Thursday, December 18, 2008

One horse open sleigh




We left for a walk in the snow up and over the hill to Haggens about 3:30 in daylight and after some dinner and lite shopping we started back in the dark about 5:30 and got home an hour later. I pulled one or two kids at a time and got a great workout.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mountain biking in the snow!

Note: Additional Pics on Mike's blog




The snow started about 6 pm last night and only came down for a few hours, just enough to allow some mountain biking but deep enough (up higher on Galbraith) to make it tough but still fun.

I took off about 8:10 to meet Mike and John at the Whatcom Falls tennis courts who had left from their side of Bellingham at 8. I got there a bit too early and kept circling the round about just to keep moving and warm. It was 22 degrees when we started out. (25 when I got home 3 and a half hours later).

Finally headed up Galbraith and instantly knew it was going to be a long tough haul, just riding up the switchbacks of the Miranda trail had us walking. yup walking up the lowest trail. We'd stop and regroup every now and again and at our first stop I couldn't drink out of one of my water bottles already frozen up. Once up a bit higher we decided to stick more to the logging roads, but that was still tough as that was where most the snow was and 5 or 6 inches deep to keep you on your toes or else you'd slip out pretty easily.

Made it to the kiosk and rested a bit then off to Cedar Dust and Rock n Roll before riding the pipeline road all the way to Samish Way. We laid the first tracks on Rock n Roll and Pipeline, a bit tough on RnR but the powder was flying on Pipeline. We continued out the other side of Galbraith onto some upper trails of Lake Padden before riding half way around the lake to a trail that took us to Fairhaven and the Taylor dock and the waterfront trail with a fierce headwind all the way into downtown Bellingham.

The guys headed back towards their places and I road through an alley and finally weaved my way to the Railroad trail back up to Lake Whatcom and home and a nice warm cup of Hot Chocolate. I wonder how Debbie knew to have the water already boiling, perfect timing. (The kids had just come in).

Truly a great ride with friends on some of the best trails Bellingham has to offer on such a beautiful day!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

BMX racing!

We spent a couple extra days after Thanksgiving at the grandparents so Jacob could try BMX racing at the track in Sumner. They race year round rain or shine at Riverside Park organized by River Valley BMX.

We went out to check out the park on Friday and to give Jacob a chance to ride the track with his 16" 'mini bike' as he calls it and Grandpa's 20" BMX bike. He was faster by quite a lot on the real BMX bike and we spent some time after getting back to the Grandparents to take off the reflectors, chain guard and other stuff they don't allow on the track when racing. Alex had fun running around the track and would 'race' Jacob on foot and he'd cut the course and win every time. I think they both had a great time.

Saturday morning we had a big breakfast and got to the track around 10 for sign ups and allow Jacob some more practice time on Grandpa's bicycle. We got there about 45 minutes too early. Sign up is from 10 to 11 and we had too much time to wait around for them to get everyone registered and announce the moto's. Jacobs cousin Johnathan came and signed up too, so we got some good visiting in while they warmed up. I think Sophia was thinking about trying it after seeing all the other girls who signed up.

Jacob was in Moto 11 and Johnathan in Moto 13. They put kids together based on age and classification. Jacob is 9 and a Novice, but there were not enough 9 year old Novices so they bumped him to the next group and was in the 10 Novice moto. Two nine year olds and one ten year old made up his Moto. Each moto races 3 times at this track gaining points for each race (1st, 2nd, 3rd...) and the one with lowest points after all three races is the winner. Jacob was very excited and convinced he was going to win his moto because the other two in his moto were girls. His first race proved it was going to be tough. He raced hard but finished third. Here is the video:

video

His second moto was a little better, I think he paced himself a bit better and was up in second place only to get passed in the last rhythm section. Third race he finished second and was very excited about that. One of the girls crashed, but he was just as excited about finishing second.

With three kids in a moto, they give trophies to the top two, but Jacob and Johnathan were not going to go home empty handed... First time racers get an award just for racing. Jacob and Johnathan waited and were called up and got trophies that were almost taller than Alex.



Done in less than 2 hours and everyone had a great time. Grandpa filled the kids up with sugar from the concession stand and it didn't rain, so all in all a great day at the races! I'm sure Jacob will try the races in Mount Vernon next summer. He is saving anything and everything to get a BMX bike for himself. Even selling some of his old video games.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Camping at Cama Beach



Camping in the northwest (for me) has always been limited to June, July or August, mostly July and August, but we just got back from a couple nights at Cama Beach state park on Camano Island about half way between Seattle and Bellingham.

Camping may be a bit generous as we stayed in heated cabins complete with refrigerator and microwave. Cama Beach is a historic site and no cars are allowed down at the cabins, so we unloaded and waited for the shuttle. Debbie and the kids walked down the trail while I waited and waited. Not the best first impression, but as it turned out, the worst part of the trip and all in all not too bad.



Once in our cabin we explored the area a bit and had a Gervais family traditional first day of camping dinner of cold shake-n-bake chicken that Debbie made earlier. After dinner we had the best family game night I can remember in a while, probably due to no TV, no Internet, no outdoor lights, just stayed in the warm cabin and played some games.

Expecting rainy weather, we had a great sunny day on Monday and hiked up to Cranberry Lake and spent lots of time outdoors playing horseshoes, soccer, reading out in the sun and exploring the beach. We also drove over to Camano Island State Park and explored the campground and checked out the beach.



After homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner we settled down, played a little chess, later the kids drew pictures and Debbie and I read books, a nice quiet evening.

Pretty much woke up Tuesday morning, had breakfast and packed and loaded. Stopped at the skate park and Starbucks in Stanwood and home in about an hour after leaving the park. Close, easy and very pleasant camping in the deep deep winter, OK just mid November, but close enough to mid winter for this summer camper.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lake Samish Triathlon

Man it has been way too long since I last blogged. I am way behind on this race report. The Lake Samish Tri was way back on August 16th (over a month ago)

I almost did not go to this race because the kids were gone at the grandparents for the weekend and Debbie and I were renting a nailer to install hardwood floors in all three bedrooms including the stairs, hallway and closets. If not already paid and signed up I wouldn't of gone, but I was, so I did and I had a blast!



Great sunny day and got there early and was able to visit and catch up with friends before the race. Pretty good turnout for a first time event.

Ended up being a mass start for the sprint and a second wave for the tri-a-tri folks. They blasted the horn and we were off for a swim on some glassy smooth water at the north end of Lake Samish from Camp Lutherwood, no wind, very nice. I think it was a bit longer than the half mile quoted, but everyone had to swim the same course so no big deal.

Out of the water and into transition I had my wetsuit mostly off by the time I got to my bike and was pretty quick through. They changed the mount line due to all the gravel and glad they did.

Bike was two laps around Lake Samish, but in the opposite way that most riders ride the lake, which made it a bit more interesting and I think a bit faster, or at least it felt that way. I was picking off the faster swimmers and wasn't passed until on my second lap, so felt good about that.

Camp Lutherwood is not on the 'loop' around the lake, but a little spur which we had to ride both ways and felt fast coming back into the camp. Off the bike at the edge of the gravel and long run back to transition, but again was pretty quick to get out of bike shoes and the running one on and gone.

They adjusted the run to include this lovely little hill to avoid runners/bikers on same narrow section of road leading into the camp. This was no little hill, I ran this as part of the North Face Endurance Challenge and was still just as challenging, but once up and over and back on the Roy road it is pretty flat following the lake for a 5k out and back.

Coming back they made it a true out and back and made us run up and over the hill again. I ran the whole way and right at the top the guy in front of me, who walked most the hill, started running again just as I was about to overtake him. With less then a quarter mile left I was able to run smoothly over the top and get some speed down and pick it up and passed him before we finished.

Once done, I gathered my stuff and left quickly because I knew what was coming, laying some wood. Debbie and I laid wood from about 1pm - 9pm on Saturday and had enough energy to lay some more on Sunday, we went all day from 9am to about 9pm. It was very nice that the kids were gone at the grandparents for the weekend. We got 95% of the floors down over the weekend. I just had to finish the stuff close to the walls that the nailer couldn't fit into by hand over the next few days. The floors look great and am just now finishing up the final finish/trim painting. almost done.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

XTerra Vashon Island

My first XTerra (off road) triathlon was a couple weeks ago on Vashon Island and I truly enjoyed the experience.

We left a day early and stopped at the Clear Lake Triathlon for Jacobs third try at this race and he improved again finishing under 20 minutes!





After, we continued south to spend the day with my Grandma and took her a surprise lunch in honor of her 91st birthday and then spent the night at my parents. We all got up early Sunday morning and were off to catch the 6 am ferry to Vashon Island so I could pre ride the course to check for dangerous sections, roots, logs, rocks, sections where I could pass and spots to conserve a bit of energy.

We were second in line for the ferry behind other Bellingham triathletes (Tjalling and Dan) headed over for the same pre ride. It was great to be able to pre ride with these experienced XTerra studs (both have raced at XTerra world championships in Maui).

The guys at BuDu Racing were still setting up when we arrived, so we went out for our pre-ride before registering. Lots of the tape marking the course had been cut down so we took our time and reset what we could and I think pre riding helped me out during the race.

We got registered and walked down to the starting dock and given the course description and I almost had to laugh... Swim out and around this red sailboat over there and then head to the green one over towards the other side of the marina. trouble was there were three green sailboats to choose from. we got it all settled out and I, being a slower swimmer, was just following the swimmers in front of me so not too worried. and we were off, nice salty water (ug!) but only about half a mile so not too long and was out of the water in under 15 minutes and up the football field of mud at low tide (made for a shorter swim and was actually runnable and not too mucky)

I don't have click style pedals for my mountain bikes and just wore my running shoes for the bike and run. I got quickly onto my bike and was off out the parking lot and a very short section of road and right onto a tough, sandy, steep up hill section that I had to get off and push my bike, and being a race wanted to run while pushing and I was very soon huffing and puffing and pretty much red lined on top end of my HR.

Once up the course has less up and down and lots of winding single track which made it hard to know where other competitors were, but I just tried to keep on pushing myself and kept up some speed. We do this lap twice and it was easier the 3rd time (counting pre ride) and never crashed but did get banged and scratched up from how narrow the single track was with all the bushes and stuff. Great fun!

The final half mile or so of the bike course is on paved roads and mostly downhill so it made for a nice fast ride back into transition and since I already had my running shoes on, I had a very quick T2 and was off running.

Coming right out of transition is a steep hill that you must go up and across the road for a short on road uphill then onto a trail that, you guessed it, continues uphill, but once up was back on windy, up and down single track and again not knowing where other runners are kinda makes you run scared. There is a long paved road (maybe 3/4 mile) in the middle of the run that I was able to open up a bit more and then after is the flying descent back to the finish line right at the bottom of the same steep hill you went up to start.





All in all, I had a great time and enjoyed the event and course. BuDu has always put on a great event in my opinion.

I gathered up my stuff quickly as we were trying to catch a quick ferry off the south side of the island for the start of our trip to the Oregon coast staying at Cannon Beach. We made a couple wrong turns and when we got to the ferry dock, the ferry was just offshore headed over to Pt Defiance in Tacoma, so we got an extended rest waiting, but then were off the Debbie's parents for a shower, drop off the bikes, some lunch and quick visit then down to Oregon. Check out our trip pictures here.



Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lake Padden Triathlon 2008

This was my second run at the competitive version of the Lake Padden Triathlon and was hoping to improve on my previous time from 2006. Last year I was at a little race over in Coeur d'Alene 8-)

Got up early and drove to the park and got the closest parking spot one could get and then rather than just sit and veg I decided to jump out and help Lance and his crew setup transition. It was fun setting up the racks and then being able to set my bike at the premier spot (first row closest to bike exit).

As more and more people started to show up I stopped helping and was able to visit with friends and before long was in my wetsuit and down at the beach for a short warm up. We all got out of the water for pre race messages and then the first wave went off. I was able to get into the second wave and we went off about 3 minutes after the first.

Got into a nice groove and actually swam pretty straight. Hit the turn around buoy with lots of other swimmers still around me, so felt good about keeping pace. Way back to the beach it was definitely thinning out, but still enough to help keep me swimming straight. Hit the beach at 14:32!

Run up the grass hill and into transition and saw Debbie and the kids, they found the cattle bells and were ringing them for me, awesome. Real quick transition and off up the steep driveway out of the park and onto Lake Samish road.

The bike course is pretty hilly, but all that goes up must go down, so we get lots of downhills too. But first we must climb up and out of the Lake Padden area up towards the parking lot people use at the bottom of Galbraith. I was trying to keep a good pace, but this first hill is always tough on me and got passed by a couple riders, but was able to keep them close and on the long downhill into the lap around Lake Samish passed them back.

Kept a good pace around the lake and then back up that long downhill towards Lake Padden, but we turn at the freeway and go onto Old Lake Samish road that is generally downhill towards Chuckanut Drive. I like this section as you can really hammer it and get back some time.

Once on Chuckanut it is uphill again but it is short and get to come right back down the other side into Fairhaven and then we turn towards the freeway and the climb kinda starts before the freeway but once under it really turns up and this short 3 block climb is tough and pretty much straight up, but once at the top you come out onto Lake Samish drive and just another mile or so back to the park.

My bike split of 1:02:20 (20.2 MPH) was 3 minutes faster than 2006, woohoo!

Quick transition and off to run around the lake twice. This part is always tough to run past the finish for your second lap. The finish is right there but you cannot use it, must run around again.

I was running at a pretty good pace and it felt like I ran at a consistent pace not slowing too much. Each lap was within 30 seconds of each other. I was able to run the finish with Jacob and Alex and stopped the clock at 1:58:06 44Th out of 256 overall and 9Th out of 29 in my age group (M35-39). I was VERY happy to improve by 4 minutes on my 2006 time!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Inmate 631 Escaped from Alcatraz

SAN FRANCISCO - Inmate number 631 Glenn Gervais (AKA GGTriGuy) escaped from the ROCK also known as Alcatraz on Sunday June 8, 2008. After an early morning wake up call at 4:15 he was seen riding his bicycle from his cozy hotel room to the Marina Green near the San Francisco waterfront. Glenn dropped off his bicycle and left behind a Scooby Doo towel, helmet, sunglasses and shoes for bicycling and running but quickly left for his get away vehicle, a large tour bus.

John an Ironman athlete from Wisconsin was seen talking to Glenn on the bus ride to Pier 3 but did not apprehend our triathlete. Unable to verify, but we think Glenn was among 1800 people in wetsuits boarding the San Francisco Belle, a 292-foot stern wheeler two hours later just before 7 am. The cruise ship departed at 7:15 sharp before we were able to board to take Glenn into custody. The San Francisco Belle returned empty and we think Glenn jumped ship near Alcatraz Island and swam 1.5 miles to shore.




Glenn was seen exiting the water at St Francis Yacht Club by his Brother, Wife, kids and about 2000 other spectators but no one grabbed him. Glenn took off his wetsuit but left the Blue Seventy swim socks on and ran about half a mile before finding the bicycle and gear that he left behind hours earlier. He was too fast and was already gone on the bicycle before we could stop him for questioning.

There were over 1800 athletes and 20,000+ spectators so we could not follow Glenn out onto the bicycle course, but we believe he conquered the out and back hilly San Francisco course that went up and down through the Presido and out the other side and down to the Great Highway before turning into the Golden Gate park. Glenn's family saw him returning to the bicycle parking lot and caught him waving, so we know he really enjoyed the bike course.



After another quick stop to change his shoes Glenn was back on course, this time running. The sun was really beating down on all the athletes as they ran out towards the Golden gate bridge along the waterfront, only to find some stairs that took them oh so close to the bridge deck but just eluded capture by running under the bridge and through a battlement and some trails at Fort Point before running on the street out to a trail that took the athletes down to Baker Beach.

The athletes were seen running south to the end of Baker Beach before turning north to run to the other side where Glenn was seen at the bottom of the infamous 400 step sand ladder by an 11 year old athlete from Florida as she passed him and quickly beat him to the top.



Once tackling the sand ladder Glenn was rewarded with Clif Bloks before running back the same course to get back to the Marina Green where we finally caught Glenn as he crossed the finish line and officially Escaped from Alcatraz!




Once Glenn slowed down we were able to interview him and it is true, he did escape from Alcatraz along with about 1600 other triathletes. 1259Th out of the water he passed quite a few on the bike and run to finish in 595Th place. Plug in inmate (bib) number 631 here for complete results.



What a great race, What a great event! The weather turned out perfect, no fog, the ebb tide pushed us in the right direction. I used the pre race advice and sighted properly and came out on the correct beach. Hearing Debbie, Joe and everyone cheering for me gave me a great big smile and pumped me up even more. With so many people, the only thing I can compare to is the Ironman in Coeur d'Alene. Both races were put on by different organizations, but both were perfectly run and very well run. I highly recommend doing this event. I will do it again some day.

My Picasa photo album of the event is here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ggtriguy/EscapeFromAlcatraz

My Picasa photo album of our GREAT vacation is here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ggtriguy/SanFranciscoVacation

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Off to Alcatraz

Well we are on our way for a great week of fun ending with a Triathlon where I will swim 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to downtown San Francisco followed by a nice 1 mile warm up run to find my bicycle amongst the 2000 bikes for a hilly 18 mile ride finally finishing with a short 8 mile run including the famous sand ladder up from Baker Beach! WOOO HOOOO!!!

Hopefully you can track my progress online at: http://triathlon.accenture.com/SanFrancisco/

While your waiting for me to finish, head over to the B-Fit BDay site where I did a birthday Triathlon on my birthday. Since I turned 38, I swam the 3 miles, biked 38 and ran 8 miles in about 5 hours or so on my birthday to complete the GOLD challenge. Please vote for me (GG Iron Guy) and I might win a prize!

Voting is along the left side of the screen: http://www.bfitbday.com

Check back next week for a race report and photos from Alcatraz!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ski to Sea


The Ski to Sea race this year was quite different. With all the snow we had this winter and a recent heat wave, the river was flowing high and fast and as of late Saturday night the full race was planned to be run. After an early morning evaluation, the race director decided to cancel the canoe leg of the event. While there were lots of disappointed racers this was the best decision due to the high water there were no beaches to allow for self rescue. The exit beach (at the mountain bike leg start) was 6 feet under fast moving water, there was no place for them to exit the river.

So onto my leg the mountain bike... How to keep the race on schedule and allow for proper spacing and finishing in Fairhaven. They gave each canoe leg the same 2 hour time and tried to have the mountain bikers leave 2 hours after their road biker finished 18 miles away in Everson. it was quite hectic, but at least it wasn't raining. Actually it was hot and we heard at least 4 bike tires explode!

They did pretty good with the 2 hour window with the front runners, but then moved to about 5 riders at time about 3-4 minutes apart, then about 10 at a time, finally they gave up and just started calling numbers.

I rode my bike out to Hovander for the pre race meeting and then to wait... and wait... about 3-4 hours after arriving I finally got underway during the call out of numbers. I started out quick and kept passing riders that went out ahead of me, it was nice to have all these riders up ahead to give me targets to chase and catch.

This is a flat and fast course, only one small actual section of mud and more than half is on the road, so road with my slick tires pumped way up and tried to ride low and aerodynamic as possible. I caught more on the road and was only passed by one person, but I was able to catch his wheel and draft for a bit and then passed him back to have him pass me again, this time he got away but not too far and I finally caught back just as we got to the beach section, where you don't ride, but run with your bike and I just ran past him and never saw him again.

After the beach it is more road and into the park to Zuanich park at the finish to hand off to the kayaker. I needed to pass two more to get an even count and I had them in my sights and made the final pass after the final turn in the last 150 yards of the ride. Passed the line and passed the timing chip onto Jim.

I had a great ride, passed 40 riders and was 59th fastest overall (out of about 420 teams) and 11th fastest in the rec open category. Debbie and kids came to the finish and got some great pics. After a shower we went to Jims for a post race party and the whole team made it and exchanged food, drinks and stories of the day. All in all a great day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

THAT was a challenge



I did the North Face Endurance Challenge yesterday and was one of the toughest, hardest and slowest half marathons I think I'll ever do. The held the event at Camp Lutherwood on the north end of Lake Samish. They are planting trees for each competitor to offset the carbon gasses generated by the race, so I decided to help out and ride my bicycle.

I was up and out the door about 6:30 and very few cars on the road and nice easy ride over to the lake, about 11 mile warm-up arriving at about 7:30. I had hour and half to change, relax, and get my timing chip. Saw Damian video taping a friend of his doing the 50k. The 50k runners started at 7 am and we saw them coming through the first aid station and it was then I knew I was in for a long day. I missed some of the front runners, but by the time I figured out that this was their first time through the aid station meant that they were only at 5k at about 45-50 minutes.

We would be running on the same 5k loop (twice) to start our half marathon. I got fully changed and ready to run, we (I'd say 100-125 runners) were off right on time at 9:00 am and it is less than a quarter mile before we start climbing and the sight of a stream of runners going up in front on the switchbacks and once I was half way up the stream continued behind, quite a site.

The trail was mostly all single track on this 5k loop and we went back and forth and at times came back to spots where the course almost ran back onto the same single track only to turn again at the last chances. I like these looping single track trails, no real destination other than the beauty of the woods. The elevation chart for the 5k loop did not look that bad, but was kind of misleading in that we run two smaller loops to make the single 5k loop, one went up about 200 feet and the other about 300, so nothing too really bad, but there were plenty of ups and down inside the those changes as well. There were a couple sections where we ran along the edge of a hill and it really wasn't a trail, and not even a flat area to run (walk) as each step you kind slipped down the slope a bit, they had a rope so you would completely fall down the hill. Combined with nice muddy conditions made for slower run times. My split for the first 5K was 36:00, ug!

Back up the for the same loop again and with all the 50 milers, 50krs, half marathoners and the 10k runners (sent 15 minutes after us) the trail was really getting more and more slippery. I was very happy to make it back to the aid station marking the finish of my first 10k (second 5k was 41:00).

I thought we would be headed off in a new direction, but we basically just skipped the first half of the 5k loop to start up the second (muddier) loop only to eventually turn to the right at the apex of the 5k loop (we went left the first two times) and while the trail got a lot less muddy, it was a lot more straight up, and up, and up. I really felt like this was steeper than chinscraper (on Chuckanut). Since I had looked at the elevation chart before I knew we were to get up to about 1400 feet or so and my watch said about 600 at the turn so I knew what I was in for. I was simply walking and my HR was pegged. There were not really any switchbacks as we pretty much went straight up. I don't think there was much of a trail here before the race. We eventually made it to the top and based on my calculations this stretch from the lake to the top was 1142 feet of climbing, my GPS recorded 1.52 miles (8025.6 feet) which calculates out to about 14.38% grade = 100*(tan(arcsin(1142/8025.6))). UG! oh yeah, this 1.52 mile walk took just over 32 minutes.

BUT I was at the top, or so I thought, we ran a bit on the top and then it went up a bit more before we started in earnest back down a logging road, this road curved around and as luck would have it, even have some small up hill sections to get down the hill. We finally made it back to some single track and I recognized a couple signs from the Lake Samish county park, so I knew I was getting close to the aid station at mile 10.7. I didn't realize how high these trails went as it took longer than I thought to get back down the lake and the aid station. Great volunteers everywhere and the energy from their excitement helped me along.

We ran along Roy Road to get back towards Camp Lutherwood only to make another detour UP a logging access road to hook back onto the highest point of the first half loop of the 5k. Since I had run this section twice earlier I knew I was close but wasn't able to really ever get a fast run in as it was real muddy by now and I was very tired too. Finally get back to the flatter area near the camp and past the aid station to the grassy finish. Very, Very happy to finish in 3:16:55 by my watch, pretty slow, but I guess the winning half marathon time of 2:20 indicates how hard this course was (so I didn't feel as bad about my slow time)

Sat down for a bit with Damian, thinking about how in the heck am I going to ride my bike home (I hadn't thought of that or that the course would be this hard). Damian was leaving so I asked (ok begged) for a ride up the hill out of the lake basin. He got me up the first part of the hill and I made it slowly up the rest to try and spin easy all the way home.

Great race, great challenge, very tough... not certain I'd do it again... maybe... see if I can improve... only time will tell.

Monday, May 05, 2008

WWU Triathlon VI

I love doing this event. It has been a great early season test for me and I have improved my time each year. I missed 1 hour by 1 second last year and was hoping to break the elusive 1 hour mark. Another reason I really enjoy this race is all the friends I get to see before and after, a lot of Bellingham triathletes come out for this race.

I've been joining the Bellingham Masters Swim Club in the evenings and it has improved my swimming in just the 4 weeks I've been. I was really hoping to improve on my swim time.

As usual, I arrived pretty early and got a great transition spot on the end pretty close to the bike exit. Now that that was done I had the next 90 minutes to walk around, wait around, and visit. I could of gotten another 30 minutes of sleep as I was early enough that no one else showed for the next 30 minutes or so. People started arriving and I did a quick bike ride to set my bike in the correct gear and leave my shoes attached to the bike. Got my transition area all set and made my way into the pool to get a short warm up. I got about 75 yards before they had us get out for the start.

Debbie and Alex arrived about 5 minutes before my start time, so they hit it perfect and got some great shots. I waited in line for my start time and finally moved into the starting slot.





Started right on time this year, I was off and swimming. I knew Debbie and Alex were at the far end so I tried to give a good photo opportunity and I think they got a good one.



After hamming it up for the camera I tried to settle in at an easy pace and keep an even pace the whole 300 yards. I had been working on this at the masters swims and I think I hit my marks each 100 yards. I got close to the guy in front of me to finish about 10 yards and 5 seconds behind him. I ended up taking 10 seconds off my time from last year. My fastest timed 300 yet at 5:20



Up and out of the water and started the run to the bikes. I'd left some crocs and my jacket near the pool so I could run on the gravel and have my jacket on before I got on the bike. This worked great as I had my jacket on before I got to the bike, biking this early in the season with a wet tank top on doesn't work to well for me.



This is a short 9 mile loop, but they send you up and over quite a few hills just for fun. They adjusted the course slightly to actually take one hill out at the end, so it was a bit shorter than previous years, but my time was the same. 29:32 although I forgot to hit the split until my running shoes were on, so I'd say about 29:00 and put the 32 seconds on my T time.



They send you straight up the hill to the top of the ridge which is the worst of the run. I ran a bit, tried jogging slower, but eventually started to a walk. Just till the next light pole and then started back up and made it to the top and then downhill way past campus just to turn and another hill and then the long slope back up into campus. I thought I was moving along at a pretty good clip but a couple of track team members went past much faster. I was catching other runners though and just tried to keep on moving forward. Up through campus and on a trail out the other side just to turn around again and back towards transition. Last year we finished right next to transition. This year they added about 400 yards as we ran past transition and onto the track for 3/4 around to the finish. My 26:32 was about 3:43 slower than last year, but adding the 400 yards should not of taken that long, so I was a bit slower, oh well, I had fun! but happy to be done too.



1:03:01 total time (last year 1:00:01)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April Snow brings May Flowers

We got two days of snow here in Bellingham and I decided to ride my mountain bike instead of out on the roads. Had a great time up on Galbraith (but the roads turned out fine and the day was warm and sunny by the end of the day). Had a sprinkle of snow at the house and clouds at the top of Galbraith before I left. The trails were mostly clear of snow, but as I got closer to the top snow covered the trails, good thing I stuck to a known route to the top. On the way back down I made my way to a few trails I've never been on - Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear... Guess which one was just right ;-) I also found a new piece of outdoor artwork (the Red and Yellow cylinders).














Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mt Si Relay Race!

Today turned out to be a great day, expected (and packed) for the rain but it never came. I joined Daryl, Erik, Brian and Kevin on a 5 person relay race over 57 miles. We each ran two legs and I ran the first and sixth legs. A total of about 12 miles for me. we kept making up spots and were third place in the Open Male division. Not bad for a group of triathletes and cyclists (non runners). Check out the entire photo album here.





















Saturday, March 08, 2008

Quick update

Good news, I'm surviving. I caught a stomach bug, or (still unknown) possibly an ulcer. Various tests and CAT scan told my doctor and a gastrointestinal specialist that I'm looking normal and healthy, so that's good, but neither knows what is going on in my stomach. Best hypothesis is that I caught a stomach virus and just need to let it work itself out.

I am feeling better, but still not normal. I did actually exercise a bit today.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Manning Park



I left work early on Friday so we could get to Manning Park before it got too dark. We hit the border and had to wait... for one car in front of us, as of Friday it was the quickest I've ever been through the border. The drive is estimated at about 3 hours and we left about 12:15 and we got to Manning Park and unloaded and in our room by 2:45, this includes our 'wait' at the border.

Since we arrived so early we rented some snow shoes and went to explore a little, Alex had a tough time, but we found a little path someone else had made and we decided to explore. It pretty much went up and up and up. Jacob kept on climbing like crazy while I was behind and helping Alex. Alex did great, the packed trail was pretty deep and was up over Alex's waist. If you stepped off into the fresh powder you just sank in.





After dinner we went to the pool and as we arrived it seemed that most the other families left, so we had pretty much the whole place to ourselves. We swam for a while and once we were leaving it looked like a group of high schoolers (20-30+) were just headed to the pool so we hit it spot on.

We were going to spend all day Saturday up at the ski area, Jacob and I went snowboarding and Alex was going to take a ski lesson while Debbie watched and took pictures. Then lunch up there followed by the afternoon in the tube park. Jacob and I got our lift tickets and made our way to the blue chair.

Alex didn't want to take a ski lesson afterall so Debbie and Alex got tube park tickets. Since the tube park is only open on the weekends, and all this extra snow, they had to dig out the tube cable (it pulls you and tube back up the hill) so they just had to wait and Alex wasn't the best waiter.





Jacob and I made it to the top and started down the easy route. Jacob is still learning balance on the board and had many crashes, so it took a while to get down. He was on the wrong side of the route so we couldn't make it up and over this one little section to get back to the blue chair. So we went down toward the lodge area and possibly over to the orange chair. I don't know what happened, but Jacob took off and didn't crash quickly, so he kept gaining speed and headed straight down. faster and faster, headed straight for a dense bunch of trees. I was getting a bit scared, so I treied to speed up but he was maybe a football field in front when he took a very hard crash, end over end, hard to say, but I think it was about 5 or 6 end overs. I got there as quick as I could, and he was pretty startled, but not hurt, so we sat for a bit and decided to be done snowboarding for the day. They were nice enough to give us our lift ticket money back.

We met up with Debbie and Alex and was pretty clear that they wanted to go. Jacob and I were hoping to go tubing, but it was not clear yet. We missed the shuttle bus by 5 minutes so had an hour to wait, we ate a bit and caught the 11 o'clock shuttle back down the hill to the resort. The tube park was still not open yet.

We decided to head home, so we checked out and didn't have to pay for the second night. rather than leaving immediately we rented some skates and took a try at some hockey. Hard enough just to skate and then carry and control a stick and puck was even harder. But we had fun.




Left at 1:00 pm on the nose, and made great time again, I was a little worried about the border as it is always tougher to get back into the US and the lines longer. Boy o Boy, we almost broke the record we set the day before. only 1 car in front of us and we would of made it through faster than the day before, but they switched agents right in front of us. Still very nice. We also stopped on way home to pick up Sugar at the farm we use for boarding. Incuding the border and picking up Sugar, we made it home quicker than the trip up. Back in our driveway at 3:15!

Good fun, but think we will wait for the kids to get a bit older before we try another 'ski' trip.



Monday, February 04, 2008

Back in the Pool!

Today was the first time in the pool since August 13, I did a few open water swims after that, and my first swim since the swim at the Black Diamond Half Iron on September 22.

I was suprised that I still had some of my speed (I'm still slow, but every 100 was under 2:00) so am happy about that, I clearly did not have any swim fitness and took plenty of rest between sets and kept it short. I'm sure I'll feel something in my shoulders later.

Not much else going on, I'm happy to be able to swim bike and run so I can properly train for Alcatraz!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sumertime!

Man what a beautiful day, after a trail run this morning with the group of trail runners I came home and we went for a short hike to look for the bald eagles as they migrate through and eat salmon up on the Nooksack river.



We went to a little park and walked along the river for a bit but only saw some birds soaring around way up high. We saw our neighbors leaving as we arrived and they told us about a great spot not too far away that they were headed to. After our short walk we drove over there and got to look through their monocular. WOW o WOW!

It looked as if you could reach out and touch the birds that were maybe 30 yards across the river on a tree, we then looked at a bird about 3/4 a mile away and it was as if it was right there, very nice setup.



Great summer day in the middle of winter... well if this day was in summer I'd say the opposite, but for today in the middle of cold season, hitting upper 40's and sunny felt like a great summer day.


My little point and click digital camera does not do these birds justice.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2007 Totals

It was my biggest year of exercising.




Some more raw numbers for you: 469 total hours, 444 different logged workouts, averaging 39 hours a month. My biggest month was May when I had 65 hours logged and also my biggest cycling month with 600 (599.94) miles logged.

I hope to increase by at least 24 hours in 2008, after all, it is a leap year and I hope to use those extra 24 hours exercising!