Review Category : Races

Last week I wrote a race recap for the Over the Hump race series being held at Irvine Lake from a spectators point of view. I figured it was only fair to do a follow-up from a racers perspective. So I entered this weeks race.

I used to mountain bike a lot and I raced in college, but I haven’t been on a mountain bike in about 5 years (since moving to California from Colorado). I tell you this because I debated, pretty heavily, what class to enter – Sport or Beginner. I ultimately went with the Beginner class, because I doubted that my fitness level could handle 3 laps as opposed to 2 (this turned out to be a very good choice).

Pre-Race Logistics

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I sold my only mountain bike recently (it wasn’t much of a race rig anyhow), so I reached out to the man behind the curtain, Matt at Over the Hump. He was kind enough to hit up the folks at Jax Bicycle Center and have them ear-mark a demo bike for me. To my delight, I showed up to find a Gary Fisher Superfly Al Elite waiting for me. What a sick bike. As I told the guy at the Jax tent – if I was going to get my soul stolen during the race, it wouldn’t be the bikes fault!

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The mechanic quickly got me squared away, installing the pedals I brought and tweaking the seat height for me. I pocketed a couple sample packets of Gu Roctane and was off to complete registration.

Registration

Registration was a breeze, the people working were friendly and gave me the whole run down on pre-riding the course. There was also a pre-race chip check (to make sure the system was recording things right for the electronic timing). A great idea, although it removed “system error” from my list of excuses. One bonus was that The Path was handing out free water bottles at the chip check. Had to go with hot pink!

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The Course

Last week, I said the course looked “fast, dusty and moderately technical. Definitely not epic single track”. Which I found to be true, but that is an over simplification and sells the race short by a pretty good margin. I had a lot of fun racing. The course had moderate climbing, some good single-ish track sections, quite a bit of off-camber riding with some loose rock and deep silty sections as well.

During pre-ride, I noted some sections (turns) that I thought would silt-out into a deep loose mess by the second lap, turns out it only took the start of the race to get there. It would be nice to do a bit of trail work and get these sections wetted down and turned to rock gardens instead of dust-pits. But it was only two parts of the course. No real complaints.

I was really impressed with the courses ability to use some natural and man-made features to keep things interesting on corners. One particular corner featured a tarmac curb-drop during a descent into a 90 degree turn (I think a few racers failed to notice the 6-inch drop, as I saw a few go down).

The middle of the course had a succession of climbs and descents which really got me to red-line (thought I was going to puke in my shoes a couple times!). Downed a couple of cherry-lime roctane to get sorted out – helped a ton.

The last third of the course really shined. It had some steep, fairly technical sections but still allowed for racing and passing with some fast descents into the finishing straight.

Again, I sold this course short last week. It was FUN!

Two laps was enough for me today, although it is worth mentioning that I was a little disappointed because the beginner race didn’t include some of the more technical sections that sport/expert/pro had (understandably). But as a technically proficient but out of shape mountain biker I found myself wishing for a “good bike handler but lazy” class or a “parents with kids under 10″ class, which would include the more technical sections, but only be two laps.

My race felt like this: Pain, More Pain, Going to Puke?

Then an amazing thing happened, I got to lap two and it felt like: Even More Pain, Going to Puke?, Not So Bad, Why Am I So Slow?, Almost Done!

Post Race/Vibe/Sponsors

I was also impressed with the turnout of local shops and sponsors. It was family night, which was great. It’s super fun to see a mountain bike community that knows and understands that families want to participate together. The kids races each week are also a nice touch.

Because it was family night, there were balloon animals, face painting, a bounce house and other diversions for the kiddos.

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What was also cool is Oakley showed up tonight (their headquarters is in Foothills Ranch, just a quick jaunt down Santiago Canyon) and were offering free lens upgrades! Seriously. I got brand new Black Iridium lenses for my Radars for free.

There were a ton of other supporters/sponsors and exhibitors out too: Bahati Racing, Kenda Tires, Fizik, Troy Lee Designs, several Local Bike Shops t(o name a few), all demo-ing and selling gear and clothing. It was great.

Recap/Conclusion/Take-Away

Should you take the time and make the effort to race? Unequivocally, yes! It is a great race, lots of fun and a good way to get some suffering in without just pounding out another workout.

What’s in it for you if you come out? Grass-roots racing, developing a community, being a part of something that doesn’t happen everywhere. Having the opportunity to live a life that has a bit more excitement in it. Showing your friends and family how much fun an active outdoor lifestyle is.

And…some free swag. Seriously, when is the last time you got ANYTHING for free (or the low-low price of $25)?

Tonight, I got new lenses for my glasses, a free water bottle, to ride a sweet bike, have some fun, feel some pain, (yep, I’m still alive, thanks for the systems-check lungs, heart and burning quads), boosted my immune system (eating dirt does that, really), and provided my daughter with an example of healthy activity and had fun being outside.

What a good experience it was.

Have fun out there!

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The family and I decided to head out to Irvine Lake last Thursday, to check out the Over The Hump race series. We have been avid mountain bikers since college (I raced for the CU Cycling team, and Kristin and I rode a lot together.)

We weren’t sure what to expect from the event or the venue. I had been up to Irvine Lake for the Orange County Beer Fest several years ago, but couldn’t imagine what the race course would look like.

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The course looked fast, dusty and only moderately technical. Definitely not epic single track. However, the race is close to home, cheap ($25 entry and $3 parking) and well attended. It was refreshing to see an event that’s about having fun and building the sport. There were tons of first time and rookie racers. If you’ve never raced before, this is a good series to check out. If you’re experienced, it’s a good series to get race fit and work on tactics.

The Pro/Expert classes showed up with their race faces on. The sprint for the hole shot was pretty intense and no one seemed to let off the gas the entire race. When the likes of Rahsaan Bahati is making excuses before the race, you know the pace is going to be turned way up. For what it’s worth, he turned in a respectable 7th place finish.

The action was equally intense all the way down the ranks to the “True Beginner” class. Everyone got after it, mixed it up and had some fun. The women racing were seriously fast as well. Good racing all around,

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What I liked about the race was the number of local shops and teams present and representing. A lot of community and people who seem to be in it for the love of the sport. There is also a high school race series that makes these events part of the series, which is great. It’s a nice way to offer alternative sport options to high school kids.

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What the kiddo liked most was free stickers and a Popsicle.

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If you are a “fun” runner, Disney runs are like mecca. For those of you who clock every run, and try to PR every race, Disney runs may not be your thing, unless you have kids, or just really love Disney. But for the rest of the recreational running world, nothing beats a Disney run. I mean … come on! It’s Disneyland, Disney world and Epcot!!

These runs usually sell out in a few weeks, especially the Disneyland half marathon, and Disney world Princess Half Marathon. I have run them for 4 years, and while the hefty price tag of $185 is hard to swallow, you forget all of that on race day. As everything that Disney does it is done with excellence. The packet pick up and expo have something for the entire family runners and non runners a-like. If you have kids, take them with you to the expo, they will get so pumped and then they will feel super excited to meet you at the finish line for your race!

I think one of the most fun things is to see all the costumes and how runners get creative with their running gear turned dress up clothes. Truly people get SOOO creative.

Check some of them out here

http://www.according-to-kelly.com/2011/08/what-should-i-wear-how-should-i-wear-it-2/

http://thismamamakesstuff.com/2011/10/snow-white-disneyrunning-costume-tutorial/

 

When training clients I always encourage them to do this as a 10k race. It is so full of fun that the run feels so easy and flies by! There are characters along the route, stop and take pics with them if you can! Bands playing, cheerleaders cheering, and so many people! The half marathon last September  I think maybe a total of 1 mile there was nothing to see or hear, it is so much fun, and I look forward to it every year.

Go check out the site, and mark your calendars for an amazing experience! http://www.rundisney.com/ there is still room in the January 18, 2013 Tinkerbell 10k!

Not sure where to begin your training? They have partnered up with elite running coach Jeff Galoway to give you a program right for your fitness level http://www.rundisney.com/training/running/

Happy running friends!

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As weekend warriors we’re accustomed to stacking up our weekends with races, activities and recovery. Maybe, though, we should consider some mid-week excitement to balance things out.

The Over The Hump race series brings mid-week mountain bike racing to Orange County. Races are held on Tuesday evenings. If you have a little bit of flexibility (or can sneak out the back door without the boss noticing), it may be time to head up to Irvine Lake. The series is half over, but there’s plenty of racing left. Below is a list of the remaining races and the sponsor shops (stay tuned for my upcoming bike shop review tour!).

Tuesday, August 6 Two Wheels One Planet
Tuesday, August 13 The Path Bike Shop Family Night
Tuesday, August 20 JAX Bicycle Center
Tuesday, August 27 Rock N’ Road Cyclery Season Finale

The schedule for race nights is as follows:

4:00pm Gates open- registration
4:30pm Preride course open (must have number plate first)
5:00-8:00pm Baja Fresh Dinner (available for your purchase, bring cash)
5:30pm Pre-riding closed
5:30pm Kid’s Race
5:45pm Stage at start (all categories)
6:00pm Race start (Stage start in waves, by category & class)

Results are posted shortly after last racer finishes

I plan to attend the August 6th race as a spectator, so expect a race recap with plenty of pictures. If I can wrangle up an XC Bike, I’ll try my luck at the August 13th race.

Registration is only $25.00, a pretty sweet deal!

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A few weeks ago my friend Lindsay posted asking about everyone’s bucket list. I have been slowly ticking off my bucket list for 4 years. But it got me to thinking how can I, everyday, in a local way expand my horizons and experience new things? So I started a list of the top 25 places I wanted to run in Southern California. This morning I checked off one of them. A nice run around Balboa Island!

If you aren’t familiar with balboa island it is quite the treasure in Newport beach a small wealthy island paradise home to many but vacation home to many more of Hollywoods elites.

The island is about 2.6 miles around. If you stay on the north front road it will it take you on a nice flat loop. Here are some of the treasures I encountered. Btw I ran 2 loops and it was about 3.3 miles .

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This view is I think why this is such a popular run .

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And then of course what’s an island without a dinosaur?

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And lady liberty…

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And the fun zone across the water

!

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And this awesome sand castle

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And looky here! On an island full of USC alum… OREGON representing… Our intern Derrick will be sooo happy!

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Done with the run… Hmmmmm should I get a famous “dads” donut???

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Of course!!! This is called balanced living!!

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This past Saturday, May 4th was this year’s Stand Up for the Cure at Newport’s Back Bay.  Their vision is to become SUP’s version of Race for the Cure…They have a ways to go, but put on what was, overall, a great event.  Approximately 650 Paddlers showed up decked out in all shades of pink, some in crazy costumes.  There was a good showing of elite racers, junior pros, average joes and complete beginners.

The only negative about the event was a moderately confusing schedule (done in Microsoft excel) and poorly worded registration.  It wasn’t completely clear based on what I registered for (Adult Fun Event) what time I would start (Elite Race at 9:45, Pink Fleet and Intermediate Races were shown as sometime between 10:00 and 11:00).  Once on-site the event organizer cleared things up, but as someone who likes to know the plan and be prepared for events it made for a bit of a tense morning (especially because we got a late start after a forgotten bag at home).
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I did the 5k paddle.  Audrey and Andy came to watch.  The beach event had a fantastic exhibition area which included free melanoma and breast cancer screening.  Additionally vendors of SUP clothing, products, outdoor gear and health food livened things up while spectators waited for the paddlers.  There was also a super cool silent Auction with opportunities to score sweet gear from the sponsors.
Overall, this is the perfect event if you are new to SUPing or SUP racing.  There was definite competition among the pro and intermediate riders, but there was also a very laid back feel to the event which allowed riders to turn around at any point on the course.  The flat water is perfect for those new to SUP or those who may not be super adventurous. Make sure to keep an eye out for next year’s event, or Check out their Facebook page, Standup for the Cure
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I did a triathlon this past year, and really enjoyed it, but the open water swim made me nervous!  So, in order to review a couple of upcoming events, but avoid some hyperventilation, I have recruited my husband to try a couple open water swimming events this summer.  My husband is no Michael Phelps, but he probably won’t drown!  His past includes growing up in Minnesota, where lake swimming is a part of life and he completed a half iron man about 6 years ago when he was in a lot better shape than he is now.

The best part about open water swimming is that it allows for athletes to get out of their comfort zone and into the natural environment (this is also the scary part!).  There are numerous open water swim classes in Southern California for open-water novices.  Swim Velocity, in Orange County, puts on one of the highest rated classes based on a review of Triathlon and Open Water Swim Message Boards: http://www.swimvelocity.com/Open_Water_Swimming.html.  The best part is that it allows for repeated group swim and refresher classes for those who may take a little extra time to get comfortable in the water.
Another great resource is the OC Open Water Swims google group.  They coordinate informal meetups for weekly swims at the state beaches around Orange County, there is a wealth of knowledge and some fantastic swimmers who attend.
My husband has decided to train for two events in June.  The first is a 1/2 mile “Lap Around the Pier” in Huntington Beach on June 8th. The great part about these swims is that the registration fee is reasonable (unlike many of the Triathlon races in Orange County) only $25, including a t-shirt.  A word of warning, wetsuits are not permitted!
The second is La Jolla’s Pier to Cove swim.  This is a 1.5 mile swim from La Jolla Shores (the Pier) to La Jolla Cove.  This is a challenging but beautiful swim that navigates some of the best nautical preserves in Southern California.  Wildlife is abundant (including sea lions, tuna, dolphins and sometimes whales).  What is interesting about La Jolla is it is home to the largest population of sting-rays in Southern California as well as several (harmless) species of small shark!
If you are feeling brave and are a confident swimmer, you may want to consider these as an enjoyable alternative to the local triathlon races. I’ll keep you posted on how my husband’s training and races go!
-K
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Don’t worry! If you missed last Sunday’s CicLAvia (like my family did) you only have to wait 60 days until the next event.  The last CicLAvia allowed participants to ride, walk or skate from Downtown LA all the way to Santa Monica on closed streets…Next up, is the iconic Wilshire Boulevard.  Wilshire will be shut down from One Wilshire Plaza in Downtown LA all the way to Fairfax (the heart of Museum Row).  The iconic Wilshire Boulevard shut down is a partnership with Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. This collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together several local arts institutions for a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways. Major support for CicLAvia – Iconic Wilshire Boulevard has been provided by the Getty Foundation.

From CicLAvia’s website: “CicLAvia makes the streets  safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There are activities along the route. Shop owners and restaurants are encouraged to open their doors to people along the CicLAvia. Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. We can’t wait to see you at CicLAvia!”
Come out and enjoy the event…meander slowly down Wilshire, show up early and get a run in with a perspective you don’t often get, dust off the cruisers and pedal till you have a smile on your face.  While you’re there take time to stop at the Museums and marvel at the architecture we normally just speed past.
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Earth Day comes on April 22 each year; it’s a day to celebrate our planet and support environmental protection. In my opinion, Earth Day should be 365 days a year.  Whatever your opinion, its still an opportunity to celebrate our planet, which is so often taken for granted.  The weather is suppose to be amazing in our SoCal 10 day forecast and I plan to take full advantage of catching some much needed Vitamin D!

There are some great events and activities happening within the next week,

Ragnar Relay Series: April 19-20

It kicked off in Huntington Beach this morning and ends 200+ miles away in San Diego (Embarcadero Marina Park South). Teams of 11 runners (or an Ultra Team of 5) alternate running the 200+ mile distance over a 24-hour period. What I love about this race is that, although seemingly daunting, it’s actually realistic for all classes of runners. Each participant runs three separate legs throughout the race and only ranges from about 3-8 miles! Gather your 10 closest friends and prep yourself for next year. Until then, check out a leg of the race and the colorful costumes and upbeat participants will surely entertain you. Runners love to run!

http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/southerncalifornia/

 

BDR Earth Day Family Fun Run, April 22

Bolsa Chica State Beach

With late morning start time, this race is great for those of us that may not be early birds, want to eat a casual breakfast, or just have a wild toddler to chase and attempt to clothe.

http://www.active.com/5k-race/huntington-beach-ca-ca/bdr-earth-day-family-fun-run-2012

Orangeman Salt Creek Half Marathon 10k/5k

Salt Creek

There’s nothing better than to run with a nice ocean view. This race runs along the Salt Creek Regional Corridor Trail and will surely satisfy your need for a great work out while enjoying mother natures true beauty.

http://goforwardracing.com/salt-creek-half-marathon-5k10k-1k-kids-run

Wine Festival April 19-20

Tickets can be purchased at the site below. Beginning in Laguna Beach this evening, be wined and dined with rare wines and others that are no longer in distribution. Move onto a full afternoon at Doheny State Park on Saturday.

http://www.californiawinefestival.com/eventschedule.html

Citrus Fair La Habra, April 18-21

This fair will surely have something for every member of the family; stage performances, contests, food, and activities for the kiddos.

http://www.citrusfair.com

Pet Expo OC Fair and Event Center, April 19-21

Check out this giant expo for your pet and pet products. They have a great variety of activities scheduled, sure to entertain the whole family. Please, leave fiddo (and all other pets) at home. There will be plenty of animal interaction, and lovely pets available for adoption at the expo!

http://www.petexpooc.com

Plant & Garden Show, Fullerton Arboretum April 20-21

A perfect opportunity to kick-start spring and beautify your garden! Maybe add a new variety, or learn about organic gardening. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there’s something for everyone.

http://fullertonarboretum.org/event_green.php

Door Open to public, 10:00am-4:00pm

Day at Pretend City, April 22

Ok, not technically out side, but it’ll be a great learning experience for the kiddos!

http://anaheimoc.org/calendar-of-events/155404/earth-day-pretend-city

Volunteer, Anywhere, Everywhere, Anytime

http://www.oneoc.org/get-involved/days-of-service/earth-day/

Check out this website, it has a great list of multiple volunteer opportunities.

Check out more events all over Southern California:

http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicEd/EarthDay/Events/#LosAngeles

I hope that at least on of these events inspires you to get outdoors, enjoy some exercise and time with the family this weekend and don’t forget celebrate our planet!

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Sure, the Disney half marathon was the most fun I have ever had, with the most number of awesome surprises. And yes I PR’d the San Francisco half in the coldest weather they had ever experienced. And the year before I was preg with my daughter my friend Shannon and I ran an ass kicking fast (for us!) 4th of July 5k.

But sometimes there are runs that mean more then just fun, fitness and PR’s.

Some are reminders of the fragility of life.  Runnincentanni 5k rung is more popular then ever right now, and so many people sign up for the big races each year as a milestone, or to check something off their bucket list.  It has become more common to see races that have been put together to memorialize loved ones. To run to raise money and awareness to cure, diabetes, leukemia, you name it.

But sometimes there are races that should be so important but don’t capture the publicity of the bigger races. The 1st annual Cetanni-Cottle 5k honors two local marines that were killed in action on March 24, 2010. This 5k will help raise money for their kids college tuition. We are a country with the largest military spending budget in the world, and yet many of the families of soldiers that are victims of war do not get compensated or taken care of the way they should.

If you can make it on Sunday the 24 please do. If you can’t make it and can donate. Please visit the website.https://centannicottle5k.webconnex.com/registeronline

 

 

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