New Blogger – Andy

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Hello! I am the newest blogger for OC Outdoor Fitness. You have heard about me before, I am married to Kristin. I want to give you a brief introduction to who I am and what you can expect from me.

I am sneaking up on 30, father of one (soon to be two) and a black lab owner. I love cycling, stand up paddling, swimming, mountain biking, rock climbing, running (sort of) and hiking. I am always up for an adventure and enjoy the occasional epic.

I will be blogging about upcoming events, providing race reports, product reviews, trail reviews and information on forth-coming OC Outdoor Fitness meet ups. I will also be providing you a look at my life outdoors and how I train for the adventure. You see me struggle, be lazy, re-dedicate and crank out some pretty fun outings. You’ll also get to watch me balance family, work and fitness.

My goal is to make this an active online community where we can put our fitness and love of the outdoors to use. I am hoping this will be more than a place for information and serve as a way for outdoor fitness enthusiasts in Orange County to meet and make lasting friendships.

I will also be tweeting from @Andy_OCOF

Let’s see where this takes us!

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Balboa island run

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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Eat Local, Eat Organic, have a box delivered to your Door!

Let’s talk stewardship and nutrition.  How as outdoor enthusiasts and fitness aficionados meet fuel up for our adventures while respecting the environs we frequent (forests, deserts, oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.)?  A logical step is to consider eating more locally and more sustainably.  This doesn’t mean we have to be complete loca-vores and forgo the occasional out of season fruit, but living in SoCal we have the opportunity to eat local produce practically year round!

A fantastic way to take a step toward eating locally are the farmers markets we have in the OC.  Huntington Beach has one on Tuesdays, there’s one at The Great Park on Sundays.  The vendors are pretty local (Oxnard to San Diego and generally east towards San Bernardino).  Many follow natural and organic practices, some are certified.  It’s a great way to support small businesses.
For a next step, you may consider CSA shares.  Boxes, paid for on a monthly basis, delivered right to your door each week, every other week or once per month.  These are fun because they are dealers choice, whatever’s ripe is what you get (somewhat tailored to your preferences).  Don’t like broccoli? No sweat, take it off and you’ll get a substitution.
It’s very economical and we’ve found these CSA shares to be a better deal than whole foods or trader joes, provided you use what you get!
Take a look at the local options and consider eating local to lessen the impact your food has on the areas we love.
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Cyclist Road Safety

It’s apparently “do construction on every road simultaneously” season in Orange County, at least around my neck of the woods.  Which wouldn’t be a problem if the construction projects weren’t scheduled to last until 2014 (I’m looking at you Sand Canyon grade re-alignment).

 So, if we’re determined to get out and ride our bikes, what are the best strategies for staying safe?
Be Predictable
Handle your bid in an assertive and sure manner.  Signal all turns, lane changes and stops (use hand signals).  Also, travel in ways cars are used to seeing other traffic travel.  Stay to the right (unless you’re taking a lane – more on that in a minute), ride with traffic – NEVER against it (“bike salmon-ing is a quick way to die”), don’t weave between cars, stop at signals and signs. All common sense stuff.
Take the Lane
California Vehicle Code Section 21202 states that “When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side”.  If you find yourself in a cone-zone with no shoulder, signal your intent and take the lane.  As soon as it is safe for you o move to the right again, do so, but don’t feel pressure if you’re holding up traffic.  It’s your right to do so.
 
Be Visible
I highly recommend using a flashing bike light on the front and back of your bike day or night.  For the front, use a white light, preferably 100 lumens or more.  On the back use a red light such as the planet bike super flash.
 
 
These tips should help you during your rides.  There’s no substitute for solid bike handling skills and awareness,  stay focused and practice emergency and evasive bike handling skills before you hit the roads, especially if you’re pulling your child(ren) in a trailer.
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Snakes on a plain, and mountain, and in the desert…

In California, we are very lucky to have access to a broad range of ecosystems, from coastal plains, to rugged mountains and arid deserts.  These areas provide us with a multitude of opportunities for outdoor recreation.  To go along with these ecosystems we are also lucky to have  seven (!) species of poisonous snakes that call Southern California home.  They are, the Western Diamondback, Sidewinder, Speckled rattlesnake, Red Diamond rattlesnake, Southern Pacific, Great Basin rattlesnake and the Mojave rattlesnake. I have a legitimate snake phobia, so just typing that made my skin crawl and my palms sweaty.  

 
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), rattlesnakes are dangerous if provoked; however,  they also provide humans with a valuable service - they eat rodents, other reptiles, and insects, and are in turn eaten by other predators. 
 
Here In California where rattlesnakes are found from sea level up to 10,000 feet, you’re never safe! (Just kidding, sort of).  An essential part of enjoying the outdoors means learning how to avoid contact with rattlesnakes and how to react if you encounter one.  Here are a few tips from the CDFW:
Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.
When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood for your campsite. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.
Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
 
Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom.
Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.
So what happens if you encounter a snake and the strike?
Stay calm
Wash the bite area gently with soap and water
Remove watches, rings, etc, which may constrict swelling
Immobilize the affected area
Transport safely to the nearest medical facility
If possible, contact a ranger or 911 dispatch to provide them with your location and request assistance.
Chances are a snake encounter will end with it slithering away. So go out and have fun.
Also, be glad we don’t live in Florida, where they have 18 ft pythons living in the wild, O-M-G Yuck (invasive species!).

Hiking, biking OC trails

Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend!
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