this past summer the family and i drove out to the west coast for our vacation.  we stayed in sacramento for a few days, but for the most part it was one-night stays at cheap motels and campgrounds.  we actually made it all the way to vancouver canada.

we were heading back from vancouver and we just passed the border back in to the us.  as soon as i could i headed west so we could drive along the strait of georgia.  it was getting pretty late as we followed these misleading signs to some camp ground.  it could be just me, but i’m pretty sure the signs were misleading, mostly because they didn’t seem to add up mileage wise.  one sign claimed it was 5 miles ahead, the next sign 5 miles away, claimed it was 3!  anyway, that’s not my story…. we finally found the camping area and quickly put our camp together.  since we had been driving by the seats of our pants [so to speak], we really didn’t know if we were goign to stay in a hotel, or camp, eat in a restaurant, or hunt and kill our food.  we had no food to speak of.   luckily there was a store less than one mile away, where i bought some marshmellows, hot dogs, buns, and some really long forks for roasting stuff over a fire.

i’m not a very good pyro-technician so it took me several tries to get the fire going.  i was a little worried that i was going to run out of matches, but i still had about ten left as the fire became self sustained [i am not going to tell you how many i started with].   anyway, we grabed our long roasting forks and started cooking the dogs. the first round went flawlessly, with the exception that some of us may have over cooked things a bit.  my younges kid was the first to start off the second round of cooking. … i guess he was really hungry.

[flash back]

so as a kid i grew up camping with my father and older brother.  i was used to doing a lot of unsanitary things…like eating without a napkin, picking food up from the floor and eating it, eating without washing hands, etc… my kids are not like that at all.  every once in a while i feel compelled to teach them the same basic “survival” skills i grew up with.

[end flash back]

as my kid got about half way through cooking his second dog, it broke free from the stick and fell to the ground just outside the fire ring.  it landed into the soft powdery dirt which was a combination of dirt and ashes from previous fires.  the dog was a gonner, half cooked, completely engulfed in black dirt and miscellaneous particles.  my kid started getting all upset because that was the last hotdog and he now wasted one.  well, that’s about when i stepped in.  i told him it was just a little dirt, if he washed it off and finished cooking it he wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference.  we argued back and forth a while, with him finally refusing to ever eat that hog dog.  i called him a big sissy [and maybe a crybaby i don’t remember] i took the disgustingly dirt coveredhog dog, and washed it off with the run-off from the ice chest.

[note] the water coming out of the ice chest was not the ideal water source to be washing anything off with. for one there was no back pressure to knock off any small dirt particles that may have found a safe place to cling on. two, the water was from melted store ice that had been commingling around with everything in the ice chest.

i did the best i could before i ran out of “water” and put the hot dog back on the stick.  i tried to slowly cook it, so all small germ would be killed and i could avoid ebola.  the whole time i was cooking, i started preaching to the kids about how “soft” they were, and that they need to get tougher….blah blah blah.  my hot dog was finally done.  i put it in a bun, add a little catchup, and took one overly enthusiastic bite.

as i bit into it i could feel a little crunchy dirt particles that some how didn’t get blasted off when i washed it.  i forged ahead and kept chewing.  before i took the second bite, i decided to look more closely just in case there was some big particle that i could preemptivly remove.  when i looked closely i found nothing, but i did notice that my hot dog had small linear grooves cut along the length, to help it cook inside better.  i usually do this when i cook hot dogs because i like them cooked inside a little.  i went ahead and took the second bite, with all eyes still on me.   this second bite was no better than the first only it was much smaller, but still filled with dirt and what not.  as i was about half way through chewing the second bite, i asked my son how he made the cooking grooves in the hot dog.

he said, “with my finger nails”

the moment he said that, i stopped chewing and viciously gaged.   the kids laughed… they started mocking me, by telling me how “tough” i was…it went on and on.  i didn’t back down, i told them i was just pretending and took another bite.  this time i though about the dirt, the fingernails, and the dirty ice chest water…… another gag.  i continued to play it off as if it wasn’t a big deal, but inside i was going over my will. i knew i was going to die of something from that disease infested hot dog.

i finished it, and don’t really think i proved anything to my kids…..

here it is three months later, and i am still alive!

i’ve been in pain since yesterday afternoon. the lactic acid from f’n “fitness friday” is making me feel like i have total body arthritis.  the pain is mostly isolated to my arm, stomach and calves…but since they are involved in most my movements everytime i move i am reminded of 3f. i was too stiff to do anything yesterday….and today…..i felt just as bad, but went out an ran 7 miles on the trail.  after a half hour or so the stiffness went away and i finally stopped thinking about it.

as soon as i got home…. my memory returned.

another weird thing from 3f was that i have been cold every minute of everyday, since that epic lunch.

i figured out some new ex-math to help you improve your ex-miles-per-gallon in you vehicle.  the way i see it mileage is the number of miles that it takes to get you from one place to another.  it takes me 17 miles to get to work.  if i ride my bike one day that is 34 miles i didn’t drive my car…i can add it to my car’s total mileage.  if i go out for a 100 mile weekend ride, i can not add it to my mileage.  however if i ride out to a bike trail and ride the trail, i could arguably add that to my car’s total.    here are some rules:

1. only add miles that you used to replace a car drive.

2. do the calculation after each fill up.  don’t just drive a mile and fill it up after a really long commute and get like infinity miles per gallon.

3. do it for a long period of time, just to see how much you save.

sample calculation for this tank:

miles driven = 420

miles ridden=  102

total miles = 522

total gallons= 11

ex-miles per gallon= 522/11=  47.5 emg!!!  [note this is with only 3 days of bike commuting]

i have been at this same job for about 17 months now, and believe me it’s been kicking my butt.  i have either been working crazy hours, or else been out of town working crazy hours.  in either case i haven’t been in the best of shape.  i’ve actually lost some weight, but mostly due to atrophy.  my heart rate was jumping up for the most trivial task. i’ve been in town now for a couple of weeks and my fitness schedule is starting to return to normal.  i have tried to do something….anything everyday. at first it was mountain biking in the mornings….then it was running. more recently it’s been swiming some mornings and riding my bike to work, or running at lunch.  it’s been like a crazy cram session of fitness.

a couple of days ago i was telling this story to my coworker and he asked it i ever work out in the gym?  i denied such allocations and tried to change the subject.  i really don’t like the gym for some reason.  i think because the “gym”and all that it stands for imply “indoors.”   i’m not really an “outdoors” person, but when it comes to exercise i have to be outdoors.  anyway, after some more talks with my coworker, we came up with a pretty elaborate plan to get some exercise in on friday [today].

here is the plan…. at lunch we change into our running/workout clothes,  then run the trail to the longmont rec center, lift some weights,  run back to work.  we estimated that the run would be 1.5 miles or so.

here is my side of the story;  i woke up this morning after such a wonderful nights sleep.  i decided to ride my bike in since i had so much energy.  i took my time getting ready, there are just so many things to do before work. like make a lunch, get all my cold weather gear out because it was pretty freaking cold outside.   i froze my butt off getting in to work, but still rode hard enough to keep my body temp up.  work was ok, just a little cold… work work till 12:30.  at that time we got ready for our workout and headed out the door.  still freakin cold, and i am fairly under dressed.  my coworker was severly underdressed and looked pretty cold.

the run portion took quite a while since it was not 1.5 miles like i had originally thought. i think it was more like 3 miles…ugh.  the added distance gave us plenty of time to work up a sweat as we walked into the rec center.  i was sweating so much that one of the check-in ladies mentioned how much i was sweating.

cil: “wow, you are already sweating!”

me: “yeah… you don’t have any policies against that do you?….heh heh”

cil: …silence

cil: “no”

me: “heh heh”

so we got in, worked out on the machines and stuff…till my arms were shaking like a couple of small blades of grass in an open field of free range cattle.  after 40 mins or so, it was finally time to leave….and i do mean finally!  we actually ran back to work and tried to take a short cut which probably took off a half mile or so, but we were so tired that it felt bad anyway….all the way.  we got back to work and i was very tired.  i actually felt good, but not in a good way.  i felt good that the pain and suffering was finally over.  i was in the nice warm comfort of hig voltage equipment and soothing white noise from the mundane conversations going on around me.

i was not looking forward to riding home. i was thinking of bailing, but that wasn’t in the plan. i had to do it, i rode in, so i had to ride home…that’s the rule. the only real exceptions are mechanical failures, or i’m took drunk to ride home.  my bike was in fine condition, and there was no beer to be found anywhere….. i had to ride home.   it was so cold [sorry for the repeat adjetive, but it really was cold today].   it was a pretty horrible ride home. i was extreemly stiff from the waste up and i was getting stiffer by the mile.  my legs were extreemly sore and hurting like sand paper underware [maybe i should edit this later…?].  i put all my lights on even though it was not quite dark yet and put my head down and just pecked away at the distance.   i don’t know how long it took me, nor do i know how many times i almost got killed, but i do know that it is over and i am home.

now if i can only find some beer/

i didn’t feel like working out at all!

..only i’m not “in” the race.  i was just out for a sunday run….when all of a sudden people on the trail are telling me that there is a marathon going on up ahead.  first off, it was strange that people are even talking to me. secondly, a marathon?!   i get a little further down the trail and there are some people running with numbers/race bibs on.  i catch up to them and start talking to them a bit.  the guy was friendly enough and didn’t hesitate to talk to me….but the girl never even said hi :( so, yeah! there was a real full length marathon going on right in my “backyard”  i ran with them for a few miles because it just so happened that my trail was part of the course.  so as i was running spectators along the trail and runners going the opposite direction were telling me what a great job i was doing, and to keep it up.  i had to explain to all of them that i was not running the marathon, and that i couldn’t run a trail marathon due to my excessive weight and out-of-shapness.  i was really getting quite tired of explaining this to everyone, but they had to know.

so as i was running my trail all 7 miles of it…i began to contemplate running the whole marathon…. “if only i had known about it, i could have run it.”  then reality joined in my monologue, adding that i should worry about finishing my run, since i have not run 7 miles in months.  ok back to reality, no marathons for me, at least this year :)

i rode picture rock on saturday…..again.  this was my second time in about 5 days. thursday would have been my second time, but when i got there the trail was closed due some spraying they were doing that morning.  the weather was really nice on saturday, and i knew it was going to be busy. just as i had warned in my previous post….. having many people on the single track was going to be a pain in the ars.  i couldn’t ride more than 60 seconds without having to stop and yield the right of way to someone going the other way.  i know the uphill rider get the right of way, but usually i’m in a better place to stop, or i see them sooner….or i’m just nicer :).   anyway it seemed that i was the one doing all the stopping no matter which directio i was heading.

i got in about 18 miles, on this day…not bad for someone in my condition.

after missing the grand opening of a new trail in boulder county last week i’ve been preoccupied with the getting home and out on the new trail.   some time before i got home i got sick.  i was out in new jersey in a hotel with a fever and nothing to do but watch tv.  somehow i just forgot about riding all together.  yesterday was my first full day home and i wasted no time heading out to the trail.  unfortunately  the fever completely erased the fact that there was a new trail open in the area.  i stupidly headed out to my “everyday” trail.  i actually got about half way through it [the tough half]…. when suddenly i remembered…new trail!!!! “wtf am i doing here?” i turned around and sprinted bak to the car.  i was exhausted, just recovered from a fever, been at sea level for over a week, not to mention that i am not in the best of shape anyway…..ugh!   i headed out to the new trail, my head chest and both shoulders were hurting :).

the new trail is the opposite direction from my house so i was about 35 miles away.  it was a pretty long drive, but i was too excited to care.

there is a temporary trail head parking on red gulch road. there were only about five or six cars at the time.  i headed out on the trail and it starts out winding through a valley.


the trail is pretty buffed out at this point with lots of powdery dirt from all the traffic.  plus the trail is only a week or so old, it needs a few rains under its belt to get firm.


such a beautiful trail….. wait till you bomb down it!  there were lots of sections that were cut into the side of a hill.  you can see from the picture below, that it must have taken a lot of work to do this.


it’s really interesting riding on these sections, because there is a drop off on one side and wall on the other. also,  there are lots of sections where you have to turn on a bump, or else go off the edge.  if you have balls to go fast, your skills will improve tremendously!  i’m a little rusty, but i still went as fast as i could…. no brake usage!


just more pictures.





not sure what this was but it was pretty cool to see…

i love old abandoned vehicles.



as the trail heads up toward heil valley ranch it starts to look a lot like the heil ranch trail [forgot the name]


finally after a very short 5.5 miles, the picture rock trail connects to the wild turkey loop… woot!



the trail builders went through a lot of trouble to build this trail.  they made sure you saw some interesting sights along the way like to old rock foundations of something, and the sylo, not to mention the two abandoned cars.   you can tell that the trail purposely seeks out these land marks for us to reflect.

there is lots of single track on this trail.  the only problem is that you really have to pay attention to others on the trail.  there are lots of blind corners, and steep drop offs if you are not paying attention.  i would recommend going on off hours to avoid people.  this trail is ideal for some who want to improve their down hill skills.  just make sure your skilled enough to go fast!  i did this thing on the way down where i tried to not use my brakes.  i wasn’t too successful, but it was fun trying.