"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Race Report: Big Sur Marathon - April 26, 2009

This post could be titled... How the California coastline found out that the Nevada desert kicked my ass and followed suit.

But, as beat up as I am, marathon no. 8 is in the books.

Finish Time: 5:22:47 (honestly, about 20-30 minutes faster than I had planned)


The worst part about this race is that the bus leaves for the start at 3:45 in the morning. I live about an hour and a half away, so I was going to drive in that morning to save money. This meant I got up at 1 am, ate breakfast, and left at 1:45 am. I wanted to be extra early because, as some of you remember, I get motion sickness and I MUST ride in the front of the bus.

Upside I met a lovely lady in her late 50's from Colorado that was out with her husband for their wedding anniversary. She was one of those true runners that has been running for as long as she could remember and has no idea how many marathons or races she has run. Her comment when I said I wouldn't have to worry about ever qualifying for Boston was, "Oh, never say never. If I can do anyone can."

I do know she has done Boston 3 times and the San Juan Solstice 50 miler (13,000 of climb, often at extreme elevations) at least 4 times in under 15 hours. So, yeah, she is a serious bad ass.

Ummm sure, lady, you are just your typical age grouper.

We hung out for the hour and a half before the race started, but oddly she wasn't starting with my pace group. Huh.

Me and Wendy at the start. She was taking it easy today and started with the 3:15 pace group. I was just a wee bit farther back.

By the way, I just peeked at her results. She is 57 and finished in 3:42:13* Correction from previously reported time on the race results page. She was still damn fast and won her age group*

Now, that I have made even you fast people ashamed of yourself, I will tell you about my race and make you feel MUCH better.

The race

The website describes this race as "both the best and worst race of your life."

Meh. I have had worse.

Actually, MUCH worse...

Recently. I might add...

As in 8 freaking days ago!

Anyhoo, back to the story...

Big Sur's reputation is mostly due to the hills on this course. Believe me, there were plenty of them. The race director reports that there are 13 hills in the first 13 miles. One of note is the Hurricane Point climb which is a 2 mile climb with an average 5% grade (increase in elevation of 500 ft. for the 2 miles. That is not super steep, but still no joke.), but there are LOTS of smaller rollers that start to wear on you as the day goes on.

Elevation profile from my Garmin data. I accidentally turned it off for about 2 miles in the beginning, but I got most of the hills.
Total climb: 3250 ft.

The real kick in the ass is the 5 climbs in the last 4 miles of the race. They do not look that impressive here, but a climb with a 100 ft gain for a 1/4 mile (7.5% grade) at mile 25 of a marathon will make you wonder why you hadn't taken up macramé as a hobby instead of running.

The Big Climb

Right before this climb I hear "Are you RBR?" and I turn to meet RoadBunner! I can't believe she was able to recognize me. (Ok, well, I was, once again, wearing the same atalanta shirt I wore at Napa, Solvang, and several long runs, so it has been shown here A LOT. Maybe it is not such a mystery.)

Her bubbly enthusiasm was EXACTLY what I needed to get up that godforsaken hill! She was running for fun and taking lots of pictures. MY kind of marathoner! We headed up the Hurricane Point climb I found out why they call her RoadBunner. As I was huffing and puffing next to her, she hippity hopped up the damn hill like she is on springs.

RoadBunner, hippity skipping along. Sorry it is so blurry. I blame it on the lack of oxygen I was getting trying to keep up with her.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised that I was able to run up most of the Hurricane Point climb, with only a few short walk breaks. I had pushed my pace a little in the first 10 miles because I was worried about the mile 22 cut off (you had to be at mile 22 by 5 hours or you would be pulled from the course) and I thought I may have to walk a lot of this climb.

To add to the difficulty of the climb we faced a consistent 15-20 mph headwind as we climbed (source: The Monterey County Herald and weather.com, lest you think I am making shit up) but, before we knew it we were at the top. The reason it was called Hurricane Point became abundantly clear as the 15-2o mph wind, turned into 25+ mph gusts. Hats were flying. Speaking of hats...

How awesome is her hat?!

I was more than a little concerned about letting this tiny, little gal out there in the wind, but she is tough.

After we reached Hurricane Point I let RoadBunner go on her way. (Really, it was a merciful move on my part. I was the most uninteresting running partner imaginable. I seriously think Ironman training is sapping the very life out of me. It has turned me into a serious bore.)

The Course

The course was just a beautiful as billed and offered both breathtaking views and entertainment by local musicians along the way.

It was a little overcast in the morning, but it burned off to a pretty gorgeous day.

A local harpist and a very patient, albeit fashionable, pooch.

It does not get much more Northern California than this.

We crossed over the famous Bixby Bridge. I love bridges and this one in particular.

Me and Bixby

Their name has "Lucy" in it. I had to take their picture! (FYI: for anyone that does not know my dog's name is Lucy. And yes, I am one of those crazy people that has no children and dresses their dog up in costume on holidays.)

Speaking of dogs... One water stop volunteer was offering water, Gatorade, or PUPPY KISSES! Just try and guess, what I chose. Her name is Baby, by the way, and she has wonderful puppy breath!

The Finish

The road was beating me up pretty good and by mile 23 I was more than ready to be done. My feet, knees, ankles, and hips were killing me, but we weren't done climbing yet. The hills now were more a pain in the ass than sense of accomplishment.

Cool sign put up by the locals who are very supportive of the race.

As I approached mile 25 I saw that we would be heading up another hill, I believe my response was, "that is just fucking wrong." To which two women around me added, "you must be fucking kidding me" and "That is IT. I am NOT climbing anymore goddamn hills."

But we did. We climbed one more goddamn hill.

AS I ran down the last 1/4 mile I saw my mom! Yay! She yelled to my dad that I was coming and he started snapping photos. This is the first race they have ever been to. It was very cool. Afterwards we went to lunch and my dad told me that he was glad he didn't listen to my expected finish time because he would have missed me. I think this was the first time I realized that I was actually that much faster than I expected today. Go me.

A Not-so-shocking Realization

While triathlon makes me feel accomplished and proud because it takes me WAY out of my comfort zone, I really love running and marathons. They make my happy. It was a tough run and I am pretty beat up today, but I had a lot of fun yesterday.

No big announcement. I am still going forward with my Ironman goals. Big goals are not supposed to be easy. Otherwise they are not big goals. It was just something that I was thinking about on my little jog along the coast. I would have NEVER thought I could ever say something like 'running and marathons make me happy'. It is kind of cool.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Race Report: Rage in the Sage 1/2 Iron Triathlon - April 18, 2009

Alphabet soup of titles I considered for this race report. Brought to you by the letter "F":

  • OMFG! (Oh. My. Fucking. God!)
  • WTFWIT?! (What the fuck was I thinking?!)
  • WAATFT? (Where are all the fucking trees?)
And finally, the one that is the most descriptive of my race
  • DFL (Well, you all know what that one means... Dead. Fucking. Last)

I was going to make you wade through a bunch of stuff before you get the meaty details. Hey, I suffered. Why shouldn't you? But what the hell:

Official Time: DNF (I did not make the 8 hour cut off)

Unofficial time: 8:29: 38, DFL

However, I had the most ROCKSTAR status finish thanks to my AWESOME friends and the coolest race organizers and volunteers around. You will be forced to wade through the dirty details to get that story though.

Pre-race shenanigans

I was driving from San Jose, CA to Boulder City, NV to do this race. On the way, I picked up LA Run Buddy in, duh, LA. This made a total of 612 miles of travel each way. Hubby stayed home with the animals so I was solo. We arrived in Henderson about 6 pm on Thursday and proceeded to loaf around for the remainder of the evening. We made plans with Stef who graciously offered to take us on a tour of the course and then grab some lunch before packet pick on Friday.

On Friday, we picked up Stef and got to meet her beautiful animal family. I stupidly left the camera in the car, but believe me, they were adorable and obviously very spoiled and happy! We had a great time chit chatting and exchanging war stories. Thank you Stef you rock!

The merry gang at packet pick up!

Later we met up with the Formulaic Family
(Form, Kelly, their niece Izabelle, and the Baby Form in formation. Ha! I just crack myself up!) for a pre-race dinner. Now, if I may gush for a moment, these are some seriously good people. Funny, gracious, and blast to hang with. These are the type of people that should be making more humans. Throughout my life, I have compiled an extensive list of people that should NOT be allowed to make more humans, but the RBR list of people "Cleared for kids" is pretty short. The Formulaic family definitely gets the Cleared for kids stamp of approval.

Is it wrong to hate a pregnant woman for looking better than you? Does the baby give them immunity from jealousy and general cattiness? I am just asking...

The race (Finally, I know. )

LA Run Buddy and I arrived at 5 am to transition and set about getting ready for the start at 6:10 am

Swim: 1.2 miles (57:53)

I rented a wetsuit for this event since I am in the market for a new one (translation: I am too fat for my old one and it makes me feel like an asthmatic rhinoceros wrapped in saran wrap.) Anyhoo, it was very comfortable and since my coach is evil and made me do an open water swim in the ocean on Monday (yes, two days after Rage! Bet if I PR'd the damn swim I would have got a rest day) and I got to try it out there, so I think I will buy it. At 6:00 we got in for a brief warm up before the start. Even though we did that I had a moment of panic at the beginning of the swim.

One half of RBR brain: Oh shit. Oh shit. I don't want to do this! I can't do this!

Other half of RBR brain:
You are fine! Chill the fuck out.

First half of RBR brain: I don't want to do this! I can't do this! Get me out of here!

Other half of RBR brain: You are fine! Chill the fuck out. Just swim for God's sake.

This Sybil-esque conversation continued for a couple of minutes before I did, in fact, chill the fuck out and started swimming more easily.

I was swimming pretty steady and sighting quite well for me. I was, of course, WAAAAY in the the back of everyone else, but I felt that the swim was going well. I was disappointed with my time which was over 3 minutes slower than Barb's. I choose to believe the swim was long. Shut up Form! I know what your Garmin said. Just give me this one.

T1 (3:43)

Best T1 time ever! I was focusing on this as I have NO wiggle room in the IM cut off times, so I cannot have long transitions.

56 miles (3:52:13)

I am very happy with this bike time. It is a 26 minute PR over Barb's on a much harder course. Rage is one of the toughest 1/2 Iron courses. It has 6125 ft of climb on t
he bike (versus 1700 ft at Barb's). I planned to ride hard on the bike. I wanted to ride as if there was no run to see how I could do on a challenging course.

Elevation profile for the ride. I started the Garmin late, but you get the gist of it.

In the interest of honest reporting, I feel I must include the following:

I saw Form about 20 miles into the ride meaning he was about 10 miles ahead of me he and absolutely rocked the swim and the bike. So when he talks about being slow he is A BIG, FAT LIAR.

I did not see JohnnyTri on the bike, but he came in a couple minutes after Form, and also rocked the bike, so when he talks about being slow he is A BIG, FAT LIAR.

I also did not see Stef on the bike, but she also ROCKED the bike and set a 13 minute PR over last year and had a sub 2 hour Olympic bike time on a hilly ass course, so when she talks about being slow she is A BIG, FAT LIAR

I just thought I would get that out there. Someone has to tell the truth in Blogland.

T2 (3:49)

Ok, not stellar. I forgot to take off my bike gloves and I had to run back to put them away and I forgot my Garmin, so I ran back to get it. Organization issues!

Run: 13.1 miles (3:32:00)

What is that rolling by me? Oh, it is the wheels of my race. They just fell off.

The run at Rage is almost all on trail and it starts through a random field of packed dirt and loose rocks, because, honestly, ALL of freaking Nevada that is not paved is made of packed dirt and loose rocks.

Guess what does not grow in packed dirt and loose rocks? TREES!

Not a single, fucking tree to be found. A mere 15 miles away in Las Vegas those clever Nevadans have engineered a hotel that has a replica of the Venetian canal system complete with gondolas INSIDE the hotel, yet they can not figure out how to plant some fucking trees OUTSIDE?

I am just saying.

Heading out on the run. Photo courtesy of the MOST SPECTACULAR SPECTATOR OF ALL TIME, Kelly!

Needless to say it was getting hot (For the record, weather.com says it was 81 with an average of 79, so Kelly was right and we are all big, fat, whiny babies when we assured her it was much hotter) and there was no relief from the sun that had already fried my inadequately sunblocked skin to a crisp as we proceeded to climb the 1700 ft of climb in the first 6 miles.

LA Run Buddy at the Gates of Hell

Add to that, even at the start of this run, I was just done.

The main reason for this is that I did not eat nearly enough on the bike and with the heat it took too long to recover. I still do not have my nutrition right for these things. As someone that can give a goldfish a run for their money when it comes to overeating, you think I would remember to eat, but apparently I need a new system during triathlons.

At mile 6, LA Run Buddy's knee screamed uncle and she started to suffer more than we already were.

This sums up our morale at mile 6.

At mile 9, the volunteer at the aide station, who we later found out was an ultrarunner named Joyce and a seriously cool person, came up to us:

Sheepish looking Joyce: Ummm, I wanted to let you know there were only 19 minutes left until the cut off.

Us: What? We don't look like we can run 4 miles in 19 minutes? What are you trying to say?

WAY sheepish looking Joyce: Umm,... I.... well, ... uh...

Us: Relax. We are TOTALLY messing with you.

At that point, I tell her LA Run Buddy is injured and ask if can she SAG her in, but I would like to finish. I tell her that I understand I will not be an official finisher and that I have a run belt with water so I can self support. She was kind enough to let me turn in my chip and keep going. She even thanked me for being understanding. She was the one being so cool. I am very grateful to her.


I proceeded down the trail by myself. At this point the course is downhill. I was not moving fast by any means, but significantly faster than before. I just wanted to be done.

I stopped for the 9 trillionth time to dump rocks and sand out of my shoes and blessed Nevada with my characteristic classiness and a "Motherfucker!" exclamation just in time for a
family of three to ride by on their bikes. My timing is truly a marvel. I mumbled an apology, but they picked up the pace to get away from the crazy lady. I don't blame them.

About a mile out from the finish (BTW, you could see the finish from about 2 and 1/2 miles away due to the aforementioned darth of trees. A little brutal at that point. Believe me) so anyway, about a mile from the finish I see Form driving up. I am sure it was to check the trail for my lifeless body, but he played it off like he was there to cheer me on.

Form: Woo hoo! You look great!

(Yeah, right buddy. Remember, I told you he was a big, fat liar.)

Form: Come on in! The announcer is still there!
We are all waiting for you.

Notice I did not respond? I was overcome with gratitude. I just met this man and his family and they had help orchestrate this big finish for me. Me, the non-official finisher. I started to
feel that tired, hyper-emotional cry coming on. I even considered for one brief second moving to Nevada to be near these amazing people. (Don't worry. It was brief. No trees, remember?)

As I ran down the finish chute (a packed dirt trail. Go figure) The announcer was yelling my name (thank you Izaac. Seriously, thank you.) my friends were cheering, and big group of the kids that were volunteers ran in with me.

Me and the Jr. High School softball team. I am pretty sure I am crying here. Photo courtesy of the MOST SPECTACULAR SPECTATOR KNOWN TO MAN, Kelly!

It was amazing. I just wanted to finish the course, yet I got so much more. They even gave me a medal.

I felt like I had won the damn thing.

I love this woman. She continues to join me for these torturefests, even though I have yet to choose a race for us that is not hell.

Amusing yet, humbling post race story

After the race, we went to soak our legs in the lake (yes, over a year later I FINALLY took Shirelyperly's advice. She was 100% right. My legs felt great the next day.) and we met up with a local teenager (I had vowed to avoid them all spring break. I should have held to that vow) he was asking us about the race.

Dumbass teenager: Do you know who that 'Stacey' was that came in last and everyone was yelling for?

LA Run Buddy: Yeah, it was her (pointing to me)

Dumbass teenager: Oh, I thought it was some mentally handicapped person or something.

Gotta love those teenagers.

*post race dinner with Bloggy buddies and next steps coming soon. I tired. This was WAY too long.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

World's Most Belated Tag Response

I was tagged by the lovely and oh, so, speedy Lindsay WELL over a month ago and I am finally getting down to business.

I have to be honest and say that I don't really remember the rules, but it was something like, List 25 interesting/random things about you.

I don't know if I can do 25 or make them 'interesting', but 'random' is my forte.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. I lived in 17 different houses before I was 12 years old. No, we are not military and no, I was not a problem foster child.

2. Even though we lived everywhere, I consider myself a California Girl. Born here, and barring a huge win from the lottery that would allow me to live in Hawaii, I will die here.

3. I was in a body cast for 6 weeks when I was 5. My poor, poor mother. I can't even imagine the horror of a hyperactive, 5 -year old, me trapped in a body cast!

4. I HATE ONIONS! And guess what Mr. Waiter, green onions/scallions/chives? THEY ARE ALL FUCKING ONIONS!!

5. Unless my husband or I are sleeping in it, my bed is always made. Always.

6. I have been madly in love with my husband since I was 21 years old. I turn 40 this summer.

7. I am a pack rat! Certifiable.

8. I will, however, periodically throw out everything and swear on my mothers' eyes that I will NEVER let it get cluttered again. I have done this cycle more times than I can count.

9. If I have a bad day I have been known to drop $300 (or more. Shhh! Good thing hubby does not read my blog!) at a Pet Store on new beds, toys, and bowls for all of my animals. My version of retail therapy.

10. I have begun to bore the snot out of myself with this list, so I guess there are only 9 even mildly interesting things about me.


Next up Rage In the Sage 1/2 Iron Triathlon

Dear God above I have a Half Ironman Distance triathlon in 3 days. I was searching and reading race reports on last year's Rage Tri and what I found was NOT encouraging. The one that was most notable was written by our very own bad ass Ironwoman SWTrigal (Rage Report) . It sounds like a brutally tough course and is usually hot.

Awesome. Barb's Race part Deux.

Tomorrow I am driving to LA to pick up my LA Run Buddy and then on to Henderson, NV. It will be about a 11-12 hour trip. This is longest road trip I have ever done myself. Hubby is staying home to take care of the kids (furry and scaly 'kids', we don't have any of the naked, loud, expensive kind)

I am very excited because I get to met a bunch of bloggy buddies: Stef, Formulaic, Form's lovely wife Kelly, and JohnnyTri. It should be a hoot. Well, it will be a hoot after I get my ass handed to me by the desert.

I will have my best buddy and my camera so we know two things: 1. We will have a hell of a good time and 2. I will be back soon with a report of the festivities!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jolynn, I have to tell you something....

I cheated with your trail. I ran at Garin last Sunday.

I am so sorry, but what did you expect? You post your beautiful pictures and tell your wonderful stories... I mean, it puts ideas in a girl's head.

Here I am in a stale relationship with the Los Gatos Creek bike trail and you are so in love. Sure, I have had my dalliances at Baylands, but even he couldn't hold my attention anymore.

So I took your trail. And if I am really honest with you, he didn't put up much of a fight. Sorry, but I feel you should know the truth.

Garin is a player. Plain and simple. And I don't think I am the first time he has strayed. But, damn, he was good!

I am just sayin'...

My run at Garin

I needed to do a 2 1/2 hour run on the Sunday after the Cinderella Century and I have been feeling the need to just run somewhere pretty and new, so I made the 35 minute trek up to the East Bay to Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park.

What better way to recover after a century than a 10.5 mile trail run with 2100 ft of climb! Ok, probably not my wisest idea, but I had a BLAST!

Well, my spirit and psyche had a blast. My quads and hamstrings? Not so much.

Elevation for the "easy 2:25 run" that was on my training schedule for Sunday. Oops.

Entry to the park. There were two coots on this pretty pond, but the little suckers took off before I could photograph them.

Pretty single track start

Then wide open vistas (Yes, I am aware the sky is blown in all of my pictures. My bad)

I went through a gate, across a creek, up a hill...

And then I ran into this guy. He looked pretty shocked to see me, and I was worried I had ventured onto private land so I back tracked.

The REAL reason I came out here. I loves me some cows!

Do I look like I am working hard? 'Cuz I freaking am!

Top of the big climb. More cows chillin'.

I love the cows prints all around this bench. I just imagine them sitting their big, bovine asses on this bench catching the view!

This is the closest I have ever been to a turkey vulture! So cool!

After a pretty brutal downhill that my quads are still pissed at me for, I ran out of water (didn't wear the Camelbak. Stupid! My ever faithful bike trail has water fountains. When you run on the wild side you have to fend for yourself. Maybe karma for my little running indiscretion?) so I did what any good, bad girl would do. I hopped the fence out of the park and into someone's yard and used their hose. (I tried to knock first and asked the neighbor I saw walking his dog. I am not THAT much of a bad girl)

Then it was back on the single track to my car.

Side note: I will have you know, trail blazer Tracy and smug mug Mr. Willie, that I was only equipped with a shitty trail map that did not seem to match ANYTHING I saw and I did not get lost! Ha! I am getting better at this!

The run back wound (winded? Whatever) through a forest on a single track that has several of these tiny ass bridges.


The bridge is a little narrower than the length of my arm! I know I have broad shoulders, but DAMN I had to walk over it with my arms in the air. But this was not nearly as distressing as the fact it was only a tiny bit wider than my ass!

A skill NO ONE hoped I would acquire, the ass self-portrait!
There was a previous version of this picture that was deleted IMMEDIATELY. *shudder*

I reached a big pretty rock that I had forced my self to not stop touch on the way out (I have a problem with having to touch weird things. I don't know why. I am weird)
This time by I gave it a hug. I am not good at denying myself stuff. The obsession tends to escalate like this.

All in all a great therapeutic run. I was pretty beat at the end.

So, Jolynn, again I am sorry, but I am sure you understand why I did it.

Hell, maybe next time we can do him together. *wink*

What? too far?

My bad. It must be the Spring Break talking! Woo hoo!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

To my fellow teachers...

I got him.

You know that gangbanger kid that looks at you everyday like you are the stupidest, most annoying, bitch he has ever had the misfortune of meeting?

The one that you have to constantly remind yourself to look at every 15-20 seconds to make sure he has not snuck his iPod headphones in, isn't tagging on your desk, or isn't setting the kid next to him on fire.

The one that when the office calls because his probation officer wants to see him you gleefully reply, "Sure! Keep him as long as you want!"

Yeah, him.

Today he actually deemed on of my lessons mildly interesting enough to accept the handout and work on it.

Then he asked for help.

Even raised his little, thuggy hand!

And when I explained it, he did it, then asked if it was right, and I said, "Yes, exactly like that. Nice."

He gave me that 'Hey, I actually get it' half smile and proceeded to finish the lab with a clear understanding of the material.

And we are not talking some '2 + 2, George Washington was the first president of the United States' bullshit. We are talking the 'Independent assortment of chromosomes during Metaphase I of Meiosis' kind of 'get it'.

I had to check to make sure my heart had not literally burst out of my chest.

Boo. Fucking. Yah.

That, my friends, is the sweet crack hit of teaching. The type that will keep you going through mind-numbing faculty meetings, endless, asinine staff development sessions, and stab-yourself-in the-eye-to-avoid-the-pain District Site Team meetings. All for the faint hope that you will feel that again.

I just thought I would share before I see him again and regain my status as the stupid, annoying bitch.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ride Report: Cinderella Challenge 90 mile ride April 4, 2009

The Cinderella Classic is an all women's 100K ride, put on by the Valley Spokesmen Cycle Club. The men of the club, who call themselves the Prince Charmings when they run this ride, started this ride over 20 years ago as a thank you to the wives of the club for always supporting their rides and cooking for all the rest stops. Its popularity has exploded and the ride now boasts a sellout crowd of 2500 women every year.

Last year they added a optional 30 mile loop to the course with more serious climbing and called it the Cinderella Challenge which is a 95 mile ride (However, when you add the ride sheet totals it is only 90 miles and this agreed with my cycle computer). This was the ride I have been training with the cycle group for. I was riding this with my Cycle Buddy and Julia and we had planned to start with Claire and Lori.


I am a pretty organized person and am rarely late to anything, however I can not seem to get my shit together when it comes it these rides. After forgetting to get gas the night before, missing two exits on the way there, and then poor planning on packet pick up we finally got our asses on the road at 8:10. One hour and 10 minutes AFTER our planned start time.

Lord, I am sure there will be a line out the door of people waiting to ride with me again.

The ride

I was on my bike for about 20 seconds when I fell. In the parking lot. Lots of witnesses. I told you, mad skillz! It was immediately after this that I realized I had forgotten my Garmin in the car. I was NOT about to ask my ride buddies if I could run back and get it. At this point, I was lucky they hadn't ditched me an hour earlier.

After check in we found out that the turn off to the challenge loop closed down at 10:30. If we did not make it to mile 31 by 10:30 we would not be allowed to do the Challenge option. We knew we would have to push to make the cut off, so we did.

The ride starts off in a pretty tree lined residential area. It was pretty crowded for the first 28 miles (28 miles was the actual site of the turn off. Measuring is NOT one of the Cinderella's strong suits).

If you ain't the lead dog the view never changes.

The three amigos! First rest stop!

The first rest stop was at the fairgrounds and there was a small schooling show going on. Cute horse butts!

Here we met up with Claire and Lori who had left before us. Translation: they didn't want to wait around while I bumble fucked around. They were doing the 100k today.

Once we reached the Challenge turn off and we were pretty much alone. None of the other challenge riders had started as late as us.


We made the cut off with about 30 minutes to spare. 28 miles in 1:50 is a 15.3 mph average. Considering that includes the crowded conditions, several stop signs and lights, AND a rest stop, that is pretty damn fast for me.

Patterson Pass

This climb deserves its own section. The Challenge loop started with this climb:

Profile for Patterson pass I found in the internets! Damn, I wish I had my Garmin for this ride...

I believe Cycle Buddy's comment immediately before this was, "Don't you dare take a fucking picture of me on this fucking hill."

Nothing like an average 6% grade (with about 3 steep tip ups) on a 4 mile climb to trigger an asthma attack. Fortunately, Julia recovered and was able to finish the ride.

Victory! We have survived Patterson Pass!

A big, pink sausage at the top of Patterson Pass. I really hope that is the wind puffing up my jacket. *sigh*

After the climb and a GLORIOUS descent, we came upon the only Challenge specific rest stop where we were surprised with a Cinderella Challenge pin. Very cool!

Challenge rest stop mascot enjoying a sunbath. I am embarrassed to say, I forgot her name, I think it was Sammy. If anyone knows I would love to know it.

The rest of the ride

Altamont Pass is typically a long, sufferfest through a wind tunnel, but we lucked out today and the wind left us alone.

Roadside cheering section during the climb on Altamont Pass. I call it "Cows at 6 mph"

We had a couple of more climbs, but nothing like Patterson Pass. When we rejoined the Classic course the final 30 miles were easy and heavenly. (In stark contrast to fucking Solvang that has the hardest climbs after mile 80, if may put on my 'Bitter Hat' for just a moment.)

Danville: Home of the Rich, Land of the Plastic, but, boy, they sure have a gorgeous bike trail.

Action shot of me and Cycle Buddy in Dublin.
I look like I am doing the evil genius laugh. Like I have hatched a master plan to take over the world. "On my purple bike and in pink jacket they will never see it coming!

Post ride. Three smiles = rousing success!

We had a blast and I have my second almost century under my belt!