oregon adventures

Monday, October 24, 2011

Albany Sprint Triathlon II

Back around the 9th of October (same day as the Portland Marathon) I did the Albany Sprint triathlon for the second time this year. The first one was back in April, this one was the same pool and same course, just a lot fewer people. Rode down in the Headhunter van and it was misting and sprinkling the whole way down. Got to the High School and set up the bikes and got numbers and t-shirt and it was only misting at that time. Watched Terri's wave and then it was our time to swim. I was in a lane with coach Denise and a guy named Kirk Rose. He's over 60, but has been at almost every Oregon tri I've raced and he usually wins. There was someone in our lane from the last wave still, but they wanted to start our wave anyway, so she said "get him out" and said "go". We were still on the deck so we all three jumped in and took off in a line about 10 seconds after our wave started. Denise led the whole way and I stayed right there. I think we did a 12-13 minute 750 yard swim. Since Canada I haven't worn my watch and they didn't have splits at this race. Ran out to transition and it was wet, but not raining. Took off on the bike and tried to stay at 19-20 the whole time. Passed Matt and said hi. After about 8 miles of pedaling along at a good clip but not zooming, coach Denise caught up to me and said "jump on", so I sped up and we pace lined for about 2 miles until she passed someone and I couldn't accelerate to stay with her. Came into transition about a minute behind Denise, but threw on the shoes and knee braces and took off. Saw Denise up ahead and stayed within sight of her. Matt flew past running like the wind, then Kirk Rose passed me just a little faster than me. When he got up to Denise I heard her say "hey lane mate" and speed up to stay him. I sped up to keep the same distance as before, but I was pushing it and couldn't close the gap. Anytime there was a curve, she would see me back there say something and speed up. I stayed within sight, but finished about 40 seconds to a minute behind her. A big enough group of Headhunters were done that they did a loud "moo" as I finished. (I moo at cows on bike rides) Stayed for awards and every Headhunter (8 of us) got a ribbon. I got 2nd place in my age group and coach Denise and Terri got 1st in their age group. Then we went to Chipotle in Salem for lunch and Starbucks for the ride home. Probably the first time the whole group has gotten a ribbon, fun day even if wet.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Indian Heaven

Sunday Terri and Jim took me horseback riding through the Indian Heaven wilderness area in southern Washington. The weather forecast said it was supposed to be nice, but of course it was wrong. Got to an old trailhead by the road to Lone Butte and saddled up. I hadn't been on a horse since 1999 or so. I was on an 8 year old called Mister. Jim led us up an abandoned trail to Placid Lake. It was fun try to pick up the trail as it vanished and reappeared. It was easier to do from a horse because you could see ahead. Made it to Placid Lake and there was a large group and an older guy came over and asked about the trail. He said he was George Acker and had a lake in the wilderness named for him. I had to ask him what he did to get a lake named for him. He explained that he was a logger and had built most of the roads up around the area. Luckily they stopped before cutting Indian Heaven. He was 83 and still hiking and going strong. We took a trail that launched straight up the mountain and had to rest the horses periodically. It was nice climbing and not having to work hard at it. Got up to the Pacific Crest trail and took that to a junction and went to Clear Lake where we stopped to eat lunch.
By then it was sprinkling and pretty cold at 4900 feet. Ate an apple and gave the core to Mister, he seemed to like me better after that. Got back on and took the loop trail back to the Pacific Crest trail. It was muddy and the horses had to work to find good footing. Got to Junction Lake where three trails come together and took a fourth trail, the abandoned old Pacific Crest route. It took us through beautiful meadows to Acker Lake. Then we rejoined the new route of the Pacific Crest at Bear Lake and then took a newer trail back to Placid Lake that was longer but more gentle. By then we settled into a rhythm and the only sounds were the soft clop of hoofs, the creak of the saddle and the tinkling of a metal strap on Terri's horse. The woods and meadows were beautiful and so quiet. The whole trip we saw one couple backpacking with their dogs, that's it. When we almost back to the truck, I realized I had never ridden more than an hour (rental rides), this had been almost 6 hours. Legs felt a little sore, but I felt great. On the drive back to town, I conked out for awhile from the fresh air probably. Great day and a lot of fun- Thanks Terri and Jim!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Montana Running

After doing Ironman Canada, I went to Banff for three days and then on the way home I decided to go down through Montana since I was even with it and had never been to Montana. Crossed over the border at Eureka Montana and filled the thirsty Jeep up with 3.69 per gallon gas after paying 1.19 per litre at Banff and 1.30 per litre at Penticton. Drove down to Kalispell and checked into a really nice Hampton. It was dinner time and I had read in a guide book about a good pizza place, so I found the Moose saloon and it looked rundown on the outside. Walked through the door and had to stand there a bit to get used to the dark and saw sawdust floor and tons of people. It was standing room only and loud. Ordered a pizza and found a seat as someone left. Really good pizza. The next day I headed for Glacier National Park and went in the west entrance to drive the Going to the Sun Road. Not too crowded at first, I would let anyone coming up go around so I could look around. Views kept getting better the farther I went. Then it started climbing and the views got incredible, but the road was on the edge and was dizzying to look over. Got to the high point, Logan Pass, and had planned to hike the Highline trail, but it was Labor Day weekend and the parking lot was swarming with circling cars looking for a space. So I continued down the road to Mary's Falls and did that hike to Mary's Falls and Victoria Falls. Then stopped and hiked to Sun point overlooking St. Mary's Lake. Beautiful park and great drive. Then out the east side and down to Helena to another Hampton that was not that nice. I was beat by then and didn't see anyplace to eat nearby, so I walked over to a Walmart, which I try never to go to, and got frozen lasagna and cooked it in the room and ate the whole thing.
The next day I went to the capital and it was open, so I walked around and admired the art. The house and senate chambers were locked but I could look in. Then I decided to run for the first time since the Ironman. They had a "healthy heart" path marked out around the capital and a nearby park for a mile loop, so I did that and then again and felt great so a third time for 3 miles that felt fantastic. Then it was time to leave Helena, which other than the capital area looked pretty ghetto- hundreds of casinos, every gas station and cafe was a casino. The capital area was very pretty and casino free, so I found downtown and it was very nice and casino free. The tale of two towns, they have a problem there. Radio, billboards, TV, all talked about a huge meth problem in Montana, get rid of 90 percent of the casinos and they'd still have too many. On the way out of Montana I drove through Missoula and downtown and by the college was nice and the rest was not. Then in Idaho, I had to drive through the town of Kellogg since I'm from Battle Creek. Nice little town with a dead downtown, but I saw a beautiful bike path through town and noticed it running by the highway for awhile. It's a 73 mile long path that crosses the top of Idaho and is maintained really well. Have to go back over and ride that one.
Got to Spokane and checked into the downtown Doubletree, the picture is from the room on the 14th floor. Walked over to the large park with the Spokane Falls that was really pretty. They were having a big concert, food event going on in the park, so I got crepes for dinner from a vendor and walked around the fair. Nice downtown in Spokane. Next day the long scenic drive home. Now that I've been to Montana, the only states I haven't been to are North and South Dakota.