October 23, 2006 posted by

Birthday Challenge Thoughts

Since I’m going to be in California for my birthday it’s a perfect chance to clean up some unfinished business. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Because rushing into climbing shape tends to lead to injuries, I’ve been in no hurry here in Utah. With thousands of new routes within an hour radius of my house, I have no need to. This is completely different than California, where I’ve climbed pretty much every route I’ve wanted to that isn’t in the Sierras, which would translate to an accelerated training program after cycling season and then getting injured. However, I’ve very little on my climbing agenda in Ca anyway. Nothing from this time of year.

A couple of years ago I concocted an idea to run and ride the Backbone Trail. It’s been run before, at least once (probably a lot more), but never run and biked. The main problem here–besides fitness–is that some of it’s closed to bikes. I’m not going to poach it, so I’ve come up with an alternate route. Well, maybe I’ll poach a little of it…

I’ve always wanted to run the 9 Trail in Santa Barbara but because it’s around Thanksgiving (and my birthday) there’s always been other stuff on the agenda. Of course, just because I finally decide to do it the sucker sold out. I think I’ll try it anyway.

I’ve also wondered about a big day on the bike near SB, climbing all the major climbs: Gibraltar, Painted Cave, Figueroa from both the north and south. This day is on par with the hardest single days I’ve had on a bike, or at least close.

I should add some climbing as well.

Okay, this ain’t all happening in one day. The Backbone is 100k plus with heaps (probably 20,000′ at least) of elevation change. The 9 Trails has 10,500′ in just 35 miles and not even one section of simple running. In fact, the 9 Trails course is the toughest running course, step by step, I’ve seen, which is why it’s so cool. The biking is, well, just biking. But a lot of biking. The climbing is going to be hard no matter what because I didn’t climb all summer and, currently, don’t even have the upper body strength to do a half hour set of pull-ups, something I used to do on my rest days.

Here’s what I’m thinking with a month to go:

I’ve done loads of one day challenges, a 40 day challenge, and a 43 hour challenge. This year will be four days, with an optional .6 a day off (maybe for Thanksgiving).

The main portion of the challenge with be the Backbone link-up. By far the hardest thing. I have no idea if I’m even in the realm of being able to do it.

Next will be some riding: the 4 climbs around Santa Barbara.

Next will be some climbing. I guess 46 routes sounds good. Most I’ve done in a day this year is, hmmm, maybe a bunch when I was fit last winter. Anyway, it’s 10 since I’ve been climbing again. This will not be a rest day. I’ll probably have to climb at Echo, meaning that less than 10 will be under 5.10. And probably more than 10 will be 5.11. I may throw some 12s in there but I’d have to change this to laps because there’s no way I can do six laps of 5.12 right now, even without 40 other routes. But, hey, I’ve still got a month….

I’ll try and finish with the 9 Trails. Could be ugly at this stage. Fresh I’m sure I could do a decent time but, hmmm, I’m thinking that just finishing will be enough by this point.

Anyway, more thoughts later. I’be better get training.

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