Sunday, July 25, 2010

Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic

Last weekend I rode in the STP for the first time. This 200-mile bicycle ride is the largest multi-day bicycle event in the Northwest, with up to 10,000 participants riding from Seattle to Portland in  either one or two days. I rode it with my wife Michelle, my father-in-law Greg, and our friends Elisa and Shelley. We opted for the two day version.

Day one was awesome! It started out cloudy and ended up sunny and beautiful by the time we arrived at the halfway point in Centralia. Along the way we witnessed a few crashes and many flat tires; luckily none of them were people from our group. We had smooth sailing for the most part. However my father-in-law and I did have to make some creative pit stops along the way. It was fun pretending like we lost the peloton when we got back on the bikes and chased our group down. For the most part my body cooperated on day one. However, by the time we arrived in Centralia, my bum was thanking me profusely for getting off the bike seat.

We arrived at Centralia Community College to find Greg's wife Lynn (Thanks Lynn! You rock!) waiting for us with an awesome spot for our tents. We were all thankful to see her there with the chairs set up and cold beverages in the cooler.We were all starved by the time we rode the 100 miles to Centralia in spite of having quite a bit to munch along the way so we quickly showered and headed to dinner. Azteca is usually quick to serve, but not quick enough for our tired bodies. When we were finished with the third bowl of salsa , Michelle threatened to lick it clean and take a bite out of the bowl. Thankfully our food came, so no worries about porcelain splinters. After our walk back to the college, we headed for the tents for some rest before our 5:30 a.m. wake-up call. Unfortunately, we were next to the disco dance party tent. I awoke around midnight as Michelle was on her way out the tent to ask them to put the music to bed for the night.

Day 2 was mentally and physically tougher than day 1 for sure. It might have something to do with the fact that my training did not include any back to back rides! Anyhow, thankfully I had some GU's with me, as I hit a dizzy spell with around 30 miles to go...the last few miles through Portland was stop and go with many traffic lights, but it was really cool riding through the city. All in all we had an awesome time. I definitely wish to  do this again in a few years. We had to choose between a shower or the beer garden when we were done, as our bus back to Seattle was set to leave at 7:00 pm. The choice was easy....we sat around and had a few beers to celebrate our two day ride.

On a side note, I continue being impressed with my father-in-law. He is in incredible shape. There is a picture of him in the dictionary next to the word work horse. I hope to be riding as strong as he is when I am his age. (Heck, I would even settle for riding like he is at my current age!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roots Rock Trail Running Series - Timber Town 10K

Poulsbo Running put on another fantastic event yesterday. The Timber Town 10K started and finished in Port Gamble, WA. Click here for more information about the Roots Rock Trail Running Series. Click here for a decent trail map of the Port Gamble area.

The Timber Town 10K was the second race in the 3 race Roots Rock Trail Series. The first event was a trail 5k and the last event is trail half-marathon on August 8th. The race fee for the half-marathon is a reasonable $20 with a nice Adidas technical shirt for $10. The races are well done and worth the price of admission for sure!

The first part of the run started innocently enough in a grassy field and quickly entered some twisty single track in the forest. I wasn't paying attention at the start, so I was stuck behind quite a few people before I entered the forest. I settled in and decided starting slower than normal would be a good thing. Nothing wrong with conserving some early energy and passing people towards the end.

The 10K course is beautiful. It is a nice balance between single track and fire roads. The course is rolling with most of the uphill happening during the first half of the race. The last 1.8 miles or so are mostly downhill. Chris Hammett, owner of Poulsbo Running along with his wife Brooke, did an excellent job of marking the course as usual.

As for my hope of starting slower and gaining momentum as the race went.....worked out well for a change! It also helped that I love downhill running. I passed maybe 10-12 people over the second half of the race. Mentally, this is always a good thing. The competitive juices are flowing again for me as well. With about a mile to go there was a guy ahead of me that I keyed in on and was determined to pass before the end. I decided to pass him with confidence and hold the faster pace for a good 100 yards or so, with hopes he wouldn't bother trying to stay with me. I was relieved to find he stayed back because I didn't think my stomach could handle an all out kick at the end.

After the race, my wife and I stayed for the awards. There was a nice spread with Heed, bananas, bagels, cream cheese, and watermelon. Chris and Brooke are awesome race hosts. I always enjoy Brooke's sense of humor as she announces the awards and conducts the race drawings. Just about everyone walks away with something, as the raffle prizes are abundant and they usually have some schwag to throw in for those that hang around to the end.

Thanks to Chris and Brooke for all they do for the Kitsap County running community! I truly appreciate their hard work and dedication to the sport.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Future Trail Runner Extraordinaire - German Shorthaired Pointer

A week ago we officially became a family of 6. Well, 7 if you count the red-eared slider turtle in my son's room. We bought a German Shorthaired Pointer...sure to become a wonderful trail running partner for my wife and I for years to come.

Thankfully my wife is very understanding; as this was an impulse buy on my part after wanting a dog for many years. We were vacationing in Lake Chelan and she happened to mention that "if" we ever got a dog, it would need to be a medium sized dog, preferably a Brittany Spaniel. The very next day we were home and I was researching various dogs noted for their endurance and stamina (including Brittany Spaniels). In my research, I found that there weren't many Brittany Spaniels in a desirable price range for us and many wouldn't be ready for taking home until September. On the other hand, there were two possbilities to  buy a German Shorthair Pointer within about 2 hours of our house. My son and I jumped in the car, headed to the ferry, and were off to visit German Shorthaired Pointer breeders on the other side of the Puget Sound. Yes, I think some part of me actually realized my wife wasn't talking about purchasing a dog immediately,  but some other part of my brain took over. I plead temporary insanity. Did I happen to mention that my wife is very understanding?

Dose (Wallips) is a beautiful 9 week old bundle of voracious energy. She spends half of the time running as fast as she can through our yard and house and the other half tuckered out sleeping like a baby. Luckily we live on almost 3 acres and there is plenty of room to roam. As I sipped my coffee this morning and watched her romp around our yard, I was imagining how fun it will be to take her for early morning runs once she gets a bit older. I am rather content watching her happily play in the yard for now. However, the stunning view of the Olympic Mountains this morning made me hunger for some mountain running...hopefully I will be blogging about a sweet run up Mt. Townsend within a week or so...(minus Dose, of course)