Spring Break ’08!

As if Arizona hasn’t been sunny enough. Gotta store up Vit D for a move north.

24 hours of recovery was mandated after the Spring Fling; by 1600 on Monday we were Joshua Tree bound.

We found a campsite that evening, and when I slithered out of the truck to pee early that morning was treated to some outstanding, immaculate views of the Milky Way.

Being in taper mode means I am metaphysically sanctioned to laziness, which I think M found somewhat annoying at times. That, and my tweaked wrist from the weekend would not allow any real climbing, so we cruised around and took in the sights.


The entertainment did come to an end as it got pretty hot by the afternoon, and after our (mainly my) waffling was resolved we grabbed some McD’s soft-serve and headed out with a new mission: ocean views by sunset.

Made it.


We even paid $25 for a campsite at a state beach in San Clemente. And I hate paying to camp, but got over it. The ocean views and wave-sounds were very good, it had been too long (5-6 years?!).

More at breakfast. And humidity, which was weird.


We went and found Woodchuck at The Path. My suspension needed some love, and I needed to see the legendary shop for myself. I was not disappointed on either count. My Reba has an amazing new lease on life, and the amount of crap they have crammed into an innocuous storefront is astounding. I think every 29er tire on the market in stock, save the 2.4 racing ralph (which kept selling out). M’s bike got a new Vulpine front shoe for TI, and I grabbed a Dry X to try and kill.

While we were waiting, Woody sent us on a choice local spin, and lent me his custom ti Strong, too.


M upward bound. This is the inital climb on the VQ. And some serious fun on a pretty day.

From whence I came. LA is down there somewhere.

That evening we were escorted to the Banff Film Fest, though hungry men saw us leaving at intermission to get sushi. $21 all-you-can-eat sushi. Made to order, right in front of you. The mere smell of the ginger was intoxicating. I was like a dog given a steak, it took a moment to make sure it was really mine, but then I had a lot of fun and came away with a very full belly. Woody vastly out-ate me, which is impressive.

And then, quite past my bedtime, I crashed.

Woody was, again, amazingly up and gone before I was awake, rice-burning the fixie 15 miles one-way to work. Recipe for a closet hardman, that. I felt it too, with no breakfast I rode for 90 minutes with Carol Ann, and didn’t feel hungry. Ultras are a good excuse to overindulge.


Yeah, I had forgotten the ocean mist mornings. No glasses allowed on the downhills.

It should also be said that, as you can see, the riding in Orange County sucks. Bald dog. I also had to ride Woody’s platonic form of a Moots as my rig was still in the shop. B, if you know what’s good for you, get rid of that thing (to me) right now. You can keep the hydros and the broomstick.

Only real event of the day was a trip back to the shop to “help” rebuild the Reba. I ain’t a mechanic, and just did my best to stand there, look cool, and not get in the way. Woody did great, though the actual mechanics (pros, mind) did their best to make fun of him for not being super-efficient, and me for having a years dirt caked in the fork arch. It worked out.

That evening was our last, alas. I can’t say enough and again how many good people I’ve met out there. And that doesn’t begin to cover it. B and CA, you guys ROCK!

Friday morning’s cultural experience was driving SE to NW across the greater LA area, which wasn’t that bad, except for the maddening frequency of NPR station loss. (WTF?) We made the pre-race meeting and lunch a bit before 1300, and I did very little for the rest of the day. A bit annoying and boring, but good, in the end. Careful packing and tons of eating and water drinking. I watched the first three 100 mile start groups head out, at 1600, 1800, and 2100, stood around the fire chatting (almost exclusively with volunteers, all the racers were hiding out), and slept very, very well.

This is the 1600 start group. The grizzled veterans, and some true eccentrics.


Of the race itself, little is to be told. The camera’s batteries died immediately, and the GPS batts didn’t have the juice to power it. I carried that as dead weight, plus a P-Tec Corona with half-dead batts, and waay too much food to see me between aid stations. So, that will be improved next time (yeah, ultra-hiking in the future, what can I say; besides, Barkley and, Hardrock).

What I did do well was stick to my plan: no running, hike as fast as is comfortably possible on the flats and downs (usually 3.5-3.8 mph) and push the climbs hard. I was only passed going up once the entire time, by Karl Meltzer. Which I can live with. I drank loads of Red Bull and soda at each aid, and ate plenty: pretzels, jelly beans, sandwiches of various kinds, and chicken soup and some strong coffee at the bottom of the last big descent (it should be noted, each trail in the map, below, was covered exactly twice, with the easternmost coming last, the leftist of the northern fingers being the start-finish). I drank lots of plain water between aids, and ate a few gels, too. I had no dips in physical energy, no nausea, and few mental low points. The last feasible bail was around 2100, at mile 42. Bailing at that point seemed stupid, just another Grand Canyon training run, so I kept going. The usual mental process, with some struggles and cursing of myself and my fate, but nothing too intense. My feet hurt, and I’m sore, but I can do 100 miles with more involved prep. And I will.

I did have the GPS signal cut a few times, so the profiles are a mess, which is sad. I do think that 18k of claimed climbing is a bit high, but Suunto watch got 15.7k, though it is affected a bit by barometric swings. Having the watch was a great pacing device. Mark the elevation of a crucial point in your head, and on the uphill return time estimates are easy. Same, as always, with pacing. On the way up the first big climb (and by far the rockiest and rowdiest, ie the most fun), Thatcher, in the heat of noon, I looked down and registered 17 vertical meters per minute average. Which, for me, in crankin’. It felt pretty easy, so that provided some confidence.

Uhh, that’s it, really. Onward with the cycling.

My legs feel good (for feeling shitty), the singlespeed is race tuned (with some phat surprises, thanks Brendan!), and this weekend is ON! Ed has a target on his Wingnut. And yes, I’m riding it SS, with a two less teeth in the back than last year! 10% faster!!!!! Oh yeah!!!!! In reality, M has my rear wheel, and Leviathan is stripped down and hiding in the corner. Need to track down some parts and get her back together soonish. Anyone got a geared, disc 2-9 rear wheel they want to sell me for a song?

Yep, another weekend for the record books. Best weekend yet, only to be surpassed by this next one………..

Life is crap.

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7 thoughts on “Spring Break ’08!

  1. nice job out there. it sounds like you had a plan and stuck to it with great success. so karl won the 100? was anyone close to him?

  2. Karl won the 100, and I do not believe anyone was very close (I didn’t see Hal out there, for instance). Rumor has it he thought it harder than Wasatch.

  3. ohno…ohwait! OH YES! that means we get to SEE YOU THIS WEEKEND!!!wooooowooooooo!!!jjps: GOOD JOB, and great write up!

  4. Crap indeed!Looking forward to some crap mt. Biking sucking your wheel =)See you Friday at some point.

  5. Great write up until the end there…what target? Oh you must mean the cement stain I put on there to fool you, yah keep following it buddy 😉 Honestly, I’m going to get sooo lost.I’m toying with losing two teeth myself but the thought of that long flat, paved spin to the finish makes me grimace.Can’t wait to see you guys and I’m supremely jealous of your spring break. It is obvious you will be kicking botox in Moab.Ed

  6. Holy word dump.Speechless. Kinda.”Woody”?Hmmm…And of course I have a rear wheel for you. Drop me an E.MC

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