Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chasing 190

Traveling. Ruptured Achilles. New baby. Tired. Stressed. Winter in Calgary.

All excuses for why I have been carrying extra pounds for the last year, and frankly none of them very good. Last July I was a trim 185lbs and feeling better than I had in a long time. Jill had given me a huge amount of freedom to "get it out of my system" and ride as much as I could before Cooper arrived, and I did just that. The Punisher and I were putting in big rides on a consistent basis and I was climbing better than ever.

Cooper showed up and exercise and sleep diminished as expected. The real curve ball was rupturing my Achilles in November, effectively limiting my ability to exercise and increasing my pity eating. On the verge of wondering if my fat pants were still going to fit, I decided no more. I got a road bike up in Calgary and started putting in hard days on the bike at least 2 of my 3 nights in Calgary each week.

While that certainly helped, 2 or 3 days per week just was getting it done. So after we got back from Alaska I decided to quit using the excuses, suck it up and get it done. Every pound you can lose makes climbing easier, and climbing is just a way of life in the front range.

My big push started about 2 weeks ago in Calgary, and here are some of the details about what I've been doing to drop the last couple of pounds...

July 15 - Got Ruby out and did a 2 hour, 30 mile loop out to the Olympic Village site including a big climb up to the bobsled run.

July 17 - Did a 9 - 10 mile mountain bike ride with Tony B. in Oklahoma City.

July 19 - After driving back from OK the day before , got up and did a 50 mile, 2.5 hour ride to Carter Lake



July 20 - Singlespeed mountain bike ride at Teller Farm - 12+ miles and 1:15

July 22 - Hall Ranch ride with Marc from Ohio - 13+ miles and 1:40 ride time


July 24 - Hall Ranch ride and added on part of Picture Rock - 14.5 miles and 1:37 ride time


July 25 - Road ride to Berthoud and back. First 20mph avg ride ever, 26 miles 1:18 ride time

July 26 - Ride at Ned with Jill on the singlespeed for 5 miles before getting rained out, then 12 more miles in South Boulder after that


So in that 10 or 11 day stretch the totals add up something like this:
Mountain biking - 65 miles, 8 hours ride time and 7,000 feet of climbing
Road biking - 104 miles, 6 hours ride time and 4,500 feet of climbing

And today after skipping my trainer session last night so I could go catch "The Hangover", I drug myself up out of bed at 6am for 1:15 on the trainer with another hard session planned for tonight when I get done with work. I've found that if I force myself to just get up and go ride that I am always happy that I did so, but I certainly question that decision when the alarm goes off at 5:45.

Part of the newly found motivation is that this weekend is (first and foremost) Cooper's 1 year birthday, but secondly the Laramie Enduro which was to be my season goal. Unfortunately it filled up very quickly this year and I didn't get in from the wait list. So I'm left to look to other goals for the year. Last Sunday, despite having lots and lots of miles in my legs that week, I felt absolutely incredible on the singlespeed.

Time to up the ante. I will break 190.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wrapping up Alaska

Here is a video I threw together of our Alaska adventure. Wanted to show our (mainly my) travels across North America and all the fun we had in Alaska. Got some pics from Dr. LK that hadn't been posted up as well.

Unfortunately the quality is greatly reduced when you upload via Blogger, but YouTube didn't like me "borrowing" the music.

video

Rusty and Joel's Backcountry Adventure

As noted, Jill and Cooper got to stay in Alaska for another 12 days after I left. Being in our house with no Jill, no Cooper, and even no dogs (visiting grandparents in Oklahoma) was not much fun. Luckily, worlds aligned and Rusty's wife was also out of town the one weekend that I'd spend in CO before we all got back home.

So there were some plans suggested. We talked about climbing Long's Peak, doing big high country bike rides, but ultimately we settled on a trip up to Rocky Mountain Natl Park for a backpacking trip. Rusty was an outdoor guide for years, plus he is a big kid so he can haul lots and lots of gear. Perfect person to backpack with.

We did some work Friday morning, ran some errands and then loaded up and headed up to Estes to get our permit. We lucked out and scored a great campsite that worked right into our preferred route for the weekend. We would start at Bear Lake, spend the night at Odessa Lake and then hike out to the Fern Lake trail head to where we would grab the courtesy shuttle to get us back to our vehicle.

After having to go buy a bear canister, stock up on food (and beer), and then drop the car we were finally to the Bear Lake trail head and ready to go. The first day would be all up, and both Rusty and I were extremely overpacked for such a simple trip. We had at least two of everything. I brought tons of "luxury items" that I would never take on a longer trip, but knowing we only had 5 - 6 miles to hike each day I just kept stuffing things into my pack. I'm guessing my pack was in the 35lb. range, Rusty's probably was approaching 45.


Up we go.
From Odessa Lake Loop


Rusty (aka Smoke) in his all gray from head to toe
From Odessa Lake Loop


Break point on the way up
From Odessa Lake Loop



Once away from Bear Lake, the number of people dropped quickly. We encountered a couple of people returning from day hikes, but the hordes and masses of Bear Lake were long behind us. Great temps and blue skies for the hike up, and the wild flowers were everywhere.


From Odessa Lake Loop


From Odessa Lake Loop


Rusty's pack buddy
From Odessa Lake Loop


Views along the way
From Odessa Lake Loop


Making our way across a huge boulder field
From Odessa Lake Loop


Columbine
From Odessa Lake Loop



We made good time up the climb, and before we knew it we were dropping down to Odessa Lake. We had a couple of small snow fields to cross but they were relatively quick and easy to get across. Once at Odessa Lake, we setup camp and then headed to the shore to relax and take it all in.


Where did you spend Friday night?
From Odessa Lake Loop


Rusty hanging at the lake
From Odessa Lake Loop


High Altitude beer seemed fitting
From Odessa Lake Loop


As the sun started to set, the winds were gone and the lake got even more gorgeous
From Odessa Lake Loop



After downing 4 8% beers at 10k feet, Rusty was asleep before his head hit the pillow. I drifted off, but then woke up to see a magnificent lightning storm in the sky. Thankfully it was north and east of us and it was much easier to admire than had it been directly overhead. We woke up, had breakfast by the lake, packed up camp and started packing up camp. Not long after, we were on the trail and headed down. Our trip to Fern Lake would be quick as it was all downhill.

The temps were getting warm and the people were out in full force. We worked our way downhill as quickly as we could, stopping along the way to rest and snap pictures.


Fern Lake
From Odessa Lake Loop


Fern Falls
From Odessa Lake Loop



After passing hundreds of people coming up, we were finally at the trail head. After a bit, the shuttle bus picked us up and we were in the car and headed back to the Front Range before noon.

As seen from Google Earth...

From Odessa Lake Loop


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alaska Trip - Valdez Continued


From Valdez Trip



Dr. LK and Justin know everyone. We travel 7 hours from their home, and when the hotel screwed up and our room didn't have a pull out couch they simply made a call and within 10 minutes their friend shows up with a futon mattress. Then we have a cookout at the house of the boat captain of the ship we are going to be on the next day.

Having an 11 month old and thinking about a 9 hour boat ride where you can't turn back was a bit intimidating, but Coop is generally super happy so we signed up. Of course, we got the "friends" discount so the cruise was uber cheap which was an added bonus.

The cruise was billed as a glacier and wildlife cruise, and it lived up to that and then some. First up was the gorgeous cruise out of the harbor in the mountain circled Valdez.


One of many waterfalls we got to see
From Valdez Cruise


Coop was a champ, and hung out in the backpack most of the day
From Valdez Cruise


Its all fine as long as he has his blanky
From Valdez Cruise


Nearing our first glacier, huge chunks of glacial ice started showing up
From Valdez Cruise


Up near the first glacier
From Valdez Cruise


Sea otters abound
From Valdez Cruise


Jill and Dr. LK enjoying the day
From Valdez Cruise


From Valdez Cruise


Approaching the second glacier of the day, notice how far it goes up on the right and left.
From Valdez Cruise


Somewhere around a mile away, look for the tiny boat in the middle of the pic
From Valdez Cruise


The family
From Valdez Cruise


On the way back we chased several humpback whales
From Valdez Cruise


From Valdez Cruise


Saw tons of stellar sea lions.
From Valdez Cruise


And then the Orcas came out
From Valdez Cruise


From Valdez Cruise


From Valdez Cruise



We saw 5 or 6 Orcas, and followed them around for quite some time. One even came within 5 feet of the boat (See Linda & Justin's blog for some sweet video). I've got quite a bit of video from the boat trip to process and post up soon too.

Sadly as we closed the book on Valdez, my part of the Alaska adventure ended too. We drove back to Fairbanks and then I climbed on a plane to head to Seattle and then on to Calgary. Jill and Cooper stayed in Alaska and will finally come home on Thursday night. I'll fly to Oklahoma to pick up the other two kids who have been playing farm at the grandparents and then we'll reunite the whole family in CO on Saturday. That will be a very good day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alaska Trip - To Valdez and Back


From Valdez Trip



After a quick day to rest and get repacked, the whole crew headed 7 hours south of Fairbanks to Valdez. Yes, the Valdez, AK that is famous for the enormous oil spill but that was long ago (although effects are still evident) and it really is a picturesque setting.


We stopped all along the way, gorgeous vistas abound
From Valdez Trip


From Valdez Trip


From Valdez Trip


From Valdez Trip


From Valdez Trip



The next day we got up, headed back up towards Thompson pass and decided to hike the Goat Trail. While the name should have been an indication, we started up not realizing the difficulty of the trail. Very steep, very narrow and considerable exposure.


From Valdez Trip


From Valdez Trip


When there is a rope affixed to the trail, you now its steep
From Valdez Trip


Tough hiking, but good too
From Valdez Trip


In no way was this shot staged...
From Valdez Trip



After a couple miles, we turned around and made our way back down. We hopped in the car and went up to Thompson Pass, stopping briefly at Blueberry Lake before heading over to hike up to a glacier and then grab some lunch.


Bald eagles soaring above Blueberry Lake
From Valdez Trip


The family in front of an enormous glacier
From Valdez Trip


Signature Big Arms
From Valdez Trip


You can get an idea how big the glacier is from this shot. We are near the dirty section on the left about 1/4 way up.
From Valdez Trip



We opted for naps after that and then headed to some friends of Justin & Linda's for a grill out. Happened to be that the owner of the house we went to for dinner would be our boat captain on our wildlife and glacier tour the next day. Tons of pics from that to come.