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Action, Triathlon

F*CK CANCER – Ironman 70.3

August 21, 2015

In exactly one month, Tyler Porteous​ and I will be swimming, biking, and running in Tahoe for the Ironman 70.3 Lake Tahoe​. We have been geeking out training hard for 5 months. It’s been a lot of hard work but by doing it together, it’s been a lot of fun. There have been moments both of us have wanted to throw in the towel but then we think about one of the main reasons we are doing this – to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Both of us have had immediate family members who have battled other types of cancer and we want to dedicate this race to them. If you have $5 or $10 to donate to this cause, we will be extremely grateful and will be thinking of your and your contribution on race day! 

Click to donate now

Thank you!

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On the road, Travel, Triathlon

Lake Tahoe: The Giant Blue Advil

July 17, 2015

When we were in Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago, we met a super sweet local who called the lake the “Giant Blue Advil” because of it’s healing powers. She also told us that the key to open water swims in Lake Tahoe is diving down 10 feet and drinking the cold clean water. I think I might drown if I attempted that maneuver but the thought alone is refreshing! 

Swimming in Lake Tahoe was a magical, almost zen like experience. Tyler and I did two separate 1.5 mile open water swims on the east side of the lake near Sand Harbor in prep for our upcoming half ironman. Swimming in some of the most iconic, crystal blue waters in all of Lake Tahoe was much better (in my opinion) that swimming in the murky ocean water of Souther California. 

We are just over two months away from Lake Tahoe Ironman 70.3! Who’s coming to hang? We promise there will be a beach day here (at Chimney Beach) the day after the race. 

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Bike, Food

The Scents of Post-Workday Cycling

June 16, 2015

Tyler and I try to squeeze in a ride or two each week after work. One of the most surprising parts about riding at this time, especially in the summer, are all of the scents, especially the food scents! The scent issue is compounded by the fact that I get extremely hungry on bike rides! It’s not too bad at first as we leave our house but we are turn south along the coast from Carlsbad to Encinitas, we pass several oceanfront campsites. I don’t usually have an above-average sense of smell, but I’m telling you, it’s something about the time of the day mixed with the increased hunger from cycling. I can literally smell the difference between Oscar Mayer, Nathan’s, and Kirkland Signature brands os hot dogs. When we finally get past the campsite and into Leucadia, my nose (and growling stomach) have a bit of a break then it’s time to turn around and do it all again. At this point, most people have moved on to dessert and I smell s’mores. Lots and lots of s’mores. Finally, on the home stretch, we have the pleasure of riding past a San Diego institution: Pizza Port. Not only do I smell the delicious Pizza but I smell the hops in the freshly brewed beer! Torture I tell you, simply torture.

The lesson learned here: even if it’s a quick 25 mile post-work ride, bring snacks! I like PROBAR Bolt Organic Energy Chews or Skratch Labs Fruit Drops

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Action, Hike, How To, On the road

How To Stay Warm While Backpacking

June 11, 2015

Think Memorial Day Weekend and images of pool parties, cold brews, backyard BBQs, and the start of summer weather most likely enter your mind. Ahhhhh, the visual is so pleasant.

Memorial Day 2015 was just a little different. After an extremely warm winter in California, Memorial Weekend in the Golden State brought chilly below average temps, rain, and even snow in certain areas. Because of the way the permits work with recreation.gov, we ended up booking our Memorial Day backpacking trip back in February, when California was in the middle of a hot spell so it would only be natural that we got snowed on both nights of our trip and temps averaged 20 degrees! I was prepared however since we encountered chilly temps my first backpacking trip ever (Memorial Day Weekend 2014). 

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Here are my tried and tested tips on staying warm while backpacking: 

  1. Pack smart. Invest in a great breathable, waterproof shell jacket WITH underarm zips! I also bring waterproof shell pants that weight less than a pound. Bring your finest winter long underwear. 
  2. Even if it’s cold when you begin your journey, your body will be warm after ten minutes of hauling a heavy pack on an incline. That being said, always keep rain jacket & gloves at the top of backpack and put on immediately when you start to feel cold or it starts to rain. 
  3. When you get to camp, change into dry (sweat-free) clothes as soon as you stop exercise mode (i.e. as soon as your tent and basic campsite items are set up). If you will be outside and it’s rainy, keep raincoat on so dry clothes stay dry. 
  4. Hot liquids work wonders! We brought dried apple cider mix & spiced rum. SO GOOD. Only error was not bringing enough (cider mix and rum!). 
  5. After dinner, boil additional hot water and place in nalgene water bottle. Use this warm becean of love to stay warm when you’re hanging out post-dinner. I even put this in my sleeping bag for added warmth. HEAVEN ON EARTH! Thanks to Johnie Gal at Dirtbagdarling.com for this great tip!
  6. Sleep with and in layers. When I know temps will be below freezing at night, I bring a silk sleeping bag liner (I use this one from Sea To Summit). I also sleep in long underware, a fleece, and socks. 
  7. If you are traveling with your dog, remember that they get cold too. #OurDogJasper sleeps on Tyler’s down mid-layer jacket. 
  8. Make sure your wet shoes are sheltered! We kept them in the tent with us on this trip because it was so rainy and windy outside, there was a chance that some precip might have entered our vestibule. 

This is how I stay warm while backpacking. Am I missing anything? Comment below! 

Gear, Hike

Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

June 4, 2015

Our last backpacking adventure through the Sierras brought us into new areas, and brought my feet into new hiking boots. This is my Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot review.

Getting new hiking boots can be a trying experience. Since everyone’s feet are different, it’s hard to base your decision solely on reviews. So I did mine based on reviews, and how awesome the www.Salewa.com website is! 

I received the Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boots on a Tuesday, thinking that I could then wear them a few days prior to our trip in order to soften them in. The moment I put them on, I knew those “breaking in days” were not going to be required.

Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

Right off the bat, you’ll find that the Firetail Evo is incredibly light. Compared to most boots I have owned and tried, these ones are among the lightest. Lightweight does not mean a compromise of strength, rigidity, or features.

The boot comes with a standard width insole installed, but can be replaced by a narrow foot insole that removes some volume. I have a wide foot, but for fun I swapped out the insoles to see what it would feel like. It wasn’t the right fit for me (I have a D almost EE), but I can see how those with a C and under width might require it.

The Salewa Firetail Evo uses material from all the brands you would expect from a high performance boot. The Gore-Tex® membrane will keep you dry, and the Vibram® sole will keep you in check on those wet or loose rocks/roots.

 Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

The shape of the boot is very different from traditional hiking styles. With the laces almost coming to the base of your toes, you can really fine tune the fit. I wasn’t really too sure on the color at first, but it has grown on me (I am usually a more black and white can of guy). 

Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

 Our 25 mile loop in the Sierras had us in many different weather systems, perfect for testing equipment. We had to ford rivers and waist deep snow, we got caught in hail storms, and it snowed every night. The boot performed perfectly. Although they did get a little wet by the end of the trip, I didn’t think any other boot wouldn’t have. 

This was my first purchase from Salewa, and I certainly can’t wait for my next.

Action, Bike, On the road, Travel

5 Tips For Traveling With A Bike, From A Rookie’s Perspective

May 14, 2015

Last weekend I flew to Monterey to visit my amazing Mom for Mother’s Day. I hadn’t been back home to the GR831 (my sisters and I call home “GR831” because of the 831 area code and  because we like to spell “great” the geeky way) since Thanksgiving and I was overdue for a visit. 

I decided to bring my bike because on previous visits, my favorite way to get some exercise was to go for a run in Monterey. I figured that if I had my bike I could cover more ground and really soak in all that the GR831 has to offer. Real talk though.. Monterey County is such a special place. In a single day, you could view some of the richest farmland in the USA, observe the sea otters on the Monterey Peninsula, go for a hike in a redwood tree forest in Santa Cruz, marvel at the wonders of Big Sur, and get a round of golf in at one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses (ok maybe you’d only have time for 9 holes). I love my homeland! 

Back to my experience of traveling with a bike..  Here are my five top takeaways: 

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  1. Flying With a Bike is Crazy Expensive! //There’s an amazingly affordable flight on Alaska airlines from San Diego to Monterey. It’s less than $100 each way which is awesome considering Monterey airport is traditionally extremely expensive to fly into. When I went to check my bike bag, I got slapped with a $75 baggage fee EACH WAY! The ironic thing is that my bike bag weighted 35 lbs, far less than the acceptable 50lb weight limit for a regular suitcase. When you are considering bringing your bike on the plane with you, make sure the ride(s) are worth it! 
  2. Bike -> Bike Bag //Bike bags are awesome. They help you transport your super expensive, light weight bike safely to far away lands. However, to get the bike into the bike bag is quite the task. I had to remove both wheels, handlebars, seat, and pedals before it would fit safely in my bag. Then, when I got to my destination, I had to rebuild it. Here’s my list within a list of bike bag tips (note: there are much more reputable websites that have very specific guides to packing your bike for air travel. consult those!): 
    1. Allow plenty of time to deconstruct bike. It’s not something you want to casually do the morning of a 6am flight. Think of the anxiety dreams
    2. Tools/Supplies: ONLY use a torque wrench. This is so you don’t over or under tighten screws. My Trek bike came with a torque wrench and my friends at the Trek Superstore told me they had seen many a poor fool who came back into the store with a cracked frame because they used something other than a torque wrench. Bubble wrap and foam pipe lagging is also key. You’ll also want to make sure you keep a rag in your bike bag – hands will get greasy. 
    3. Once you get your bike perfectly arranged in your bike bag for the first time, take a picture so you can get there quickly when packing up to leave. 
    4. When you are rebuilding your bike, make sure you instal your pedals correctly. Can you image being so stoked to ride in a new zone only to realize you pedals were on backwards? Drinks on you. 
    5. Speaking of drinks, I was happy that I packed bubble wrap in my bike bag. When visiting places like Monterey, Ca or anywhere for that matter, it is very possible that you may pick up a few bottles of wine (or local fruit preserves/pickled veggies, whatever you’re into) and want to pack them in your bike bag on the way home. You’re paying for that huge bag, might as well load it up with extra weight (Alaska’s weight allowance is 100lbs for bike bags). 
  3. Local Knowledge Rules //I was debating whether to ride on my own or join a group ride and in the end, I did a combo of both and I’m so happy I did. I decided to meet the Monterey Velo Club for their 30 mile Sunday ride and they ended up showing me a route through the Fort Ord and to Castroville that I would have never considered. I wanted to get to 50 miles in so I went off and rode a 20 mile out and back route and got to experience the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula and 17-Mile Drive. Score!
  4. Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses! //I borrowed my Mom’s car (thanks, Mom!) to drive to the bike ride meeting point and when I got there, I realized I forgot my Oakley Radarlock sunnies at the house! I searched my Mom’s car and (thankfully!) found a pair of her sunnies. Not the end of the world but seriously not ideal. My eyes were completely drenched in tears on descents. It felt like that one time I thought it would be cool to ski with sunglasses. The human eye’s ability to water when wind is applied is truly amazing. It is only now, even after six years working in Sports Marketing at Oakley, that I truly understand the true value of Oakley Performance sunglasses! 
  5. Numb fingers and toes aren’t just something that happens when skiing //Layering is key! I guess this could be said for biking in general, but when you’re traveling to a new place where the weather patterns are unfamiliar, bring layers! I didn’t have sleeves, gloves, or bike shoe warmers aka toe covers or overshoes, all of which would have come in handy. After 50 miles on the bike, my toes were just about as numb as a full day in ski boots in freezing temps and I couldn’t feel my fingers. Mind you, we are talking about 55 degrees in foggy Monterey. Really, could be worse!

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Gear, Triathlon

Sprint Tri Packing List

May 6, 2015

Leading up to last weekend’s sprint triathlon, I had a few panic-infused, gear-related dreams where I forgot key items. These dreams were the worst part of the whole ordeal, way more mentally taxing than the training! I must have been especially concerned about forgetting my super rad goggles because  I knew they would give me the extra courage (via style points, obviously. ha.) that I would need to get through my first open water swim.

Alas, nothing was forgotten and things went smoothly. I did, however, rely on a packing checklist that I used while gathering my things the night before and also that I reviewed morning of for peace of mind. It really took the anxiety out of the whole packing experience and set me up for success day of. I was also super pumped that I packed essential items for post-race like a brush and body wipes so I could go from finish line to brunch & celebratory mimosas quite easily.  

Please let us know if I’m missing anything! CLICK HERE for a printable checklist.

Action, San Diego Home, Triathlon

Mega-Ty’s 1st Tri!

May 4, 2015

4 a.m. and the alarm rings. Why oh why are we doing this? 

Cold oatmeal “aka overnight oats”, a coffee, load the packs and bikes in the truck and we are off to the San Diego Sprint Triathlon and our first tri! IMG_3186

Megan and I are normally not early for anything. It’s not that we are late, we just tend to be exactly “on time” if that makes any sense. Today though, being early was key! Driving, parking, walking, setting up your transition area, using the washroom, using the washroom again, walking the transition zone, walking the swim start, snacking, putting on your wetsuit, going to the washroom again, putting your wetsuit back on, and then lining up; you’ll need all the time you can get. 

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The transition and transition setup was one of my favorite parts of the race. I equate it to packing a big backpacking trip, where you lay out all your gear, take inventory, pack, un-pack, then pack all back up again. Any setup you place down, you are going to want to change! Your shoes can always be more open, your helmet always placed better, and your bike straighter! Just set it and forget it! 

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Before I put on the wetsuit!

Head to the swim start area, and join in on the conversation of “when does my heat start?”, “what buoys do I swim around?”, and “what type of goggles are those?”.  

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The swim to bike transition was more difficult than expected. Getting out of the water, unzipping the suit, and running in, your equilibrium is thrown off. After a short bit, things will come back together, but taking the time earlier to walk the transition area really helped finding the bike. I second guessed myself a few times even still.

The bike portion was great! Few bumps, but getting to pass, and being passed, is both energizing and humbling! 

The run… oh the run…! Running right off the bike feels like running through mud. Push through it and things get better, but right out of the gate, it’s rough! 

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With the finish in sight, everything makes sense as to why people get addicted to this sport. 

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 A big big congratulations to Megan for finishing 2nd in her age group! I couldn’t be more proud!

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Inspiration, Surf

Do more of what makes you happy.

April 22, 2015

It’s a choice. Think back on the last month. Identify the things that made you smile. Then, prioritize your day to include the little (and big) things that make you smile. For me, it’s going for a paddle on the lagoon at sunset. It’s having a cup of tea when my office is freezing. It’s putting on a solid playlist and headphones and jamming away when working on a big project. It’s catching up with a dear friend or family member on the phone or on Skype. It’s waking up an hour early to get a sunrise run in. It’s preparing a crockpot the night before so when we get home, the house smells amazing and there is no work to be done. It’s going taking Jasper for walk with Tyler before work in the morning. 

It’s finally starting a blog (!!) after years and years of wanting to. This is it! Tyler and I will be sharing our adventures here. Stay tuned… 

Bike, Triathlon

First Road Bike Ride

April 1, 2015

A few weekends ago, Tyler and I embarked on our very first road bike ride. We really dove right in and invited some friends of ours who are pretty experienced cyclists to join us. One of these friends is actually a pro triathlete and a 70.3 Ironman champion! The other two friends are both amazing athletes and experienced cyclists. There was one point before we took off on our ride when Tyler and I looked at each with a mutually understood “what are we getting ourselves into?” glance. We both love a good challenge so off we went!

We headed North from our place in Carlsbad through Oceanside until we reached the main Camp Pendleton (marine base) gate. From there, we made our way to the old US 101 Highway known as the Camp Pendleton Traverse. Most of this road is completely deserted except for the odd lizard or in some cases, helicopter flyovers and tank rumblings. The traverse runs all the way to San Clemente (the southern most town in Orange County) and at certain points, has sweeping ocean views which can be both a blessing and a curse. When discussing the ride later in the day, both Tyler and I recalled certain points during the ride where we both caught a glimpses of the glassy conditions of the ocean and thought, “shouldn’t we be surfing right now?”. In the end, we biked close to 45 miles and we lived! Yew! All in all, we both agreed that the bike purchases were good decisions and we are excited for the several months of training leading up to our 70.3 Half Ironman in Tahoe in September.

Here are my top 7 takeaways from our first road bike adventure:

  1. Prep work indoors pays off: The few weeks of logging hour-long endurance rides at Evovle Fusion in Carlsbad paid off as I felt pretty solid through most of our 45-ish mile ride. I like this studio because they use Keiser M3 indoor cycling bikes which means you can see how many watts you are pushing and what your cadence (RPM) are at any given time so it feels closer to a real ride than a place like Soulcycle. Tyler was pretty much born on a mountain bike so even though he hasn’t spent any time at spin class or on a road bike, I knew he’d crush the ride (he did!).
  2. No need for undies when wearing cycling shorts: When we were about to embark on our journey, our friend and pro triathlete Jenny Fletcher must have noticed my not-so-concealed underwear line. She kindly explained that wearing underwear with cycling shorts isn’t advised due to chafing dangers. Close call on this one but crisis averted!
  3. Chamois cream is a thing: after Jenny informed me of the no-underware rule, she informed me of a product known as “chamois cream” – highly advised.
  4. Invest in a proper seat: Who knew a bike seat (excuse me, “saddle”) could be so specific… they come in women’s varieties, men’s, triathlon, etc etc. All I know is that YES, I love my bike but NO I don’t love the seat it came with. So far, the three biggest takeaways take-aways involve the bike seat region. Odd sport this road biking…
  5. Insulated water bottles: Maybe the key take-away here is that lots of water is needed. We only brought one bottle each and my bike wasn’t equipped with a water bottle cage yet so I rocked my water bottle in the back of my shirt. Needless to say, after 40+ miles on the bike (roughly 3 hours) we were parched! Also, when a water bottle sits on your bike in direct sunlight for several hours, the contents of the bottle tend to get toasty. Cue the insulated water bottle!
  6. Snacks: On this maiden bicycle voyage, we failed to bring snacks. We also failed to eat a large enough breakfast. This was an error! At about 30 miles my brain wasn’t screaming “shut up legs” as it was more-so screaming “shut up stomach!”. The first thing I did upon arrival back to our home was blend together a heap of frozen fruits and veggies with a generous scoop of Designer Whey! Refreshing recovery.
  7. Biking + Photos + Military Base = Trouble: As we were waiting in line behind a few cars at the main gate to Camp Pendleton, I pulled out my phone and snapped a quick photo of Tyler and I. The entire picture taking process couldn’t have been more than 5 seconds but it must have been enough for a marine to catch me! He promptly walked up to me and told me that photos on the military base are strictly forbidden and that I could get a ticket for “driving” and using my cell phone. Lesson learned! The snapchats will have to wait for now! GoPros are OK though!

And that sums up my first experience on a bike ride. Only 6 more months of training to go until the 70.3!