Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Prep

Linda's family is coming out to New Mexico again for Christmas. 2 years ago they came out and the kids learned to ski and they wanted to come back for more, guess there were no hard crashes.

Anyway to get ready we put Dylan in ski school at Ski Santa Fe again, they have a great kids program. Last year was not so successful, he rode the conveyor lift and then planted himself at the top of the hill. This year on the other hand he absolutely loved it. In his words he went down the hill, "a million, jillion, dillion times", (I don't really know how many times that is).

Hopefully we will be able to get out gain this weekend with Dylan to get him more comfortable with skiing before we end up going to Sandia to ski with Linda's family. The kids programs at Sandia are more  ski focused and does not offer the same indoor options that Santa Fe does.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Here are some pictures related to the last post.
Hanging out with the family in my parents rented home while theirs gets fixed

All the dry wall and flooring stripped out of the house

Sagging, charred  ceiling and attic

Then we headed to J-Tree. Here Dylan is impersonating a Joshua Tree

On the second day out we headed to Echo Cove and there were a couple of  other families. Dylan found a friend in this little girl. They played together for several hours, pretty much ignoring the adults. 

On the third day we climbed at the Riverside Quarry which is an interesting granite cliff. Having been blasted it is all steep for granite and more featured than is typical. In addition, there is a lot of loose stuff that has been variously held in place, mostly with glue, but here with a 3/4" bolt that must be a foot long or more. 
On our second day out in Joshua Tree, Mark Hsieh from the Mad Rock office came out to meet us. On Wednesday morning after a Taiwanese breakfast we headed into the Mad Rock office to see their operation then headed out to the Quarry to climb.

Monday, November 21, 2011

King of the Bed

It is really hard to see in this photo, but tonight we are staying at a hotel in the town of Joshua Tree right outside the park that has 2 king size beds meaning Dylan has one to himself. Naturally he is a sprawled out as possible trying to take up as much space as his little body can. This of course after he spent an hour jumping all over the thing.

We had a good weekend with my parents in San Rafael. Had dinner with everyone on Friday night, from Great Grandma all the way down to young cousin Kailee. On Saturday I got out for a ride with my dad and Linda got out later with my mom. On Sunday we headed up to look at the progress on my parents house (photos to come later) they have torn out all the drywall and are now waiting for approval on truss engineering to replace the whole roof. After that we checked out the art studio that my dad displays at, AurorA Art Studios.

Then to finish off the day we watched the 49ers beat up on the Arizona Cardinals, OK so maybe they should have beaten them by a lot more, but hey 9-1 is still 9-1. GO 9ers.

We have another day of climbing out here in J-Tree then hopefully we will check out a crag in the Los Angeles area and head back to San Rafael for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Balloon Fiesta 2011, Halloween, BirthdayDylan waiting

Dylan waiting, all bundled up, while Linda and I park the bikes and change shoes after ridding to Balloon Fiesta Park

Chowing down on a breakfast burrito at the Intel tent

Yum, Krispy Cream and milk

Hanging out by the cows udder

Did not see this one last year

People watching a balloon getting blown up

For my mom, Sugar Bear

Baby Bee leaving the nest, I don't think the mom and dad flew today

It was interesting, the balloons took off and pretty much circles the field because of the changing wind direction

Spider Pig (The Simpsons?) and a shark hanging out with the bumble bees

Balloons overhead

No idea what this thing is

Still waiting for pigs to fly

Dylan and Linda getting ready to head out trick or treating

Dylan trying on my new snowboarding boot

Dylan holding court at his birthday party

With his new toy

We had Chris, Jo and Trinity over for a small party on Saturday night, they brought cream puffs. I think they agreed with Dylan

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekend in Austin

This past weekend we headed to Austin to visit with Linda's family. Dylan had not seen his cousins since sometime early this year before we headed to China. 
Dylan checking out the cockpit of the Southwest  plane that we flew out on.

On Saturday after the cousins were ready to head off to their respective weekend activities we met up with Thu, Nat, Noah, Matt and Katie to climb at Flat Creek. In the past there has been plenty of water for the kids to play in and for us to cool down in between burns right in front of the cave. Right now there is almost no water.
Thu walking with the boys in the dry stream bed.

Anyway, Linda continued to work on Scapegoat, a very steep 5.12. I ran a couple of laps on a 5.11+ so that Katie could work it on TR, it was her first time climbing at Flat and her first time on a rope since she had Tyler.
Katie with Tyler, who has amazingly fat thighs, you have to fight to get the pants on and off.
Katie managed to get the route down to one hang on her second try, not bad for someone that gave birth less than 7 months ago. Though she climbed her first 5.11 when she was 7 month pregnant so it really is not a surprise, probably won't be long before she climbs 5.12 as long as she and Matt manage to get out regularly. After the warm up I surprised myself by fighting my way up a new route for the flash. It is a route Vinnie put up this year and I don't remember the name but the climbing was good and thankfully had a jug and a good rest right before the top out or I surely would have fallen trying to top out. After that I struggled my way up Scapegoat  hanging on pretty much every bolt, my skin but mostly forearms, had had enough.

Overall t was a promising day of climbing for me. After the rush to get in shape for Paris-Brest-Paris I am not desperately trying to get into climbing shape to set for a competition in the middle of next month. As a setter I don't need to be able to climb the boulder problems but I do need to be able to do the moves. Needless to say, being able to peddle a bike forever has not helped my ability to climb. While climbing Vinnie's route would have been a given on many other occasions that I've visited Flat, it is at this time the first route I've done of that grade in at least 6 months and a good marker for where I stand as far as getting back into climbing shape.

On Sunday I borrowed a bike  from Pam (one of Patricia's friends) and rode with a group for the "cream cheese ride" which starts at an Einstein's Bagels and goes about 60 miles. I felt pretty good for the first 50 miles or so until the 100 degree heat got to me and I hit the wall and went into survival mode. Jason, the group leader was nice enough to slow up and pull me in to the finish where I started lunch with chocolate milk and a cookie followed by chips, bagel sandwich and juice then more water in about 15 minutes.

Monday was a lazy day. Linda and I found a pool that was open in James' subdivision and hung out there for a bit then got lunch with her mom and sister before heading to the airport. At this point without Monday the week seems to be going pretty fast, nice.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paris-Brest-Paris 2011 Ride Report

Dad getting ready to head to the start Sunday afternoon

Caution, LONG, very long, but hey it is about 1200km of riding. Sorry, many photos from previous posts.
For Paris Brest Paris, after qualifying for the event the first thing you need to do is decide what start group you want to go with. The 80 hour group leaves at 5pm on Sunday, the 90 hour group starts leaving at 6pm on Sunday and the 84 hour group starts to leave at 5am on Monday morning. I choose the 84 hour group since I did not want to spend al day waiting around and then ride through the first night. The groups start in waves of about 500 riders, I missed being in the first group by 2 bikes and so had to wait an additional 15 minutes, not too bad considering that people that showed up for the 90 hour start 2 hours early only made the 4th group meaning that they waited around 3 hours to start.
My Waltworks prepped and mostly ready to go
Conveniently it started to rain about 5 minutes before the start. Many folks started to rummage around in their bags for more clothing, myself among them. Things started off mellow enough with a car and motorcycle leading out the group, they were to stay on the front for about the first 15-20 km to get us out of town. The relaxed attitude did not last long however and within 5 minutes of starting, with the car still in front and roads still wet, riders started trying to force their way forward only to have to slam on their brakes once they got to the front. I managed to keep myself out of trouble and towards the front through the start and figured that things would settle down and sort themselves out once we were out of town and left to our own devices and they sort of did.
Once clear of the car and town a pretty big group moved off the front because of the rolling nature of the course. In hind sight I probably should not have stayed with this group but I did. Rather than riding at a steady effort level there were a  few guys that really wanted to keep a certain pace, this meant riding extremely hard on the hills, soft peddling over the tops and coasting on the down hills. This of course leads to the group stringing out on the hills and collapsing on itself over the tops. I had read somewhere that if you qualify, make it to Paris and through the first 50km you are half way done with PBP. One rider in our group had a pretty bad crash in the opening 50km, I really only heard it to start with as it was behind me, but turned in time to see a riders skidding across the yellow line eventually getting his bar turned 90 degrees and flipping, it looked PAINFUL. 
One side effect of the crash was a reduction in size of the front group that continued to work poorly together. Eventually I played the roll of “little sister” and needed to pull over, amazingly after 2 hours out nobody else did so even though I rode to the front of the group and asked along the way I pulled over alone to water some grass. Eventually the second group on the road caught up to me and I joined in to pull the group along with 3 or 4 others and a bunch of hangers on. I had added a 3rd water bottle cage to my bike so I could avoid using a camelback and I was glad to have it as the first food and water stop was 140km in and I just made it, I now think that for a brevet bike 3 cages is mandatory if they fit on the frame. Though with the location of the bottle and the spacing to the front wheel I have to stop and pour the water into one of the other bottles, which again lead to the group riding away from me, c’est la vie.
After the start things are mostly a blur until the Loudeac sleep stop, lots of rolling hills, agricultural land, sunflower and corn fields, some nice forested areas as well. I also made one of my worst mistakes during this stretch, I had stopped to get out my “rain kit” (a garbage bag with 3 holes to make a vest, latex gloves, newspaper bags for the legs and a shower cap all stuffed into a small sandwich bag) after putting on the shower cap and putting the rest in the handle bar bag so as to have quicker access to it I rode off without zipping up my seat bag. I lost all my chamois cream for the day, tums, several packets of gel and the dark lenses for my glasses before my spare tail light fell out exploding on the road alerting me to the open bag. I also came very close to wrecking in a wet round about, coming into it far too fast and having to bunny hop onto the side walk then again over some rocks back onto the street going the right direction, definitely got my heart racing. At the Loudeac stop I ate a hot meal and tried to find my dad, he had started in the 5th wave of 90 hour riders and was due to leave about an hour or so after I’d arrived. It had taken me just over 19 hours to complete the first 450km which I was pretty happy with. I checked for him again after eating and noticed that his drop bag was gone which would mean that he had it somewhere. After changing into a clean kit and restocking food, cream etc, I did not take a shower since it had been raining off and on all day and was continuing to do so into the night, I headed back out.
I did not make it far, I have been trying to break in a new saddle for a few weeks and have not gotten completely used to it. I actually did not even make it back out to the road before turning around and rolling back to change my saddle, yes I brought a second. While doing this I noticed my dad’s bike and his drop bag still missing so after changing my saddle I looked around again and finally asked to check the sleep area for him since I had seen people that he rode in with leaving. The guy at the sleep area found him pretty quickly and a check of his sleep request showed that he wanted to be awoken at 1am to get back on the road, at this point it was 2:30am, OUCH, lost time is a killer. I finally headed back out into the rain to see how far I could make it without sleep as my dad got ready.
Sleeping on the tables
I was pretty groggy at this point and besides the rain and this being probably that hardest part of the course, two things of note happened during the next 40km to a food and sleep stop (but not a checkpoint). First is, I pulled onto a side road to take a leak and did not notice how much lower the side road was than the main road. When I tried to get back on and ride I did not push hard enough to make it back up onto the road and teetered into the tall wet grass on the side of the road, definitely time to get some sleep. The second was much more serious, though I did not think much of it at the time. There was a gas truck in the ditch on the side of the road and a couple of emergency vehicles at the bottom of a roller. It turns out that an american named Thai from the DC Rando group was killed during the night, probably not long before I went by, though I don’t know the exact circumstances. Really sad.
Dad crossing the bridge in Brest
Dad and I together at the Brest control
When I made it to the next stop I tried to just put my head down on the table without success and eventually went and got a bed in the gym. I had made it 490km in the first 24 hours. I woke about 30 minutes before I’d asked to be so just got dressed and on the road. The only thing I really remember from the morning is being hungry on the first bit headed out to Carhaix. After some food I perked up and started on the last leg out to Brest. Up until this point, besides the rain we had been really lucky with the weather. It was cool, foggy and the generally west wind had been from the northeast, meaning a cross tailwind, along with the rain. On this last stretch the prevailing west wind picked back up which made for a long grind, it did not help that there is something like a 25km gradual climb as well. Of course the start of the climb really did not seem like it was uphill until you noticed the riders going the opposite direction coasting and not slowing down. This is followed by an equally long downhill into Brest, a few rollers and it is across the bridge. Next you have to fight a never ending series of roundabouts along the coast and back up into town and the control. Thought there were several bands out play at intersections that helped get your mind off the repeated slowing and accelerating through the roundabouts. I arrived at about 3pm, it had taken just under 34 hours to make the outward bound journey.
I quickly made my way in and checked in and as I was headed to fill my bottles I ran into my dad again. He had passed me while I was “sleeping”. We decided to try and stay together for a bit and planned on stopping at a Creperie in a small town not too far out of Brest. In the town where the Creperie is we ran into Irene T. from Boulder and Deb who she was riding with and is planning on moving to Boulder. They had actually been riding with my dad off and on a bit and after convincing them that they had a bit more time than they thought to make the next check point they joined us for a nice light meal. After eating the long climb was a breeze, not to mention the west wind pushing us along. We made it into Carhaix in pretty good time and pressed onto Loudeac and another short night of rest. 
Waiting for our crepes
Rider sleeping on the side of the road, very common by the 3rd day
I again woke on my own before I had asked to be and just got ready to go. The whole 3rd and into the 4th day were kind of surreal. All sorts of things that you would never see in the US. Whole towns would be out with tents set up to feed and fuel the riders. Families, baby to grandma/pa, would be out on the street to cheer ALL the riders as they passed. There was a row of high school aged kids on a bridge making a ton of noise as you approached and did the wave as you passed (in the US you would be more likely to get stones thrown at you by such a group). Families would have tables out with water, soda, juice, beer and wine for the passing riders, they would even just leave the stuff out at night for passing riders. On top of that you have riders that can barely control their bikes weaving all over the place. Silver burritos laying on the side of the road next to bikes (you have to take an emergency blanket, not a rule but everyone does) and sleeping riders on park benches and in phone booths. Many of these riders had literally ridden until they fell over and just wrapped themselves up where they lay.
One thing that I had missed on the way out was the food at Tinteniac. I had not stopped to eat there since the hot food was upstairs and who wants to have to walk up stairs in the middle of a 1230km bike ride? However, in the morning I had not eaten at Loudeac before leaving and was starved by the time I made it to Tinteniac and so forced myself to walk up the stairs to the food which turned out to be the best hot food I had at a control. They had well marbled prime rib that was very tender with a mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes, which the sauce improved. Most of the hot food options at the controls were relatively bland which is good for the stomach but eventually you need something with more flavor. Rice, pasta and mashed potatoes where supplemented by boiled chicken, fish or pork and a mild sauce. Another thing was the drink choices, of course there was water, regular and carbonated, then there were the sodas and juices last there was the beer and wine, an unbelievable amount of which was consumed by riders during the event.
While it seemed as though everyone was suffering, I had gone through that on the first day, fighting cramps for well over 200km. I felt great on the 3rd day, not that I could get up and sprint up a hill, but I could grind out high steady speed and never seemed to get tired. Anyone who has ridden a truly long event with me knows that this is never the case and I usually fade big time so I wanted to milk the good feelings as long as I could. I actually had people telling me that if I slowed down and let them draft the whole way they would keep me company??? I on the other hand could already smell the finish which was still over 300km away. I was still getting passed on the hills by people that would sprint up them but then they were so tired that they could not get on when I would go by on the flats or downhill. Riding out of Villaines de Juhel I spent some time riding with a 17 year old local kid who was out for a quick training ride and was probably going to head back to the control to help out afterwards.
Just follow the signs
The next control is Montagne au Perche which was just a food stop on the way out. This was a pretty well stocked control and I was able to check on dad’s status with their internet connection which was nice. Again the whole town is out checking out the different bikes and helping to support the riders. It was at this point that I really started to beef up my caffein intake. I switched from 2 vitamin I’s to 1 and an Excedrine, from Orangina to Coke and from solids on the bike to caffeinated gel packs. On the bike I never felt tired but when I sat down to eat at the controls I would fade quickly. There were several big climbs out of Montague that slowed me down and by this time it was dark again so you just had to follow the bobbing lights. Of course the further I got from the control, there would be fewer and fewer lights on the road in front of me and more lights sleeping on the side of the road. This bit has several very long sections where you stay on the same road so there are not many route markers and I started to get nervous that maybe I had gotten off route. Every once in awhile I would catch another rider but there were no groups. Eventually 2 support motor bikes went by and that was a huge relief since it meant that I was indeed on the right road. Shortly after lots more riders started popping up in front of me. Apparently I had ridden through kind of a “dead” zone where people that would have been there had all stopped because of the time that they were at the previous control, or were already sleeping on the side of the road.
Pre-ride with the David's Salon girls
I pulled into the final control at Dreux at about 3:30am. They had some amazing chocolate croissants from a local bakery which I naturally had a few of along with coffee mixed with hot chocolate. The last bit started off flat and fast through farm land before entering some rollers and finally a hill of two in a wooded area. Eventually I popped out into the small local villages that surround the starting town of Saint Quentin en Yvelines (SQY). This was a section that dad and I had ridden prior to the start with the Dave’s Salon team, so I knew where to go and did not have any navigational worries. Arriving back at the start I finally rode round the dirt track to get to the line, before the event I had walked when on the dirt (you don’t want to have to deal with a flat before you even start), and into the arms of a waiting volunteer who thankfully helped me get my bike down the steep ramp to the track. I final grovel up the very large steps to the gymnasium and the finishing control by which point I’d gone from completely awake while on the bike to ready to fall over of exhaustion. I had finished right at 7am on Thursday morning finishing off a 24 hour 450km push from Loudeac back to SQY.
My tired packing job
After finishing I had to wait for dad. Having passed him at Tinteniac with 360km or more to go I did not really know when to expect him. I had been able to check on his progress at times when the controls had internet but one of the magnetic chip readers was not working so I kind of lost track of him since it did not record and update his position when he arrived at that control. Anyway, I had plenty to do with getting food in me and trying to check back into the hotel and being told I had to wait till at least noon. Then I decided to take apart and pack my bike which in my drained state took only 4 hours. Eventually one of the ladies from the David’s Salon group headed to the finish to await some members of their group and keep an eye out for my dad as well. We got a call back at the hotel at 4pm that my dad had finished, 92hours 44minute. Once he was back at the hotel I walked back into town, should not have taken the bike apart, to get some food which we inhaled before crashing out for a much needed full night of sleep. 
I really had no real expectations other than finishing, experiencing the event and seeing how my body reacted. In the future I think having a clear plan of going fast or taking my time would be better. Having finished with more than 10 hours to spare on the 84 hour time I obviously could have gotten quite a bit more sleep. Though I slept twice and woke up on my own both times so I’m not even sure how much more I’d be able to sleep if I tried. It is tempting to try the ride during the day method, where you do the first 450km to Loudeac then 330km to Brest and back, 310km from Loudeac to Montagne au Perche and a final 140km to finish, each day after the first starting at first light and hopefully finishing before dark. Though I don’t know how my legs would react to the long rests at night or if I would even be able to sleep through the night to make it worth while. The other option is to convince a couple of suckers (friends) to go with me and stay committed to staying together and working finish as quickly as possible.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Some shots from PBP

Here are some photos my dad took before and during his PBP experience. I did not carry a camera figuring that I would not want to stop and use it.

The gymnasium during his check in was busier than during mine when there was no body there,
Here are people getting queued up to start on the running track,
One of the first controls, since he started at about 7:15pm he rode through the first night,
All the controls had cafeteria style food service, some better than others. Most were pretty bland, which was good for the stomach, but the one with prime rib made me want seconds, though over eating probably would have been bad. Back on point, the further along in the ride, the more people you saw like this,
Even though there were sleep rooms with mattresses and cots fro sleeping.

There were several spots out on course where there were photographers, but not here,
on the bridge in Brest not too far from the Brest control and right at the mid point of the ride.

Dad and I at the Brest control, Irene T from CO took the photo,
Relaxing at a creperie just outside of Brest on the return trip,
On the return, particularly the last 450 km this became an increasingly common sight,
Riders would stop where ever they could and pass out, at night most were using emergency blankets and it would have been hard to find a park bench or phone booth during the night.

Riders on their way to...
an example of the sign we were following.

More on our falls.

On the first night at about 4am so less than 24 hours in, I had passed dad at the Loudec sleep stop and had pulled over to take a leak on a little side road. The side road was a bit lower than the main road we were riding on and the last bit was pretty steep, I guess, since when I clipped back in and tried to push off back onto the main road I only made it part way there and fell over into the grass on the side of the road. It was a pretty soft landing, but made it obvious that I needed to get some sleep which I did at the next control about 15km up the road.

Dad's fall was on the last night. He was going uphill and the road was dark asphalt and the sidewalk as well, in between there was a low curb of light colored concrete that looked like a paint stripe. He caught his tires on this and fell. Later he had to replace his rear deraileur cable that broke. He had no trouble continuing to ride, but when he got to the finish he was having some trouble standing up straight and was pretty hunched over and of course walking like someone that that has just ridden 760 miles in 4 days. All that made it look pretty bad, but if you got past the jerky walking which everyone was suffering from he just looked like he needed to lay down and let his back rest which he did. I walked out and got us diner so he could relax and rest. This morning he is looking quite a bit better and is feeling it as well.


We are DONE

Both dad and I finished PBP!

Dad finished on Thursday afternoon at about 4 pm making his time about 92.5 hours.
I finished on Thursday morning as the sun was coming up, just under 74 hours after starting.
We even managed to ride together for about 160 km from Brest back to the main sleep stop.

We both took one fall, not a crash. Mine was mostly comical and a good sign it was time to take a break, dad's was a bit more serious, but he's fine and there is nothing to be concerned about.

Ride report to come later. Right now we have to get more sleep, pack bikes, dry cloths etc. for our 6am ride to the airport tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

PBP 2011, Dad is out on Course

So I just checked and dad has made it out onto the course. Here is a shot of him as he left the hotel to go to the start area and get in the queue,
The 90 hour group started leaving at 6pm (or possibly a bit later) in waves of 500 riders, dad got on course at 7:15pm.

PBP 2011 is about to Start

On Saturday dad headed to the ride start area to get checked in and I tagged along to see what the situation was. I did not make it very far because there were a bunch of people, bikes and you had to be checking in to get into the area, so I just headed back to the hotel to rest some more. This morning I headed back to the start area to check in and was somewhat surprised that there was no line whatsoever,
This is largely due to the fact that all the 80hr, 90hr and special bikes (5,000+)were checking in yesterday to start today and today was just the 84hr riders (less than 1,000?)

Here is my WW, for the most part PBP ready,
With a little treat on the back for after the ride,
I like porto which is usually red and when I ask about white porto people usually look at me like I'm crazy. I saw a bottle of it when dad and I were getting lunch at a small grocery store since most restaurants are closed on Sunday's and the store closed at 1pm as well, so I picked it up. I think, in general the white porto is less bitter and dry, not that the red is bitter or dry compared to most regular wine to begin with.

Anyway, time to head down to get dad off to the start. He starts tonight, Sunday sometime around 6pm here 6-9hours ahead of the US and I start tomorrow, Monday morning at 5am. PBP has rider tracking and we will be wearing ankle bands that will record our presence at each check point, you can follow at this PBP site, dad's frame number is 4459 and mine is 8224.