Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blodgett Peak & Crashed Airplanes

Blodgett Peak 9,423'
We ran a very long 17 miles today. Leadville Trail 100 kind of miles. Rough steep terrain where the going is slow and exhausting. 4 hrs 40 minutes to run/hike 17 miles. A true CRUD run. Max & I ran from my house to the Woodman Rd. Trail Head and met the rest of (so we actually get credit for 18 ½ miles). From there we followed trails through the south end of the Air Force Academy to begin our climb up Blodgett Peak. These were very rough and somewhat dangerous trails. I wondered many times how we would get down.
Max Looking Down at me and saying "Yes this is the trail"
It turns out we didn’t come down the same trail we went up, we went down the other side which was even more radical in places. Mountaineer kind of trails. Going up I fell way behind. If it weren’t for Max I probably would have never made it. Many times it was impossible to tell which way everyone went, so I just followed Max. The altitude, footing, and steepness of the climb were destroying me. Those 3 ½ minute climbs I’ve been doing in San Diego just aren’t cutting it! We got to the top and the view was worth it.
At the Top with Pikes Peak in the Background

Paul & Tara at the Top Looking Down on Colorado Springs

Steve taking a break on Airplane Wreckage
Coming down was slow and treacherous. Climbing, crawling, sliding, grabbing tree branches, whatever it took. We also came upon the remains of plane crash from World War II time frame.
On the Home Stretch!
We finally made it to a real trail. We had only covered eight miles in over three hours. We were on trails that we could actually run and covered the last nine miles in about 1 ½ hours. Ironically, I was feeling strongest the last 4 – 5 miles of the run. My legs are trashed now though! This was a fun adventure run that only Team CRUD would do. I love running with these guys & gals.

Running: 4.6 hrs, 18.5 miles, 3660'
Steve Bremner put together a great slide show of our little adventure at:

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Still February

Ahh Yes Winter! Forgot about that. Today was a mild reminder. Rode to work today with temps in the mid 20s. Had I been living here this Winter, this would be nothing. But it was a cold slap in the face. By the time I got to work, my hands and feet were frozen... Very painful in the shower! Riding home, I faced a pretty fierce headwind and a snow shower most of the way. The pace was slow and the conditions were tough. Tough conditions are what's needed when training for the LeadMan. In the LeadMan races we face hail, wind, rain, darkness, cold, and sometimes snow, not to mention altitude and rough trails.

Bike: To Work: 1.6 hours, 19.5 miles, From Work 1.9 hrs, 19.5 miles

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Team CRUD at the Top

Every Thursday morning throughout the Winter, Team CRUD does a time trial up Cheyenne Canyon. It is a 4 mile uphill run, very steep in places. It starts at around 6,400 ft and ends at approximately 8,100 ft. Everyone starts at different times with the goal of everyone finishing at the top at the same time, then we run down together. For instance if it takes 40 minutes start at 6:00 am, if 35 minutes - 6:05, if 45 min - 5:55. The altitude was rough on me today and I really struggled up the mountain. It was fun, and a hard reminder that I will have to do a lot of this type of running to get ready for LeadMan. We took Columbine trail down to the start so we added a couple of extra miles for a total of 10.

Coming Down Columbine

After work I rode home and inadvertently took the long way, which ended up being about 32 miles.

Bike: 2.2 Hrs, 32 miles
Run: 1.6 Hrs, 10 miles

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back In Colorado!

Colorado Springs, Airport Parking Lot

Back in Colorado for 1 1/2 weeks. Went on a short run as soon as I got back and holy smoley did the altitude kick my butt! After two months at sea level, I know what flat landers feel like when they come here. Ran a short 4 miles and my pace was a minute a mile slower than in San Diego, but felt harder. Wow! It was great running with my favorite running buddy though!

MyFavorite Running Buddy, Max

Tuesday morning (in San Diego) was the 4 AM 8 mile run with 10 * 15 second speed burst. I felt absolutely great! In the afternoon hooked up with the Urban Assault Crew and we had a fun, fast, intense one hour ride. One of those rides where a group of friends just go out and have fun. We attacked each other, chased the attackers down, pushed the hills, and flew down the descents. Its like being kids again. Another reason we ride. After the urban assault ride I went on to ride another 2 hours on the bike path along side the freeway to the coast and back.

Wed: Run 37:21, 4 miles

Tues: Run 1.1 hrs, 8.3 miles, Bike 3.1 hrs, 45 miles

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tour of California

Today was like the perfect day. Got up in the morning and ran trails! 16 miles worth. Got back, ate breakfast, hopped on my bike and met Ralph, Jim, & Rob to go chase the ToC. We rode a fairly easy pace up to Highland Valley road and then up the first climb of the day. It is a short (about 1 mile?) but at 9%. Once the race went by we rode further up, cut across Bandy Canyon, then rode the rolling hills to Escondido at a pretty hard pace to watch the finish (I think we were motivated at watching the race fly up the climb). After the finish, we rode back to the hotel, again at a good pace for a total of 38 miles riding on the day.
Bike: 2.6 hrs, 38 miles. Total for week-13.7 hrs, 171 miles
Run: 2.3 hrs, 16 miles. Total for week-5.7 hrs, 40.1 miles
Watching these guys climb up Highland Valley was nothing short of amazing. They simply flew up the climb like there was no hill at all, and they looked relaxed doing it! Here are some pictures from the climb. I took video of the finish, so I don't have any pictures of that.
I was cheering for Ralph!

The Peleton Approaches

Heading for the first Switchback

A small gap. I believe that's Tyler in the back.

Astana controlling and protecting Levi (5th back in Yellow)

Many interesting fans along the route

You could watch the race on big screens placed throughout the finish area.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sycamore Canyon

The weather was awesome and the trails were sweet! And it's only about a 30 minute bike ride away!

This is just what the doctor ordered. It was great to get away from the urban madness if just for part of a day. Its why we do it!
Bike: 4:05, 35 miles

No Cars?

Friday, Feb 20: This morning at work a string of annoying events stuck with me into our lunch time ride. Since I was not in the best of moods when we started, for the first time, the traffic here annoyed me. Don't get me wrong it was a great ride (every ride is awesome) and the weather can't be beat, but today the traffic annoyed me. What if there were no cars? What if everyone traveled on foot, bicycle, or public transportation? What if no private cars & trucks were allowed and the only cars and trucks were either commercial for transport of goods, construction, or public transportation? I think the world would be a much better place. There certainly wouldn't be as many health issues and obese people all over the place. The smog problems would go away. My guess is that urban sprawl would be non-existent. Anyway it was just a thought. I'm looking forward to a good mountain bike ride today, after work (Saturday).

Bike: 1:36, 22 miles
Strength: 45 min, Focus on Core.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's Summer Again!

It's February and the oranges are ripe for pickin!

Today was an absolutely beautiful day and a great training day. Felt pretty energetic on my 4 am hill repeats. Did the same hills I've been doing the last three weeks; 10 * 3.5 min. Next Thursday I'll be in Colorado doing the Thursday morning hill climb with Team-CRUD! Legs felt pretty good at work.

Part of the climb the race will come up

Lunch was the Urban Assault Ride. We rode up Highland Valley Road to scope out a spectator spot for the Tour of California, which comes through on Sunday. It is the first climb of the day for the race. Our plan is ride up Highland Valley, watch the race come by, then head across Bandy Canyon to Hwy 78 and ride into Escondido to watch the finish. Today was a good brisk ride, my legs felt surprisingly strong and as always with this group, it was a lot of fun. Oh and it was in the 70s.

Run: 1:42 11.5 miles (Hill Repeats)
Bike: 1:28 20.5 miles

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter is Over

Well I guess we've had our Winter in San Diego, at least that's what the locals are saying. It rained on and off for about a week, and temperatures only got up in the mid 50s. Today the sun came out, temps climbed into the 60s and forecasts are calling for high 70s through the weekend. Ralph made a comment about the weather during our ride yesterday. Something like "What's with this weather here, we actually have to wear arm warmers!"

After a tough run on Sunday, I used Monday to recover only doing Core Strength training. That did the trick as I felt great Tuesday morning. Started the morning off with an 8 mile run, the first 4 miles at a casual pace then the last 4 miles at tempo. Took a cold bath/shower afterward and my legs felt great all day. Ralph & I rode the in afternoon doing a high RPM spin tempo ride and it felt great.

Today 4 miles in the morning then the lunch time Urban Assault Ride. The lunch ride started fast right out of the blocks. Jim just likes to ride fast, period. I don't think he knows what slow is. He eventually dropped us and we kind of got lost. Jim was probably waiting for us somewhere, but we must have took a wrong turn. We got our bearings straight with the help of Garmin and continued at a more civilized pace. The ride was nice and we actually got on some quieter roads with some nice scenery. All in all just another great ride! Note, I took some pictures, but I accidentally deleted them...duh!

Run 37:58, 4.5 miles
Bike 2:01, 29 miles

Run 1:04, 8.3 miles
Bike 1:54, 26 miles

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pounding the Pavement

Sunday was tough. Stayed up pretty late Saturday (after the 100 mile ride) working on a task for my boss in Colorado Springs, then had to be at work 8 am Sunday. Got up at 4:30 to get a 15 mile run before work. If I’m going to run in the dark, I’d rather run in the morning when there is not traffic vs evenings when there is.

Sunday’s run was painful. I started out pretty slow and just kind of tapered off from there. My legs were kind of trashed from Sunday's ride, and running on pavement probably wasn't doing them any favors. Ended up with 15.5 miles all on concrete and pavement. My calves were starting to cramp the last mile or so but I got through it. Didn’t really have time to stretch so I pretty much hobbled around at work like a cripple all day.

Today is a recovery day. Just strength work in the gym, primarily focusing on Core.

Sunday: Run 2:14, 15.5 miles
Total for Week: Bike - 13.8 hrs, 178.5 miles, Run - 5.3 hrs, 37.5 miles

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pre-Tour of California

Got up this morning and decided to ride 100 miles. It was raining all night so mountain biking was out. There is a 6 mile climb about 5 miles or so from here that the Tour of California race will be going up next week, so that was where Ralph & I headed. The climb wasn’t really that hard, it was about 6 miles of climbing with pitches of 9% but it evened out several times.

Start of climb to Romona

About 1/2 way up

We rode up to the town of Ramona and rode some hills then headed back down and back to the hotel. I refilled my water bottles and headed back out alone to the coast, and to ride some hills. Felt great and wanted to do more but decided I shouldn't over do it. 100 mile ride, short sleeves, in February? Yes! All in all a great day, just out ridin my bike!

Bike: 7:34, 101 miles, 6240' climbing

Friday, February 13, 2009


Today was a recovery day. Got to sleep in till 5:30. Ralph & I went for an easy ride at lunch. We saw a car parked in the bike lane but didn’t say anything.

Today was in the 50s and overcast. Not freezing cold but enough to wear a vest and arm warmers. While we were stopped at a traffic light a lady rolled down her window and asked how we could ride in such cold weather. Huh? One of the women at work was complaining that this was coldest she’s been in her life. Another asked how I could walk outside with only a short sleeve shirt. At home, 50 degrees in February would feel like summer.

One perspective that has changed for me here is riding in traffic. Today I was thinking how relaxing this ride was when it hit me that I’m riding down the side of a busy 6 lane highway with cars buzzing by at 60 mph. Three months ago I wouldn’t have even rode down this road let alone think it was relaxing!

Ride 1:36, 20 miles

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Urban Single Track, Expensive Neighborhoods, and Angry Drivers

4 AM seemed to come especially early this morning. It was really tough to drag myself out of bed and I was tempted to just stay there. But I knew I would be mad at myself if I did. Felt a little tired this morning and this was hill repeat day. On the keel was a 10 mile run with 10 * 3 ½ min steep climbs. It was tough, the legs were tired and with each climb I thought it would be the last, but you can’t finish a LeadMan by quitting workouts. So I slogged through them. I was almost late for work.

Our Lunch time Urban Assault Ride almost got violent. We passed a truck parked in the bike lane and one of the guys told the driver he’s not supposed to park there. Apparently this was a very sensitive subject with this guy as he exploded. He jumped in his truck and started yelling all kinds of obscenities repeatedly calling us F****ing Spandex wearing faggots. One of the riders told him what to do with himself and he immediately sped ahead of us, pulled over, and wanted to fight. I thought nothing good can come out of this and we should ignore him. We did and he continued to comment on our attire and what he believed to be our sexual orientation. It was a good ride though, we went at a very brisk pace. I wanted to make sure I stayed at low LT or below, which meant getting dropped a bit on the climbs and drafting on the flats.

Run 1:28, 10 miles
Bike 1:09 18 miles

Ralph "Mountain Biking" Urban Style

Wednesday was an easy 3 ½ mile run in the AM and an easy MTB ride over Urban Single track at lunch.

Run 30 min, 3.5 miles
Bike 1:27, 14 miles

Tuesday morning started at 4 AM with an easy run of 8.5 miles and 15 – 20 second sprints thrown in throughout. Felt really good. What a great way to start out the day! At lunch a long ride with the Urban Assault Gang that turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous ride. We got out of the heavy traffic into some very expensive neighborhoods. Quite amazing houses and quiet streets. Had some good climbs too. Great ride!

Run 1:06, 8.5 miles
Bike 2 Hrs, 27 miles

Monday was a good hard strength workout in the gym.

Riding the Urban Single Track

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Ocean & Major Taylor

Today was another great day and I couldn't help throughout the whole ride to think about how lucky and privileged I am to be able to ride and run and train for something like the LeadMan. Today I met a great bunch of riders and a very inspirational man.
Woke up this morning and the roads were wet so I went out on a 5 mile run to get a little warm-up and let the roads dry out. Then headed for the ocean. It was a little cool (upper 50s) so I wore my arm warmers. I know, I’m turning into a wimp out here. It’s about 15 miles to the coast from the hotel and there is a bike path that goes most of the way.

Reaching Hwy 101
Hwy 101 runs parallel to the ocean and has tons of cyclists. It is pretty high traffic with lots of traffic light stops. Kind of hard to get a rhythm. Eventually I ended up in La Jolla which is a pretty little tourist town with spectacular views of the ocean.

La Jolla
The Coast from La Jolla
On the way back I came across of group of riders from the “Major Taylor Cycling Club San Diego” (MTCCSD). This sparked my interest because a few years ago I read "Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer," by Andrew Ritchie. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. We rode together to Lake Mirmar and I had the privilege of meeting a great bunch of cyclists, in particular Ron Brogdon. He is a very fit and a very strong rider, former Marine, Kona Ironman, president of the MTCCSD and will be 67 this year. I can only hope I’m half as fit as him if I reach that age. After parting with the MTCSSD I rode around Lake Mirmar then found some hills to climb before heading back to the hotel. Today was one of rides where you just ride for the love of riding. It didn’t feel like training, I was just enjoying the day being a tourist.
Ron Brogdon & Me

Run 44:47, 5 Miles
Bike 6 Hrs, 75 Miles

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Weekend Off!

Got a whole weekend off from work! For the first time this year (other than the weekend I flew home) I have a weekend off! This was only because the power in our bldg is down for maintenance. Sooo let’s take advantage of it shall we! My plan was to ride to the coast and do a long ride along Hwy 101. However it rained all night and was still drizzling in the morning. Sooo, I went for a long run instead. This was an exploratory run that turned out great. Found a dirt path less than ½ mile away that led to other paths that led to others etc and before I knew it I was in the hills away from traffic and running on trails! The weather temporarily cleared and it turned out to be a beautiful run. With no pressure to hurry up and go to work, I was able to take my time and really enjoy myself. Only ran about 2 miles on concrete the entire15 mile run!

Up in the Hills & Away from Traffic

Running on Dirt & Horse Poop

After returning from running I took a cold bath and shower (no pictures) which is tough to do, but great for recovery. Ate, then headed out on an easy recovery bike ride. Five minutes into the ride, the skies opened and I got hammered. It was an absolute cloudburst. It was raining so hard it felt like hail. The faster I rode to get back the more it hurt. Got back to the the hotel and set up the trainer. Finished the ride on the trainer which included 20 minutes of one-leg pedaling, rotating each leg every 30 seconds. This is something I should be doing every week any way. It’s been pouring down rain pretty much all day. Hopefully the weather clears and I can go for a long ride tomorrow. If it doesn’t, there's always the trainer. Now I think I’ll go for a walk and later, read a good book. Enjoying my day off.

Riding in the Hotel

Run 2:19, 15 miles - Bike 1 hr, 14 miles

Fri: Hard strength workout in gym w/Plyometrics - Easy 5 mile run.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Urban Assault

Today started early at 4 AM for hill repeats. CRUD runs up Cheyenne Canyon on Thursday mornings, so I was with them in spirit by trying to emulate the run. It normally takes me between 36 and 40 min to run up Cheyenne Canyon. So far I haven't found a steep climb nearby, that I can run in the dark, that is as long. The best I've found is a hill in a residential area that takes about 3 1/2 min. So I ran it 10 times. The same but different.
A major cold front moved in today so the highs only reached the mid 60s. That might have been why we had less than half the regulars at the lunch time ride, which I call the "Lunch Time Urban Assault Ride". It was a good one today. Only an hour but very high intensity with a couple steep (but short) climbs that we hit pretty hard.
Run 1:28 - 10 miles
Bike 1 hour - 16 miles

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Always Bring a Phone

Today was supposed to be a recovery day and it pretty much was. No run this morning since my body is still adjusting to running on concrete and the lunch time ride was a low intensity road ride of just over an hour. Toward the end of the ride I caught the sight of a lady laying on the sidewalk. All of a sudden she starting coughing and appeared to be having a convulsion. Ralph and I stopped and ran over to her and she seemed to be semi conscious. She was incoherently mumbling and then passed out. A few seconds later she would start coughing and complaining that she couldn't breath. She pointed to a band on her wrist which stated she has Adrenal Deficiency. Now I usually take my cell phone, but today I left it on my desk. Ralph tried calling 911 on his phone and got no answer. Keep in mind this was all happening on the side of a very busy road. We weren't sure what to do and felt kind of helpless when a car pulled to the side and two men, one a Marine Sgt got out. They also had no cell phone. They were going to try and take her to a hospital but she passed out again. Finally a woman with a cell phone stopped and was able to get through to 911. Then a nurse stopped. She seemed also uncertain of what to do and kept commenting on how long it was taking the ambulance. It seemed like forever but it was probably only about 8 minutes when we heard sirens and a fire truck, ambulance and State Hwy Patrol arrived.

Ride 1:15, 15 miles easy
Strength workout 45 minutes primarily CORE.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's HOT!

Got back to San Diego yesterday and immediately had to take off my sweat shirt. It was definitely in the 80s! Went straight to work from the airport then to the gym after work. Worked the CORE hard. This morning got up at 4:30 and ran 8 miles in shorts and t-shirt. At lunch met with the lunch time bike group and did the high intensity traffic light sprint in heavy traffic ride they do every day. We also went out to Lake Mirmar and rode a wide bike path around the lake. Pretty nice, got us out of traffic but had to dodge runners, joggers, and roller bladers. The weather is amazing! Today felt like a hot day in July. 1 1/2 hours and I was drenched in sweat. It was a good ride with a lot of time spent at LT. I felt really strong and led on climbs. Other news today - it looks like we will be extended a month, which means I'll be here until May. I could think of worse places to spend the winter... Omaha comes to mind. I'll just be living a very simple life over the next few months; work, train, eat sleep. The cool thing is everything I need is within walking distance. Work is across the street, the gym is two blocks away, the grocery store is 3 blocks away, a bike shop is two blocks, and a book store one block. What more does one need?

Run: 8 miles 1 hr 4 min
Bike: 25 miles 1 hr 32 min

Sunday, February 1, 2009


January has been quite a month. I got assigned to a new project in California and things have been pretty hectic. Living in a hotel and working 65 hour weeks put a bit of a crimp on training. LeadMan really looks intimidating from San Diego. Running on concrete at 4 am and road riding in heavy traffic at lunch is a huge difference from Colorado Springs. I have found a couple decent places to mountian bike and the longer I'm here the more places I find to ride. I was on the verge of not doing LeadMan when I came back to Colorado this weekend and had a fantastic run with CRUD and am totally motivated again to go for it. I registered and am going back to San Diego tomorrow with a plan and focus. The weather is awesome and I'll be there till April. There are some decent places to mountain bike and some steep climbs. With the hours I'm working it will be tough, but I've adjusted and back on track!