Monday, August 18, 2008

Trans Rockies Challenge - Done!

I should be in bed, but instead I'm sorting through pictures (I'll post 'em soon, you can find a raw dump in my Flickr stream), drinking beer, and listening to this which they played every night at the awards ceremony (warning: very cheesy video. Your best bet is to let it play in a background tab).

Trans Rockies was HARD, way harder than I expected it to be; Jen and I are both pretty strong, and we finished 19th out of 30 teams that started in our category (Open Mixed).

I didn't realize going in that most people train for at least a year for it; I did it mostly as a lark, and had an absolute blast, but it was incredibly humbling to go from winning at adventure racing to being back-of-the-pack.

I'll try to do a better write-up in the coming weeks, but the whole thing is basically impossible to describe; it was hard and amazing and inspiring and scary and frustrating and rewarding and I'm a better rider by at least an order of magnitude from when I started. I also have an idea of how much I have to learn about the sport, but I think I really started to get why people are so passionate about it, and am looking forward to getting better and being able to RIDE stuff, not just survive it.

Anyway, great people, great race, great course, hard, hard, HARD work. I loved it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trans Rockies Challenge

OK, so Jen talked me into doing the Trans Rockies Challenge, a 7-day mountain bike stage race, and since I'm a masochist I said yes.

The course changes a bit from year to year, and they don't release details until the week before it starts, but here are some details from last year:

Stage 1: Panorama to Invermere - 33km, 1139m of elevation
Stage 2: Invermere to Nipika - 60km, 1300m of elevation
Stage 3: Nipika to Nipika - 90k, 1522m elevation, 43% single/double track
Stage 4: Nipika to Whiteswan Lake, 113km, 1139m of elevation, 45.1% single/double track, 54.9% gravel road
Stage 5: Whiteswan to Elkford - 93k, 1528m of elevation gain, 46.8% single/double track
Stage 6: Elkford to Sparwood - 116k, 2300m elevation gain, 57% on gravel roads, 27% on single/double-track (this is the Queen stage; the hardest stage of the race)
Stage 7: Sparwood to Fernie - Unknown

Stage info found here:

It's going to be pretty epic, and I'm definitely nervous about it, but there's no backing out now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ellsworth Truth

Ellsworth Truth
Originally uploaded by dolface
I got a new bike (again).

It's an Ellsworth Truth with mostly SRAM X.0 components, and Ellsworth XC wheels. It's a lot of bike, and while I've only taken it on one real ride, so far I love it.

I'd sort of been thinking about getting a full-suspension bike for a while since they're really nice for longer races, but didn't have a compelling reason to spend that much money (fancy full-suspension bikes generally go for something north of $5k).

Two things happened: Jen asked if I wanted to do the Trans Rockies Challenge with her, and Ellsworth offered a pretty amazing deal to some of the adventure racers out here.

There are plenty of people who do the TRC on hardtails, but they're MTB racers and I'm not, plus, this was the perfect excuse to get a full-suspension. I NEEDED it for race .

Ellsworth's deal clinched it for me , so I jumped.

As a result, I'll be flying up to Calgary on August 9th, and spending 7 days zig-zagging back and forth across the spine of the Rockies on my new bike, doing my best to live up to it's potential.

It's gonna hurt.

Back in the saddle

OK, let's try to get this thing back on track.

To start with, Brynn and I adopted a critter, you can read all about her here.

More stuff soon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


B and I are spending the holidays at her parent's house in Mammoth. There's snow on the ground and it's snowing as I write this, very wintery.

This morning B, her mother, and I drove down to the green church next to 395 went for a short run. It was clear, windy and freezing where we were, but looking west we could see snow squalls along the tops of the mountains.

After the run we drove out to Wild Willy's hot springs and nearly got hypothermia in the period where we were in our bathing suits but not in the water.

We soaked for quite a while, and then went through the whole hypothermia routine again when we got out.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Get your geek on

A couple of math videos that are really worth watching.

Moebius Transformations

Turning a sphere inside out< (it's 20 minutes long, but at least watch the first 1:45 to see how it's done).

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gold Rush 24 hour Challenge Redux

A year ago this weekend I raced in my first 24-hour adventure race, the Gold Rush 24 Hour Challenge. I wrote about it in great and boring detail here, and one of the things I wrote was "it was UNBELIEVABLY fun and i fully plan to win one at some point."

Last weekend my team and I won this year's edition of the race. I'll write a full report later, but here are a few random items from the race.

  • The race started at 8:00 a.m. and it rained from 8:00 that evening to 8:00 the next morning

  • We got lost 3 times

  • I crashed my bike twice

  • The second running section took us 9 hours and was gorgeous

  • Checkpoint 1 was in the wrong place (everyone found it)

  • Checkpoint 16b was in the wrong place (no one found it)

  • Out of the 21 teams who started the race only 2 finished the whole course and only 3 crossed the finish line

  • We won by less than 20 minutes

  • We saw a deer swimming across the lake while we were kayaking

  • It took us 27 hours

What I ate:

  • 7 Dole fruit cups

  • 1 can of Campbell's chicken Noodle soup

  • 2 cheese and butter sandwiches

  • 1 PBJ

  • 8 small boiled potatoes with salt

  • 3 Lara bars

  • 1/2 a Clif bar

  • 4 packages of Clif Bloks

  • 3 Pringles Snack Packs (regular flavor)

  • 1 Twix

  • 1 Starbucks Frappacinno (the kind in the bottle)

  • 1 can of Pepsi

  • 2 slices of pizza

  • Approx. 5 liters of water

  • 40 oz. of Conquest

  • 1 cup of hot chocolate

Edit: full report is here

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

what a week (and it's only tuesday!), and some gear porn

I've been gearing up for the Gold Rush 24 Hour Challenge this weekend (last year's report is here) and it's gotten a little hectic.

First my teammate Oliver crashed his bike and badly bruised his heel, so he's out since he can't run. Mari, Jonathan, and I talked it over and decided that we'd just race as a 3-person team; we'll be a little bit slower on the kayak section (a double and a single are slower than 2 doubles) but faster on everything else (less gear, fewer people to get through transitions, fewer people on the rappels) so while it's a bummer that Oliver's out, it's deal-withable.

Then I got an email today from Ali who is/was crewing (driving the car with all the crap we need in it from transition area to transition area and helping us through them) telling me that there had been a death in her family and she wouldn't be able to crew.

The race isn't doable without a crew, so I'm emailing like a madman trying to find someone to take her place.

Why do I like this sport again? Oh yeah, I'm a masochist.

On a totally unrelated note, I lost my beloved Marmot fleece a while back and have been trying to replace it.

Marmot was bought by K2 a while back (after I bought the fleece), and now none of their stuff fits me. The best way I can describe it is that the cut and sizing has been "Americanized"; sizes are bigger and much larger in the waist/torso. One of the the things I loved about the Marmot was that it was tailored pretty closely to my body, and now all the new ones are bulky in the waist, which I freakin' hate (and it makes layering harder).

Anyway, when Brynn and I were in Seattle we went to REI and I tried on a metric assload of jackets, all of which had the same problem: too bulky in the waist.

On my way out I grabbed a softshell I hadn't seen earlier to try on, and of course it fit like a glove.

It also cost more than I'd ever spent for a piece of clothing, so I left it.

About a week later I still hadn't found a jacket I liked, and I got a coupon from REI.


I am now the happy owner of an Arc'teryx Gamma SV jacket, and I absolutely love it. It fits, it's the right weight, and I wear it every day.

I'm still a little uncomfortable with how much I spent on it (which really isn't that much in the big scheme of things, it's less than I spend on a 24-hour race, and it'll last longer) but I REALLY like it.