Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Ciao bella/bello's. Io sono Bryan. I've been learning bits of italian just by being near Maia, my roman girlfriend, and yesterday I started an online Italian course at www.livemocha.com It is free and has a good community and learning system. I need to be bilingual to transfer to a UC in a couple years so buona fortuna! That's good luck/fortune, which is actually bad to say in Italy. They say "In bocca al lupo":"In the mouth of the wolf", a sort of reversal where the recipient already has such good luck that bad wishes aren't even enough to stop them, the reply is "crepi il lupo":"may the wolf die", morbidly delightful!

Over the weekend I did quite a lot. Saturday morning I was up at 7:30 biking to Pro-Built Wheels by Penasquitos Canyon to get a ride with about 40 other volunteers for San Diego Mountain Bike Association trail work in PQ canyon. We hiked to a section of trail I hadn't been to before, above "the duck pond" on a rutted straight fireroad called 'the shitz'. We got the training, the plan, and started picking, shoveling, raking, hoeing, the fireroad into a swooping doubletrack with solid embankments to rail on and water drainage to prevent further rutting. We fit it all within the fireroad and it's deeply rutted sides, and there are plans to add a new more permanent trail near there as well, once the environmental and geological studies are done. It was a solid 4 hours of work and the trail is awesome now. I rode to it on Monday and rode up it, it's quite steep still, but I hardly had any skidding, which is bad for trails. Coming back down it was fast and fun and I had no skidding. The trail leading to there from the main canyon is great fun too.

[Link] PQ Corkscrew pictures

When I started into PQ canyon on Monday on my way to school, on the west end, about a half mile in the hillsides were blackened and there was a firetruck and people working on the edge of the scorched earth. I talked to a firemadame there and she said there had been a fire sunday afternoon and they were just making sure it was all out. 17 acres burned, which is about 3 hillsworth. It had been quite hot this weekend. Pix and vids to come.

[Link] PQ Burninated pictures

Maia and I also finished weeding the main garden area this weekend, to prepare to plant our seedlings. We've got 4 wittle squashes ready to plant and a dozen others that will be ready soon. Pixtures will come.

[Link] A good guide to starting a vegetable garden

After the trail work on Saturday, Maia and I went to Lake Hodges to demo some Santa Cruz bikes, but they were closing up early, so instead we walked down to the lake and rented a row boat for 8 bucks! What a steal! We rowed around the lake for a couple hours, unfortunately we didn't know we were going out here so no beer =[ but it was a nice workout and a new adventure for me! We'll try it again with an inflatable raft for comfort. I'd rather go on a cloudy day, even with sunscreen on I got burned out there.

Over the weekend we also saw two good movies: Juno and Wristcutters.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Sea Otter Photos

I've uploaded pictures I took at Sea Otter and pictures I screengrabbed from the website for the pro photographers they had out there.

[Link] Album

Monday, April 21, 2008

sea udderly outclassic, part 1, the race

Alright enough procrastinating, it's time to write this. This is part 1, the race. I will post later with accounts of the sea otter expo, bikes I demoed, pictures, and movies.

On April 19, 2008, I woke up early to a cold morning in Monterey, California, and raced my mountain bike. The adventure did not go as well as I'd hoped. In the end, I finished the 20 mile cross country race in 2 hours 53 minutes. I was far behind the next person ahead of me, who finished in 2:16. First place in my group finished in 1:26. I was ahead of only one person, by two minutes. 45th out of 46 in 25-29 men's xc sport.

[Link] Race Results

The day started off slightly wrong, my alarm didn't go off at 6:30 which I had set it for. I woke up at 6:50am, cursed my temporary phone (my last one took a dunk), and started boiling water. I had my coffee, but didn't make oatmeal as planned, it was a little late to be eating something so heavy, so instead I ate half a banana and a clif bar, not much lighter, I think I would've been better off not eating, digestion takes it's toll. My energy should have been supplied by energy powder in my water, like the cytomax I drank the day before. I was hoping to find another pack of cytomax to add to my camelbak on my way to the track, but I didn't, so I was drinking straight water, not a good idea on such a long trek, my energy supply was a critical error in this race.

I reached the starting line for my age group about 10 minutes before the race and did a bit of stretching. I felt good, I was wearing my synthetic long gel padded pants, a new long sleeve racing jersey, and a cotton jacket. I wasn't too cold resting among people and it would be even colder out on those windy hills.

Started at 7:55am around the racetrack. It was about a mile mostly uphill to get to the trail. By the time I reached the trail I was in last. I was really outclassed by these guys. I'm past beginner and well into intermediate for my trail riding skills, but racing is another level of strength and endurance, so I am a beginner class racer, not sport class. Beginner and sport race on the same loop, but beginner was at 3pm the previous afternoon, which would have a much easier time to ride, being warmed up and having all day to prepare. I checked the beginner times and would have placed slightly higher, but I think my time would have been much better riding at that time of day.

I rode on, it became obvious when I was passed by the next age group about 20 minutes into it that I wasn't going to catch up, but I wasn't going to give up. This was my baseline run. Besides, I paid about 80$ to take part in this race =P Ride on, I started taking breaks after a half hour. Getting passed by progressively older groups of riders. I got some visual pulsing from overexertion and went slow for the rest of the course. Towards the end I laid out in a field by the track for a bit, got some chuckles from riders. Women's groups passing me now, a nice change in scenery ;]

The track is 20 miles long with a cumulative ~6,800 feet of elevation gain. 20 miles flat I can do in 1.5 hours, but this track is mostly climbing. Fireroads up, winding tricky rollercoaster singletrack, and some fast white knuckle fireroad descents. The ground wasn't muddy at all, quite sandy in some sections, alot of dry loose dirt like San Diego. It's a really fun track, I enjoyed the race when I wasn't getting nauseated from all the climbing. I made it through so despite what went wrong, I've gained from the experience. And next year I'll try again.

That's not all, there are other races coming up, and I'll be continuing my regular riding to keep in shape if something else comes around. There's a 24-hour race in temecula in a few weeks, but I'll join a casual team if anything for that. Anyways, racing isn't why I ride, it's just a different way of experiencing my love of biking around trees.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

long time no post

Hiya =]

I've got a big adventure coming up in a week, I'm going to be racing my mountain bike at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, Ca. I'll be racing Saturday morning at 7:55 in the mens 25-29 sport class cross country. The course is 19 miles and last year my class had about 60 people taking 1.5-2 hours. This will be my first official mountain bike race and Sea Otter is a huge event, so I'm excited.

I've been biking hard for 2-5 hours per day in training, I found a path that is 90% off road to get from home to Miramar college, going through Los Penasquitos canyon. An infinitely nicer ride than Miramar road with an air base on one side and auto shops/furniture stores on the other. Miramar road takes about 10 minutes by car, 30 minutes by bus, 40 minutes by bike, and going through canyons takes 90 minutes.

On Friday (4/4) I woke up at 7am and went straight for an ultimate adventure, breakfast at Sombreros! Mm, potatoes. With a burrito in tow, I went to Mission Trails Regional Park at the Clairemont Mesa Blvd trailhead. MTRP is home to the highest peak in the city of San Diego (Cowles Peak) and many miles of excellent trails. This was my first time biking at this side, I have previously biked around the visitors center area.

Biking around the West side of the park has a mixture of long slow fireroad climbs, fast rugged descents, and steep traction hell on hilly singletrack. The ground here, like most of San Diego, is hard pack with large loose sand and rock cover, which gives a running on marbles effect when trying to climb steep hills. I rode for about 5 great hours here, with cloud cover keeping me cool. I returned to the van to the burrito which is just the thing to have after a long ride.

[Link] Pictures from my ride at mission trails.
[Link] Mission Trails map.

Visited dad and gramps and family on Saturday, that night we watched Sunshine (ok scifi thriller), No Country For Old Men (excellent action thriller, surprisingly pertinent metaphors), I am Legend (good), and The Machinist (great, mind trip) .

Monday, I took the Penasquitos trail to and from school.

The San Diego Sea-to-sea Trail is a 140 mile trail stretching from the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines (La Jolla) to the Salton Sea. The trail includes Los Penasquitos Canyon and Sycamore Canyon, which I have ridden both and almost all of the trails between them. On Tuesday I decided to do the first part of the trail. I biked through UCSD and down to Torrey Pines Beach, it's quite nice to be biking among trees and then seeing waves crash in front of you. From there the trail runs along Carmel Valley road, detours for a burrito with Amanda, then continues under the 5 and along some boring horse road that follows the 56. I found a fun side trail that went over into Penasquitos Canyon, and had fun in there getting to school. Rode back home on Miramar road, after about 5 hours of biking I was pooped.

I'm planning to have a day that I'll start at the start of the sea-to-sea trail and ride it as far as I can in half a day, and then back. Probably not until after the race.

[Link] Map of San Diego sea-to-sea trail.

Today I got a new seatpost in the mail, a Thomson Elite Setback 31.6x410mm. Compare to my last seatpost (stock) it's longer, which is the crucial point because I had my last seatpost far above the max line, risking damage to the frame. The bit of setback expands the cockpit of the bike which is helpful for me because this bike is a size or two small for me. It's also one of the lightest and strongest seatposts on the market, and for $70 a great value. This is my forever seatpost.

Tonight I'll be taking Penasquitos to a school by black mountain to take a test. I'll be scoping out black mountain to possibly be riding miner's ridge tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, Ciao!