Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why Penticton?

Tomorrow after work I leave for Challenge Penticton, a race I’ve been looking forward to ever since I decided to apply for my professional license. Amid the craziness that is the lead up to a race (scrambling to finish work items, packing snacks for the long drive, and fitting in a pre-race pedicure somewhere…ya know, the important stuff), I wanted to mention a few things about why I chose this race.

Run along Skaha Lake
As a Seattle triathlete, Penticton is a special place. It’s close enough to drive and often a wonderful capstone after sunny months of summer training. For years it’s seemed that as soon as Penticton was over, I struggled to find training partners unless someone was lucky enough and fast enough to get a Kona slot. If you talk to any Seattle based athlete who has “raced Canada” they’ll get a bit nostalgic and agree that Ironman Canada will always be the race that takes place in Penticton the weekend before Labor Day. If you want to read some of the background about the ownership of this historic race, check out the articles here and here.

Last year I had the opportunity to crew for an Ultraman team in Penticton. I drove up with my friend John Bergen, who took 2nd in the event, and he talked about his years “racing Canada.” He went on and on about the community support. And he mentioned the time in 2003 when they almost cancelled the race due to forest fires. Several of the volunteers were firemen who stayed up all night fighting fires and showed up the next morning to help with the race so the event could take place. I find it hard to believe that many other small communities could pull off something like that. I remember getting chills when John told me about it.
As part of an Ultraman crew, I got to know some of the biggest triathlon supporters in the city. I remember Steve Brown, Ultraman Canada Race Director and 2014 Challenge Penticton Director of Race Operations, talking about how Ultraman was made up of athletes who really loved to do crazy things (obviously). But the way he talked about it, I could tell he did his work not in the name of registration fees or branding. I got the sense that he just “got it” when it came to the love of the sport, and doing a race in this city would be something special. Not only that, I got to enjoy the stellar announcing by legendary announcer Steve King. I can only hope he’s back at Challenge Penticton this year. Check out this interview with Steve King on Breakfast with Bob at Challenge Roth in 2013. He has a resume unlike any other announcer in the sport – fast, intelligent, and entertaining. The interview is worth a listen.
And for all triathletes, Penticton should be special. It was the second Ironman (behind Hawaii) and a place where many of the sport’s legends raced for years – Peter Reid, Faris Al-Sutan, Thomas Hellriegel, Paula Newby-Fraser, Lisa Bentley, Erin Baker, Paul Huddle, Team Hoyt, and Sister Madonna Buder. The list goes on and on. I found this article about some of the other notable events over the years this race has taken place, as well as a good course description.

One of the rollers off Richter Pass
I never had the chance to race in Penticton when it was a WTC event. As my times improved I would try for Kona qualification in CDA versus a late season race. I somewhat regret not having raced it in its heyday. But that's part of the reason I chose Penticton for this year. I want to see this event gain back its traction. I want to experience it firsthand and be able to speak highly of the event. I’ve seen the course and it's challenging and scenic. I gave up my Hood to Coast spot with Puke and Rally in order to race Canada, so I better take full advantage of making it the “weekend of the year.” And beyond that, I’m excited to become part of the Challenge Family. I can’t think of a better place to do so than in Penticton.

Best of luck to all the athletes this year and thank you to everyone for making this event happen!

With Heart,

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sometimes Weekly Roundup - end of June, July, part of August edition...

It's been a very busy summer and although there have been a lot of opportunities for fun photos, I'm often not the type to slow down, stop what I'm doing, and capitalize on documenting the moment. Here are a few pictures from fun memories this summer and a glimpse of what I've been up to:
Prior to CDA, my friend Jill hosted dinner at her house to celebrate Susan's birthday and get "the divas" together. These girls have been friends through thick and thin and it was extra special to have Susan's daughters, Ellie and Lucy, join us for the night.

Two beverages I've been slurping on all summer are iced coffees known as shakeratos, based on the recommendation from Orangette. I use homemade cold brew coffee and sweetened condensed milk. It's such a delicious treat. The other frosty beverage I like to make, much easier now that I have a Ninja blender, is frozen coconut limeade from Smitten Kitchen. I feel like the lime is a very underrated fruit. Also, I tried this with light coconut milk last night and it wasn't nearly as good - stick with the full fat option. If you've stumbled upon my blog, you're probably working out a bunch anyway.

Shortly after CDA, I enjoyed a local beer tasting with my friend Elizabeth (first timer at IMCDA - she did great!). I swear these little tasters look bigger in this picture. Anyway, it was nice to enjoy some good beer outside with a good friend on a school night as we rehashed our races.
Obligatory Golden Gardens summer sunset shot - doesn't get old.

The last weekend in July I traveled down to Santa Rosa and played Sherpa as the BF raced the full Ironman at Vineman. He's  one of the red caps in the Russian River in the picture above. Gerry raced well and placed 3rd overall. I was able to get in some fun Ironman workouts and check out the great riding around there. The day after his race, we joined some friends and spent time on Lake Sonoma. It was hard to leave.  

Last week I went and watched some super fast ladies at the local all-comers meet. They set up a high performance women's 1500m and I was able to cheer for Oiselle teammate, Kate Grace.

Over the years I've attended a handful of cooking classes at The Pantry, a community kitchen in a beautiful space behind Delcancey restaurant. This shot was from their Summer Farmers' Market Class. Amazing. I finally inquired about becoming a kitchen assistant and am now part of their team. Last Sunday I helped with a sauces and condiments class and this week I'm helping with a class on Pacific Northwest cuisine. The instructors are very knowledgeable and even famous (this Sunday I'll be cooking with Kari Brunson, ballet dancer turned chef). It's a great chance for me to learn a few things in the kitchen and I get to try some delicious food.
I'm a real sucker for Starbuck's treat receipts. And I went for a big one ($2 for an expensive coffee drink - yes, please) on this particularly hot summer afternoon. I'm sure there is a health magazine somewhere telling me not to "drink my calories," but the chocolate whipped cream made me weak in the knees.

Two weeks ago I lost my keys on a long run (left them in a Starbucks bathroom and had to run extra long to retrieve them) and then last week I "lost" my phone (it was in my lunch bag). After feeling particularly stressed out and loopy, I broke my rule of "no drinking on a school night" and treated myself to a cold one on the deck. It was also a reminder that I need to chill out a little, especially as training and racing build.

My patio was transformed into a bike shop the other night. Just add Papa Murphy's pizza and Sydnie as the supervisor.

I'd like to get back in the routine of posting on a weekly or at least semi-weekly basis soon. I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful and safe summer.

Best of luck with all your training and racing,