Wednesday, July 27, 2011

what can I say other than I had NOTHING LEFT

I have been waking up the past two days feeling like I could have used another 2 hours of sleep. I have been soooo tired and my asthma has been acting up since Monday. Today however, I knew I was behind the curve before I even got to the oval and by afternoon I was battling myself about going for a ride. Chris even told me to bag it (I should have listened). I went anyway and an hour into the 2 hour ride I was tailing a good handful of miles behind and calling Matt to fetch me. I should have had a clue when that this was a bad idea when I told him I felt like I was on the verge of hurling before I even hit the road. SO tomorrow? I am taking off. (LOUNGING BY THE POOL)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"May I ask you, what is one of your favorite workouts?"

A few days ago Joey and I went for a casual spin, nothing more than just a 15 mile ride with lots of good conversation. At one point I was asked the question about favorite workouts. I was stumped. I have been coaching for a really long time and I have a ton of workouts but all I could come up with was this crazy 8 ladder that I came up with for Chris, Andrew, Nick and Matt. It goes something like this: 8 lap warm up 8 j's, 8 laps hard, 8 laps easy, 8 laps medium, 8 laps easy, 8 laps easy, 8 minute break, 8 laps easy, 8 reverse j's, 8 laps easy, 8 laps medium, 8 laps easy, 8 laps hard, 8 laps easy, 8 lap cool down. Intensity is based on RPE more than HR. I used this workout as something for them to focus on in the evening session on the ice in Lake Placid.

The question has been bothering me since Joey asked. I tell you this because today I found myself in the Kearns long course pool swimming in a lane next to the swim team and they were doing one of my favorite long course workouts, 50 x 50 on 50sec. I found myself keeping pace with them and they were just as happy to do it as I remember being in college at the pool in Ft. Lauderdale during winter break. Its a challenging and fun workout and the key is to come in on time and not swim though (fall behind).  I managed 43 today before I got dropped and I have to say I am completely FRIED, done, legs left in the canyons and arms left in the pool. Lungs? Hmm, I am really not sure where they are but they are definitely not here. I left the oval this afternoon feeling like the only thing holding me up was endorphins coursing through my veins.

My time in the water today got me thinking about some of the other workouts and how Peri used to get pissed off if we pushed the beginning of a set of 10x 100 with 30 sec rest. I started to think about how I could apply similar workouts to the ice. Yes Joey, you got me thinking about making things both fun and challenging,  so for you, your challenge might look like 40 x 400 on 40.  See you on the ice!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I seem to have this limit to my ability to climb at altitude

Somewhere between 7,200 and 8,000 feet my body seems to have an issue with with altitude when it comes to climbing on a bike.Today I dropped Chris off at the rink and headed out on my bike 15 minutes later. Today's route was an out and back up Big Cottonwood Canyon. From the mouth of the canyon its 12 miles to Solitude. Its actually a pretty comfortable ride, the grade is far shallower than that of Little Cottonwood, however, I seem to get to a point between 7200 and 8000 feet where my body has other ideas about progress.Steep pitches at this elevation seem to cause me to get light headed, shaky, and cause headaches when I attempt to climb them on my bike. I marvel at this because when hiking or skiing above this point it takes a bit longer for this to manifest. It must be a direct correlation to the level of exertion? Here are the stats;

Its Pioneer Day today in Utah, a state holiday that rivals the 4th of July in festivities.  The canyons were a bit busy with family picnics. This made traffic a bit of an issue at times and with each picnic area having its own fire ring, the burning of pinon, which I am so allergic to, made the air quality a bit hard to deal with today I returned home a bit exhausted!  

Hopefully tonight we will catch the BIG fireworks at Liberty Park with Andrew and his family. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why would a place like that have LITTLE in its name? There is nothing little about it.

Seven-thirty felt early but never the less we were off on our canyon adventure. We warmed up on Wassatch Blvd and by the time we hit the canyon we were ready to get down to business. Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd is about 12 miles long and climbs at a steady 9% with several steeper pitches. We rode eight of them.

The climb up the canyon itself was rather rhythmic, almost predicable in a sense and while I found it difficult at times, it was never extremely uncomfortable for long. I did however have a great deal of trouble with my heart rate at the last pitch before our turnaround point. I couldn't get it to come down enough to be comfortable pedaling (dizzy, lightheaded, pounding in the ears), so sadly, with the end in sight I made the turn for home. Coming down the canyon was almost more difficult than the climb. At one point I was afraid that I would have no break pads left at the bottom despite using the grab and release method of slowing my speed.One of the best moments was when one of the young skaters said it was awesome to see me that high up on the mountain and that she only made it half as far her first time. I thought about this for a bit, by the end of the day yesterday I had the desire to try it again. I know that part of my biological stress yesterday was due to not knowing what to expect as far as physical demands. Now that I know that climb is predictable enough to squeak out that last little bit.

I plan on riding big cottonwood tomorrow while Chris is at practice. I hear that this canyon is not quite as steep though its considerably longer. Of course you will hear how it goes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


As I rode yesterday with the group I was with I saw Chris pass me in the other direction with his team. Chris had borrowed last years Kermit jersey and at one point before we rode I had fixed his collar in true motherly fashion and caught a glimpse of the JMB memorial on it. I wondered if Jared had ever ridden in Utah and was sure he knew full well how much mental strength it was taking Chris to get out there and ride after a 3 hour workout just a few hours before. As he waved hi I found myself thinking about the PMC and then Adam, and then other siblings, like Jimmy's seven sisters and brother and Hanna's brother and sister and what it must be like for them to suddenly be without one their closest friends and playmates there. My heart wrenched.

When I was at the plateau waiting for my heart rate to come down, it was so hot and I made the comment that I wish the team had considered tank jerseys. With that Ryan asked me about the team and I found myself talking about Jared and his family and how biking was a big part of life from racing to touring. I realized later that story this resonated well as I was talking to accomplished athletes.

As I left to ride up the canyon I could not loose my train of thought about the PMC. I am still a bit nervous about raising the funds but for some reason I have faith about this too. At the end of my day's ride Chris joined me for the ride back to the car and I had this thought about a recent e-mail about spotting a Kermit member on the cape. I wondered if anyone riding by us at rush hour was wondering who we were as they passed?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Three Little ...

Today was a fantastic day! I learned more about rockering blades this morning which until now the only one I ever felt comfortable asking was John Dimon which leaves me a long way off that 10,000 hour goal that is needed to be considered knowledgeable. I am not saying that I any closer to reaching that goal, only that I now have a bit more confidence about asking questions. Thanks Ryan! 

This afternoon I dropped Chris off near the Holger Zoo to meet Matt and his group for a 2 hour ride. They were riding over to the mouth of Little Cottonwood before turning back so Chris planned to meet me somewhere along Wassatch or even up Mill Creek Canyon as that was where I was headed. It took Ryan's group longer to drop me this week. It was just a few minutes before we made the turn up the canyon. When I arrived they had just started their interval set. Last week they were well into it. I sat for about 15 minutes to let my HR come down a bit (not to mention cool off- it was HOT out there). Then I took off up the canyon- riding just before Heather started her 4th trip up. My plan was to ride until the last one in the bunch reached their 4 minute turn around, but the excitement of being able to breath this time got the better of me and I headed further up the road.  I was giddy, the air was considerably cooler, the road flattened out a bit, there seemed to be some cool trails to explore sometime in the next week and then just as I had the end in sight I see what I thought was a LARGE black dog scamper across the road followed by two smaller large black dogs then it hit me these were not LARGE BLACK NEFEE's. Momma and her babies were granted a VERY large berth, meaning I chickened out, turned around, and high-tailed it down the canyon a bit before my goal. I arrived at the meeting point to another surprise, Chris was sitting in the shade waiting for the NT workout to be finished and me to return. On the way back to the car Chris and I got stuck at a light and the team waited for us at the next one, which was so touching. Thanks GUYS!  Another ride that makes it hard to think about leaving this place. The mountains offer so many great challenges AND this is one of the most bike friendly cities I have ever spent time in. The car dealer even has loaner bikes! 

Tomorrow we have a day off, or at the very least an easy day. Chris and I are off to see the U (again) and check in with admissions about what financial aid might be available to him. Then we are headed to the pool with the girls. I may head out on my own for a ride but if not laps in the pool might be a welcome thought instead. 

I leave you with this:

Love the Thunder

When I left the Subaru dealer it was pouring sheets. The sky was charged. The clouds felt like they were sitting at shoulder height. The world should have stopped but it didn't. There was this woman running to dodge the drops as she crossed in front of me on State Street, her 2 toddlers in tow, a girl about 2 and a boy about 4. The boy turned and flashed me an incredible grin as if he was trying to tell me that he thought this was great (but don't tell his mom). She gave up half way down 1300S, and slowed to a walk despite the increase in the volume of water. On 1300S at that same intersection there was a man sitting on his Harley, tank top, shorts, no helmet and despite the intense conditions no evident body language either. He sat there at the light stoic as if it were a bright and sunny day. Then there was the man in a wheel chair exiting the TRAX station with a companion, he was dancing a happy dance as if he was being baptized while his companion appeared embarrassed and annoyed at being wet.

Storms here are different than they are at home. At home they seem to come to a steady boil before erupting, exploding, destroying...You know they will be bad. Here they come out of nowhere and are like a dry flash in a pan catching whatever energy they can from that initial burst, the clouds dumping their contents at once.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jordanelle and Ramp Camp

We had a lazy crazy day today. Chris, the girls and I went to Jordanelle Reservoir to swim, then we headed to the Park Silly Sunday Market once again. After indulging in some shave ice, looking at some crafts and fetching some bread from Megan's killer lasagna we headed to the Olympic Jumping complex to take in some ramp camp. Mac took the video. It was a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I admit when I woke up this morning at 6AM heading for an epic 2.5 hour ride with the speedskaters I left the house a bit pissed off. Chris managed to get severely sunburned on his legs yesterday and couldn't muster putting on a pair of bike shorts.  His group was working out on their own today and was assigned a 2 hour hike or ride. The plan was for Chris to ride with the group I was with, and then head to the farmers market. When I arrived at the ride start I texted him telling him to get up and go skate a 40K. He didn't get up in time to do that either. Blowing off a workout this morning meant that we would have to figure something else out for later in the day. I stopped worrying about it and went out for my ride. We spent 2.5 hours riding some pretty interesting countryside, by farms, the airport, through typical suburban neighborhoods. Riding by the airport reminded me of Korea, not because of the way things looked, but because of the way they smelled, briney and salty. The HOT air smelled like KIMCHI!

After the ride Rebecca, Eric and I went to the farmers market for lunch and to buy produce. I had the best chicken tacos made with a blue corn tortilla and a green salsa. I also enjoyed some horchata, something I haven't had in ages. A great recovery drink, not too sweet, high in protein, cold...The market idea was perfect, though I did manage to loose 50. out of my jersey pocket. I just hope someone who REALLY needed it found it. Salt Lake City's farmers market reminds me of the one in Park Slope Brooklyn. Its quite large! 

I arrived back at the house with lots of stuff, raspberries, lavender, chard, chinese broccoli, kale, turnips, oregano, apricots, garlic, string beans, the best pumpernickel bread I have had in a long time and to Chris asking me if we could go for a hike. So while he made himself a salad for lunch I figured out where to go for a hike. We headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta. We were planning on heading up to Catherine's pass for starters, but the access road to the campground where the trail started was still not open so we decided to hoof it up to the trail head and decided on the way to alter our plans a bit and we climbed beyond the ski area boundary on a primitive trail. We covered some serious snow pack in places  as well as some fast moving run-off crossings. Of course we had a snowball fight, which Chris won with a cheap shot which hit me in the eye (I hope I don't have a shiner in the morning). As we were descending the trail we saw a coyote cut across the trail and through the meadow that was up ahead of us. It was an absolutely gorgeous 2.5 hour solution to Chris's workout predicament. Back at the house we dined on ribs, potatoes, sauteed greens, and pumpernickel served outside on the porch. A perfect ending to a tiring day! 

Tomorrow? Jordanelle State Park for a swim with the girls and a search for new tent poles!  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A soak in the crater

So today was a day off for Chris and nothing could be better than a soak in a hot spring. The one we chose was called the crater located at the Homestead resort in Midway. We were originally going to go for a hike up to Diamond Fork  but there was some recent postings on Facebook that talked about trail washouts and rattlesnakes and because I didn't know the trail to begin with we decided it would be best to leave it for another time.
After our 40 minute soak we headed into Midway for lunch then came back down to Salt Lake using back roads. We drove around Deer Creek reservior and down through Provo Canyon where we stopped at Bridal Veil falls and dipped our toes in at the base of the falls.
We were back in town by 4:30 or so. Chris decided to take advantage of relaxing for the rest of his day. I however, went out for an hour long ride. Aside from rush hour traffic that was annoying in certain areas, my ride was pleasant. At one point I hoped on the Jordan Parkway and headed toward town. I went about 10 miles before heading back for dinner.

Tomorrow is an early day, 7:30 at Sugar House park (I may ride the 16 miles over there).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mill Creek Canyon is just one thing...

The past two days have been information overload and the altitude is still giving me a run for my money. Today we headed out to Mill Creek Canyon by bike, the team and Chris were doing intervals, I was just out for the ride.

My first challenge, that little incline just past the fee station. My heart was in my ears and yes I did stop to take a picture so that my heart rate would come down a bit. The route reminded me of a day on Mt Rest Road only deep within canyon walls and in the shade. It was also much longer and much more peaceful.

The best was several team members encouraged my efforts, Chris made it through the interval set and I left that mountain ride so charged up that I wanted to do it again tomorrow!

Monday, July 11, 2011

We are here...

So we made it to SLC after a really cool drive through southern Utah, including Moab and Arches National Park where Justin declared that he was in a holey place, in other words all the rocks had big holes in them. On the way up route 6 we ate in this awesome hole in the wall taco shack, and it was easily the best meal we had on our trip west. We had a gorgeous drive through the mountains. Honestly, the snow pack here is more than what is left in the Rockies, beautiful! It has been an incredible journey so far. Yesterday, a rest day for skating, afforded us the time to relax a bit, get settled in and go to a street fair in Park City.

This morning however, dawned early. I had to be at the oval at 7:30 for the morning workout (inline, jump test and dryland). I learned a great deal. Chris had an on your own workout so he went for a 5 mile run a bit later. It was an interesting day. Ryan and the group he works with were really welcoming which was really heartwarming. This afternoon I had hoped to get out for a ride after the day at the oval but the game of bandi did me in (I was so tired and I am still feeling the altitude a bit).

What is bandi? Its basically like floor hockey on ice (no checking). Having a speedskater play a fast game like that on hockey skates helps develop better balance skills as well as affords a fun anaerobic and very explosive workout. Put it this way, I am beat and a bit sore as well.

Chris is well on the way to that pain train he will feel before he leaves here in a few weeks. He says the ice felt a bit awkward, but he was all smiles! (shhh, don't tell him, but what he worked on looked excruciating!)

The highlight of my day was a text from my nephew. He just got his first cell phone and promptly sent me a text to see where I was. I hope his parents were not too upset when I sent him back a text with a picture? Sorry Joe and Claudia, next time I will call him back instead.

Time to call it a night!

Friday, July 8, 2011


July 8th Mesa Verde National Park

We arrived here last night at 8:30 PM, just in time to set up camp without too much darkness, buy some essentials from the camp store and get down to having an impromptu cookout of elk sausages, Ska Brewery Pinstripe Red, and a roaring fire that we were surprised we were allowed to have due to the fire restrictions all over this state.

Our drive down from Denver was actually really pretty. We opted to come south on 285 through the mountains and stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park. I think the thing that impressed us the most is that we could see the dunes across the high plateau we were traveling on for a good 30 miles. Chris took off running up the dunes shortly after arriving, Justin tagged along behind him. It was hot, a good 100 and yet that boy, despite the altitude made it ¾ of the way to the top of the soft sand of Star dune.  I on the other hand took a more leisurely approach and climbed at a snails pace, not dealing well with the heat nor the altitude. The number of kids who were snowboarding down the sand intrigued me. They were using old boards that were rubbed down with some sex wax each trip. It was interesting to watch them walk up and slide down choosing a new line or maybe even a new bowl each time. I even saw these two guys go down from the top, which is at least a two-hour hike. When we were ready to call it a day Chris and Justin ran down, which looked precariously scary but really was not.

On our way to Mesa Verde we stopped for a late lunch of huevos rancheros, burritos, and fish tacos topped off with Three Barrel Brewing’s Hop Trash IPA and Black Yak at the Peace of Art cafĂ© in Del Norde. This was a funky little place with REALLY good food! It set us up for the next 3 hours of driving. We did however stop at an overlook on the other side of Wolf Creek.

I woke up this morning with a full-blown case of altitude sickness. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and die. My stomach hurt, my head was throbbing and I had been hurling for a good few hours. My only saving grace was Christopher telling me that I had to eat, drink and take a shower. So I feebly forced down two pancakes, a yogurt and some coffee. Within an hour I was able to muster up the strength to go see some of this great park. By mid day, after forcing myself to continue the ritual of drinking and nibbling on small bites I managed to feel much better, just completely wiped out. We spent the day climbing into and out of cliff dwellings which amaze me (and I think the boys too) eventually ending it with treating them both to their first Indian Taco (frybread with pinto chili, cheese, lettuce and tomato) which was prepared at this makeshift taco stand by a local woman from the Ute reservation. It was a welcome treat. Now we are sitting here doing laundry, catching up on electronic stuff and hoping to get into Cortez for some green chili tonight. Tomorrow its off to Arches NP and our final destination Salt Lake. It has been one hell of an adventure so far! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

westward expansion

6PM CST - July 6, 2011 Somewhere in western Kansas (between Salina and Hayes)

I write this while traveling in a hovel which is the back of my new forester, Justin is driving and Chris is in the front seat and we have put 1506.5 miles behind us since we left home yesterday morning at 3AM and we have another 400 miles to travel today alone. We are traveling along Main Street (I- 70) and going by hundreds of miles of farms, wind and cattle that is all we have seen since lunch in Kansas City. In my 6 hours of driving I managed a good sunburn even though the windows and sun-roof were shut and the AC blasting. Our morning started at the St. Louis Arch with a stop in Independence, MO at the Frontier Trail museum and then Gates BBQ before hightailing it further west.  (BTW the closest thing to salad at Gates was cole slaw). We hope to make Denver by midnight.  This is our grand cross country adventure.

Last night we arrived in Granite City, Illinois at a KOA campground to a bog of levee mud and mosquitoes that made setting up the tent an adventure in itself after a 16 hour drive. We arrived to find our tent poles in bad shape, not sure who checked them before we left...but they should be fired. OK that’s a lie…Too bad I am in mixed company so I cannot comment further. We haven’t had a chance to stop and find new ones today either, so for the next few days I hope my rigging will hold up. We quickly made dinner of ramen and a variety of spices such as seaweed, tamari and chili peppers. We all wish we had an egg. We were so beat after starting off so early with so little sleep. Crawling into a tent was a welcome thing. Sleeping however was an interesting experience, between the freight trains running by the back of our tent every hour and the feral cats choosing last night to start or add to a family, They howled as if there was no tomorrow for a good deal of the night. In any case we were up by 6, showered, packed up and out of there by 7:30. We went off to the Arch and grabbed breakfast at the Mobil Mart before hitting the road for good at 9:30. 

So here I am, riding along in the back of the car, 40 miles later and the scenery has not changed much. Just wondering how long it will take to get out of Kansas and remembering that the last time I drove this way I thought the same thing. 

It is 11:54 PM MST and I am sitting in a Denver La Quinta. We bailed on camping for the night for a few reasons. Numerous construction projects brought I-70 to a two lane road for MILES meaning that our speed was taken down from 80 to 50 which put a big dent in the time. We hit some VERY... NO, lets make that TERRIFYING weather just as we left Goodman, Kansas which continued for 50 miles. We are talking wind blown sheets of rain and hail that were so sideways that the only way we would be able to tell if there were a tornado is if we hit one dead on (COULD NOT SEE). The lightning was on top of us at times, bright, blinding, felt the electricity inside and out (nostril hair raising even). Stopping felt like it would have been dangerous, and driving was definately so... by the time we got to Limon we were so spent from the adrenaline surge that another hour or so was all we could muster, it was already 10PM. Besides, Justin topped off the gas in and it came to 6.66 gallons, he forced another 1.11 gallons in...that will teach them to make fun of all the Jesus signs they have seen since Ohio. I decided being that tired to start off with, making camp at midnight at 9,000 feet would only cause us serious problems (like no sleep) so Denver was a likely choice, it only tacked on 30 minutes to tomorrow's trip.

After the rain stopped I drove, sunroof open so the boys could see the stars and feel the cool dry air. A fox darted across the highway, Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Bob Seger and the Eagles all made there way onto the only radio station we could fine, a classic radio station out of Denver. We arrived at this new hotel with an elevator wide enough to fit two bikes and us, a room bigger than any 4 star hotel room, impecibly clean...time for a good sleep before we play in the hills.