Thursday, April 7, 2011

Training Camp & Las Vegas

Wow... that was fun.  Sorry for not blogging out west, but with the "magic of the internet" I prefer fewer folks know if I'm gone.

 World's greatest taco shop

This is what my garden looks like in March too!  (liar)

 Loaded backpack - ready to climb after a swim and a run.  I swear it felt like 40 lbs.
 Almost to the top.  That's our car on the far right of the frame.
 We made it!  Fingers courtesy of another hiker.

In years that I've been fortunate enough to participate in some kind of camp, I've normally been completely wrecked when I come home.  This year I have a deep fatigue, but I'm not wrecked.  I was concerned about that until I added up the numbers.

I balanced out the training very well.  While some of my friends and coaching colleagues think that CompuTrainer classes are "too hard" for the winter - well, I think I proved that if you ride the power sessions intelligently that you come out of the winter incredibly strong.  I'm living proof.  This winter I swam masters (in earnest) starting in January.  I was too inconsistent to say I was swimming masters in November and December.  I swam with some bad ass athletes in California and managed to hold my own. Especially on longer distance sets, short sprints as well as anything breaststroke or IM related.  The "swim of the week" was a 400 IM I did on Thursday (a hard ride day) that had me in at 5:00.85 (coach confirmed - 400 yards).  That swim wrecked me for the rest of the day/night.  When you look at the splits - nothing too impressive; until you string them together.  Kinda like my triathlon racing.  Swim is OK.  Bike is alright.  Run is "normal".  Together - fairly competitive.  Let's hope the trend back to fitness continues.

Left in California - most notably 4.5% body fat (9 days) along with several pounds.
Picked up in California - confidence and self discipline.

The big day on the bike was the climb of Mt. Palomar.

'Cyclists in excellent shape, with bikes in top-flight working order, and a willingness to share a steep, switch-backed roadway with auto traffic can try a very strenuous 27-mile, 3000-foot elevation gain loop.'

 The loop around Lake Henshaw will have to wait for another time.
My time was limited the day I did Palomar, so I intended to climb it and get back so Lorrie and I could go hiking (life balance after all).  I parked the car where I thought I'd get a decent warm up (and not get towed).  South Grade Road seemed to be where the climbing really began.  In about 7 miles the road went UP about half a mile.  According to GPS, nearly a constant grade of 7%.  Did I mention it was warm?  Yeah... in my planning my attempt on Palomar I wanted warmer weather.  I got it.  90 F-ish in the valley.  Wow!  Sweat was pouring off me on the hottest day I had experienced since last October. 

I made it!  My watch had a "brain fart" somewhere on the climb (or when I was taking pictures - user error?) Near as I can tell - I rode up in about 1:30 (including picture time) at aerobic pace (roughly mid-zone 2 for me) and my power was nice and steady.  

This ride was one of the highlights of the trip.  Mainly because I did it completely alone (apologies to my friend Dean S. who's email I missed and who would have rode with me)  I think I saw him headed up when I was zooming down the mountain.  Sorry dude!  Next time!  It would be a lot more fun.  In trying to get back to Lorrie, I did a few longer intervals once off the mountain.  I made it back about 20 minutes early.  

I'm most proud of the running I did in California and Nevada.  Not because it was "epic" by any stretch (I did run the longest and the most I ever have at any camp - ever), but because I was totally alone with the exception of the run I did with my friend Dan in Anaheim.  Dan made me work.  GPS says we were running (m:ss- not going to put that in!) - I felt it too.  Most cool was that I felt great running off the bike.  Even with the extended rides and climbing.  Don't get too excited... I'm not booking Kona or Vegas tickets just yet.  In 2011 I can say this... I won't suck as in the past three years.  

Saturday, I was a guide/marshal on the Oceanside 70.3 run course for the pro men.  Wow are they fast!  They ran so quietly.  No "flop, flop, flop" of feet hitting pavement.  Just the occasional clearing of a throat and calls for aid at aid stations.

From here, it was off to visit Marit and Nate.  It was good to see them and talk in person (we solved all of the world's problems in about 30 minutes)!  The "house monster" even came over to me and allowed me to pet her and did NOT attack me.  Must be my way with animals.

LOVE the mountains leaving California - Lorrie on the pictures.

 NOT a soul on the road, going downhill... slow down Gordon!

World's largest (broken) thermometer in Death Valley.

LOOK!  A CAR!  Listening music out of The Hangover 

That ther' is Nevada.

You know you are out in the middle of nowhere when you can see both ends of a ~2 mile long train from a long way away.

Welcome to Nevada!

Viva Las Vegas!  Is this road ALWAYS under construction?

Vegas was great.  The training was still there, but less brutal.  Running was only 3-5 miles a day and swimming was up.  Did alright in the casino.  Nothing to write home about.  I did appreciate one dealer (who I was tipping well because I was winning) who kept calling the pit boss over to watch me play cards and was saying, "This guy is cool.  Can you get him a villa?"  Pit Boss: "No."  Dealer: "How about a suite then?"  Pit Boss: "No."  Hey... that's the first time someone asked for me.  Kinda cool.  That same night were the Country Music Awards.  Saw some interesting people and a few singers.  Played blackjack with a guy who performed... I forget his name.  Nice guy though.

Once at the airport, back to reality.  Our flight was grounded due to mechanical issues.  The second flight left four hours later, so much for returning earlier to avoid a red eye flight.

My cousin Vinny (Vince) and Lorrie about to head into the Bellagio casino.  Time to recover and five weeks to the next race.


  1. Sweet Blog!! I hope to train with you out in SD soon. My parents have a place in San Marcos.

  2. HOW FUN BOB! Glad you had a great time and training camp!

  3. Thanks Ben! Any time man. I needed a trip alone to train this year. Next year I'll be planning something with more folks.

    Thanks Jenny. Planning bigger things for 2012. Still getting into shape.