Pine, Breakfast, and Back… It’s Half Downhill


Today’s Hour of Activity was quite a bit longer. I was asked if I can use that one as carryover on other days. Nope, there are no roll over minutes on this plan I am making up the rules for.

My plan today was ambitious bordering on that swath of subconscious where my Mom’s voice looms “Don’t Overdue It!”

So here was the plan- ride my bicycle from my house in Strawberry down to Pine, 3.5 miles away, to have breakfast with my friends. My trail riding is something I cannot rely on timing, plus it was about 40°F at 9am, so my brilliant plan was to ride down the main highway, AZ87.

It took me only 30 minutes to get to BB’s Place, the restaurant. I’d done the ride once before on my road bike, and the speed on that machine was un-nerving. On the mountain bike, it was effortless, but I kept it slow. There was not much traffic, which is good, since there is zero shoulder.

After a leisurely breakfast, and a giant chorizo burrito (highly recommend, and ask to have the hash browns inside), it was time to ride back. My plan here was to go out Pine Canyon Road, and go into the Portals 3 development, and climb the steep roads up to Hilltop Road .Here a small spur trail leads to the Bearfoot Trail, a project I have been volunteering on, which is building a mountain bike/hiking trail connecting the towns of Strawberry and Pine. I had ridden down the trail a week ago.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

The route back was a good bit of climb, and there are parts of the trail I still find technical, but I’m proud to have made it, notching 10 miles today on the bike. I had to take some breaks along the high views, as my blood sugar kept bottoming out.


Mudding Around The Cove Ranch


Today’s One Hour Active (techncialy 45 minutes, I’m working up to it!) was a mountain bike ride across the valley to a spot I’ve hiked/walked around, a private ranch called The Cove Ranch; but around it was forest jeep trails and notches to explore. There is still some snow and a fair bit of mud, so got some practice digging through the muck.

Five Easy Miles

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Yesterday was a break in the walking action- I signed up for a lesson to go surfing, and it totally thrashed my body! I thought the standing would be demanding (it was, bit more on my weak sense of balance), it was the paddling that wore me out. I was super stiff last night.

Today’s plan was back walking- the five mile, mostly flat Wai Koa Loop Trail, that wanders through an organic farm/tree plantation. It was a hidden gem, with very few other people out (mostly mountain bikers), among a varied landscape, with great mountain views.

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More than that, it just felt good.

So good that for dinner tonight, I walked another 3 miles total to pick up some tacos for dinner.

Na Pali Heights

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I’m here for a week’s vacation in Kauai– just me, myself, and my old body. I’ve got myself to entertain, and my plan is to enjoy some luxury of a trip paid for 2 years ago, to dispel some old un-needed memory baggage, and to get some hiking miles in.

On my first day, I explored the beach trail right outside the Westin Princeville- its a steep little drop o a hidden gem of a beach. And for the afternoon, it was out to the end of the highway. to the start of the long trail from Ke’e beach. I had done this hike in 1996, my first visit to hawaii. I dont seem to recall ti well, but am fairly sure I did thw full hike to the big Hanakapi’ai waterfall – today, I aimed just for the beach, 2 miles in, 2 out. Wow, did it ever feel like it was longer! It;s a fair bit of climb and drop, at least 800 feet or so of change, and some slippery spots on a trail gushing with water.

It was, though a glorious day, and the movement really felt good, something my body has not done in a while.

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Only 4 miles added to the click, but some good up and down in some moist heat.

Strawberry Ridge Hike

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The direct path from here to that ridge, was a huge loop to the left, and quite a bit of up and down to get there.

The view from my back deck looks across the valley to a high ridge, one that looks continuous from the peak of Strawberry Mountain on the left. I’ve been up on parts of the ridge a few times- there are no formal trails. If you are sharp, you find the game trails left by deer and elk. But they are nimble creatures and climb some steep grades. My previous excursions have involved a lot of literal bushwhacking (keep in mond that many bushes here have thorns) and usually some stupid slippery descent.

But I’ve scouted the topo maps and did some flybys in Google Earth. Today was the day to make a traverse.

And perhaps you know that saying about the map not being the territory? True. Terrain gets simplified in maps, details of ravines and rocky ridges get lost below resolution.

Here’s a track of my trip today, captured in the RunKeeprr app (O exported the KML file and loaded it in Google Earth)

strawberry ridge hike

I’ve not been doing nearly enough exercise, you can see how I pegged so many “achievements” in RunKeeper:

Farthest Distance 8.32 mi

Longest Duration 4:37:42

Most Calories Burned 1480 cal

Largest Elevation Climb 1513 ft

Farthest Distance in a Week 8.32 mi

Longest Duration in a Week 4:37:42

Most Calories Burned in a Week 1480 cal

Largest Elevation Climb in a Week 1513 ft

Farthest Distance in a Month 8.32 mi

Longest Duration in a Month 4:37:42

Most Calories Burned in a Month 1480 cal

Largest Elevation Climb in a Month 1513 ft

Gimme the damned badge.

Until the latter part, I left the phone map in the pocket, and relied on what I remembered of the terrain. The lay of the land of course changes in many ways compared to viewing from my deck to standing atop the mountain. What looks like a straight shoot turns out to be broken by more ravines and rubbly climbs than you see from far away.

But its fun to put your knowledge of land shapes, drainages, and direction to work, sans mobile device. The thing here is a straight map line traverse would be deadly, and I found at the top, I had to curve way back from the front ridge to work my way around the steep drops between the ridge parts. It often seemed like going in the wrong direction to get the right direction.

The best strategy I found was to keep as much to the high ground as possible, much of it was open and just rocky. I was thinking of my undergraduate Geology mentor, Doc Thompson, who was always talking durting our field work about the wise route to contour your way around rough terrain, meaning to try to avoid a lot of up and down. As a bunch of 20 somethings we laughed and dashed up and down, but Doc’s words felt right on today.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I spent 4 hours exploring and moving around the mountain top, and did not see one sign of human activity beyond what had been cleared by the forest service years ago. No trash. No signs. No roads (well I did walk a bit on a jeep trail along a fenceline– and bumped into a cell phone tower.

This idea of smartly contouring ones way around rough terrain seemed metaphoric for something. And the practice of putting yourself at the mercy of your own ability, direction sensing, and way findinding is about one of the most rewarding experiences I can think of.

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Atop the Hill

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Having achieved a milestone of time on earth never seeming conceivable, it somehow seemed appropriate to raise the I Hate Running Flag. Finding a body that aches more than it ever did or stiffens in ways that are sadly novel- I resist this aging! The last few years have brought a lot of travel and new activities, but also a lessening of physical fitness. And what is that heavy sounds when climbing stairs? Can that be my breath?

So in this 50th year, I am challenging myself to not turn the clock back, but to make that clock laugh at itself.

No, I am not taking up running. Never. Not now at least.

But I do plan to set up some challenges to keep me motivated. And joining my friend Robin in being open about such efforts.

First up is prepping to do a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike (22 miles) in June with my good fiend Uwe. So let’s get hiking!

Three a Week

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Got three rides in this week, Monday (12 miles), Thursday (15 miles), and today a (semi) solid 20. Here i am just about to go down a fairly serious drop from Rustic Ridge; I had headed out Deacon Road from Fredericksburg, one of the few places with a dedicated, but intermittent, bicycle lane, and then left/north on Brooke Road.

The rout was lovely, with lots of sections through dark forests. The road is very narrow, and the traffic, was pretty patient, waiting to pass when the view was clear. This was some more hill work than I have done in a while. I’m feeling it.

So my weekly total, is less than half of the one day distance I will need in late August.

As a young lady reminded my in Canada trying to teach me how to ice skate… Baby steps. Baby steps…

Back in the Saddle

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I’ve actually been getting back into riding for a couple of weeks, getting used to the riding conditions (el crappo) in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area. Well, there are lovely country roads, but apparently the idea of bike lanes or even using some extra tar for shoulders is akin to heresy.

But I am now on a commitment, having signed to ride the 142km GrandFond Banff ride on August 25, 2012. The scenery there is more than enough, but its also a chance to ride with my friend D’Arcy Norman, a biker nut if there ever was one.

We rode a portion of this route when I visited last August

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

and celebrated the day properly

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So now I have to start a regular routine and build up.

I am riding,

Walking the ‘thon

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Another year, another medal. I feel good about finishing yesterday’s PF Changs Marathon, and not for anything related to time, but to just sticking to it.

I decided to walk the full marathon, in final proof of this blog’s title. I stuck to my walking, and finished in 6:49 at a 15:32 minute/mile pace- I had a few splits at a 14:44 pace. I was at the half-way point around 3;23. Kind of funny as people have to run a full marathon in 3:20 to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

But no, I am not obsessed about time. I was busy looking around

For this year’s totals, we have (weak drum roll…)

  • $1355 raised for the American Diabetes Association (YAY for my sponsors).
  • 182 miles training (including the last 26.2)
  • 44.1 hours spent training (44.1 hours not snapping or face planted in front of the computer).
  • 7 pounds lost (hopefully not coming back)

Continue reading

Daily Mile Report

Among the places I’ve placed my numbers for training, I’ve tried to keep on in Daily Mile mainly because of the social network (so I can see all the people who really enjoy running) and the blog widget. They just sent a link for my 2010 report card, which charts a modest 183 miles, with a large gap in the middle (January included last training and the run for the 2010 PF Changs Half Marathon, and a weak burst of effort to run in February, and then the resurgence when I picked up the shoes again in August.

I was not a total sloth over summer, did a little biking and kayaking… wel okay, I was a sloth.

Other significant stats are that my exercise burned 171 donuts! They have the total “infographic” look there, I love it.

Its hard to believe that race day is Sunday, and I will be doing my 26 mile fast walk.

There shall be a blog post on the other side of that.