Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Traincation part 2: Bend, OR

When I first conceived of my recent traincation idea, I had in mind a Southern California adventure visiting friends in Santa Monica and San Diego... but that plan backfired when my San Diego based friend, Beth, noted that she would be out of town :( However, my smile quickly turned around when she shared that she would be training in Bend, OR, for a month and that I was welcome to crash the training party for a few days :)

The one drawback to this plan is that I don't like driving... and Bend is located 450 miles north of Truckee and 500 miles north of San Francisco. Time to suck it up buttercup and head north in search of fresh training roads with motivated and fun training partners.
After a great swim at Tahoe Donner's Trout Creek recreation center last Monday, I grabbed a breakfast and a packed lunch at Truckee mainstay, Wild Cherries, gassed up the family truckster and headed north, arriving in Bend some 7hours and 15mins later. This was perfect timing for dinner with some friends that had relocated from the Bay Area to Bend a year ago. The drive was pretty as you stay in the high sierra desert the entire way, only descending below 4,000ft and hitting the greenery of the Deschutes in the final miles.

On Tuesday morning, I got up early and ran along the Deschutes River trail... just an easy 6 miler to take in the scenery and do a little discovery of my new environs. After a leisurely breakfast, I headed over to the Juniper Pool in Bend to meet up with Beth. We ended up jumping into the noon masters program at the pool which was fine but I think the main set was only 1,200m so I was a little disappointed... I really thought the coach was going to flip over his whiteboard to reveal a second set. After the swim, we hit the gym for a little functional strength session... making up the workout as we went along.

Wednesday was set to be big ride day. After a 6am swim session of 30x100m, we climbed aboard the TT bikes for a big day in the saddle... Well, we did also stop for breakfast and coffee at a local Bend coffee house, Thump. Apparently, it is Bend's finest but I don't drink coffee so hard for me to opine... I did bring home 2lbs for Blanco... just in time for his Kona decaffeination prep... Oops!

I had not ridden over 4 hours since February so I was a little nervous about the 5hr and 90+ mile ride that Beth had specc'ed out... I did not want her to be forever waiting for me to drag my slow ass up the hills... since with 5,000ft of climbing, there would be hills.
Thankfully, we balanced each other out fairly well, as my *heft* allowed me to catch up on the downhills, after Beth spun away from me on the uphills. Our ride took us up, down and around Mt. Bachelor. It was a quick ride out of town and then we were on very quiet roads... so quiet that Beth and I could ride side by side pretty much the entire way... not that we were chit-chatting... we were focused ;) Bend was experiencing hotter than usual summer weather last week (mid 90s) but we lucked out with cloud cover on the mountain the day we rode... or maybe, it was bad luck since I need all the heat training I can get for Hawaii? I survived the ride and we actually kept the watts up and the pace fairly hot right until the last couple of miles into town. Beth hit the treadmill for some *easy* 7min/miles while I did some functional strength work on my back... I was surprised but happy that a t-run was not on my schedule... and I'm not one to seek *extra credit* when Ironman training.

Thursday was my big/double run day and I started off by driving out towards Bachelor and hitting some trails that would lead me down to the river trail. I was hoping for wide, flat trails (along a river, right?) but it was a bit more rolling and single-tracky that I had bargained for. Not 10mins into my 90min run, I tripped and found myself falling towards earth... but somehow, with large strides and arms flailing, I saved myself right before I hit the deck. Phew! I was just congratulating myself on the *save* when I tripped again and this time face-planted quite hard on the trail... so hard that I felt rather winded. It was a dusty, sandy trail, so I was covered head to toe in dust when I pulled myself up. A ridiculous sight. Thankfully, the injuries were just a few superficial scrapes and I was able to continue my run, though I used up 3/4 of my water bottle rinsing dust out my scrapes.

After the run adventure, I drove to the pool and met up with Beth for a midday swim (so luxurious to swim outdoors that I swam every day in Bend) before hitting the treadmill for my second run of the day... 45mins of building pace to tempo. It was very refreshing to run in the temperature controlled gym since the temperatures outside were well into the mid-90s by this time of day. I know, heat training outside might have been better but I was also licking my wounds from the first run of the day.
Kids play area adjacent to the Juniper 50m pool
Friday morning came around far too quickly and I was sad to bring my traincation to a close... though not before hitting the pool for an easy 3k. Post-swim was a fantastic breakfast at Chow (delicious food and they grow their own produce right out back of the restaurant) and then the challenge of packing up my belongings into the car and hitting the road for the 499 miles back to San Francisco.

The early miles of the drive were pretty as the route skirted around Mt. Shasta in Northern California. The entire drive was incident-free with the exception of one event about halfway through my drive. I-5 is a two-lane freeway (runs north-south through CA) with a 70mph speed limit. There was traffic on the roads but it was not too busy and cars were moving close to the speed limit. I was driving around 60mph in a line of cars as we passed an on-off ramp. I spotted a police car stopped with another vehicle on the side of the road (possibly an earlier accident or a ticket?). The cars ahead of me slowed down but not so dramatically that anyone was slamming on the brakes and I felt very comfortable slowing to match their speed... unfortunately the car behind me must not have been paying close enough attention as I suddenly hear a screech of brakes and I see in my rear-view mirror that the car behind is fishtailing and then completes two 360 degree turns. I braced myself for an impact in all of this and my heart was beating faster than during any training session that week. Remarkably the car behind came to a complete stop in the wide center median without touching another car. I kept on driving, along with the rest of the traffic stunned at what had just happened but relieved that no one was harmed.

I made it home in time to greet Blanco off his HKG-SFO flight, very happy to be reunited with him but sad to be back in foggy, cold San Francisco summer weather.

1 comment:

  1. YES! Traincations are the best, when we can get out of "cold" San Fran and Chicago! I was in Tucson 2 weeks ago and it was dreamy! :) Keep up the good training for Kona - looking forward to meeting you out there.