May 2008
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Month May 2008

murals + moab = inspiration

so i was talking to amanda last week, trying to nail down some plans for my summer trips to leadville. she was out in moab, doing some murals for a new diner some friends of hers recently opened. she’s talking away, telling me about bc and danelle’s latest venture. it finally occurs to me that she’s talking about one of my “heroes”, danelle ballengee: multisport endurance rockstar. she’s a phenomenal athlete that i first was exposed to through adventure racing; she’s dominated many other sports as well. more recently it was an accident while on a normal training run that put her in the news. she’s made a remarkable recovery and has been racing again (although i don’t know what she’s been up to lately). anyways, it was just funny to hear amanda talking about danelle the friend when i hold her in legend status :)  maybe i’ll get to meet her this summer ?!!
meanwhile, my cousin is incredibly talented and an inspiration as well. i’m hoping to commission her to paint me something special soon so i can “escape” out west whenever i want. 

running with the boonies

last weekend was the scenic city trail marathon, sponsored by rock/creek & the boonies and presented by vasque. the weekend kicked off with the trail running 101 clinic i gave at rock/creek. i was a bit nervous, but the presentation went great! there was about 25-30 people there and thankfully none of my friends made faces at me :)  

saturday morning started early – i was up at raccoon mtn a bit before 7 to get the east overlook aid station set up. lynn seeger & sheridan ames manned the station with me, which was mile 3 & mile 15 (the marathon was a 2-loop course). the day started cool, got hot, rained, and cooled down to a very pleasant afternoon. we had a great time keeping people fueled and hydrated. the first lap had people pretty stacked, but i was able to whip out the camera during the second lap.
while it was hard to sit this race out, i know it was what my body needed. plus it was great fun to cheer on all my teammates and friends during the day. next time i’ll be out there with you!

kimsey mtn loop

after living up here for nearly 2 years, i finally connected with zeke for a ride. i originally met him many moons ago at a race somewhere – adventure race or mtn bike race, i can’t remember which. after our first meeting, i ran into him again and again, always greeted with a big hug & smile. it was good running into him at the cohutta race, to reconnect and plan.
hiwassee river
our plan today was to ride about 5 hrs in cherokee national forest. finally, i’d be riding much of the adventure24 race course i sent many folks out on. we parked at gee creek campground, right off the hiwassee river. two of zeke’s riding buddies also joined us (chris & jason). i tend to get a bit nervous riding with people i don’t know –  hoping that i don’t hold them up too much. luckily jason & zeke were tapering for the mohican 100 next weekend (so their taper made for a solid ride for me :)
i really should have busted out the camera earlier, as there could have been some great shots. to start, we had a choice of 3 routes to get us to the apalachia powerhouse bridge: a road that would take us 5 miles out of the way; an overgrown rutted out road with “puddles like la ruta”; or a train track. the latter won out. it wasn’t a long section, but time passed so slowly when i was on there. train tracks are anything but smooth! most of the time it was just bumpy, but when the tracks spanned a bridge over a feeder creek, the gravel inbetween the trestles had washed out a bit causing an awful jarring. add to that trying to keep your ears alert for any oncoming trains and panic nearly sets in – yes, NOT the time to stop for a kodak moment! thankfully none decided to ruin our parade. the moment we could get off the tracks we did. phew! nice way to get the heart rate up quick! (needless to say, on the way back, i chose the ruta road. it wasn’t all that bad… i did have to portage the creek which came up to my hips, but after 4.5 hrs of riding it was rather refreshing.)
our course was a lollipop. once we crossed the bridge (seen below), zeke led us on a great loop that i will have to check out on some maps for future rides (i remember FSR 66, 80, 68…. and a sign for lost creek campground). there were 2 pretty significant climbs, lots of rollers, and gorgeous scenery everywhere. we passed a few creeks that got chris and jason excited as they belong to the crazy cult of creekboaters (honestly, that seems like a death wish….) 
in all, i had a great ride. zeke commented on my solid climbing skills; i interjected with “but my descending leaves much to be desired”. “you took the words right out of my mouth.” of course i did. how many times have i heard this? well, at least i’m aware of my problems and maybe one day i can overcome them. (definitely one day!!) luckily i didn’t keep them waiting too long – it gave them a good excuse to find some shade and wipe the sweat off. today was by far the hottest day of the year – i felt like my face was dripping off sometimes. i easily drained my 100oz bladder, and had only a few sips left in my bottle. 
we finished up with a quick dip in the river too cool off – the water was freezing so i didn’t stay in for long. refueling at the ocoee gondolier completed the days adventure.
some totals:
4:38 ride time
54 miles
elevation gain in dispute…. zeke thinks it’s around 5500′; my watch showed 3500′. but i haven’t calibrated in a long time and i’m not sure how this affects tracking…  regardless, a solid effort!

zeke & jason

trail running 101 clinic

I was recently asked to be a Vasque Ambassador, to spread the word on the great trail shoes they have (I’ve been running in the Velocity lately and love them!). Since the upcoming Scenic City Trail Marathon is part of the Vasque North American Trail Tour, I will be leading a clinic Friday evening at Rock/Creek. OK, I am a bit nervous about this – I’ve lead a few small clinics before about adventure racing, but this seems a bit more official.

On another note, I sadly will not be running the half marathon as planned. This injury from the Cohutta race lingered a bit too much for me. Last week’s 45min run went ok, so I’ll up the distance this week, but I don’t feel comfortable jumping up to 2hrs of a hard effort. I’m sure I could pull it out, but I don’t want to feel any negative effects, esp since this isn’t my focus right now. (after Leadville I’ll be turning it up again!) I will be at the race though cheering people on and keeping them hydrated!

market street mile

so i impulsively signed up for the market street mile this morning. it would be short, fun, and i’d get an idea of what my time for running 1 mile could be. of course i always have high expectations, but realistically, i have hardly done speedwork since the groin injury around thanksgiving. (that was right before a planned time trial in early december that was going to be my benchmark. oh well…)  i was hoping for around 7min. i think my fastest clocked mile was back in 7th grade: 6:59. (i just haven’t timed one since!) 

we lined up by age group. actually, 2 were combined at a time, so the 30-39 females were together. i was disappointed at the turnout – maybe 10 of us total? i didn’t know anyone so it would be interesting. the horn sounded and we were off. i sprinted to a quick lead and then settled in to my “pace” (who knows what that actually is). the course was U shaped – i used this turn to look back and see where the next girl was. (not close – yeah!) coming down the homestretch, some idiot driver pulled into a parking lot in front of me, almost making me slow. (i’d have been pissed if that happened). i crossed the mat at 6:33. WOW! my fastest ever. joey was cheering me on – i think i surprised him, with my lack of running as of late (he figured on a track i could easily knock another 10-15 sec off). my legs felt good, but my lungs were shot. my chest was hurting/burning for a good 15 minutes after. (maybe the cool air irritated them?)
awards were delayed (when they called me up, they announced a 9:27 mile. whaaa??  so i caused a 15 min delay while results were redone). i did snag 1st in my age group (probably close to 3rd overall – some chick ran a 5 something!). i think i might have set a new state record for my age in the mile – somehow it is listed at 7:39, so that would be supercool. (32 & 34 are both sub 6, so i had my birthday just in time!). fellow running buddy sergio whipped out a 6:02 to crush his age group and set a new record – he’s 67!!
this afternoon i’m off to the ultra o-gaine. i’m sad i’m not racing it this year, but 12 hrs on my feet just isn’t included on the road to leadville. i’ll take my mtn bike and ride around for a few hours to cheer on the sufferers :)
–update: state record confirmed. cool!!

cycling + music

ah frazz, such a wise one. it’s a bit of a controversial topic in the cycling world though. yes, it’s nice to have some tunes to keep you company on long solo rides, or during the nth hour of an endurance race. but at what cost? on the road, it’s listening for cars; on the trail, it’s listening for other riders & hikers. i usually only wear my shuffle running (but even not so much since the emerson murder).
somewhat unrelated is the awful accident 2 weekends ago that left a georgia cyclist in bad shape. ryan was prepping for the roswell criterium, when a truck with a landscaping trailer hit him. he’s undergoing surgery today at the shepherd center to hopefully alleviate the paralysis. thoughts & prayers are with him.

King of the Mtns Challenge

No, I’m not doing this (I have a different birthday ride in mind), but I thought it was worth posting the elevation profile. Gosh, I could eat a lot of cake after this….

Last year the eventual winner went back up Roberts Mill, to make it 11 climbs. He’s really not quite right ;)  (and makes some great bikes!)