Showing posts from October, 2011

Actually, I don't like packing ...

... but when I have a big adventure in the works, the kind where much of my enjoyment and perhaps even my survival hinges on being well-prepared, I like to be, well, prepared. I am trying to finalize all of my equipment for my weeklong trek in Nepal, because once I leave for Utah on Thursday I will effectively be in transit for the rest of the month. Today I gathered up everything that I intend to haul during the 155-mile stage race. It was quite the haul; the little things sure do add up.

I haven't yet weighed the food but I'm guessing it's close to half the total weight. If I have time I'd like to weigh and then calculate the actual calorie numbers. I have seven dinners (700-800 calories each), three breakfasts (Beat and I will split the breakfasts, so 300-400 calories), four bars per day (about 800 calories), and supplemental peanut butter and jam (about 450 calories per day.) I threw in three small bags of gummy candy as a treat. This gave me the idea to replace my…

Feeling the 24-hour stoke

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I've been working on a book that is partially exploring my unlikely path into endurance sports during the winter of 2006. I'm specifically writing about snow biking, but there's an epilogue to the story that's directly related to my race this coming weekend. As winter melted into spring and dirt started to emerge from beneath the snow, I shifted my newfound passion to mountain biking. Before I moved to Alaska, I was not a mountain biker. I owned a mountain bike (a 2003 Gary Fisher Sugar), but I only used it occasionally and considered myself a complete beginner. Riding a bike on snow required a mountain bike, and it only made sense to continue using it during the summertime.

Lacking experience and thus any sense of propriety, I chose for my first mountain bike race (and second race ever) what was then and probably still is considered the pinnacle of endurance mountain bike racing, the 24-hour-solo. I signed up for the 24 Hours of …

Making progress

Today I headed out to the city to visit Jen, another long-time friend, former housemate and partner-in-crazy-adventures, who was staying with our mutual friend Monika and only in town for a day. I fought rush-hour traffic so I could squeeze in a morning run with Monika, who is training for a couple of half marathons. Her training plan called for six miles today, which sounded easy, but then we hit the streets of San Francisco. Our mainly road run (this photo shows trail but it was all of a half mile through a park) fluctuated between quad-crushing steep climbs and ouch-my-knees concrete descents, literally rippling through city blocks. On top of that it was 80 degrees and neither of us brought any water. So much for "easy." Nothing a slice of Indian curry pizza and three hours of reminiscing can't cure.

Driving home, I felt more than a little guilty about all of the hours of "work" I've been cutting recently. The readers of this blog (and most of my family …

Peak training ride

I wanted to do one last long ride ahead of the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow, so I picked Tuesday as a good day to forgo "work" in favor of riding my bike all day long. I know, I have it tough. With my sights set on something around eight hours, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try something I have wanted to do ever since I moved here — ride a mountain bike from my house, up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains, to (near) the sea. While playing with Google Maps last night, I realized that I could make a loop out of such a ride, and it could still feature a lot of dirt and trail. Google Maps set the route at 85 miles, which seemed a little too ambitious, but I decided to set out with my set of printed cues and see what happened.

Of course, I slept late and didn't get out the door until 10:30 a.m. I started up the steep Montebello Road feeling downtrodden. Even a couple of hits from my bag of Sour Gummy Lifesavers couldn't perk me up. I was feeling the effects o…

Three rides

"Maybe sometime we can all have a relaxing pack or bikepack trip with camping, swimming, and soaking. Something relaxing. Jill, when you visit your friends it usually involves some kind of hell walk or ride," my friend Bill wrote to me. We have been exchanging e-mails and scheming our plans for the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow. I wrote that I was secretly (or not so secretly) looking forward to disassembling myself completely over 25 hours of mostly darkness in the Southwestern Utah desert.

"I don't think I'm going to win but it's been so long since I really tried to unravel myself," I wrote. "Tahoe Rim Trail was the last time, really, and that was a painful disaster. I'm optimistic that I'll be able to turn Frog Hollow into the soul-crushing experience I desire without too much specific physical pain." It was a declaration of anticipated suffering that I thought would even impress "Missoula's endurance mountain biking champion.&q…


I have been working on choosing and packing gear for my seven-day stage race in Nepal next month. This trek will only be semi-supported. The Racing the Planet organization will provide tents, water, and hot water for cooking in camp, but everything else I want or need for seven days in a remote region of a foreign country I will have to carry, including seven days worth of food. The key issue in packing is the fact we will be covering a marathon-length distance or more each day, with a lot of climbing, so a typical large backpack with a frame isn't an appealing option. These Raidlight Runner R-Lite backpacks are popular with adventure racers because they're light — 7.1 ounces — but sufficiently strong. This pack holds 30 liters, which is about the size of a single large bicycle pannier.

How to live out of these packs for a whole week in a dynamic climate? It's been a fun puzzle to work on, and I'm not sure I've even come close to solving it. But today I gathered ne…

Singlespeed Zen

I took this photo of the San Francisco skyline from a ferry on Monday afternoon. I went to the city to meet my college friend Anna and her 3-year-old daughter, who were visiting from Utah, and this is what they wanted to do — "boat ride." It's humorous how stressed out I become about these sorts of activities. Anything involving large crowds, confinement and schedules causes anxiety. (I've long believed my own private Hell would be a lot like a Vegas-themed cruise ship. Or the Badwater Ultramarathon.) But I rallied, and it was great to see Anna again. Visits from long-time friends is one of the benefits of living near a big city. And a beautiful city at that. I'll probably never be a city person (see causes of anxiety above) but San Francisco would have to rank as my favorite urban area. Seattle and Vancouver B.C. are up there as well.

Today I went mountain biking with my singlespeed. It wasn't a structured ride, nor did I attach any agenda to it. I was just g…

Life on the run

To casual readers of my blog, it probably seems like I've had a busy year so far. But everything has just been build-up to my big crescendo for 2011, which happens to be most of the month of November. In the first week of November I'm traveling back to Utah for my sister's wedding and also to compete solo in the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow. Then on Nov. 16 Beat, myself and two friends are traveling to Nepal for a six-day, 155-mile stage race through the Annapurna Foothills with Racing the Planet. And right now, October, is when I have to get my body ready for all of this.

How does one train for a 25-hour solo mountain bike race followed by crazy travel sandwiched around a 155-mile, week-long run, and still be at least partially productive in other aspects of life? I wish I knew the answer to this question. For now I'm just trying the strategy of ride, run, write, ride, visit with friends in town from Utah, send-emails, write, run, blog, and maybe occasionally sleep and eat…

The many makeovers of Kim

After the sun set, the entire sky turned a pale shade of pink. I made it home just before darkness set in, after another lap around Steven's Creek Canyon. The numbers are good for a solid mountain bike workout — 25 miles, 3,200 feet of climbing on a mixture of pavement, gravel and singletrack. I've been aiming for intensity during climbs this week, but my head cold and its accompanying congestion has made that difficult. I've also found I have no confidence on the descents. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get that back.

I was using a rag to peel off chunks of dust-and-grease paste from the drivetrain of my Rocky Mountain Element when Beat rolled outside on the Karate Monkey, sporting a brand new Rockshox Reba XX fork. "You already put that on?" I was surprised. He only told me yesterday he even ordered it, and when I left for my ride it hadn't even arrived. Beat's been talking for a while about putting a new fork on the Karate Monkey. The ol…

Fall in the Grand Canyon

My dad and I have created a tradition around hiking across the Grand Canyon in one day during the second weekend in October. Our first trip together was in 2004, with a group of my dad's friends. Back then, rim-to-rim was a daunting prospect — 25 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing under possibly intense heat. I trained specifically for the outing, mostly by hiking to peaks in the Stansbury Mountains and riding my touring bike up a canyon in the Oquirrhs (I lived in Tooele, Utah, at the time.) The night before, in our hotel room on the North Rim, I was so anxious I hardly slept. We started more than an hour before sunrise. It was a hot day, unseasonably so. A few people in our group showed early signs of heat exhaustion near the Colorado River. A thermometer at Indian Gardens read 105 degrees. But by the time we emerged, I was sore, fatigued, and wholly absorbed by the beauty and vastness of the Grand Canyon. We've made a solid effort to go back nearly every year since.

The great …