Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day 192: 20 Years Later...

Update: 205.2 lbs, 50 lb Goal Reached Day 124. 7 lbs to 60 lb goal.

20 years ago I had just graduated high school, and wasn't quite sure what I'd be doing in life 20 years later. I had no idea life would be as great as it is in these current days -- a wonderful wife and 4 amazing kids later, I just had no idea.But last night was a night for reflecting back a bit as we had the first of our 2-night Class of '87 McNary 20 year reunion.

I didn't make the 5 or the 10 year reunions we had leading up to last night. Both times before something else came up, and it just made more sense to keep my original plans. I contemplated pulling a hat trick and not going last night as well, but ultimately decided to go. Plus, we were going down with Casey and Laura, and Chris and Suzzane, so we at least knew we'd have fun with them. I've also heard that the older you get at the reunions, the more fun and less pretentious they are, since most people are just living life, and not so much worried about impressing one another.

Anyway, I don't really have much to report back on. Last night was the Informal Gathering night of the weekend, held down at The Big Kahuna, so we gathered at La Casa De Dunn, and carpooled down together. I had golfed earlier in the day and left my wet shoes in the rig, and when we got in, it was basically like hot steamed shoes....really awful, and a great way to start out the evening. I felt like a goof when I put them in a plastic bag and asked the Dunn folks if I could leave them in their little garden so we could survive the drive down. Time for some new golf shoes. On the way down, I told Chris we should tell everyone we invented Post It notes...but I'm not sure if my reference totally got across.

For most of the night, my lovely wife and I stood in more or less the same spot greeting old friends and schoolmates - waving, shaking hands, or hugging depending on the level of friendship and/or the level of alcoholic consumption they may have had by the time they found us. I was actually surprised at how many people I recognized and how many names I remembered, which has actually been a nightmare of mine coming into the reunion. I've been worried that my brain would fail, and I'd just look like a bigger butthead than I already am on my own. We hung out for a couple of hours, and then headed back to relieve the kids of their babysitting duties.

On the way back Chris and I chatted about how funny it was that for a good portion of the evening the two crowds we had in high school kind of self-segregated themselves between the two floors of the bar. It wasn't completely a black and white drawn line, but big chunks of each group kept to themselves in two different areas for sure. And speaking of big chunks, it's nice to see that the years have been good to so many people, and that I wasn't the only one who's enjoyed the fruits (meats, vegetables, breads and cheeses too) of their labors along the way. On the one and only real reference to my calorie cutback for this post, it was kind of sad to think that even though I've dropped 53 lbs since February, to most of these people I'll have just gained 15-20 lbs since high school. Ha! "Hey, Lopez has put on a few, hasn't he? Gotten a little chubby." Most will really have no idea.

20 years later, life it good. I never really find myself pining for the good old days, and love every day I get to spend with my family, here in our little home in the 'burbs. Anyway...official dinner tonight, and unless something super exciting happens, I may not report back again on it. But if I bust out a closing scene dance sequence tonight, I'll be sure to post the video.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Day 189: Hills

Update: 205.2 lbs, 50 lb Goal Reached Day 124. 7 lbs to 60 lb goal.

Something is wrong with my bike. I can't believe it, I've only had it for a few months, but I'm going to have to load it up in the rig, haul it down to the shop, and have a little chat with the fella who built it to see how we can resolve the issue.

The problem is, it doesn't seem to like to go up hills. If you've been following along for any length of time you know that I have a hill in my normal 12 mile loop, The Ravena Hill, that likes to beat me up. There are actually two hills, the one that eats me up for breakfast, and the one that I can make it up without too many problems...'the girl hill' as my wife likes to call it -- to point out just how much of a sissy rider I am. She's the Mick to my cycling Rocky....

Anyway, Ravena...she's been an evil hill temptress to me from the first time I laid eyes on her. Since I found out earlier this week that there will be 3000+ feet of elevation gain in our 70 mile ride in September, I've been focussing mind and body power on getting prepared for that ride. Nick thinks I'm pretty worked up about it, and well frankly, I suppose I am. So this morning, first thing I got out and decided I would attack some hills...and since I didn't have a ton of time before needing to be at the office, I just headed for Ravena and figured I'd run up and down it a few times...but Ravena had other ideas in mind.

Since I hadn't tried the steep side since the last time I went up it on my comfort bike, I figured I'd give it a shot. I've got a hot, fast bike, I'm 25 lbs lighter than the last time, I'm stronger, faster, tougher, with more stamina and endurance than the last time I almost popped my head off trying to make it up that surely I could get up it...right? Wrong. Even on the easiest chainring, in nearly the lowest gear, I got 1/3 of the way up, and hit that same wall. Stopped. And I knew it was coming fairly soon on, and this time I had a new challenge...I was clipped in, and all I could see was me getting to the place where I had no leverage, and had to pick which one of three ways I wanted to fall down...left, right, or straight back down the hill!

Fortunately, from somewhere deep down inside, I dug down, heard the Eye of Tiger playing, knew the giant I was facing, and found the strength to push myself....and unclip my shoe. Really, that's all I wanted to be able to do at that point, just not fall over and slide back down that hill. I then found the strength to get off my bike, and do the walk of shame up the hill to where I could re-mount without falling down. Oh the shame. If you're following along, that is now: Ravena 2, Paul 1.

Since I had one defeat under my belt for the morning, I figured I'd better find a way to have some success, so I headed out past Brooklake, down the Wheatland hill where I can rip it up past 30 mph for a few seconds, and as soon as I hit the bottom of the hill, I turned around, and headed back up. I then went back to the 'girl side' of Ravena, went down it, turned around, and came back up. I repeated this process another time, so I could get two good climbs at both hills, for a total of about 600 ft of elevation climb for the morning. Nothing amazing, but I am still hacking a bit from my cold, so it was at least a little victory for the day.

Somehow I need to figure out how to attack that steep side of Ravena and make it another notch in my belt, but it's going to have to wait for another day...maybe even another month. For today I'm just happy to have the extra calories for Paddingtons tonight!


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Day 188: Training For The Route

Update: 205.2 lbs, 50 lb Goal Reached Day 124. 7 lbs to 60 lb goal.

Following up on my last post, I got out the next day and did my 30 mile route on Saturday. The ride was pretty uneventful, and I felt great from start to completion. Was really beat the next morning, but that was probably a combination of the ride, and being up most of the night with a sick kid.

I finally tracked down the key points of the Portland Livestrong Challenge route, and mapped it out on so I could get a birdseye view of what we're in for come September 29. Here's a quick look at the map.

As you can see, we'll take off from the Nike campus in Beaverton and then head out towards Hagg Lake, make a loop around the lake, and essentially head back in after riding 70 miles. 70 miles, I'm still shocked that we're going to do it. That's like riding from Keizer out to Lincoln City, and then down to Depoe Bay. Or, it's about the same as taking off from Keizer and heading down past Eugene and almost to Cottage Grove. OR, (one last one) leaving from Keizer, heading north out of Oregon and making it past Woodland, Washington.

In addition to the length of the ride, I'm actually starting to get more nervous about the elevation of the ride. According to the notes, there will be 3000+ feet of elevation gain over the course of the ride, most of it in a 15 miles stretch. From the Bikely map, it shows somewhere in the mid 2000's of climbing...which is still no easy task. (Who knows if I pinput it correctly into the map.) My 20 and 30 mile routes have somewhere between 600-900 feet of climbing, and those are plenty un-fun for me as it is.

From here on out, I'm going to try to hit the longer routes more often, as well as try to find some routes with some climbing...ugh. At the end of my 30 mile route I wondered if I could turn the corner and ride it again...that'd be 60 miles--nearly the distance of the LAF ride in September. It didn't seem totallly impossible. I'm also thinking about driving up and taking a look at the actual route at some point, just to see the site of my future punishment. Less than two months away now, and I'm actually getting kind of excited about it!


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