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    • The shape shifters in their usual form.
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Old La Honda to Lexington Reservoir Loop

Pretty epic afternoon ride today. I started by searching out the Old La Honda Road climb to Skyline Boulevard (I took a wrong turn the first time and had to loop around to find it again), and then I headed south on Skyline all the way down to Black Road, which turned out to be a pretty crazy descent down to Highway 17. I found my way across, and then encountered an unexpected gravel descent on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. A mountain bike would have been appropriate at that point, but I survived. I then made my way back via Los Gatos-Saratoga Road and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road before stopping for dinner at In-N-Out on El Camino and finishing up the ride. Skyline turned out to whip me pretty well, and I was struggling to keep up the pace on the flats afterward. Half of that is mental discipline, and the other half is physical readiness. At any rate, I haven’t been this sore after a ride since last year’s Seattle to Portland bike ride, which was more than three times as long.

  • Distance: 66 miles / 106 km
  • Time: 4:50:51
  • Average Speed: 13.6 mph / 21.9 kph
  • Max speed: 39.2 mph / 63.0
  • Cumulative ascent: 3820 ft / 1164 m

Page Mill Again

I rode up Page Mill road again today. This time, I brought my camera and I didn’t lose a spoke at the top. Coming back down was a lot faster, with one scary moment. I was wearing my helmet for the descent. From my house to Gate 4 took me 54 minutes, 35 minutes of which was from the base (I-280 and Page Mill) to Gate 4. I definitely can improve this time a ton — it’s a real grind for me right now — but I’ll have to ride it more than once every two months if I want to get  better.

Studio I to Gate 4 on Page Mill Road

Studio I to Gate 4 on Page Mill Road

UPDATE: Elevation graph, per Jayson’s request!

Elevation

The view from the top as the Sun set was well worth the effort:

View from Above

Minor Miracles and Marathons

One week ago, I completed the Portland Marathon. Even as I started out, I truly did not expect to finish, because two weeks ago, I hurt my feet. Initially, I thought my feet would heal within the week and I would be able to do the marathon, but at the week wore on, my feet weren’t getting better. So, I slowly came to the realization that I would be watching my friends run the marathon, not participating myself.

Down in Portland, however, my mom suggested that I invest in some new shoes, since the ones I had were fairly battered. I thought it was a bad idea, because breaking in new shoes during a marathon didn’t seem that smart. But then my friend Scott, who run done a few marathons in his time, agreed with her, saying that good running shoes don’t actually need to be broken in. Thus I found myself in a Sports Authority on Saturday night buying new shoes.

Also on Saturday, I spent some quality time in a hot tub, which seems to have, in large part, miraculously healed the blistering and bruising on my right foot. Combined with the new shoes, I suddenly started believing again. Maybe I could complete the marathon. I really wanted to get this out of the way, because during training I discovered that I didn’t like long-distance running at all, and if I didn’t finish the marathon now, it would bother me until I finally did, so getting it out of the way was pretty important to me.

And thus, I found myself on the start line of the 2009 Portland Marathon, in new shoes, new shorts, new socks, and wondering how far I was going to go. I started out by walking. I found that by turning my left foot a little further out than normal, combined witht eh new shoes, I could eliminate the pain that I usually felt in that foot. The right foot, as discussed earlier, seemed to have spontaneously healed in a hot tub. Or maybe it just got better all week and I didn’t notice until after getting out of the hot tub, but that story isn’t as fun. And so I walked. And walked. And walked.

A few miles in, I was feeling alright, but I was still skeptical about my chances of finishing — after all, the previous week, I had felt pretty good until a popped blister suddenly halted my progress. When asked by my cheering family if I thought I would finish, I simply shrugged, and kept on walking. About 10 miles in, still walking, I noticed that my left knee was protesting a little to my left foot’s new outward position, so I started changing the position of my left foot around a little, which helped enough to keep going.

At the half way mark, I actually started to believe for real. I was slowly feeling worse, but I could tell that the rate at which I was feeling worse would get me well past the finish line. So I continued to walk, miles slowly ticking off as I continued to pound sports drink and occasional gummy bears from enthusiastic volunteers.

Walking gives one a lot of time to talk to people around you, since it certainly isn’t your respiratory system that is maxed out. I met a few nice ladies (I seemed to be in the pace preferred by 50-60 year old women), and generally had a good time, depsite the creeping pains.

Around mile 24, I started flirting with the idea of running the rest of the way, but I found that it was hard to get myself to change the motion that I had been doing for six hours already. At mile 25, however, I actaully did start running, albeit slowly. Even at the barely-running pace, I was quickly passing people, which helped me keep it up. But I promised to myself that I would actaully kick up my feet and really run after mile 26. Thus mentally preparing myself, I found that I actually could do it this time, and I came across the finish line considerably faster than anyone else around me.

Six hours, fifty-five minutes after I crossed the start line, I finished a marathon.

It was nice to be done.

Blistering

Today I went for my final “tune-up” walk/run before next week’s Portland Marathon. I know by now that there is no way I will survive actually running 26 miles, so I am planning on a hybrid walk/run (mostly walk), not unlike Theo, although I certainly won’t be keeping up 8 minute speed-walked miles.

Today’s adventure consisted of 14.3 miles in about 3.5 hours, which is around 4 mph. I walked the first 9 or so miles at a pretty good clip, then started running back on Middlefield. A few miles into the run back, I had a sharp pain in my heel, so I stopped to check it out and found a popped blister. I found it hard to even walk in my shoes immediately after that, so I actually went barefooted for about a half mile before deciding that shoes would be better in the long run.

So, I put my shoes back on, and adjusting my gait a bit, was able to stay mostly pain-free. I even got up to a pretty good clip with a modified gait and a good amount of ignoring the pain.  At Loma Verde, just over a half mile from my house, I ran into a friend from work, who was tooling around town in his brand new rally blue Subaru Imprezza WRX. He offered me a ride home, and it was a pretty good way to end an otherwise kinda crappy walk/run.

20090927-walk-run

I managed to listen to music the whole way, thanks to the iPhone and another not-as-advertised iTunes experience. But that may earn its own post.

Second Bay Ride — Page Mill Road

After watching the Huskies lay down the law against the USC Trojans, I took off on my second “Bay Area Ride” yesterday. I started out on my road bike and headed back to Big 5, where I returned the crappy pump I picked up last week. Then I headed up Page Mill Road, which true to its reputation, offers a difficult hill climb and some stunning views. Fifteen miles into my journey, the sun was getting low in the sky, and I was pretty whipped, so I turned around. No sooner did I start my descent then I head a twang, which sounded a little too familiar. I stopped and checked out the bike, and sure enough, I had lost another spoke on my rear wheel.

I had a long way to go down, with my rear wheel rubbing my brake pads (which I had already loosened) the whole way down. Also, I didn’t know how much lateral stress the wheels could take, so I took it pretty slow around all the curves. It was not as much fun as it otherwise would have been, but at least the bike survived all the way back.

Page Mill is definitely a ride that I’ll want to do again, hopefully to the top soon enough. It is certainly a good way to work on my (rather poor) hill climbing skills.

Bar Area Ride 2

Bay Area Cycling

Today I went for a nice leisurely 20-ish mile bike ride around Palo Alto.

bikeride_20090912

Leaving my new house, I first visited Facebook’s headquarters, where I’ll be starting on Monday. Then I went by a Big 5 to pick up a bike pump, which I immediately used to get my tired up to 60 psi, before heading out for the rest of the Journey. I headed up University Ave to look at the outside of a condo I have my eye on, and then I continued to the shore, before returning via University Ave once again. It was a nice ride with only one hitch: a crazed bee (or similar) stung me on my right hand in some sort of odd glancing blow that left me hurting and it long gone. My hand is a little bit swollen, but I figure it will be fine in a day or so.

Out at the bay, there were a few cool places, but they all seem to be closed:

IMG_2739

After the ride, Brian came over from Alameda, and we ate Thai and then watched Primer (always an excellent movie).

One day of unabashed freedom left, then it’s time to get to work!

Seafair Triathlon 2009

Below are side-by-side results from this year and last year. Without the same amount of training or the wetsuit, I didn’t do very well on the swim this year — definitely this is the first place for me to improve in the future. However, I did better everywhere else, even with a bike computer that wasn’t working.

The lower bike transition time is due to no wetsuit, but the swim was still clearly a net loss this year by about a minute and a half. I had a few lapses of concentration on the bike, but none too long. Overall I kept my pace up pretty well, passing often, despite not knowing how fast I was going. This year my average speed on the bike was 19.08 mph, compared to 18.40 last year.

The biggest win for me, however, was on the run. I guess the altitude training of Peru paid off, as well as a slightly different strategy. This year, I was able to push through the initial pain better because I knew it would subside. I also walked on the steepest part of the hill (last year I told myself I would not walk, so I continued to run up the hill even though people who were walking were going the same speed as me). This gave myself a little bit of time to recharge while not wasting the spring of my step on the steep part of the hill. I think the strategy paid off overall — the time certainly indicates this.

Overall, I am quite happy with this result. My goal was to beat my old time, which I was able to do, and with some more pool time leading up to next year’s Triathlon, I should be able to improve on this year’s result next year as well.

Year 2008 2009
Place 647 649
Age 25 26
Sex M M
Overall Time 1:31:57 1:28:20
Div Place 56 79
Swim Time 0:16:54 0:18:44
Place 738 1122
Bike Tran Time 2:34 2:01
Bike Time 0:39:08 0:37:41
Place 504 393
Run Tran Time 1:25 1:13
Overall Pl After Bike 515 564
Run Time 0:31:55 0:28:41
Place 1177 945
City & State Bellevue, WA Bellevue, WA