Monday, May 29, 2006

Bend, Oregon - Angela's Birthday Trip

Angela's 27th birthday fell on Sunday May 21st and we decided to head to Bend, Oregon for some rock climbing at Smith Rock and mountain biking along the Deschutes River.

After work on Friday we went down to Ha Penny for Shaunna's TNG "take this job and shove it" party. Angela and I worked for TNG last year and had similar parties. Good to see some old faces but I’m sure glad I/we jumped ship in 2005. We stuck around to about 8pm and then started the 3 hour drive to Burns, Oregon. Spent the night in Burns, got up in the morning and drove another 3 hours to Smith Rock. We set up the tent, had some lunch and started hiking to the Dihedrals for some sport climbing!

"The Dihedrals"

The Dihedrals is one of the more popular areas to climb at Smith Rock and on Saturday May 20th it was jammed packed with climbers. We started out by jumping on a 5.6 called "Easy Reader." Although an easy and fun climb, "Easy Reader" was almost our last climb of the day. The climb goes up the rock face and finishes off to the right from where you started, also if you were to stand at the start of the climb and walk to your right the rock face rounds off inward to a crack. Below is a picture: the red line represents the route I climbed and the green line shows my decent.

After I finished the climb, Angela preceded to belay me back down. I was cleaning the quickdraws from the climb and when I took the last draw off the rock I unexpectedly swung into the crack, represented in the green line in the photo. Swinging is never a good thing while climbing, but in general this wouldn't have been a huge deal if I had an equal size belayer. Due to Angela's fit petite build the sudden momentum knocked Angela off her feet and pulled her a small distance across the ground. But amongst her shaken nerves and scrapped appendages she managed to do the most important thing a belayer can do. “No matter what happens, you do not let go of your break hand.” Otherwise gravity will win...Thanks Scamp!

A close call to start but we managed to get in a few more climbs in before the day was done:

Lichen It - 5.7:
Bunny Face - 5.7:
Rabbit Stew - 5.7:

Overall the climbing was excellent, and the weather was perfect! We had planned on getting in two more routes in the morning; however we woke up to rain showers and couldn't climb. So we had breakfast and then drove off to Bend in search of the Deschutes River Trails.

The Deschutes River was wonderful to ride, providing diverse scenery and varied terrain. We biked out and back 11 miles out to Dillon Falls. The only downside to this ride was in several areas on the ride the trail looked more like a big pile of spaghetti, with trails going off in multiple directions, and no clear markers. Several times we ended up off the main drag and had to work our way back.

Here are the pictures from the trip: pics

Also who knew The Great Sphinx of Giza is located in Terrebonne, Oregon?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The 3rd Annual Lava Rama 2006

Hot pools, cold beers and running too...Lava Oh yea! The weekend of May 12th we ventured across the wonderful State of Idaho to run in another Wild Rockies event. Lava Hot Springs, Idaho is a small town in the South East corner of the State, about a 4 hour drive from Boise. Lava is a great adventure destination; this was our second trip this year. Here the pictures from the last trip: February 2006

Friday after work we packed up our swag, pitched the dog Mr. Blue in the back of the car and motored down the road. We arrived into town about 11:00pm, and pretty much checked into the Tumbling Waters motel and went to bed, the 3rd Annual Lava Rama kicked off at 9:00am. The starting line for the race was in the town park about 100 yards from our hotel. Needless to say the starting line was considerably easier to find compared to the last Wild Rockies race in Oregon: OTC

This year the Lava Rama course was extended from 6 miles to 9.5 miles, during the pre-race meeting Mr. Wild Rockies himself said he would be surprised if someone makes the loop under the one hour mark. The winner of the 2006 Lava Rama was Tom Borschel a nationally ranked trail runner who came close to the lofty goal with a finish time of 1:05:12.

The race started in the park, headed down Main Street and quickly turned southward out of town. After a few miles of pavement we turned off on a dirt road and proceeded to go up into the hills! The weather was beautiful for the start of the race, nothing but blue skies and warm, however at about mile 5 the temperature was hot and I was in trouble. I was sucking wind and sweating buckets, I was fighting what I call the Triple Constraints of running:

  • Weather
  • Altitude
  • Fat Ass

I normally have two goals in running races. One: Finish and Two: Don't Walk. Well I finished the race and finished in 3rd place in the men's 20 - 29 age category; however I had to walk on several occasions. Damn you Triple Constraints! Angela came in 2nd place in the women's 20 - 29 age category. We also cleaned house during the post-race raffle, Angela got a hat and some cool sox's with a Tyrannosaurus Rex embroider on them and I got a synthetic running shirt -woot! Overall the course was great and a lot of fun; we even ran passed a little snow. Some of the trails had loose rock and were torn up. Angela took a few tumbles on the run and scraped up her legs, but she got up and kept on running! Good job Champ!

Biking is a major part of the Lava Rama; the Dual Free Competition was fun to watch. The Dual Free is a biking race where two riders race downhill over manufactured obstacles and jumps. No major crashes happened but watching them navigate the course of see-saws, humps and 8+ foot jumps was rad!

There was also a Kids under 10 bike race, our money was on the little girl racing in a dress with cowboy boots on!

"If I ride, I make damn sure I look good!"

Check out all the pictures of the race here: Lava Rama

Offical Results: 1:38:16

Monday, May 08, 2006

The 3rd Annual Oregon Trail Classic 2006

On Sunday, April 30, 2006 Wild Rockies hosted the 3rd Annual Oregon Trail Classic in Baker City, Oregon. This event was our first big run of 2006, and the unyielding 10.5 mile course was defiantly a doosey! describes the loop as "rolling climbs and descents with lots of twisty singletrack."

We were hoping to get friends to join us on the race, but we just ran out of time to get people interested in running the race. Angela, Blue (the dog) and I packed up Saturday afternoon and drove to Baker City. We checked into the Bridge Street Inn and started walking up and down the main drag of Baker. Good thing we had an umbrella in the car, because there were some good thundershowers in the area. Did some window shopping and talked with some local folk. Surprisingly there were quite a lot of events going on in the small town. However due to the race in the morning we opted to have a quite evening. We filled our bellies with pasta and excellent brew at Barley Browns. If you ever find yourself passing through Baker, do yourself a favor and head down for a beer!

Sunday morning at 6am we got up and preceded to get ready for the run, we decided to give ourselves an hour to make the eight mile drive. Plus that should give us ample time to stretch and warm up. The directions listed from were vague "Located at the Virtue Flat ORV Area, near the Oregon Trail Visitors Center, about eight miles from Baker City." The night before we chatted with several locals and we asked them if they knew where the race started, however no one knew exactly the ORV area was. The best people could say is that the ORV area was near the Oregon Trail Visitors Center, which is also what said. Needless to say we had a hard time finding the turn off for the ORV. After several passes we were running low on fuel and time so we drove back to the freeway, gassed up and ask the lady who pumped our gas "where the hell is the ORV area?" She wasn't exactly sure but thought the access road to the ORV area should be across the road from the visitor’s center. Backup the road we drove, sure enough there was a dirt road where she said it would be. As we turned onto the road I glanced over to my left and saw the oncoming traffic's stop sigh. There on the post were four little signs that marked the race turn off, three orange arrows and a handwritten "Wild Rockies." The argument could be made that the signage for the turn off could be a bit hard to see when you’re going past at 55+mph. Here is a picture of the sign:

Overall the race was very fun and the trail was well marked. The terrain of the race varied from: ATV roads, flood water drainage ditches, faint single-track marked with orange tape, and with plenty of hill to huff up and down. A few prizes were given out, but we failed to win any free swag. However what we did win was first place in our respective age categories: 20 - 29. We each got a medial and got to stand on the podium. Unlike Angela who actually had some competition, I was the sole person representing the 20 – 29’s. Default… the two sweetest words in the English language. Thank you for your words of wisdom Homer J. Simpson. The age group 30 - 39 proved to have the stiffest competition in both men's and women’s category. Those speedy old timbers*!

Check out all the pictures of the race here: Oregon Trail Classic

Official Results: 1:43:50

*getting mighty close to 30 - 39...doh!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Breakfast and Margaritas

I went to Las Vegas on April 21, 2006 with Angela and her bro for their cousins wedding. Only took a few photos: Vegas. I did learn that the beverage Sparks is a horrible, and I'm ashamed of having one. But you have to try things at least once!

From "Sparks, is a ready-to-drink that contains 6.0% alcohol by volume with the addition of active ingredients caffeine, taurine and natural herbs guarana..." I think monkey poo has to be in there too?