Green Monster Duathlon – 3/4/17

Inaugural years for events can be hit or miss. As race directors work out the kinks in logistics, they can be the awesome event we’ve all been waiting for or it can fall flat and a few years have to go by before anyone is brave enough to return.

The Green Monster Duathlon was close to the former for it’s inaugural year in 2017. I happened upon this random event on Ultra Signup and immediately recruited Jesse and our good friend to join me. Jesse was keen to do the middle section, the mountain bike, and our friend took the final running leg, leaving me to start us off.

None of us had ever been to Green Mountain before – it’s west of Seattle, across the bay, just outside Bremerton, WA. We drove up the night before and stayed at a hotel, waking at 4:30 AM to make the rest of the drive to arrive by the suggested 6 AM time to ensure parking. We had the option to camp, but given that there was frost on the ground, I was incredibly grateful for the warm bed at the Hampton Inn (and the wi-fi, as we had a hilarious time sorting out the recommended mapping app).

When we arrived at Horse Camp, we were greeted by the race director and were told we could park just up the road from the starting area. This was ideal, as we could then hang out in the warm car until the sun came up. We had 2 hours to kill until the start time, so we meandered to the camp fire, socialized with the volunteers, and just generally relaxed, digesting our hurried and desperate McDonald’s breakfast.

At long last, the leg 1 runners were off. I was battling a horrible, awful cold and was running with what felt like only 25% of my lung capacity, coughing all the way. My leg was called “The Miserable Loop” – about 7.5 miles with 1,350 ft of climbing. I settled into the run, walking the hills when I couldn’t breathe, and making friends left and right.

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Everyone there, I gathered, were locals and most seemed to know the race director so it was interesting to hear about the history of the town and the trails (being some of the only out-of-towners, we were in somewhat of celebrity status up there). One girl I was running with was celebrating her 30th birthday that day and she was in the best of spirits. I enjoyed running with her all morning.

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At the aid station, we were told to continue up to the vista (might as well, we’d come this far, right?) and then rip a page from a book corresponding with our bib number, then head back to the starting line. The view was beautiful and I had a strange experience with a guy wanting to video my running shoes. I sure hoped he was part of the event!

My running buddy and I enjoyed the lovely downhill back to the starting line / transition point where Jesse was waiting on his bike to begin leg 2: “The Slaughterhouse Onslaught”. A quick kiss and he was off.

I was soaking wet and starting to shiver so I headed to the car to change my clothes. Afterward, I enjoyed fistfuls of Swedish Fish, oranges, and pretzels, washing it all down with my favorite trail running beverage: Coca Cola. Our friend and I sat by the camp fire…it was incredibly chilly on Green Mountain!

Eventually, Jesse came rolling in and our friend took off for leg 3: “The Fire Swamp”. Within minutes he was back, looking a little lost. This seemed common among the leg 3 runners; the course was marked in pink and orange ribbon…but so were the logging roads on the mountain! Not ideal.

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While our friend was out running, Jesse & I took in the spectacular burgers from the Grub Hut food cart that had rolled in. We, per usual, bogarted seats by the fire, devouring our well-earned lunch.

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After a little while, we headed down to the finish line to wait for our friend. It was raining and we stood under the tents, watching other team members finish and celebrate. Some badass athletes did the entire event solo and they were quite inspirational as well. One particular team, a couple also from Portland, got engaged right at the finish line! As he finished the last run, he knelt in the mud and proposed. Teary-eyed, she said yes! Unfortunately, I am in the background of nearly every photo of the moment (as seen on Facebook). Sorry, friends!

Our friend came in, looking strong. We returned to the firepit, food in hand, and hung out for the raffle. Many of the competitors left right after finishing, so the group had dwindled and our chances of winning were looking quite good!

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The raffle ended up being the best part of the race. It was laced with hilarious commentary and embarrassed multi-winners. Our friend won a massive jug of electrolyte powder (“add some water so it forms a paste and layer it on!”). The event had some inspiration from the Barkley Marathon, hence the books / tearing of the pages, and aptly named leg titles: “Misery” by Stephen King, “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, and “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman. I, ever so fittingly, won a book signed by the race director and volunteers. I was thrilled!

My winning ticket was the last to be drawn so with book in hand, we piled in the car and headed for home.

Brown’s Camp Loop – 9/27/15

I’m busy working on our Table Mountain adventure post (I am having some technical difficulties), but in the meantime, enjoy a recap from our Brown’s Camp Loop run/mountain bike from a few weekends ago.

I was the runner this day and Jesse was on his bike. The route was a figure 8 shape, totaling just under 17 miles in the beautiful Tillamook State Forest.

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Starting at Rogers Camp following the light green, yellow loop, then dark green.

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We went our separate ways and planned to meet at the car after a few hours. The trail began with a steady incline and after a few minutes I ended up catching up to Jesse!

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I had logged quite a few miles throughout the week and was feeling, well, weak. Around mile 5 I took a detour to have some snacks, rest, and see University Falls…

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Rockin’ the Princess Anna braids (I hated them the whole run)

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…and around mile 7 I gave up completely and returned to the car, making it an 8 mile day. Some runs are just plain lousy. At least it was a scenic walk back!

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Jesse, of course, had the car keys so I lounged on some big rocks, rehydrated, and enjoyed the sunshine (as much as I could over the roar of the dirtbikes and ATVs racing about). Jesse showed up just about the time I started getting cold – perfect timing!

Mountain Biking | Nelson and Kaiteriteri (Jan 14-15, 2015)

I’m new to mountain biking. I know next to nothing about bikes; maintenance and care, basic mechanics, sizing, brands, etc. “Novice rider” is generous when it comes to my skill level. But I’m up for just about anything so we planned a few days of mountain biking around Nelson, which is at the very top of the South Island.

We left Christchurch late in the evening and camped about halfway up. We spent some time exploring the Nelson downtown area and then found some trails.

The thing about mountain biking is that all the fun is in the downhill, right? But to get to do that, one must first go up. And up. And UP. AND UP! And so we did. Pushing our bikes, carrying them up stairs, opening and closing gates…it was basically hiking. But then the fun began!

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It was a short ride that day with some pretty sweet views of Nelson. Lots of climbing, lots of work, and lots of fun.

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                                              Have I mentioned how I like pink?

The following day we went to check out the mountain bike park in Kaiteriteri. It was busy on the beach that day but we were pleasantly surprised that the bike trails were relatively empty.

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We spent a good amount of the time on the beginner trails and then upped the ante to some intermediate ones and I was pleased to find those fairly rideable, save for one narrow trail with a steep edge. I was feeling proud of my cycling fitness but note to self after two consecutive days of riding: buy padded shorts! These are key for any rider, I believe.

The view on some of the exposed parts…oh so beautiful.

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After a few hours of biking, it was hot enough to call it quits so we picked a nice loop to bring us back to the car. Riding along, the trail became noticeably harder with tight switchbacks, steep grade, and often some large drops. Around one particularly sharp corner I must have been braking too hard in the front because I suddenly found myself end over end, stopping with my bike on top of me. First crash was a decent one and it was fun to watch the various bruises ripen over the next few days.

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We reached the bottom and consulted our map. It seemed our trail map was out of date and we had ended up on the “under construction” trail…that was seemingly finished to be an ‘expert’ grade! Whoops! But it was good training for Jesse with his adventure race only a week away.

We spent the night somewhere between Nelson and Greymouth and all of my complaints of sand flies put together would not equal the misery I was in at this campsite. Pun intended, I was not a happy camper. Luckily it was just one night and I could look forward to a real bed, a hot shower, a washing machine, and the best company for the weekend. Stay tuned!

Christmas 2014

Jesse and I have been camped out in Christchurch, enjoying time with our friends and adventuring all over Canterbury. We were invited to our friends’ family Christmas for dinner and Secret Santa, so Jake flew down from Hamilton to join us for the week and we all had a wonderful time.

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On Christmas morning, before the festivities began, we took the mountain bikes out to Bottle Lake for a quick ride in the sun.

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I loved this section of trail, right out by the ocean.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. This past year was so unbelievably magical and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!