Category Archives: race

Strongest Hearts going strong!

Our Kickstarter to fund the next phase of Strongest Hearts (previously Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes) is moving along nicely! Thank you to everyone who has donated or shared our campaign page. Every little bit helps and we need your help right now to reach our goal. Can you make a donation so we can continue to make these videos?

And the sooner we reach our goal the less I can stress about it!  In our latest update we shared the graphics for the rad buttons (thanks bummerart and Pinbot) that will come with every donation over $20.

Eatplants.Getstrong

 

We make these videos to show the various ways veganism can work. We don’t preach one style of eating or body shame; we want plant-based eating and fitness to be accessible to the most people. Showing the interesting stories of athletes in a professional way has never been done. We believe activism and education can be positive, fun AND make a difference. It’s a lot of work to make these and both Sasha and I have invested a lot of time, energy and our own money into this project. So we are seriously indebted to the people who believe in us and have supported us financially!

We have great rewards- hoodies, t-shirts, Purist water bottles, signed books, cycling socks….check them all out at our campaign page and please share it widely with your networks. We are relying on our community to get this out there! Thank you so much.

 

StrongestHearts

 

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Filed under bike, Day in the Life, nutrition, race, road, run, travel, triathlon, vegan

Screening of 2006 Fixed Gear Furnace Creek 508

Yesterday I turned 35 years old and pointed out to an also-recently-35 friend that we are the same distance in time to 50 as we are from 20.  Wrap your mind around that for a minute. If that doesn’t make you turn off your computer and run off to do something more productive, I’ll continue below.

Turns out that time is rather hard to put into perspective as this insanely helpful and great article with gradually increasing timelines shows. I’m feeling especially nostalgic because the weekend after this one is the Furnace Creek 508 and we are bringing back Team Bonobo: The 2006 four-person fixed gear team.

 

We were fixie famous before fixie famous was a thing. -Megan Dean

There’s even a documentary by Sasha Perry, the smarts behind our Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes series.

 

 

As an excuse to get together, hang out with friends at Golden Saddle Cyclery and eat Pure Luck burritos, we are hosting a screening of Eat! Sleep? Bikes! Thursday Oct 3rd at 630pm. If you are in the LA area I hope you can make it. It’s a free event with great people. I’d also like to point out that 2006 was as far in the past as 2020 is in the future. I imagine by 2020 we’ll be racing hover bikes and that predictive text will be good enough to just read my mind and I won’t have to put words in a certain order in my head or actually have to type them any more.

I’ve taken some time off from the 508 after racing it solo 3 years in a row. Two of those years involved swimming at either the pre-race meeting or the halfway point. Let’s see if we can work that in somewhere this year. If we finish, 3 of us will be in the Furnace Creek 508 Hall of Fame. I’m not sure if there’s a distinction related to swimming.

 

2010 Pre-race meeting. Photo by Lisa Auerbach. http://lisaanneauerbach.com/

2010 Pre-race meeting. Photo by Lisa Auerbach.

 

Thanks for reading! You can follow the race webcast here. Also, don’t forget that the No Meat Athlete book comes out October 1st and there’s a book tour; I’ll be along for some of the dates including this vegan book fair in Los Angeles.

 

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Filed under 508, eat, race, road, vegan

Day in the Life 11; Vegan Track Cyclists

Bike racing is a tough, unforgiving discipline that requires focus, strength and endurance. But do you think all cyclists are super thin or scrawny? Then you haven’t met any track cyclists. Track cycling is over 100 years old and takes place on a velodrome at speeds nearing 60 miles per hour. There are a variety of track races but they all require one thing: being able to pedal a single speed fixed gear brakeless bicycle at incredibly high speeds. And like sprinters in track and field, this requires a tremendous amount of leg strength for power and output.

So for our next installment in the Day  in the Life of Vegan Athletes Series, I’d like you to meet 3 track cyclists who know that eating vegan doesn’t compromise strength and speed on the track. I mean, how many people do you know that require special pants to fit their quad muscles into?

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Jack Lindquist with his world famous piston tattoos.

First we meet Kevin Selker of Boulder, CO. We met Kevin while in Colorado filming with Modern-Day Pentathlete Justin Torrellas and he even makes a brief appearance in the Runner Megan Hebbe episode where I fail miserably at cross-country skiing. Kevin, despite being a PhD student, won 30 track races in 2012! And this year (this weekend actually!) he’s headed to the Collegiate National Track Championships. And it’s his wonderful lasagna recipe that we feature below.

Next we meet Jack Lindquist, formerly of Los Angeles, who now resides in Portland, OR where he manages the one-of-a-kind bikeshop/coffeebar/bar Velo Cult. Jack is a long-time friend of mine and whenever anyone mentions vegans being weak I mention that he can deadlift over 500 pounds. That’s a quarter ton he can pick up off the ground!

Lastly we meet Zak Kovalcik of Portland, OR. Like Jack, Zak is a former bike messenger. He also realized he can go really fast on a bike and decided to ‘pursue’ it. And as you’ll see he has the big wins to prove it. I also want to mention that he rides for the Sizzle Pie Team, mostly because they have kick-ass vegan pizza and a great ‘slice and salad’ special that I always hit up when I’m in Portland!

Here it is, episode number 11:

How great is that? To read more about Zak winning TWO national championships in 2012 check out this article. And isn’t Kevin the nicest guy ever? It’s hard to imagine that someone so incredibly nice could be so competitive. I love that we met him for the first time and he was making this lasagna, and now you can too!

Kevin Selker’s Homemade Chickpea Cheez Vegan Lasagna

Adapted version of an adapted version of the lasagna from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook.

Makes one very large or two normal-sized lasagnas.

Breadcrumb topping
1-2 cups homemade breadcrumbs (when you don’t finish a loaf of bread in time, leave the leftover slices out–I leave them on top of my fridge–to dry out, then process them and store.  The best bread makes the best breadcrumbs.  Store bought breadcrumbs are usually awful.)
Couple cloves of garlic
More parsley or carrot tops or fresh italian herb of your choice
2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Process the breadcrumbs with the garlic, adding the oil while the blade is spinning.  Then add herbs and salt and pulse once more. Set aside.

Chickpea filling
1 quart (32oz) Prepared chickpeas  (If you cook these at home add a teaspoon of baking soda when they’re boiling–it speeds cooking and helps them get extra soft!)  Reserve some cooking water from the chickpeas
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP cornstarch
Handful of flat leaf parsley or carrot tops

Puree the chickpeas in a blender or food-processor.  (NOTE: To save time you don’t have to clean it after making the bread crumbs) Add the garlic and starch and puree until smooth, adding the reserved cooking water if needed.  The consistency should be like a very soft hummus.  Add the parsley or carrot-tops and puree to combine.  If the beans were unsalted, add a bit of salt, otherwise probably don’t–it’s OK if this sauce is not very salty.

Vegetable Filling
1 large onion, chopped
Several cups vegetables of your choice. Favorites include:
1 cup roasted bell peppers, chopped
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
Large handful of dried tomatoes, chopped
Large handful of olives, pitted and sliced

Sauté the onion for a few minutes, and add the vegetables in order that they need to be cooked.  Do not overcook, as the lasagna will bake also.  Some (most) vegetables won’t need to be cooked much or at all, so just add these at the end and kill the heat.  Add half of the tomato sauce.

Lemon Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBSP flour (whole wheat or white)
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP tomato paste
1.5 cups vegetable broth or water (you can use bouillon also)
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon (pro-tip: you can use the same lemon!)

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the flour, and mix, being careful not to burn the flour.  Next, add the garlic and tomato paste and mix well.  Incrementally mix in the vegetable broth and continue to stir, smoothing out lumps.  Bring to a simmer for a minute, then lower the heat and add the lemon juice, zest, and wine.  Done!

Additional Ingredients
1 quart (32oz) Tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought marinara)
About 12 ounces of lasagna noodles, either prepared or no-boil

Assembly 

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook the lasagna noodles as desired.  On the bottom of the pan, put about 1/4 cup of the lemon sauce: enough to coat the bottom.  Then put a layer of noodles.  On top of the noodles put half of the vegetables, then another layer of noodles.  Spread all of the bean filling evenly and top with remaining vegetables.  Top with a final layer of noodles.  Pour the lemon sauce over the top and remaining tomato sauce (if there is room).  Wrap tightly in foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Then turn oven up to 450-500 and take the lasagna out.  Remove the foil, topping the lasagna evenly with the breadcrumbs.  Bake until the breadcrumbs are slightly browned.   Let the cooked lasagna rest for a bit before cutting, serve warm.

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you! And if you are ever in Portland, Oregon there is more to do than eat so you should stop by Velo Cult and say hi to Jack!

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Filed under bike, Day in the Life, nutrition, race, recipe, travel, vegan

What Has Been Up?

It has been a very long time between posts, even for me, and I apologize. There are a number of reasons so let’s break it down a little.

Speaking Tour Roundup

As many of you know, I went on my first speaking tour in the Spring and it was fantastic. So happy to have this video of one of my presentations thanks to Burning Hearts Media.  I can’t thank all of the people involved enough! It’s such a privilege to have friends and colleagues all over the country who helped me out in so many ways. This is what community is all about. Thank you.

 

No Meat Athlete Book and More

I contributed to this long post on No Meat Athlete that includes a graphic on plant-based sources of nutrients. This was a lot of work, so please check it out and pass it on. Speaking of work and No Meat Athlete, I’m very happy to announce that the No Meat Athlete book is up for pre-order! I wrote a chapter, contributed nutrition tips throughout and included some personal recipes. Excited to have my author page set up on Amazon as well. Matt Frazier is also going on a book tour and I hope to join him on a few dates!

 

Took a Break From Athletic Events

I probably should have realized this sooner, but I was burned out on racing and training. Even back before I DNF’d the Arizona Trail Race in 2011 I was feeling the effects of many years of training, racing, traveling and having a super hectic personal and professional life. In 2012 I mostly took it easy on the bike and only did two big events for fun. The Dirty Double and Enchanted Forest 24 Hour Mountain Bike race were even harder than they should have been. I tried to focus on ultra-running, but my heart was just never there. I dnf’d the Zion 100 at mile 63, I did finish the Headlands 50-miler (no write-up, just this photo?), but it wasn’t enough to get me through the Oil Creek 100, which I DNF’d at mile 62. I didn’t do a write-up for that race either, but do have this photo of me after blacking out at mile 62.  I realize this isn’t ‘taking it easy’ to most people, but switching to ultra-running was my attempt in 2012 to re-inspire myself for racing. It didn’t really work as I just didn’t get the training in to give it a good enough go. I claimed, ignorantly, that I could run a 100-miler on 25 miles a week training. The thing is I barely hit that number as a high week total, let alone average.

Then I got hurt at the second to last cyclocross race of the season in late December. I limped for a week and worried that I re-tore my ACL that I had surgery on when I was 19 years old. Fortunately I did not, but I couldn’t ride for about a month. So that set the stage to not do a single spring time race in probably 8 years.

It has been a very strange year in that regard. I still bike commuted and did the occasional road ride, but not often and definitely not fast. It wasn’t until June of this year that I started riding with regularity. I got a new mountain bike and that has helped a lot. Shout out to Ground Up Speed Shop!

 

Racing the Furnace Creek 508 with Team Bonobo

Team Bonobo, the 4-person fixed gear team from 2007, is reuniting for the 2013 Furnace Creek 508! It’s very exciting to think about when I’m not in disbelief that it was 6 years ago we did this. Damn! I dusted off my track bike, have been riding more and am actually stoked. Looking forward to spending 32 hours in a van or on my bike, but I don’t think there will be a movie about us this time.

 

New Day in Life of Vegan Athletes Project Moving Forward

We’ve had some delays but the new site and new project are moving forward! You will not be disappointed. When this launches it is going to garner a lot of my attention and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. For now, don’t forget we have 10 solid Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes episodes.

 

Secret Project Moving Forward!

I’m working on something with vegan chef extraordinaire Joshua Ploeg that is like nothing I have ever done. It’s huge and has been incredibly time-consuming, but will be so worth it in the end. Be ready to be surprised.

 

Some Reminders

Are you as sad as me that Google Reader ended? I know there are new RSS feeds available that function similarly, but I know I haven’t signed up for any yet. If previously you only read this in Reader I suggest either trying a new feed service or signing up in the right-hand column to have new posts emailed to you.

Don’t forget I use twitter regularly; see me at @TrueLoveHealth. And I post relevant articles and links to my facebook page almost daily.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

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Filed under bike, nutrition, race, vegan

2013 Feel My Legs I’m A Racer

Photo by Donovan Jenkins

The 8th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer is now in the books! And by books I mean completed because unlike Danny Chew I do not keep detailed logs of the event. But fortunately a number of people come out and take great photos and videos so we do have documentation- see the entire history here. We had about 55 cyclists start, which is fewer than the previous couple of years, but on the other hand we had one of the lowest rates of attrition.

As always, thank you to all of the Swarm! volunteers who make this happen, especially Jesse and Jessica who ride up every hill and keep score for me. I couldn’t put this on without you two! And of course thank you to all of the riders who came out, had a great attitude and challenged themselves for no reward. The scenery and accomplishment are reward enough?!

Photo by Donovan Jenkins

Final points:

44 Jon Budinoff
41 Seth Britton
25 Ed McGreevy
16 Joseph Griffith
9 Michael Relth

Congrats Jon for not only winning this two years in a row, but for also winning the Swrve race the day before! And Seth for coming out and making him work for it the day after you won a road race.

Thanks Boyz on the Hoods for making this video:

More coverage and photos:

Errin Vasquez / Frontage Roads

Center Line Rule

Thrasher’s photos

Donovan Jenkin’s photos

Michael Wagner’s photos

Thanks everyone, see you next year!

Top of Mt Washington / Self-Discovery climb.

Top of Mt Washington / Self-Discovery climb.

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Filed under city, feelmylegs, race, road

My Favorite Photos of 2012

I am well aware that it is already Spring and this is a ‘favorite of 2012′ post, but hey, better late than never, right? I take a lot of photos. Some end up on facebook or instagram but most never make it off of my phone/camera. I was looking through all 1400 of them and thought I’d pick some of the ones I like best from last year.

Thanks for reading (and looking!) and thanks to everyone who was a part of this madness!

TourDeFat

Tour De Fat is one of the funnest days of the year. And I don’t even drink!

When I attempted the Zion 100. My first of failed 100-mile runs. Still a day well spent.

When I attempted the Zion 100. My first of two failed 100-mile runs. Still a day well spent.

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California Coast. Many many hours spent here in 2012.

Big dude big dog.

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Aaron Edge’s bag. He’s the dude I tweeted about from #furtherfasterforever who was recently diagnosed with MS.

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CicLAvia plus pupusa. Los Angeles!

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More CicLAvia hangouts. MacArthur Park.

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This tiny bridge connected two bike routes and not only made cyclists’ ride way shorter and easier, but safer. Also called ‘Jesus Bridge’ because google earth hadn’t caught up to Strava and it looked like you rode on water….

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Any dog in my sight is at risk of being picked up. Especially pugs. This is pre Zion 100.

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Can I help you? At the NYC Veggie Pride Parade.

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I love classic East Coast brick buildings with their shady fire escapes. Bethlehem, PA.

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I only went mountain biking a few times in 2012 (wtf?) but this ride with my friend Timoni was a good one. Snake!

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At the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest, where I finished third place in solo single speed. 2am blurry photo with a crooked wheel?

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A pug in a milk crate basket is already great. Another great part is that Paul, who I did the British Columbia bike touring / mountaineering trip with, saw this photo and thought I was taking this bike.

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British Columbia. SO MANY BEARS.

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Mountaineering cabin view. Hell yes.

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Us on the mountain from the previous photo!

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Mountaineering challenged me in many ways. Most of them mental!

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Roped in, on the side of a steep mountain, discussing if it’s safe to be where we are. Why not pull out my phone and shoot a photo?

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Whistler Mountain Bike Park. I had such a blast. One of the best days of the year for sure. Wish I had more photos, but I was too busy getting rad.

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Vancouver. There was a serious race. I ate a veggie dog from a vendor. End of story.

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North Shore, Vancouver. This place is internationally known and changed mountain biking forever. Such a privilege to be there and ride bikes! I saw this the first day, thought it was insane and then rode it the second day. I guess I got use to the bike I was borrowing? Haha.

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Twenty-four hour vegetarian dinner in Vancouver. I love breakfast, in case you didn’t know that.

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Back to Eden vegan bakery in Portland. A treat. And mirrors on the walls.

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This pug was going wild while the owner went shopping. I had just locked up my bike and was on the phone but fortunate enough to capture this.

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Donovan at the Headlands 50/100. He paced me on my first 50 miler. And then ran 50 more miles while I hitch hiked back to SF from Marin County. Beautiful race!

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We fostered kittens for awhile at my house. This one was born with only one eye. Adorable.

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You know it’s an adventure when you are sleeping in a high school gym. This is Christian, my college housemate and close friend who joined me for several hundred miles when I rode cross-country in 2001. Here we are at the Oil Creek 100. He ran the 100k and I DNF’d the 100-miler.

Oil Creek 100. I was planning on quitting at the mile 62 aid station but then somehow still blacked out after I sat down. Not sure what happened! This is me trying to get warm and figure out the meaning of life.

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Excuse me, can I hang out with your pug?

Thor. The pit bull rescue. Maybe the cutest puppy ever?

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Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. Yes, I’m pretty stoked and wearing a wig. Photo by Donovan. Hooliganness by Los Angeles.

Hey dawg.

I love garlic. And have the tattoo to prove it.

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Art.

First CX race of the year. I may not of placed well, but I did do this every lap. Photo by

First CX race of the year. I may not of placed well, but I did do this every lap. Photo by PB Creative.

For the first time every I regularly made pizza from scratch at home.

For the first time ever I regularly made pizza from scratch.

Backside of Amethyst in Montecito Heights during Feel My Legs I'm a Racer. Photo by @Area45

Backside of Amethyst in Montecito Heights during Feel My Legs I’m a Racer. Photo by @Area45

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Filed under city, off-road, race, run, travel

Day in the Life 8; Olympic Modern Pentathlon with Raw-foodist Justin Torrellas

modern pentathlon fencing

Fencing is just one of five disciplines in modern pentathlon. I am not very good at it, as you see in the video!

Our Day in the Life series has given us some great experiences with exceptional vegan athletes.  But I have to say, none have been as unique as spending a weekend with raw vegan modern pentathlete Justin Torellas.  Five seemingly unrelated disciplines combined to make the only sport created specifically for the Olympics! I’m somewhat familiar with raw veganism but Justin’s diet surprised even me!  This is someone who casually said, “I want to go to the Olympics” and only then discovered modern pentathlon.  A raw vegan attempting to qualify for the Olympics in an obscure sport he’s never done? Not as crazy as you’d think.  Watch and be amazed! We were.

Justin: You make competing at an elite level seem like a walk in the park with your casual 5 minute mile running pace! And your honesty about your personal struggle with riding horses is very admirable.  Unfortunately Justin didn’t qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Modern Pentathlon but his attempt is nothing short of courageous.  And he did give us his salad recipe.  I’ve included the nutrition analysis in case, like most people, you think iceberg lettuce is mostly water and doesn’t have any nutrients!

Justin’s Giant Salad

2 heads iceberg lettuce
1 pound cherry tomatoes
8 ounces bean sprouts
1 T tahini
Juice from 2 lemons

Directions: Chop lettuce, juice lemons, mix (don’t you love raw recipes?). And look at this nutrition profile. More than half of your day’s iron in only 455 calories! And 24% of the calories in this salad are from protein.

calories 445
dietary fiber 29g
protein 27g
fat 11g
vitamin A- 227%
vitamin C- 215%
calcium 41%
iron 55%
folate 164%
vitamin K 592%

You are probably wondering how Justin gets enough calories if he is eating this salad for dinner.  He does it by eating often throughout the day.  He was sipping (or gulping if it was post-workout!) a banana smoothie or munching on fruit constantly. Like he says, he loves to eat. If you are a raw vegan and training several hours a day you need to eat often.  I recommend more variety in one’s diet, but he has been vegan a very long time and seems to have found a diet that works for him. Thanks for sharing your day with us Justin!

Justin and family. Don’t let this photo fool you, it’s not often any of them are sitting still!

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Filed under Day in the Life, race, recipe, run, travel, vegan

24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest

Twenty-four hour mountain bike race on a whim? Why not? I’ve been riding a lot with my good friend Mark (who inspired my Risk is Real, Use It post, which you should read if you haven’t yet) and we’ve been talking about how 24-hour mountain bike races could help his Baja endurance motorcycle racing. We missed the Laguna Seca 24hr and just when I was thinking that there’s a serious lack of endurance mountain bike races within a day’s drive of Southern CA, I found the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest near Gallup, New Mexico. What’s a few extra hours in the car to hit some new trails?

First lap! Luckily the rest of the course was not this dusty.

 

These races are like a party in a campground with a bunch of riding happening. The 16-mile course, with the exception of the dirt road through staging, was fun single track. Sixteen miles of single track! Very few steep sections which made it the most single speed friendly course I have ever ridden. Didn’t have to walk a single section, even in the middle of the night and elevation above 8000 feet!

Spontaneity has it’s drawbacks, and one was that Mark had to work till 8pm Friday night. Yeah. Our friend Paul, a recent Super Randonneur, jumped in for the adventure and I invited my friend Timoni so we could drop her off in Sedona to see her partner (and get an extra driver!). If you are doing the math and with the time change, this puts us at the race at 8am- four hours before the start. Needless to say my total sleep time in the 36 hours before the race was 2 hours in the minivan. Adventure, right?

This was one of the largest fields I’ve ever raced- over 20 solo single speed and more than 70 total solo racers! I hadn’t raced a 24 hour in almost two years and I hadn’t trained for this, but that didn’t stop me from going out fast on the first lap. So dumb! Ha. The backside of the course had a 20 MPH section with berms and little jumps- I couldn’t help but go fast! A few laps later, and keep in mind that 3 laps is 48 miles of single track mountain biking, which tires out much more than your legs, and I see Mark at our camp spot. Oh no, the elevation and dryness has totally messed up his breathing! When I come around again they tell me my place and suddenly it turns into a race. “Here are your bottles and a bar, get out of here!” I try to reason that it’s too early to talk about placing but they don’t want to hear it and next thing I know I’m out for another lap.

These races are ‘slow’ enough that you can chat with others- which I did to no end.  A woman on a 4-female team and I chatted for a good half a lap. She told me how great I was doing and I told her that any idiot can ride fast for 6 hours- the next 18 are what matters. And when I hear myself say, ‘the next 18′ I get a little nervous. What am I doing?

 

My view for many hours through the night..

 

Night comes. I’m still enjoying the course and am loving the cooler temperatures.  Fewer riders are out there and suddenly everyone asks about lap number and place. Turns out I’m back and forth for second place in single speed with a 24-hour rookie named Brian. Uh oh.  First place was a lap up but Brian and I rode together for a little. He kept talking about how he needed to sleep. Those laps between midnight and 5am are an experience I cannot begin to describe. Everything is slow. And quiet. The forest consumes you. Your brain plays tricks on you. Am I lost? Am I riding in circles? Where is everyone? It didn’t help that the race organizers put skeletons and other enchanted beings along the course!

My new endurance cycling quote, ‘The first 40% is legs, the second 40% is mind. The last 20% is heart.”

Paul had cooked me up some veggie broth just before midnight and then headed to sleep- he needed to be alert enough to drive back right after the race.  I roll through around 130am and the party has dissipated. I pound a yerba mate, eat a little, put on warmer clothes and head into the darkness. Two laps till daylight I tell myself.  My legs have given their all for 40% and now my mind is suppose to take over, but it doesn’t want to.

At 3am the only person awake at the entire start/finish is the person who recorded my number. Dead quiet. I make the mistake of sitting down to eat. I feel sick and get super cold. Oh no! I wrap myself in my sleeping bag ‘just to warm up.’ Ugh. I sleep on the ground for about an hour and a half.  At the first signs of daylight I groggily head out for another lap. My eyes are closing while I ride. I’m spaced out. I wonder what my equivalent Blood Alcohol Level would be. I focus on the beauty of the forest at dawn. What a privilege to be here! A team rider blasts past me and I imagine how pathetic I probably look barely moving forward.

Post-race delirium. No, I’m fine, this empty water jug is a great pillow.

 

At camp the smell of coffee is strong. People say good morning and congratulate me on riding still. I’m filthy and wearing the same kit I started with. Paul had made some hot food and coffee, but him and Mark don’t let me relax. My sleep put me back at 4th place. “Let’s go, I’m riding this lap with you.” Mark and I head out and I’m pretty stoked. Him and I first rode BMX bikes together almost 20 years ago! Then Brian rolls up to me. He’s full of energy. Wtf? For a moment we think we’re on the same lap. Are we tied in 2nd place with 3 hours left? Do we really have to duel it out? I’m not sure I want to say ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ but he’s a lap up. No need to race. He rode all night.

Mark and I bomb the fast section. It’s dangerous, but oh so fun. I keep looking over my shoulder for that dreaded 1-99 number of a solo single speed racer. That last climb is like a mountain. Elevation still bothering me. And just to state the obvious, my ass hurts like you wouldn’t believe. Finally the start/finish tent is in sight. Lisa, the super human race director, shows me the stats. I’m in third securely. Unless fourth place finishes goes out for an hour an a half last lap I’m good. I’m thankful.  But I don’t change out of my kit just yet- if we see him go by and attempt a last lap I have to give chase to hold onto that coveted podium place. Funny the way that works.

The first meal you eat after these races is always the best meal you have ever eaten.

 

I don’t have to go out for another lap! I eat hot food and I lay in the dirt. Relaxation! Getting changed is the hardest thing I can imagine. I almost fell asleep part way through changing. Ha! We roll down to the tent, they count down to noon and the awards start immediately. They say their thank you’s and announce prizes for traveling the farthest to the race and Mark and I got 2nd place! Free giant container of electrolyte drink- what a super awesome thing to do. Thank you! Then podium stuff, then we pack up to head back to California.

 

Can you point out the awkward straight edge guy holding a beer mug? See full results.

 

On the way we stop at Macy’s European Cafe in Flagstaff for some vegan yuminess and I coordinate via text and the internet to realize that Cara Gillis’ Race Across America 2-person team (check out her vegan challenge!) is on the canyon road between Sedona, where we have to go, and Flagstaff. Yay! Driving down we cheer on all of the teams we see.

 

Swarm! riders on the epic Race Across America crew for Cara Gillis’ 2-person team. Their adventure was just starting- over 2500 miles still to go from here.

 

It was early Monday morning before I saw my own bed again. What an adventure! Thank you everyone at the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest for putting on a spectacular event. Next year they host the 24-hour National Championships and I’m sure it’ll be great. Not sure, I’ll be there, but maybe?

 

Lastly, here’s an unbelievable skate video. This is how I feel when I mountain bike on fun trails. Have a great weekend! Stay stoked!

 

 

 

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What Do Vegans Eat at 24 Hour Mountain Bike Races?

Getting ready to race the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest solo this weekend and my food haul so far!

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Blue chips
Roasted salted green peas
Salsa
Tortillas
Peanut butter
Potatoes
Corn chips w flaxseeds
European hot cereal aka oats w dates, raisins
Dates
Sharkies (they were on sale!)
Chocolate covered pretzels
Cameo apples
Hot chocolate
Yerba mate
Bananas
Fig bars
Peanut butter zagnuts
Lara bars
Ritz crackers (so good!)
Tangelos
Pineapple coconut juice
Pink lady apples
Lemons
Graham crackers

Not pictured:
Sustained Energy
Electrolyte drink
Ramen noodles
Hummus
Pretzels
Soy milk
Fruit spread
(someone remind to get this stuff tomorrow, okay?)

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Zion 100- Running 100 miles takes more than cycling legs and heart!

A runner at the top of Smith Mesa, 4 miles into the race, just after sunrise.

I hate quitting anything.  But there I was at mile 63 of the Zion 100, about a quarter-mile past Aid Station #7, alone on a dirt road walking hobbling, in circles. It was just after 1am, over 19 hours into the race. I knew Donovan was ‘only’ 7 miles away at Aid #8, waiting patiently to pace me the last 30 miles. My fuzzy brain calculated some fuzzy math that said it’d take me 2.5 hours to walk that short distance. The crazy thing is that I considered it. I had wanted to quit at the 51.5 mile aid station but when I walked up to the volunteers I just couldn’t get the words out (I asked for peanut butter on a tortilla instead). In my stubborn brain it was easier to carry on than to say the words ‘I quit’ aloud.  Now I was paying for that decision, 4 hours and only 11.5 miles across Gooseberry Mesa from there.

When a volunteer’s truck rolled up to me I was facing back toward the aid station. He asked if I was alright and I heard myself say, ‘I am done.’ His eagerness to help me out made me realize I probably looked pretty sad standing there alone in the middle of the night, facing the wrong direction. Once in the truck we started passing other runners and I hung my head low- I didn’t want to be recognized by anyone I had run with earlier. Partly because of my pride, but also because I didn’t want them to be discouraged by seeing a fellow runner fail. Every endurance athlete talks about not letting their crew down- it’s a significant motivating factor- so when I saw Donovan I felt a pang of sadness and my first vocalization was to apologize. But, like any good crew member, he knew what I had gone through and that if I had quit I must have been in pretty bad shape.  And I was.

Running 100 miles has been on my mind for over 5 years now- since the first time I helped at the Badwater Ultramarathon. I ran some 50k’s last year, then a 50-miler I was signed up for got canceled. Then I hurt my groin- which it turns out was from yoga and not running- and I basically stopped running. Getting to those longer distances always seemed just out of reach. Then February of this year I ran the La Jolla 50k in Malibu and felt really good- except for my foot. Did I not train enough? Post-race runs still bothered it. I was already signed up for the Zion 100- maybe I could switch to the 50-miler? But I did what every over-committed, busy person with too much on their plate does- nothing. Oops. Thirty-five miles a week had been my goal- I never even got close. My test run was 22 miles one night and then 13 five hours later two weeks before the race. And I decided to go for it! Like Shawn, who I ended up running the first 35 miles with, said, ‘Might as well start the 100-miler and see how far you can really go.’ Yeah, I like that.

I don’t find dogs, dogs find me! This little guy had some serious energy for it only being race check-in.

The Zion 100 is a brand-new race and the course is much harder than the 7850 feet of elevation would have you believe. Sixty-five percent is on single-track trails, much of it technical, and only 5 miles are paved. The rest is dirt roads and double track. Giant slick rock is everywhere- in many sections spray-painted circles on rocks marked the course. Sandy sections contrasted the rocks- both equally hard to get a groove on.

Technical rope section near mile 19.

This part of the descent required a rope. From here the trail stayed very technical as it ran in and out of the rocky creek bed.

My trip started on Wednesday when I rode 36 miles to a train to meet up with Donovan and Megan who was catching a ride with us to Las Vegas- where we’d spend the night before getting  Ronald’s vegan donuts, which is pretty much a mandatory stop.  Thursday was race check-in since the race started on Friday morning- something new to me. Is this an ultra-runner thing? The race organizer was thoughtful enough to post free camping spots on the site and Donovan and I took advantage of one just 5 miles up the road from the start.

Kolob Terrace Rd, the only significant paved section, very close to where we had camped the night before. Photo by Donovan.

When I stood there at the start and looked around I immediately felt out of place. Am I really here? Trying to make it back to this spot 100 miles and at least 24 hours later? Yes, I am! When the trumpet sounded I raced off at a blistering 12-minute mile pace.  I had met Shawn at check-in and he found me before the first climb and we’d end up running the first 35 miles together talking about everything from his experience at the Copper Canyon 50-miler (RIP Micah True) to our favorite places to eat.

Shawn and I weigh-in at the Mile 35 aid station.

Donovan met me at mile 35 where I arrived in just over 8 hours- right where I wanted to be. It was warming up, but I felt good. I had been keeping a slow but steady pace. Shawn and I ran everything but the hills. Him and I got split up here, but it wouldn’t be the last I saw him. The next 10 miles were hot and exposed trails that transversed the desert in the mid-day heat. But I felt good! I ran nearly all of it and was passing people regularly. Too fast? At the mile 42 aid station a lot of people were sitting down in the shade- no way could I do that. I had only sat down once and that was to get the dirt out of my shoes.

Single track through the desert! Not bad at all.

And here’s where my story takes a turn for the worse. My elevation increased, 1500 feet in one mile to be exact, but my mental and physical state headed in the opposite direction. I was hydrated. I had eaten. My motivation was high. But something happened on that climb. It was one of the steepest trails I had ever been on. There were points where I could reach out and touch the trail in front of me. I got to the top and a water-only aid station and I laid down on the ground. I was out of it. No!

Gooseberry Mesa viewpoint. The climb that wiped me out did award me this view.

I drank some unexpected, delicious electrolyte slushy and I got up and pushed on. The trail was mostly on slick rock- I ached for my mountain bike. I was becoming more aware of my feet- hot spots were now turning to blisters. I was getting annoyed by little, unchangeable things, a sure sign of mental and physical fatigue. Why is this ribbon here? It should be over there!! I recognize this and take some deep breaths. Shoot some more photos and be thankful to be where I am right now. It helps everything but my feet.

Mini canyon-like sections on the North Rim Trail. Probably more fun to ride than run!

If you look closely you can see the 1000 foot drop just off of the trail!

And not long after this the slight pain in one of my toes becomes a sharp pain and I’m forced to limp. Wtf? I sit down and take off my shoe and sock and what I see turns my stomach. Two of my toes are totally black, which isn’t new, but they are both surrounded by huge blisters. One of which is behind my toe, closer to the top of my foot.  One runner stops, takes a look and makes a face like I had just dropped a piece of pizza on the ground cheese-side down. He runs on. I contemplate my options. Two more runners stop and one is an MD! He tells me what I already know- the toenail has to come off. They count down and I start to pull. They both moan, I pull harder- it doesn’t want to come off. The last vestige of healthy skin holds on. It finally snaps off in my hand and I get light-headed. The doctor’s friend teases him for being grossed out- I thought you were a doctor?  [photo at bottom of post!]

Gooseberry Point from the aid station. We did an out-and-back to the viewpoint- you can see runners out there in the photo.

I still managed to run a few of the miles into Aid Station #6 at mile 51.5. I had told myself I was quitting here. But then I went out to the viewpoint and realized I didn’t have it in me to tell them I was done just yet. I had carried my headlamp since mile 35, I might as well use it, right?

On Gooseberry Point. Thanks to the guy from Vegas’ pacer for the photo!

It’s now getting dark and I’m headed out for one of the most technical, confusing sections of the course. I put some motivating music on my headphones and work toward my second wind. I pace with a few other runners and their pacers, we get lost, we find the trail, go up and over so many big rocks I think we’re going in circles….and then I fall off of their pace. I eat and it doesn’t help. I get passed. The pain medicine has done very little for my feet that are aching like I’ve never felt before. My arches, achilles, toes, tendons, everything hurts. And now my knee does. Shoot. A few more lonely, slow, agonizing miles and this is where my story picks up where I began just past Aid Station #7.

A fire at Aid Station #8 warms runners and pacers.

I don’t regret my decision to quit. And yes, I do feel very accomplished for doubling the farthest I’ve ever gone. What is hard to accept is that I never reached physical exhaustion- my feet and knees quit first. It’s a frustratingly simple thing to overcome- just get more running miles in! I’m mad at myself for not respecting the distance and only getting a dozen or so runs done in the months leading up to the race. What did I think would happen? Sometimes stubborn people like me need to be standing alone on a dirt road in the middle of the night in order to learn these lessons. I guess if I was the type of person to figure this out ahead of time I wouldn’t be putting myself in these situations.  At least I know this about myself?

See the results here (pdf!). When a Badwater winner takes 26 hours you know it’s a hard course!

We hitched a ride back to Virgin and it was about 4am when we went to sleep in the park just 100 feet from the start/finish line. After a few hours sleep we decided to head back toward California, but not without stopping at The Bean Scene in St George for breakfast burritos and coffee.

A few questions I’ve gotten:

What did you carry?
I carried my phone, headphones and a few gels in my shorts pockets and sunglasses for the day and a headlamp for night. My only water was one 24-ounce handheld which was plenty for all but one section where I ran out early in the day.

What did you eat?
Mostly bananas, peanut butter on tortillas and potatoes. Gels for between aid stations.

Did you use drop bags?
Nope.

Pacers?
Donovan was going to pace me for the last 30 miles.

How much did you actually run?
Most of the first 45 miles- except the really technical sections or steep hills. Less from 45-63.

I cannot even imagine this. What’s it like?
Imagine a long hike with aid stations where you run the flats and downhills! And remember it’s for fun. That helps. It wasn’t that long ago I couldn’t imagine running double digits! You’re looking at someone who brought two clif bars and two gels on a 10k cause I was worried I’d get hungry!

Why?
Not sure. Scott Jurek has a good explanation.

Did this make you more or less stoked on running? Will you try the 100-mile distance again?
More stoked! I can’t wait to start running again and I’m already signed up for the Oil Creek 100 in October. Plenty of time to train and run some 50-milers or 100k’s, right?

 

Sorry it’s out of focus!

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