Working left handed is quite a different feel! Not being able to swim, run, bike is a killer. Makes you appreciate it more huh? When gone? For sure. I watch cyclists ride by and I stare and certainly they think something is amiss. The one armed wonder is staring at me. I want to thank Jodie for all her help. Cutting your nails requires assistance from a loved one. Such great fun for her! I am slated to take part in the Donner Lake Triathlon in July but could miss it. We shall see as the doc stressed thinking long term and not risking it. In the meantime, I am trying to walk 3 miles a day and hitting exercise bike at Cal Fit.
Maybe I will go to Fleet Feet and look at shoes.
On another note: Check out Ryan Elmore’s blog: http://thelogcabin.wordpress.com/
I did not realize that the East Sacramento, CA neighborhood had such an amazing Christmas light display each year! It is the best display I have ever seen and it draws many from around the region with good reason. For the past week, I have donned the baklava and tights and ran some miles though out the neighborhood after nightfall. Good thing there are many people around on these particular nights as I could easily be taken for a cat burglar. Ha. The past few evenings, a wagon full of people were being pulled around the streets by huge horses. I am pretty sure they are not of the Clydesdale variety but are large nonetheless. The holidays revelers in the wagon waved and I waved back and thought to myself now THIS is what Christmas is about! All we need is a little snow…. well maybe not.
I was out in Gold Country, CA last week with my bicycle for a little riding. Cycling requires a lot of gear and it can be cumbersome getting everything together. It is so easy to forget a water bottle here, sunblock there, helmet here. Packing my stuff for the trip out to Angels Camp, CA, I was certain I grabbed everything I needed. Not so fast Lindy.
As I embarked for the trip from Angels’s Camp, CA to Copperopolis, CA, I realized that the road I was traversing was extremely dangerous for bicycles. I pushed on as my destination was only ten miles away. Two miles into the ride, it occurred to me I forgot something sort of important. Of course right? Sitting at home in my cycling box was the all important TIRE IRON! If I flatted, that tire iron would come in pretty handy. I did have a tube and a pump but that dang tire iron was at home. Oh well.. I literally had flatted only twice in like the last 3,000 miles. I will be fine. Think again Lindy!
Five miles in and sure enough! MASSIVE TIRE BLOWOUT. Lucky Lindy! Now… I probably could find a way to change this tire with my bare hands but it would have been difficult. I was sitting on the side of the road contemplating my next move when out of the clear blue California sky a GMC pickup pulled up. Turns out an avid area cyclist was just then driving by and to make a long story short the dude had a tire iron. What are the chances? A gift from the cycling GODS! We fixed it up and off I went back to the timeshare where I put my bike away and ran the rest of the trip.
I weighed in at 178 on Friday, July 15. Six pounds lighter than the previous July. In July 2010, I did the Donner Lake Triathlon which was an Olympic distance event. This year I set my sights on a higher goal, the Vineman Half Ironman 70.3 race in Sonoma County, CA. Six pounds less I thought, as I stood on the scale, that is good. It is not a huge amount but if you had seen me on the beach in Mexico in 2007 you would have nominated me for Weight Watchers Man of The Year. Four days prior to stepping onto the scale, I had carbo loaded like I never have in my life. At this point, if I never saw marinara sauce again in my life I would have accepted it. One week later I am still OK with my life long ban from Buca Di Pepo!
I arrived in Windsor, CA on Saturday, July 16 to drop off my run gear at T2 and attend a mandatory meeting prior to race day. We had never seen so many thin people in one spot in America EVER! It was unreal and at the same time pretty intimidating. To start, my bike cost probably as much as the pedals on most of my fellow triathletes bikes! Aerobars, disc wheels, tri bikes, and race helmets shaped like spaceships were abound! My Giro bike helmet was a 1990 model that I was concerned was even within race rules it was so archaic. The racers and their families all jammed into the Windsor High School gymnasium for the 2:30 PM meeting. In a nutshell, riders DO NOT take the hard right and hill at mile five on the bike fast! It was probably repeated twenty times to us on this Saturday so I made a mental note.
I am looking down at the cyclist who had crashed on mile 5 hill
Fast forward to mile 4.7 on the bike. By this time, I had survived the swim in the Russian River clocking in around 39 minutes. As I approached the 5 mile mark, I could see flashing lights on a fire truck and thought there is no possible way someone could have ignored those 45 warnings and crashed. Or could they? YES THEY COULD. I rounded the hard right turn and went down slowly and there on my right an unfortunate participant was done for the day. The rider was bloodied and laying on a board with his neck secured like an injured NFL safety.
The bicycle route of Vineman is absolutely stunning! I probably biked past 50 wineries. Damn that was KORBEL? The famous champagne? I believe it is known much more for their brandy these days. Of all places, Wisconsin, is the biggest consumer of Korbel Brandy as my Grandma Helen can attest. It was a very enjoyable ride and I was able to keep a solid pace of around 18 mph. under mostly cloudy skies. I did not come upon anymore carnage, thankfully, and sped by vineyard after vineyard thinking to myself this is why I live in California! The field for this event consists of people from all over the world and it was not uncommon for me to hear Spanish speakers during the run.
The moment of truth is always the run portion of a triathlon. It makes sense as it is the last event, the temperature has risen, and you are on your last hours of the race. I call the last five miles the “hell zone” ala the “death zone” on Mount Everest. Make no mistake, I am definitely not comparing a triathlon to an Everest climb but the “hell zone” is not pleasant either. The temperature was not even 80 on this particular day which makes a world of difference. While I was waiting in line to get my race bib I was informed by another racer that just a few years back it was over 100 degrees at the end. Brutal! I totally lucked out and it was a fantastic day!
Northern California! In my mind, it belongs in the top 5 regions of the world! Not that I have been all over the world mind you, but I just get this feeling it is in the top 5 somewhere. San Francisco, Napa Valley, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe to name just a few! WOW. It really is a paradise for a person who loves nature and the outdoors! Anyways… I do a lot of cycling, running, open water swimming, and in the winter cross-country skiing in the Sierra Nevada. All this activity has led to a love of triathlon. What is great is… I have friends who specialize in each of one of these disciplines and I train with them and later put them all together. I have a good buddy from San Francisco who I have known all my life. He is an extremely talented and dedicated cyclist. A great training partner…. but also a very scary and unpredictable training partner. I have been on, no question, the toughest bike rides of my life with this friend. Mt. Diablo, Howell Mountain Road, Mt. Tam, Sierra Road (see what Lance Armstrong said about Sierra road)…. all epic ascents in Nor Cal. But today, I will tell you about The DEVILS CANYON!! This is a ride that is literally 2 hours up and 2 hours down. This gorgeous ride takes you under and over California’s tallest bridge, Foresthill Bridge, and along one of the most scenic rivers in the United States, the American River. Please take a look at our statistics and you will get an idea of this ride terrain:
Bike Ride Stats
I had never ridden this ride before and am always a bit leery where my friend is leading us. Past experiences tell me I KNOW it will not be pleasant. At about midride, we began a steep descent into a dark wooded gorge where we approached speeds up to 40 mph. While we descended, I thought to myself, what in the hell is he getting us into now? As the saying goes… what goes down must COME UP! We finally reach the bottom and lo and behold what do we see? A sign of rednecks in the area: A bulletpocked road sign that reads DEVILS CANYON. Oh man. We have one hell of a ride UP now. Thanks Joe.