Thursday, February 19, 2009


So I flew to California on Saturday morning for a little under a week in the LA area. My coach, Gareth Thomas, is based out of Santa Monica and we rarely get to work together face to face so it was great to get out to see him. The main purpose of the trip was do to some blood lactate testing on the bike and run which we got out of the way first thing on Sunday. My training is based on the results of these tests and they are a great way to evaluate how training is going. I personally don't like them as the goal is to really hurt yourself, and my fingers end up all bruised from the needle punctures. Oh well, the tests were great and I am way ahead of last year. Monday I was supposed to join up with one of the local pro mountain bikers and do an epic ride in the Santa Monicas but it ended up raining the whole day. Figures it would be warm and sunny until I get here then rain. I spent the morning doing nothing then decided that it wasn't going to let up and headed out to swim at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. I know you are wet anyways, but I've always hated swimming in the rain. I also only had my dark goggles so I could barely see anything. Later on it cleared enough to get a run in. Tuesday, perhaps a chance to get on the trails? Nope, more rain. Again I spend the morning hoping it would let up but it only cleared enough to go for a quick spin on the roads. I am staying at friends of Gareth's sweet pad in Burbank right next to Griffith Park (where the Hollywood sign is) so I headed up the the roads that run through the park.

I know this is a cliche picture but I couldn't resist

It was some nice riding for the middle of LA, with some pretty serious climbing, over 3,000 ft by the end of the ride. I was all excited to see a coyote until it stopped and waited hoping I would feed it. The second one looked positively annoyed that I didn't have anything for it. At least the third one I saw acted like a real coyote and ran off into the trees. Later on I joined Gareth and the UCLA triathlon team for a swim workout on campus. Really brought back some memories of the dual meets we had there. (UCLA and ASU swim teams didn't get along)

Tuesday, finally sunshine, and even though everything was still pretty damp I had to get out on the mountain bike. I did a quick swim in the morning then packed up the bike and headed to the Santa Monica Hills. I started from the end of Mulholland Drive and cruised along the ridge and down and back up one of the canyons for a great ride. It was all on fireroads, so nothing technical, but is certainly made up for it with some serious climbing (over 5,000ft) and some amazing views.

Now I'm all packed up and ready to move on. I am driving to Las Vegas for the weekend to take a 3 day mountain bike clinic in Bootleg Canyon. Since mountain biking is so new for me and definitely my weakest link I thought it would be great to go and learn how it's really done.

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