Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Night Off

Tonight's plan was to test out some new tubeless tires on my mountain bike. I lubed everything up, set my stuff by the door, but I just couldn't find the motivation to get out. Instead I scratched the biking plan and decided to read, but it turns out I left my book at work, so I suppose it's a good time as any to update!

The first weekend in October I raced the first of the triple crown challenge, a series of 3 mountain bike races this fall. It took place about 6 miles from my apartment, so I really didn't have a valid excuse for not going. Turns out all the extra off-road time has helped and I won the 19-26 sport class. The second place rider and I were pushing each other to the end, but I was able to overtake him on a long climb and I never looked back.

Katie and I had plans to head out to Joshua Tree last weekend, but the strong winds and sand storms in the forecast changed our mind. Instead I started scouting out routes to train for the Vision Quest, a 56.5 mile mountain bike race I have in March down in Orange County. The race has 11,000' of climbing, and luckily there are lots of mountain roads and trails within 5-10 miles of here to train on. I started in Rancho Cucamonga and rode up Cucamonga Canyon to the Barrett Stoddard Truck Trail, an old 4x road that's overgrown but still great for biking. It popped out up near Baldy Village, so I combined it with a climb up Potato Mountain, then descended Palmer Canyon to finish the day. About 35 miles with a guess of 5-6,000' climbing? I don't have a GPS so I could be way off. Either way, it worked me pretty good, but it was definitely worth the views.

Cucamonga Canyon from Jeff D. on Vimeo.

Maybe we'll get out to Joshua Tree this weekend. November will be a busy month with the Mt. SAC Fat Tire race, the Tour de Foothills road ride, 12 Hours of Temecula (I'll be on a 5-person team again), and lastly the Southridge XC Challenge. Definitely not hard to stay busy out here. Maybe a little too easy, actually...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

September 2008

September 2008 mileage: 570.2
2008 year-to-date mileage: 3713.2

September was my lowest mileage month since moving out to California, but I'm pretty sure I spent more time in the saddle than July or August. My commuting miles were about 60% of normal due to being lazy and driving (among other reasons), and most of the other miles were off-road. We only rode the tandem 85 (!!) miles this month, something we'll hopefully remedy in October.

The heat continues and I find myself missing the change of seasons more and more as we progress into "fall". We had about a week of temps in the 70s and low 80s, which was refreshing, but lately it's been back up in the mid 90s. I'm surprised at the lack of daylight, but I guess it makes sense given how far south we are. The sun rises between 6:00-6:30am and is just about gone 6:30-7:00pm, which makes me think we'll have a winter with comparable daylight to the UP. Then again, our winter will consist of mostly sunny skies and 60-70 degrees.

Near the finish line at Hurkey Creek

September was an exciting month. Most of my riding focused on training for 24 Hours of Adrenaline, which happened on September 20. I was on a team of 5 that I met through the internet, all of whom ended up being pretty cool guys. The race took place at Hurkey Creek, around 5000' elevation up in the mountains near Idyllwild. The race took over the forest service campground, resulting in a weekend full of bike riding, hanging out, and beautiful weather. The race itself was fairly intense; we rode tag team style, and over 24 hours we each ended up riding the 10 mile, 1200' climbing laps 5 times. I rode at 1:00pm, 5:30pm, 11:00pm, 3:30am, and 9:00am. I pulled pretty consistent laps, 0:51 and 0:53 for my first two day time laps, 1:02 for each of my night laps, and 0:54 for my last lap. I rode my Kikapu for the first 4 laps, but borrowed a singlespeed (32-22) 29er for the last lap, which was a surprisingly smooth ride. All in all we ended up finishing 2nd of 8 in our division, and 9th out of 82 total teams (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10 person). It was enough to win a free pair of tires, so I'm proud of that! My training rides took me to the Santa Ana River Trail again, which was as fun as the last time, and over to Simi Valley for some technical climbing practice.

My teammate Robert in Simi Valley

In the work world, I'm happy with how things are progressing. I had hazardous waste training in Newport Beach, so instead of driving down, I decided to load up the touring bike and ride down. My boss agreed to pay for a hotel in lieu of paying mileage for driving, so I was able to spend the night and take the train home after the training completed. A few of us have decided to start addressing some energy efficiency projects throughout the mill, taking advantage of the reimbursement program offered by Edison, and I'm hoping to implement a recycling program this month. My perspective of the steel world widened as I attended the SMA environmental conference in Cleveland the last few days, joining environmental staff from 95% of other steel mini-mills throughout North America. Business has not been good with the economy in its current state, but we're hoping to take this slow time to make lots of improvements at the mill, so when (if) things pick up again, we'll be rolling smoothly. I still marvel on occasion that I'm working in the manufacturing world, in crowded, smoggy southern California, but it is definitely the right place for me at the moment.