees out. Why change? I now live with 3 other fabulous ladies in Point Loma. 1.0 miles from work. Previously, 1.8 miles. Moving on I have a kitchen. My Tupperware is happily out of storage and neatly organized. Mom, you'd be proud. Got everything moved in and somewhat settled and headed to hockey practice where I felt like crap. (Hmm…late night + early triathlon + moving + heat = tiredness?) Sunday I promised myself I’d sleep in. But after 3 solid weeks of 7am or earlier wakeup calls, that didn’t happen. What??? I can’t sleep in anymore! Again, mom, be proud. Stephen and I headed out to Einstein Bros for a bagel boost for our 50 mile bike to Mysti’s house near Poway. Sandal retrieval commenced. My bike computer thermometer went into the triple digits! It hit 100 degrees out there! Man, am I glad I live by the ocean. We stopped at an In and Out for direction correction and cold water, as well as a Shell station for another water fill up. Made it to Mysti’s, found the sandals, water reload, and we were back on the road. We stopped for frozen yogurt on the way back. Mmm mango yogurt with mochi, strawberries and peaches; what a great mid-ride treat. After the ride we went to Snow Jam for our discounted Mt High lift tickets and then to Pizza Port with Des and his family. A busy, hot, fun weekend. Sounds like a Fiesta to me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Goodbye my Felty, Goodbye my friend

You have been the one, you have been the one for me. Hello my Guru, hello my friend, you are the one, you are the one for me! -a play on James Blunt. Although Felty has brought me great memories it's time to move on. Some highlights to reflect upon:
My First:
-time using clipless pedals, drop bars, vertical breaks/shifters, and aero bars
-"long" 18 mile ride along the 56 bike path
-critical mass
-triathlon: Mission Bay Spring Sprint, 1st in my agegroup!
-time changing a flat
-of many Del Mar tri club rides along Hwy 101
-80 mile epic ride! (after my prior longest being 40)
-olympic distance triathlon (Pumpkinman)
-60 mile Borrego desert experience
All in all, Felty gave me 1673 fairly enjoyable miles although she had some issues near the end. She was a great ride, and she will be missed. And here is the replacement:

TaDa! My custom Guru Crono in Trimuph Green with Zipp 404s.
Bike arrival doesn't equate to instantaneous riding of the bike. A lot goes into the building of this awesome piece of machinery. I would know...I think I spent over 9 hours Friday and Saturday watching the mechanics turn the frame and parts into a smooth-riding bicycle. I asked for a maiden voyage for Saturday morning, along the 101 with the triathlon club Del Mar ride, which sadly, didn't occur.

I came in Friday after work and it hadn't been started. This custom stealth black Parlee (over $10k, 3 month wait time) was in line before me...and was harder to put together than first anticipated. Friday evening after a bonfire at Bahia with Des and Bob, and dinner at Roger's, I headed back to check JT's progress. Not Started!! What? lol. He then remembered a crucial part had to be glued with epoxy. Epoxy that needed 12 hours to dry! He worked on it as much as possible without messing up the headset but had to stop at midnight. I walked out of the shop...with my old bike in hand. (sad face).

I then headed to Solana Beach to hang with the hockey players. We all went on a breakfast ride to Pannikin Saturday morning (on the old bike). A brisk 10 mile ride on the 101 to start the day...and it ended up being the final voyage on Felty. Saturday afternoon, back to the shop to really watch the transformation. Dan was hard at work, installing the cables, bottom bracket, crank, chain, derailleurs, and everything else needed to get this bike out of the shop, under me, and on the road! At 4:30 it was finally done. Stephen had come by to check it out and ride the first ride with me.

Here I am taking my first (nervous) pedal strokes. Light, quick to start, fast on the flats, smooth, and it rides beautifully. We headed up Canon to Cabrillo National Monument on the usual JT Tuesday ride route. Rolling hills at the top of Point Loma with sporadic views of the sunset over the ocean. It was so much fun to put the hammer down! We only had enough sunlight for a quick out and back ride. So many differences from the old felty; quite the upgrade. Saturday night we went to hockey Bill's house in La Jolla for a dinner party, where I was named the Most Improved Player at the Pacific Coast Championships.
Sunday morning we woke to grey skies and a chill to the air. Ran back for the arm warmers. (thank goodness!) Mark and Shannon met Stephen and I at my place and we headed to El Cajon for my debut ride on the Great Western Loop. Holy hills! This 43 mile ride has over 5000' of climbing (and descending) and would normally be in the scorching inland heat. Nope. It was chilly on the flats, I sweat on the uphills no matter what, and then descending it's cold with wet clothes! Burr...oh yeah did I mention it RAINED! On my new bike! (Yes, I shed a tear!) 3 hours later we made it back and headed to Rancho's Mexican Restaurant in OB for brunch.

So my bike really likes the flats and downhills. And I love my bike. So it works out. Now she needs a name. Crono croc, guru gator, green gator, green revolution...any thoughts?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

7 has ARRIVED!

Seven weeks to the day. My Guru Crono has arrived. Lynn called me this morning and left a message with the good news. A box arrived on their doorstep. A box carrying my bike and all the parts.
I took my lunch break and rushed over. This is better than any Christmas morning. Better than when I got Molly, the American Girl doll. Better than my high school letter jacket. Better than my iPod. I got to unwrap a completely custom carbon fiber triumph green Guru Crono. I took it outside to admire the paint in the daylight.
It’s beautiful. JT is building it today and tomorrow, for an estimated maiden voyage of Saturday morning.
Almost done waiting for my bike. Lol :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good 'ole fashioned CAMPING!

Old Skool Camping (circa 1990s): family sized tent, Coleman sleeping bag, 3 coolers stocked full of food, juice boxes (cold beer for adults), and any other non-essential food items, flashlights, Schwinn 18-speed sidewinder.

New Aged Camping (2006-present): REI half-dome backpacking tent, sierra designs 20 degree mummy bag, cliff and power bars, water, warm beer, headlamp, Felt roadbike.

Obviously there are some improvements, but the food situation has significantly diminished since my mom has been removed from my camping experiences. The past two weekends I had a small blast from the past, reliving the good 'ole days of yummy food not prepared by me!

I went to Phoenix to visit my sister and camp, climb and hike. Jack, in his element (off-road), made the journey Queen Creek Canyon. The climbing was great! Crimpy, sharp, face climbing. I rocked a super balancy 5.10 which felt incredible! Megan treated me well with sandwiches, home-made pasta salad and muffins, polish, and fresh fruit. Cold beer was also involved. We camped with about 12 of her friends. She was supposed to stay in my tent, but when her friend Mike put up the Wal-Mart 10 person 8' tent, I saw her eyes widen. (as did mine, I sleep better alone!). The evening brought drinking (cold beverages) and conversation by the campfire. I broke out the marshmallow roasting skills mastered through my father's patience. Golden brown perfection. I was on fire! (not the marshies). Smores...yummm!

My second trip, Jack (after $400 in repairs) brought me and Stephen to Borrego Springs for the Tri Club camping trip. We arrived Halloween evening and the crocodile costume made an appearance. After a starlit night a beautiful morning sunrise started off a great day. Cammie, Shawn, Lisa, Jessica, Stephen and I finally rolled out at 7:45 am. We had a pretty easy ride out to Salton Sea. Getting through the 5 miles of the crappiest/bumpiest/most horribleist road I've ever ridden on having to go to the bathroom wasn't pleasant. We arrived at the West Shores Market and Shawn convinces us to enjoy a cold Coors Light (he bought the six pack). That and powdered doughnuts really got me through the rest of the ride! As the sun got hotter (97 degrees!) the ride got harder. I really put the hammer down on the ride back and ended up having a great ride...until mile 56. BONK! Push...come on let's go! I think the Borrego Springs 2 mile sign followed by the 2 miles to the campground sign really turned me off to hammering, and on to spinning in the granny gear. Stephen (riding with the psycho fast group on the way back) waited for me at the gas station and rode the last 2 miles with me as we traded stories.

Back at camp cold water and jelly toast was waiting...along with Bethany! I was beat...but somehow the only thing (after 10 glasses of water) I craved was a margarita! We went to a Mexican restaurant where I had flour tortillas with scrambled eggs. That's it. Oh yeah, 2 margaritas as well. The evening brought more cold beer, and one of the best large group pot luck dinners I've ever had! Tri-tip beef grilled to perfection, shrimp salad, pasta salad, and more steak. Later in the evening the golden brown perfection was attempted but not replicated. (short metal sticks, wind, hot coals = not my greatest works) In any case, the marshmallows were still yummy.
Yesterday we got back and went for a quick ride to test out Stephen's new saddle. Stopped at Dolci Mango in PB for frozen yogurt and mochi! Dinner was spent catching up with non-Borrego goers Nikee, Brendan, and Lori (with Stephen, Bethany and I) at a yummy Tai place in La Jolla.

Side note: Halloween at La Jolla Cove - two top 10 swims. The water visibility was over 40' the 1/2 mile buoy and the entire swim out. I swam in the morning with fellow tri club members with a wetsuit and was warm by the I had a half day at work at went back at 3:00 for a solo wetsuit. Amazing! Seriously, no better words to describe the clarity, calmness, and brisk aspects of that swim. Not to mention the sun was shining! I heart San Diego.'s being shipped!!!!! A (hopefully quick) stop at customs at the Canadian border...and Christmas will come soon for one lucky girl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crimson Chrysalis

Vegas baby! After Pumpkinman, Anatoly, Stephen and I went to Stephen’s parents house to enjoy the hot tub and dinner. Paul visited with friends on the strip and made it over around 1am. We decided to crash there and just drive the 15 min to Red Rock Canyon in the morning. A 5am wake up call was unwelcome, but we drug ourselves to the car and headed out. Arrived at the gate, organized our crap and drove in promptly at 6am. Pine Creek pullout is close to the end of the 13 mile one way loop. We were on the trail to Juniper Canyon at 6:30am and made it to the base of the climb (up a huge ramp!) a little after 8am.

Here is the description:
“Crimson Chrysalis is one of those climbs listed in the North American Classics. It is a spectacular crack system that ascends the massive pillar on the north side of Rainbow Mountain. Head up the obvious ramp to the base of the pillar. Locate the massive crack disappearing into the sky. Although only 5.8+, it is still a major undertaking. Watch the rope-eating rappels.”

Boy does that massive crack disappear. The size of this wall is colossal. Paul took the lead on the first pitch and I bit the bullet and lead the 2nd pitch. It was awesome!! Paul lead the rest of the climb until pitch 7 which was a 9 bolt 110’ climb. I thought I’d be fine with just draws and didn’t take the rack. Mistake! I clipped 6 bolts and couldn’t see another one until about 40’ above the last one. 80’ fall? I don’t think so. I downclimbed (scary!) to my last draw and Paul lowered me. We made it to the top of that pitch (with 2 placements) and made it to the red stripe!! It was after 3pm and 3:30 was our last possible turn around time, so we decided to skip the last 2 short pitches and rap down. We watched/pulled and prayed on those rope-eating rappels and luckily didn’t have any epics. Made it to the base by 5pm and to the car at 6:30…just in time to avoid a $250 ticket. In and Out on the strip for dinner, returned the rental car and flew home. Home sweet home crashing into my bed.

Not your typical weekend in Vegas.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkinman Race Update

Vegas baby… sometimes you’re just outta luck… sometimes things roll in your favor.
Last minute change of plans had my bike riding with Nikee on Thursday and me riding with Stephen and Anatoly on Friday, while Paul flew in because he had to work. The drive out wasn’t bad at all. Friday afternoon we got our race packets and hung out at the expo. A yummy Italian dinner followed. We all stayed at the Hacienda and had an early 5am wake up call on Saturday. Paul and I had to ride our bikes to the race start (downhill) and of course

I got a flat. Sometimes you’re just outta luck.

Are you kidding me!!! Start changing it…um the spare tube had a manufactures hole it in (gaping at the seam). Thanks JT. Paul so graciously gave me his after riding all the way down to get the car and the pump. Anatoly and Stephen had to race (7:00 start) but luckily our waves weren’t until an hour later. Here we are, walking our bikes into transition at 7:45 when all of the half distance racers were actually transitioning out of the swim. Lovely. Got my area set up and somehow managed to get a decent swim warmup in before my wave started.

Horn! The swim was off and going really well. I was out in front, stroke for stroke with another girl and feeling amazing. Turn at the first buoy and head into the sun. Man this is fun, lake swimming in a gorgeous area. Turn the 2nd buoy. Something doesn’t feel right with my timing chip strap. "Ignore it. You’re fine. Keep kicking, at the next buoy turn it on and smoke this girl. CRAP!"

My timing chip fell off. Sometimes you’re just outta luck.

"Turn around. Look. Look harder through tinted goggles in dirtyish water. Grab it! Attach it. Onward. Try to catch that gold cap passing all the blue cap slow men. Don’t push it too hard, swim your race. Sweet, you’re back in the game. Turn at the 3rd buoy and then turn it on. Kick. CRAP!"

My timing chip fell off. Again. Sometimes you’re just outta luck.

F-it!! I tried shoving it in my wetsuit. Failed. Water flooding in. I ended up carrying it in my fist the entire last 500 yards. I was swimming sloppy and frustrated. Try swimming with your hands in a fist for 500. Compare it to your regular stroke. Hmmm. Not a way to race. Headed into T1 exhausted and now running uphill to my bike. Calmed myself down, ate a gu, made sure my earplugs were securely in my T1 bag since this was a point to point race and headed out.

My front wheel was on backwards. Sometimes you’re just outta luck.

Somehow in the madness of the tire mishap my front wheel was put on backwards. Which doesn’t affect performance, but my computer wasn’t registering. I stopped and tried to mess with it, but gave up hoping it would just turn off. Luckily it did because I think I would’ve been frustrated at how slow I was going up all those HILLS! Holy hilly course! I had water and powerbar endurance drinks and forced myself to eat another gu after hawking up a lung. Yes I’m still sick…and out of luck. Here's a pic of me trying to hammer. I never noticed I match my bike...pretty! After the longest hill of my life I headed into T2 in a randomly good mood. Put on my shoes and new TCSD visor and ran out. Hmm legs aren’t feeling so great. But you are used to this. Just warm up, and then go. Mile 2 still hurting. Calves cramping. I hear someone yell "I finally caught her!" and look back. It’s Mark Kenney from the club. Oh hey mark! He asks how I’m feeling and offers me a salt tablet. Saved my life. He was off but I ran into him again on mile 3 where his quads were acting up. We ran together on mile 3-5 which was an awesome motivation! One finally uphill for the day. The announcer said my name as I crossed the finish line putting my arms into the air.

I was the 2nd women and 8th overall for the swim.
I got 7th in my age group.
I went under an hour for 10k.
I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon. Sometimes things roll in your favor.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This weekend I attended the Underwater Hockey Pacific Coast Championships.
Words to describe a weekend: Fin keepers, college friends, 14 hours in a Yukon, sinus pressure, Aerobed, snorkel breathing. Fun or not so fun? You decide:
Took a half day on Thursday when Stephen, Des and I started on the long trek up north to San Jose (skipped the swim/run cause of sickness). Made it to the hotel and stayed with Stephen, Anatoly, Mysti, Greg and new friend from DC Mark. Mysti thought of us and brought the Aerobed! Hurray for no uncomfortable floor sleeping the entire weekend! Friday the round robin games began. 3 games, 3 losses. But I did score the first goal! Saturday we played 4 games and again lost all 4. College friends Kayley and Nick living in Reno, NV made the drive down to watch my last game and grab a bite to eat at Gordon Biersch. It was so great to see them! Sunday was tournament time. We lost to the Canadian Women Worlds team but actually scored 3 goals (after being blanked in our first meeting). We lost the 2nd game but I felt more aware of everything. Finally, in our final game of the weekend…WE WON! Woohoo! After 9 games we finally got in a win. After freezing our butts off at the pool the entire weekend we finally won. After battling sinus pressure and a nasty cough we finally won. Unfortunately the Open team didn’t have the same success. This whole weekend was a learning process for me; new (to me) rules, refereeing, wearing real fins, and playing my position. The banquet was Sunday evening: Yummy lasagna, bread hunks, caesar salad, and beer! After some socialization Stephen and I had to leave because I had to work on Monday (boo). He was nice enough to suffer the drive the entire way back home. A 4am arrival made for a pretty harsh Monday. I made it to work on time, but took a half day after lunch to catch up and try to kick this sickness before Pumpkinman this weekend!! Went to JCC last night for a 1200 yard “swim.” This morning I went for a quick run just to get my legs back into it after floating/kicking all weekend. I’m going to hop on my bike tomorrow morning, take Thursday off, and head out to Vegas on Friday! JT asked Guru to take a picture of my bike in the process…I hope they can!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

(underwater) hockey

Not too much new…yet this will become extended. Friday evening I biked to the cove, swam without a wetsuit at my threshold of coldness. Saturday morning started out with a bang. Or I suppose a pop. I was filling my tires with air and was having problems with the pump (Stephen’s). He jammed it on and then couldn’t get it off. Seriously, it was stuck. Using excessive force trying to separate the pump, the stem broke free from the tube and caused a flat. F it! We’re going to B&L. After suffering embarrassment walking along the 101 carrying my bike with the pump still attached and trying to explain what happened to the mechanic, our problem was solved. He also changed my tube in record time. After being ridiculed by Des we all finally rolled out biking the Swami’s loop through the Elfin Forest. Mmmm…Pizza Port at the finish. Napping, more underwater hockey, and a pool party at Mysti’s rounded out Saturday.
Sunday was an unfortunately early wakeup as I volunteered to be a swim buddy for the Mission Bay Triathlon. It rained Saturday night. The water quality was nasty and now I’m sick. Lovely. Went for a 4 mile noon run with Chad at Fiesta, where I felt amazing (even hungover!) Met up with the crew at Princess Pub for Bethany’s Scavenger Hunt. We formed our teams and headed out for fun in the streets of downtown San Diego. After a slow start, my team kicked it into high gear and made it back with seconds to spare. And, WE WON! Here’s a pic of the winning team and the birthday girl. (Brendan, Me, Bethany, Katrina and Julie). Yes I’m Michael Phelps chewing my gold. Monday I went for a quick run (my best time on my usual loop) and then to a Tai restaurant for Bethany’s real birthday celebration. Tuesday was Cabrillo ride where I felt like crap and went home for a brick nap rather than run. After work I decided to go to what will from now on be called hockey practice. On Saturday I was convinced/peer pressured to join the San Diego mixed team in San Jose for the Pacific Coast Championships this weekend. They are short a girl. I figured any extra practice would help since I’ve played now 4 times in my life. Mysti brought her extra fins which made a huge difference in comparison to the duck feet flippers I was borrowing from the bin.
Today brings an off day! Yeah for taper! Tomorrow (sickness dependent) will be Dale’s swim/Chad run possibly. I’ll probably have to come into work early, since I’m leaving early for the tournament. Looking forward to the new adventure in California…and the long drive up I5.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Water Logged...

and no dryness in sight! Yesterday I got back to the Thursday routine of Dale's masters swim followed by Chad run (after drifting last week with the crazy trail run). The workout was great. 12x 300s and some underwater 25s. Chad and I ran 4 miles. It was slow, but I felt okay. Last night I went to my second underwater hockey practice. I got to sub point for point, so it was less tiring getting to sit out more, and made it easier to actually play when I was in. And Des let me borrow his mask which fit significantly better than my first time and made the entire experience more enjoyable.

This may be my 4th post about the amazinigness of the cove. But this is serious. It doesn't get much better than waking up for a sunrise swim other than looking forward to a sunset swim this evening.
Today I met Nikee, Cammie, Mark, and Brian at 6:15am in La Jolla for Cammie's Sunrise "Sunday" Swim. She's out of town this weekend, so it was changed to Friday. I braved the weather and didn't wear my wetsuit...and didn't freeze! It was actually nice once outside the beginning cove section. Nikee and I swam to the 1/2 mile buoy, chatted for a bit, and headed in before I got too cold. Took some pictures and headed to the coffee shop for an XL hot chocolate. mmm!

Not sure if there will be swimming in my Saturday, but I am a swim buddy Sunday for the Mission Bay triathlon. (another early morning!) Back to JCC on Monday. Two weeks till we leave for Pumpkinman!
Bike, oh how I long for you. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Velodrome Rocks! 2 weeks ago I went with Nikee and last week Bethany joined us. Last night was the last race of the season and we invited a whole TCSD crew out for some racing enjoyment. Track cyclists, sweet fixies, and beer make for a great Tuesday evening activity. Check it out at Next season starts in April. Lessons are hopefully instore this winter.

So. I'm a swim coach for the TCSD Wednesday night JCC swims. We've been asked to write a bio to introduce ourselves to the club in the next newsletter...and I'm having a hard time deciding between 1st and 3rd person and how much humor to add. Here are the options and the picture Bethany took of me at the Cove last friday in my new T1 wetsuit:
Rachel has been involved with swimming since she was six months old when her parents enrolled her in water babies. She continued through college, attending the University of North Dakota where she earned four All-American honors. She took two years off and got into triathlons after her move to San Diego in March '08. Open-water swimming started in the lakes of Minnesota and now continues in the Pacific where she competed in her first open-water race this summer, the 5 mile La Jolla Cove Tour of the Buoys, in under 2 hours. Rachel has coached age group swimmers as well as instructed way too many hours of swim lessons.
Rachel: Lover of the La Jolla Cove swims, high elbows, and men in speedos. I am a rock climber, a triathlete stuck in T1, and now a JCC TCSD a swim coach. I've coached age groupers as well as instructed way too many hours of swim lessons. I enjoy helping new swimmers find their technique and experienced swimmers refine their technique. I was a water baby at six months, a High School State Champion, a synchronized swimmer, a collegiate All-American, and now I am an open-water swimmer and triathlete in training.
Training is going well. Monday I had a sweet run after work and then went to Bethany and Julie's to watch Center Stage (horrible chick flick, yes) because JCC practice was canceled. Tuesday morning was JT's ride where I only had to go 90 min this week. I did a 25 min transition run afterwards. Not sure what this evening will bring, but tomorrow is Dale's masters practice and running with Chad afterwards. Looking forward to Pumpkinman in a couple of weeks!

And yes, I'm still impatiently waiting 4-6 more weeks for my bike.