Tuesday, November 04, 2008

11/02/08 Muddy Buddy!

I've always wondered if "friendly competition" actually exists. So Lorenzo and myself reunited as Team Run Zola Run to compete against our friends Kevin & Aaron in the Muddy Buddy Race.

This event requires teams of two people to trade off between running and riding a bicycle, just one bicycle per team. So if this is something that you are interested in doing, make sure you pick a team-mate whose seat height is within the same stratosphere as yours. After consulting with several other friends who have participated in this event, we were repeatedly warned that it would be difficult to find our bike in the transition areas so I decided to decorate it with a sparkly wrap (as in gift, not gangsta).

We were also repeatedly warned that we should expect to get quite muddy. The last portion of the event requires both team members to jointly cross a mud pit on hands and knees to the finish line. Fortunately for you, the reader, our "friends" Aaron & Kevin beat us quite handily so Aaron had plenty of time to capture these muddy moments. If you look closely, you can see a very large quantity of mud backfiring directly up my nose.

Keeping true to the "friendly" part of the competition, here is where I most humbly post Aaron's victory video.

L.A. Muddy Buddy - 2008 from Aaron Price on Vimeo.

Thanks to my "friends" for showing me that competition can be friendly and fun! We gladly toasted "Here's to no more mud in our eyes!"

Monday, October 06, 2008

10/04/08 Femmoto!

Dear Men,
I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to ride motorcycles on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. But Femmoto is a women only motorcycle event in Las Vegas where the ladies get a chance to try out new factory motorcycles on a track. Although Laura, Robyn and myself certainly wished that a select few of your species had accompanied us to this event, the temptation it might have caused would have bordered on being unbearable, like being at a Victoria's Secret Clearance sale with a maxed out credit card. Prohibiting your testosterone-fueled desire to ride these magnificent machines would've caused momentary musings of gender reassignment surgery...
The freedom we women got to experience while riding the track without trying to impress you allowed us to simply enjoy ourselves and feel at ease with our fellow female riders. If you've ever taken off your bra at the end of a really hot summer day, you'd know what I mean, oh nevermind.
If you are still reading this, you are probably starting to think that I'm talking too much, so I'll share a few photos with you. The fact that the latest copy of "Performance Bikes" magazine had fewer words than pictures reminds me of how "visual" you are.

Normally I'm not the kind of girl that likes to hang out with a lot of girls for an entire day, but Femmoto wasn't just a bunch of us talking about nails or make-up. In fact there were a lot of what I like to refer to as "non-make-up-moments" as in it's a good thing I wasn't wearing make-up because it would've been smeared all the way to the back of my head right now. In particular, riding on the back with Ducati racer Larry Pelgram was more thrilling than combining every roller coaster I have ever been on - even the ones that made me throw up.
So in conclusion, I am sorry that you weren't there. But at the same time, I'm also relieved that you weren't because I'm pretty certain that this opportunity would've been too much for your testosterone-induced yearning to wreak havoc.
Okay, I'm done speaking. You can go back to "reading" your motorcycle magazines now!
And remember, if dinner isn't on the table next October, it's probably because she's at Femmoto!
Angela Brunson, just one of the many Women of Femmoto

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

09/28/08 Toronto Marathon

Angela & Coach John after her 25th marathon!
Thursday, September 25

Coach John, Mom and I arrived in Toronto. We met our Couch Surfing host Oliver who welcomed us into his downtown apartment. Great view!

Friday, September 26
On Friday, Mom and I set out with a plan to see certain parts of the city but that quickly changed as we found ourselves wandering into so many interesting stores. When we bumped into the Hockey Hall of Fame, we knew the agenda would be significantly altered!

Afterwards, we took a ferry and explored Wards Island.
And a trip to Toronto would not be complete without a visit up to the CN Tower - the world's tallest structure!

Saturday, September 27
On Saturday, we went to the Marathon Expo where we feasted on carbs, juices and indulged in some pre-race massage.

Sunday, September 28

The race was Sunday. I was still suffering the late stages of a sinus infection and jet-lag. It rained Saturday night and there was a chance of rain during the race, but luckily the weather wasn't as bad as we feared. Clean air, humid overcast skies at first, then by 11:00am, it actually got pretty warm. Temperatures ranged from 60 degrees F at the start, but got up past 70 before most of us finished.

The best part about the event was that Coach John rode a borrowed bike along the course with me so he could get some great photos, and keep me in good spirits. About an hour into the race, he called Lorenzo and let me talk to him on speaker phone! One other great bit was the highly organized start corral system with really high fences so no one could jump into a starting area in which they didn't belong. Two not so great things: 1) pretty dreadful music from the few live bands - a country music band crooned slow depressing ballad, then just before "the wall" we were treated to some sleepy "Kumbiyah" folk music... not exactly the kind up stuff to keep the "pep in your step" - but the African drummers near the finish were brilliant; 2) the entire course was marked ONLY in kilometres. At first it was nice not to worry about whether I was on or off pace, but eventually the impatient 5 year old in me wanted to know "how much fuuurtherrr?" And no matter how hard I tried, my almost 40 year old mathematically challenged brain could absolutely not compute the conversion. Finally, I remembered that a marathon was about 42Km and I took a lucky guess around marker 37Km that I had 5Km left. All I know is that the half way point was marked and it took me 1:40 for the first half, then 1:44 for the second - total time was 3:25:16 which was good enough for 5th place in my division.

The race organizers wisely offered participants the option to pre-pay for a post-race massage during the registration process. Best investment ever!

Monday, September 29

The day after the race, Mom and I enjoyed some spectacular flowers at the Allen Gardens, and a delicious lunch at Crepe It Up!

That night, Coach John joined us at the Air Canada Centre to watch a fantastic hockey game where the St. Louis Blues played the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even though it was only pre-season, the fans were really into it - everyone did the wave and cheered like crazy! The score was tied 3-3 at the end of regulation. Same score after overtime, so then it went to a really exciting shoot-out! Toronto won!!!

Tuesday, September 30

As we boarded our planes on Tuesday, the city bid us a tearful (rainy) good-bye. But I'm having thoughts of returning next year perhaps for the ENDURrun.

Friday, August 08, 2008

08/08/08 Craig Chambers

In Memoriam...

I don't mean to brag, but I am one of those runners who will never finish "DFL." This is not due to talent, skill, or extra training dedication on my behalf. It's simply due to fear. I'll admit it: the prospect of being listed last on a results page scares this particular over-achiever out of her mind. So after having completed 20 marathons (and avoiding "DFL"), I figured I had been at it long enough to know what I was doing. Now thanks to "Moose Math," I've learned that my piddly amount of experience actually puts my level of running knowledge somewhere between zygote and embryo.

Craig completed the 2008 Catalina Marathon course while I was sitting around and moping about my "PW" (personal worst) finish. Long after the other participants had showered, eaten, boarded the ferry, and arrived back in Los Angeles, the Moose and his crew crossed the area where the finish line had been. He was smiling, as always. The fact that I didn't finish in the top 3 was killing me, but here came Craig, who was literally dying, and he was smiling. Moose was going to finish in a position far worse than I could've imagined possible: Post-DFL !!! Yet, I proudly stood and clapped as the tears flowed freely down my face.

Thank you Craig for teaching me the significance of finishing, simply finishing, be it first or last, with a smile on your face, surrounded by friends who love you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 18 - July 21 Motorcycle Trip

Our amazing journey began in Los Angeles on a brand new rented Honda ST1300 motorcycle (it only had 18 miles on it). We traveled up the famous Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo where we visited with friends and went rock climbing, then continued north to Hearst Castle, and eventually to Monterey for the U.S. Moto Grand Prix Race at Laguna Seca Raceway.

July 19 - Hearst Castle

Lorenzo in front of the main entrance.

The 350,000 gallon pool.

"Hearst Angel, Hearst Angel... Would you be mine?"

Monterey was chilly, so we went to Fisherman's Wharf for some fish 'n chips, delicious clam chowder, and beer (but it seemed more appropriate to call it "ale"). As soon as we arrived in Monterey, we started seeing a lot of motorcycles.

Ordinary motorcycles.

And not so ordinary ones.

Ask anyone who's been to the U.S. Moto Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, and they will tell you that you MUST go to Cannery Row the night before the race to see all the motorcycles on display.

Here is a miniature version of Valentino Rossi's bike - just my size!!!

The bikes at Cannery Row came in every shape and color.

Tad and Robyn are not exactly "green" with envy about this one.

There were a lot of people trying to eat dinner on Cannery Row. We got "hosed" at every restaurant we tried, but eventually we had a really great meal as we were serenaded by the sounds of engines outside.

July 20 - U.S. Moto Grand Prix, Laguna Seca RacewayParking the motorcycle at the event was no problem at all.

"Tad, will you please remember where we parked?"

Finding the bike later however, might be a bit tricky...

The promotional booths at the race track had all sorts of motorcycles, everything from A to Z: Aprilia bikes, Buell bikes, custom bikes, Ducati bikes, energy efficient bikes, flashy bikes, GSX-R bikes, Hayabusa bikes, impressive bikes, Jagermaister bikes, Kawasaki bikes, little bikes, Moto Guzzi bikes, nitrus-powered bikes, one-of-a-kind bikes, pink bikes, quirky bikes, Road King bikes, Suzuki bikes, Triumph bikes, ugly bikes, Victory bikes, wild bikes, XT-660 bikes, Yamaha bikes, and of course ZZR 1400 bikes.

Tall bike: Lookout below!!!

Custom bike: Bling Bling!

VFR 800 (aka: Lorenzo's next purchase!)

Somewhere underneath Robyn's drool lies a Suzuki GXR.

Green Ninja? Not so good.

Blue Ninja - much better!

Ducati Island was really a sea of red.

When the race started, we were so thankful that we brought ear plugs. The race bikes were brain-melting loud and terror-inspiring fast!

First lap - Casey Stoner (red Ducati) leads with Hayden (orange Honda) and Rossi (blue Yamaha) right behind.

First Lap - Stoner still leads and Rossi has the inside advantage on Hayden as they round the turn.

First lap - the rest of the field is right behind!

Later in the race, Rossi and Stoner battle it out.

Rossi is a furious blur of speed!

Rossi's pit crew sign reflects his nickname "The Doctor"

Rossi's victory wheelie!

The podium - Rossi (under the Italian flag in the middle), Stoner (Australian flag on the left) and Vermulen (Australian flag on the right).

After watching a terrific race, the fans were treated to a stunt show on the track.

Lorenzo and I on the track - now if only I could borrow Rossi's bike...

After the race, lots of riders began the journey from the track, including this "Shark."

Bikes, bikes...

and more bikes.

My view over Lorenzo's shoulder of the rear view mirror reflecting yep, more bikes.

My own stunt show was performed for the purpose of taking pictures without Lorenzo's helmet in the way, but it also served to amuse the riders directly behind me.

Our travel companions Robyn and Tad leave the track. The "DANGER" sign stayed behind.

Robyn and Tad on Hondas. Photo by Angela on the back of a Honda being driven by Lorenzo.

The drive home was beautiful, but still a little chilly until we returned back to the sunny southern part of California.
800 miles in four days, on a motorcycle, with companions on motorcycles, to see others race on motorcycles. It was worth every tushie-testing mile!