oregon adventures

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hood To Coast

Last weekend I did the Hood to Coast relay race, 197 miles from Mt Hood to Seaside Oregon by the ocean. I was in van one this time, when I did it in 2004 I was in van 2. With van one we started at Timberline lodge on Mt Hood at around 6000 feet. I had leg 4 which was down in the town of Rhododendron. It was still light out when I took off for my leg (top picture). It was slightly downhill, so I bumbed the heartrate up to 85-90% and soared along for 7.2 miles at an 8:06 pace just as the sun was going down. We had the special Headhunter Adventure van for the first six legs and then van 2 took it. It is decked out with headhunter pictures and tiki torches and skulls and speakers and a PA system and neon lights underneath. We had AC/DC playing on the speakers, the green neon on underneath and when we pulled into the Sandy Fred Meyer store which is the first van switch stop, flashbulbs galore started going off. We felt like rock stars arriving, people came over to get pictures and pose by the van.
We moved all our stuff to the plain van which is much more comfortable and went to OMSI by the river downtown to try and sleep, but I just rolled around because I-5 was right overhead and it was loud. For my second leg it was out by the town of St Helens on Highway 30 and it was 2 or 3 in the morning. It was only 3.5 miles so I tried to keep the same exertion level and heart rate as the first leg without getting nauseous from using a flashlight to run with. I tried turning it off, but worried about turning an ankle, so I ran with the light moving around. Looked up sometimes to see a beautiful star display. Finished the 3.5 miles in an 8:19 pace and that includes about 20-30 seconds waiting at a stop light with a volunteer before I could cross. Instead of trying to sleep, some of us went to a school and took a shower and had a breakfast made by a booster club. Then sat at the van switch place and napped for about 40 minutes. It had a huge porta-pottie double line. The further out in the country, the fewer porta-potties it seemed.
For my third and final leg it was a rolling 4+ miles and I took off and got the heartrate to the same place as the other legs and just cruised. In 2004 I had two road kills (passing people) the whole 3 legs. This year I had 6 the first leg and 5 the second leg and then on the third leg I had 12! People were tired I think, because I passed four on one hill. One of the four was a pretty girl in a plaid skirt, so I said "nice skirt", she thanked me and said good running. About 100 yards from the finish I saw a really pretty girl (black shorts girl in the middle picture which is at the start) about 50 yards ahead and thought "I can pass her", so I kicked it in and passed her right before the end. Came in at an 8:30 pace with small hills- very pleased with my running in this event and the fact that I could keep the same effort level in each leg.
Then to Seaside and after a shower at the school, to the beach party. The girls team had already finished and were at the beach in the beer garden so we joined them. Most of the guys went back to a team member's mom's house for home cooked food. I stayed and drank with the girls and had an expensive vendor's salad. I don't usually drink, but after 5 beers I was feeling pretty good. By then 6 of us went to a bar in Seaside for another beer and some food. As soon as we sat down the girl from leg 3 that I had passed came over and sat next to me and said "Jeff?" I put my arm around her and said "yes" (on my 6th beer, ok). She said in a stern voice "you know you passed me right at the end, I'm mad at you". Blew me away- how did she know my name? Found out her name was Erin and she had 2 road kills that leg and I told her that by passing her it gave me 12 so I had to. Later I found out that she was in the bathroom line with one of the guys on the team and he told her my name because he remembered me passing her. After that 3 of the girls and I walked back to the mom's house we were staying at and I ended up on a cot in the dining room.
The next day we went to awards and we took the Headhunter Adventure van which won best van decoration. In downtown Seaside coach Denise asked if anyone wanted to ride on top, so 4 of us went on the roof and rode through town while Denise was on the PA system. After awards the girl who did the Windy Ridge ride with us in July came over and wished me good luck on my Ironman and I wished her good luck in Ironman Wisconsin in 2 weeks. She said "remember, it's about the journey and the wonderful friends and memories you've made along the way". Couldn't have said it better- It has been an amazing year! Back in May while riding in the van up to the Grand Columbian training ride, my ex- training partner and I were talking about the best years of our lives and for her it was when she was 19. I thought about it and said "47" (my current age), she said she didn't believe me, but it's true this is the year- this is the time- this is the journey! Hopefully there will be better and more later, but so far- this is my time to shine.

Anyway, as we were leaving awards after buying fudge, a policeman stopped us and said no music or using the PA system, luckily no one was on the roof. People drove by yelling encouragement to us while he had us stopped. Then to Norma's for chowder and fish.
This week on Wednesday the weekend caught up with me and I slept through a swim and only woke up just in time to go to work after 13 hours or so of sleep. First time I've missed a workout with people waiting for me.
Two weeks until the gun goes off- I'm terrified, pumped, and numb all at the same time!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hood River Ride

Saturday we drove out to Hood River after the 2000 meter group swim and rode from Hood River to The Dalles and back and then some more. Last week was the last long week before the ironman, so after the 2000 swim I had 9500 for the week, so I told coach if we do 500 more we'd have 10,000 meters for the week, so we swam 500 more. For the ride we parked the van at the Full Sail Brewery in Hood River and rode from there. We had a group of 7 and rode through Hood River and up onto the Mosier tunnels trail which is a 5 mile or so paved bike and pedestrian trail that used to be part of the old Historic Highway in the Gorge. Passed lots of people on the trail and had some good views of the Gorge and then into the town of Mosier. From there we rode on the road as it climbed up to Rowena Crest which has a lookout point and hiking trails. We stopped and took pictures and then for the wild hairpin turns descent. At one point 7 or 8 motorcycles roared past inches away from us on very sharp turns and they must have been doing at least 80MPH or so it seemed. Then a long flat part to the town of The Dalles. From there we took a road I'd never been on that goes back to Mosier a different way. Now I know why I've never been on it. The road is simply called Seven Mile Hill road- can you guess why? Holy cow was that hard! Seven miles later we came to a sign that said summit, 1802 feet and we started by the river at 0 feet. What made it hard was the very, very strong headwind. We were going 6 miles per hour up the hill and then it would switchback and the wind would be blocked and we could go 8-10 MPH for a tiny bit, so it was a bad hill, but not the worst until you add the wind. Then the very steep, should have been fast, descent. I got in the aeros and took the lead and on the first curve the wind hit me and I was out of the aeros and fighting Gigi like she was a bucking bronco. After that I went down the hill with my brakes on and very slowly. I guess that's why the Hood River area is the wind surfing capital of the world. At Mosier we stopped for ice cream at a store that has a Porche collection inside. That's where the top picture is taken of some of the bikes. We took the tunnel trail back to Hood River and then 4 of us rode some more, but it was climbing anyway we went, so we only did 20 more miles and got back to Full Sail with only 60 miles, but tons of saddle time because of the climbing. Had to go in Full Sail for lunch and brews.
Totals for last week were 10,000 meters swimming, 162 miles bike and 28 miles running. Now for three weeks of tapering, with Hood to Coast relay run this weekend being our last long run equivalent. My first leg is leg 4 around 8PM on Friday and is 7.8 miles long.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sauvie's Island Ride

Saturday after the 2000 meter group swim, one group was going to Crown Point and one group was going to Sauvie's Island. I went to Sauvie's a flat long ride. Started in Camas and across the I-205 bridge into Oregon and along the Marine drive path and then down a path I hadn't been on in a long time. It was built on an old landfill area and has eagle nesting pavilions and sculptures alongside the path. Then over the St. John's bridge (top picture). Then along highway 30 to Sauvie's Island. We got to the island and did one 12 mile loop around it. It was bike central, they have a large parking lot and port-a-pottie just for bicyclists and the lot was full. We saw tons of riders on the loop and even saw a group of runners. That would actually be a nice flat pretty 12 mile run. After the loop we decided we were starving, so we stopped at a restaurant in Linwood and ate lunch with our bikes parked against the booth next to us.(I had a shrimp sandwich). While eating we saw groups of riders pass by- it was a day for riding a bike. Rode over the I-5 bridge on the return trip and back to near the club at only 70 miles, so we did a small extra loop to get to 83 miles for the ride. Got back to the club and found out that my ex-training partner had crashed on the Crown Point ride and broke her arm. Almost a year of ironman training... but it could have been much worse.
Sunday I did my long run with a group of three others and I stayed with them for over 6 miles and then fell back. Trudged along then just trying to finish. Got back to the club at 13 miles, so I switched out my empty bottles for full and ran 3 more miles for 16 total at a 10 something pace.
Took time off work so I could swim with a group this morning as we did 4500 meters. September 15th (Grand Columbian full) is exactly one month away- I am starting to get really scared and excited- sometimes both at once. Lots of emotional swings that will probably get more intense as I get closer.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nike Run & Bridge of the Gods Ride

Last Saturday the Headhunter team had to do packet pickup for the Hood to Coast run as our volunteer job. It was different being on the other side of the table at a packet pickup. Because of that, the long ride was switched to Sunday and Saturday was long run day. The group I tried to keep up with a couple weeks ago were going to Forest park to run the Leif Erickson trail to run 20 or so. I was only scheduled for 13, so I ran by myself at the Nike campus (top picture was from last year) where the packet pickup was. I started out by doing two loops around Nike for 4 miles and then out a paved path I saw and then down the sidewalk to a huge park that had softball and soccer games going on. Then around the office park beside Nike and I saw a runner at a corner and asked him if there were any paths nearby. He pointed over by the Max tracks (our local transit train) and said over there. Found a beautiful nature park with paved paths and wooden walkways that looked like swamp paths you see in Florida. Got back to the Nike campus at a little over 9 miles, so I did two more laps around Nike and a little more for 14 miles. Very slow, 11 minute/mile pace, but it's about time on the feet right now and they didn't have any food or water at the packet pickup so I was very hungry by the time I started running.
Sunday it was misting and cloudy so only 5 of us were there for the long ride. After about 15 miles, Julie and Dave turned to do a shorter ride, so Kevin, coach Denise, and I rode on the Washington side of the Gorge to the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks. It's a beautiful bridge and Kevin took a good blog picture for me, but didn't email it to me yet. Rode across the bridge and it is a metal grate bridge that is very high- so you can see through the road to the distant water. It felt like riding on ice, the grating was pushing Gigi around. Went to a deli and ice cream store in Cascade Locks for lunch. Then since Denise is still hurt we decided to skip the climb to Crown Point and just rode highway 84 back to town. She suggested taking each exit and then getting back on so we didn't have to try and race across the exits and entrances, that worked great. Down Marine Drive and over the 205 bridge and back to the club at 80+ miles, Denise had to go so Kevin and I rode around LaCamas lake once for a total of 97.2 miles.
Monday coach said to do 10 miles running to keep building, so after a 2000 meter swim in the morning I ran at work from the base down past the new Ikea and onto the Marine drive path and when my GPS said 5 miles I turned around and ran back for 10 miles at around a 10:03 pace. That's 2000 swim, 97 ride and 24 run in three days- now to add some more and compress it into one day- no problem!!!
Wednesday Jon and Julie graciously decided to join me for a late morning swim for 3500 meters so I didn't have to do that distance by myself. That was nice having others to swim with because it gets sooo boring swimming long distances. Then I took some time off work that night and joined them for the Clark County Running Club's weekly 3 miler. It was along a beautiful flat dirt path along the Columbia river in Washougal Washington, Julie said it goes about 6 miles and would be good for long runs. I did it in 24:09 for an 8:03 pace. Jon and Julie both did it under 20 minutes for low 6 minute paces.
Yesterday was a social recovery ride and most of the time it's just two or three of us, this time there were 9. That was a lot of fun and we did 32.9 miles at a nice talkative 14.5 average.