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 rockclimbing.com 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 http://www.sdvelodrome.com/ 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.