Over the last several years there has been a fledgling racing scene brewing in Irvine.  The Great Park Racing series is back for 2013 and is a great opportunity for experienced and relatively new cyclists to get out and race.  The series is on Thursday nights at the Great Park in Irvine.  Categories are Pro/Cat 1, 2 and 3 and Cat 3, 4 and 5.  If you’ve never raced a bike before, you’ll be in the Cat 3/4/5 race.  If you ride a bike like Kevin Costner in American Flyers or Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Premium Rush, you’re going to want to hit the Pro/Cat 1/2/3 races.  The races are set up as a point series and should be a lot of fun.  Are you a poor bike handler who wears silly helmets (triathlete)? Come on out, there is also a time-trial point series!

The excitement kicks off Thursday, March 7 and continues weekly throughout the summer.  Even if you don’t plan on being the next big name in the Tour de France, sans performance enhancing drugs, it should be a great time for the competitive or amateur athlete.

 

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Before my daughter was born, and when she was younger (a little bump on a log) my husband and I enjoyed getting out to paddle board at Baby Beach in Dana Point.  We had one board and took turns paddling or hanging out on a blanket in the grass with our daughter.  Since Audrey turned three we haven’t gone out as often due to the logistics of taking turns and hanging with the kiddo.  I think we have a solution now.  Last week my husband bought me a new paddle board for the 10th Anniversary of our first date!  Now he can put Audrey on his board and we can all paddle together as a family.  We are going to get Audrey a toddler wetsuit and canoe seat pad to sit on (with a PFD on – of course) and head out this weekend for our first paddle.  We are thinking that the back bay will be a perfect first paddle.  It’s isn’t too crowded, has close parking, clean restrooms and plenty of wildlife and boat viewing opportunities to keep Audrey entertained…it’s also close to home so it will be easy to bail out if things don’t go well.  This has me thinking about SUP events for the year.

Standup for the Cure – May 5th

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This is a good event for beginner paddlers as it is all in the protected water of the Back Bay or Newport Harbor (which has a no-wake policy) so there should be few waves to deal with.  The cost is a pretty reasonable $35 and options are for a short paddle to a 6k paddle.

 

Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez, Battle of the Paddle- September 28th

 

This event isn’t until September 28th, and that’s a good thing.  It will take months of pretty serious training and open water paddling time to get ready for the amateur races offered here.  The 2012 races made the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest ever SUP race” with over 400 participants in the Open race.

One option is a quick 4 mile loop at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, the other is an epic down and back to the San Clemente pier!  If you’re not racing, but are still in the mood to soak up some aloha vibes, join in on the annual world record attempt for most SUPs on one wave and enjoy the only time of year you can Stand-up paddle surf north of Thor’s Hammer at Doheny State Beach.  There are board demos, swag and plenty of vendors to enjoy while waiting for the paddlers to come in.

I am very excited to get out on the water more this summer.  While getting into SUP isn’t cheap, the family time on the water for virtually free (after the initial buy-in) is totally worth the investment.

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ep•ic \ˈe-pik\ a : extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope

We are moving into the New Year; it’s the first week in February. If your life is like mine, chances are that January has been pretty decent. Maybe you’ve seen some gains in the gym (maybe not). Maybe you are feeling better about your new years resolutions (or dropped them); maybe you’ve just survived the flu or a nasty cold (hooray me!). Maybe you have had an adventure, taken a trip, got out and experienced something out of the ordinary (or watched the Discovery Channel/National Geographic/Netflix).

Whether January has been exciting or rather ordinary, there is good news. We all still have a little under 11 months to have an adventure for 2013! To get out and DO something, have an epic…

Is that term overused? Doesn’t matter. For modern day explorers and extreme sports enthusiasts, epics can be legendary tales of adventures gone wrong, heroic tales of subsistence living with little more than determination separating them from the void. Or for most of the rest of us, epics can be stories of a laughable debacle that you can file away to tell your friends at the bar, family at the next get-together or your children when they’re old enough. There are very few trips that my husband and I plan that don’t turn into epics or debacles:

  • Gone camping with no sleeping bags, pillows or blankets? Done it
  • ! Concussion while snow-tubing? Crushed it!
  • Ordered crab soup in the second story restaurant of a Mexican flea market? Oh yeah!
  • Leisurely bike ride that turned into a 75 mile suffer-fest? Thanks Hubby!
  • Tandem kayaking tour of La Jolla that almost resulted in divorce? Still have the un-filed papers! (Not really, but kind of…)

My point is that even mundane outings can lead to an adventurous twist. But if you’re just hanging out on the couch, the weekend is almost certain to be mundane. Here are two ideas for this year’s epic (adventure, debacle or otherwise). Ascent of Mount Whitney Mt. Whitney is located in Sequoia National Park and has a summit of 14,505 ft. The most popular way to summit Whitney is via the Whitney trail, a 22 mile round trip hike with 6,100 ft in elevation gain. Most hikers do this in two days…for a guaranteed epic, try it in one (but make sure you are trained, are prepared, have a bail-out plan and notify someone regarding your route and anticipated return time.) A word of caution, this hike is extremely strenuous and requires a departure well before dawn. Ascent of Angels Flight Angels Flight is a funicular railway in the Bunker Hill District in Los Angeles (yes, beyond the Orange Curtain). The original Angels Flight ran from 1901-1966 and connected spring street and hill street. After an almost 40 year hiatus, it has been re-opened between Hill Street and California Plaza. Rides are only 50 cents, which is a bargain to experience a historical landmark. For a real epic, take the MetroLink Train, then the Metro (subway). Have lunch at Grand Central Market (Cuban Sandwiches!) and drinks at the Standard’s rooftop bar and pool before hopping the Metro and MetroLink Train back home. Wherever this year takes you, don’t forget to embrace the adventure and enjoy your own epic.

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