What’s this Norway race about?

Today I arrived in Oslo, Norway to begin my five weeks in Europe. But I feel kind of like I’ve been traveling for five weeks already. After a week on the East Coast I’ve gotten quite a few questions about the Norseman triathlon I am doing on August 4th. So what’s up with this race?
It’s an iron-distance triathlon, but this is far more adventure than race. First a boat takes all participants 2.4 miles into a fjord. Everyone jumps off and swims back to the small town of Eidfjord to complete the first segment (equivalent to about 180 pool lengths). Then onto the bike for 112 miles through the mountains of rural Norway. There is no official support so I need a crew to hand me food and water. Max from Swarm!/Team Bonobo is coming out as is Aidan, Morgan’s close friend from England who was not able to continue on the PCT due to an injury. Chris Kostman also hooked us up with his cousin, who lives near Hammer, Norway. Amazingly she is coming out and helping as well. After the bike, the marathon run begins. The first 15 or so miles are mostly flat, but the last ten miles take you up Gaustatoppen to a peak nearly 6,000 feet high. More info on the course here. My crew must accompany me for the last leg to the top and I have to wear a pack with warm clothes, cell phone, emergency bag, etc. Amazing. I hope to finish in 15 hours.

I read this on the plane ride here: ‘If you are assured completion then the challenge is too easy.’ Maybe that sums up my interest in a race like this. It is also a damn good reason to come to Norway (or to travel in general). I am convinced that (almost) anyone could complete this sort of race, if they were set on doing it. I’ve merely put myself in a position where I have to prove that to myself. The anticipation alone is worth the entry fee. Can’t wait to get out there. Hope to update frequently and maybe even post pictures.

New fixed breaks (away)

This is not so new, but this is the first chance I’ve gotten to get photos up. This bike was custom made by my good friend Trystan from Rapha. Actually it was a collaboration that also included Bernard, formally of Seven Cycles and Bill the Nurse. Trystan sized me using track geometry and built it around the Ritchey break-away system.

The only external piece that makes a break-away frame look different.
Custom burrito tree head badge.
The seat tube and top tube section that splits
All packed up in a suitcase ready to take on the plane

This version of the carry case is not a back pack. Bad idea.

OC club ride

Tired of riding alone, I searched out a local Saturday club ride for this past Saturday. I found the OC Rebel Riders. Not sure what the rebellion is about (American flag on the website??), but there were 80 riders in the park (Irvine) when I got there at 8am. I went with the longest ride they had, 57 miles. The route went over to the coast and back, twice, via different routes. About 20 in our group. Most were really friendly. I stuck with the faster guys on the climbs and tried not to annoy anyone too much on the descents. My front shifter broke so I’ve been stuck in my small front ring. Tough on the fast sections on PCH.

This photo is from Dana Point harbor, the mid-way point. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many roadies in one place. My 15-mile ride back from the end was HOT. I think my face was on fire.

Cheap. Timely. Convenient. Pick two.

Some person in the bike industry once said, ‘Light, strong, cheap, pick two.’ and I’ve found it be accurate most of the time. Does it have application outside of bike parts? I think so. As I plan my five weeks in Europe, 7 years after I first went, I am finding myself trying to force convenience without comprising time and expense. While this time I probably will not be sleeping under skateboard ramps or in the scaffoldings of buildings, I still do not want to drop a grip of money I don’t have for comfort. Where is that balance? Is comfort the fourth variable? Do I get to pick three then or still only two? Last summer’s trip, which was 4 weeks on the Great Divide cost Steevo and I fraction of what most people probably spend (our total costs for lodging was $14. Combined.).
Double centuries after sleeping under a park bench, cool. But a full-iron triathlon? Probably not a good idea. What would the 17-year old me do?

Holy Jim Trail from Trabuco Creek Rd

(stolen photo from wikipedia)

This is me not riding to San Diego. The original plan was to leave at 230am on Saturday morning, and ride 80 miles down the coast to meet up with the Organic Athlete San Diego chapter for a run. Good training for night riding and Norseman. But at 1130 the night before- far from having my shit ready- I decided against it. Slept in instead. Then finally got around to looking up info about that peak that sticks out of the Saddleback mountains that is visible from all over south county.
Around 330pm I was out of the house for the 6.5-mile run down a dirt road to the Holy Jim Trailhead. I had some aspirations of summiting, but that would of put my total mileage over 30. I fast hiked up to the fire road, probably only 500 feet or so below the top (and 2.5 hiking miles) and turned around. I read that on a clear day you can see into five counties from the top (hope to run the whole thing and summit soon).

I took my time descending and then ran the 6.5 miles back, most of it in the dark, which gave me the opportunity to use my new headlamp.

Tree tunnel!

Looking west out of the canyon on Holy Jim Canyon Road before it hits Trabuco Creek Rd.

Eat! Sleep? Bikes! Los Angeles showing

Last weekend the documentary Sasha made about our fixed gear relay team at the Furnace Creek 508 made its LA debut as part of the Bicycle Film Festival. There was a great turnout despite the crappy 3pm time slot. I have memories of being at a wedding near Philadelphia eating cupcakes with pink icing that day, but according to these pictures I was actually in Los Angeles.

All hail google

Some of the google search terms that have directed savy and not so savy web users to my blog in the last week:
catch fish pond malibu las virgines
“tall bike” orange county july 2007
sweet cherubum
south philly soft pretzels 430am
Steevo Cummings blog
funny “new zealand signs”
“pure luck” heliotrope
fatalities of the Pacific Crest Triathlon
whipping passing bicyclists england
Death valley super marathon
dumpstering anchorage
vmaas frames
justin cummings push