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A great training weekend!

Well, my post is going to be upstaged a bit, since Jeni’s race certainly takes precedence, but a week earlier, we got together for one of our best training day(s) we’ve had in a while…

Friday morning, J and I left for the drive to Missoula, complete with inflatable kayak in the back of her baby Subaru, play boat on top, paddles, bikes, running gear, camping gear etc. for 2 days of adventure.

We met Morg at “Trails End,” a great gear shop on Front street in Missoula, and after a bit of mandatory shopping, we headed northeast out of town toward the Blackfoot river and the Ubrecht Experimental Forest, site of the upcoming Grizzlyman Adventure Race.

Now, as balmy as it was in Spokane/CDA (ha ha), the mountains in northwest Montana still had snow… we went to drop Morg’s car off at the pull out point of the river, and his little pip squeak front wheel drive got STUCK. Did I mention Subaru’s are the bomb? Yup… we used Jeni’s baby to tow his WPOS out of the slush.

We put the boats in at “Round Up,” and after a lightning fast twenty minute transition as we figured out wetsuits/kayak suits etc, set out on a great paddle down the class 2-2.5 rapids of the Blackfoot.

It was a magnificent, sunny day, with temps in the mid-40’s (maybe even 50!) and with tons of ice along the banks, a few icebergs, tons of deer and bald eagles, it was a beautiful paddle, with just enough rapids to make it exciting and interesting!

For those who haven’t done it, paddling whitewater, especially kayaking,  is substantially different than flat water, and even different than rafting, so be ready for some excitement and fast hands.

We pulled the boats out at the exact right spot (part good guess, part sort of knew where we were) and literally PULLED them up a bit of a bank… say, 50 feet or so, muddy, and straight up. (Step, step, dig in, grab dirt, heave kayak 2 feet, repeat…)

After that, we lost Morg for a couple of hours as he went off to be gainfully employed, so J and I biked back to the forest and the race start at Paw’s Up! Resort, about a 10 mile, hilly trek through snow, mud, dirt and lake Winnapawsocki… (There was a puddle in the road that was so wide there was no way around it, and so deep it was over the bottom brackets of the bikes, so wet feet you had – twice).

We reserved a house for the race, looked around a bit, and biked back, as it was starting to cool off as the sun dropped.

We set up camp on the bank of the river and got our fire going just as the sun went down. Morgen joined us a bit later, and we shared Jet-Boiled dinner, snacks, and, in general, had a great evening… the stars were amazing, and even though it was down in the 20s, it was a blast to be away from everything.

Saturday, Morg was up and gone early to a meet, and after we packed up camp, we headed back to town, got some directions, and set off on a “little” bike ride that took 2.5 hours, over a honkin’ big mountain, and a part so steep I didn’t make it (which pissed me off wonderfully, I must say). It was actually great to have a LONG ride over a mountain, since my mountain has been unrideable since December… and the downhill after was pretty exhilarating!

To finish it off, we hiked up Mt. Sentinel (the one with the big “M” on it).

After that, we had a nice lunch at the Iron Horse, looked at a couple more gear shops (I got a Thermarest! (Thanks, Jeni!!)) and headed back to CDA…

This weekend, we’re going to do a similar thing with a full-time Morg, we hope, and hopefully get two days of paddling in as well.

The race is only 2.5 weeks away, so time to put the rubber to the road, so to speak…

Good training, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you all!



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More Moab Adrenaline…

Ooops, forgot to mention that the next morning after the Moab Xstream race, I felt the urge to get another adrenaline fix, so I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for my first skydive!! Woo woo! There’s even video to prove it (but it’ll cost you about 89.00 bucks).

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Solo FART places at MOAB XSTREAM


Hello All!

So I have started out the FART season with a bang for us, and the bar is set! I represented the FARTs as a solo racer this past weekend in the Adventure Xstream 12hour race in Moab, UT. Packing and arranging for a fly-in race is quite an undertaking, now I know what Andy goes through! Of course the airlines lost the ‘transition box’ that I meticulously packed and taped and labeled, but fortunately it showed up late the next day, and well before race day. Snow began to fall 2 days before the race, so off I went to buy more gear… I have enough to outfit a platoon now it seems! Race day dawned gorgeous and crisp, around 33 deg. There were over 260 (!) racers! The field seemed highly competitive and highly motivated and I was so excited to be among them.

My two primary goals were to 1) remain healthy/injury-free and 2) finish the course.. the Third goal was to place… Happily I achieved all three of my goals.

I was able to wear my Garmin, so got all the data on distances, times, and heart rate (for late-night fun with statistics). The first split consisted of a 20 mile mt bike climb, up Long canyon and along Gemini bridges trail. At mile 5 began the 2000 foot climb (in approx 2 miles!).  Every competitor I saw had to walk their bike at some point, it was that steep! At Gemini bridges we did a quick transition to climbing harnesses (carried in our packs) and then off the edge we went, about 300 ft down!! What a rush, but no time to enjoy it, had to quickly punch the CP and get to running back up the sandy trail, 6 miles. Had a little hip flexor issue, probably due to the unfamiliar rental bike configuration, and the fact that this was the first time I had ever used my clipless pedals and shoes! So the last 3 miles of the run was not to my expectations, but as I said, primary goal was my health. Then back onto the bikes for a screaming 15 mile downhill and flat. The sand traps were the trickiest part, as they would come up in the trail suddenly and literally stop you in your tracks. I had heard that one gentleman had a nasty fall and had to be carried out. Next I reached to river, for the final transition to kayaking. Here is definitely where I had the greatest advantage, primarily technical, in that all the pairs and 4-somes had to use the mandatory inflatables, and i got to use a hardshell which made my glide down the water lickity-split. I was able to pass 12 (!) boats over the 10-ish miles. It was a beautiful ride, and I got to enjoy some sun and scenery as the other competitors begged to trade boats with me. I made some good tactical choices that helped as well, as I was able to glide over the sand bars that trapped other folks. I think I finished the race in 7hrs 20 min, although that conflicts slightly with their numbers. Either way, I ended up with a giganormous super-c00l medal (nice logo!) to add to the collection, and some really great memories. I did an excellent job with clothing, but still made errors in food choices and placement, so I’ll have to keep working on that for Grizzlyman.

Hopefully the pics I attach come through! Happy Training Everyone, see you in Montana!!!



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One Good Day!

Hi, all!

El Capitan back with you, hoping that you’re all getting in some good training! Spring is right around the corner I think, despite what the weather here at FARTquarters is.

Here’s a correction on our last post, BTW: Andy wanted me to mention that we also did a 38 mile bike ride the day before we did our Bernard Peak snowshoe… I mean, what’s wrong with me, after all?

For those who may not have heard, I’m taking a 15 week Mountain School through the Spokane Mountaineers, and it’s been an awesome experience so far. Our first outdoor evolution is in two weeks, and I’m psyched. Jeni and I joined a few others for a snowshoe up Mt. Spokane last week as a precursor to our other workouts.

Speaking of workouts, we decided to really push ourselves this weekend, and I think we succeeded…

Our day started at 7:50 a.m, at Spokane Falls Community College, which is along the Bloomsday route at about mile 4. We parked the car and bikes there, and ran the 7ish mile Bloomsday course as a warm-up, then we jumped on our bikes and rode to Nine Mile (through some serious ice and snow). Next, we jumped on the Centennial Trail, and rode back to Arbor Crest Winery, a distance of about 30 miles. BTW, the last .8 of a mile up to the winery is NASTY… 15% average grade.

At the top, we parked the bikes and ran 4.4 miles on the bluff, and then ran down the nasty hill and back up, which was a real challenge.

After a short pause for lunch at the winery, we were back on our bikes heading north toward Green Bluff, about 14 miles away. I’d forgotten how big the hill is going up to Green Bluff, but yes, it was noticeable, to say the least. My guess is about 1.5 miles.

We ran an additional 4 miles in the hills on the Bluff, and then headed back toward town into a 25 mph howling wind, accompanied by sleet and freezing rain! Awesome!

We rode back to the college, and then for kicks and giggles, ran down to the river, and did Doomsday Hill not once, but twice, before running back up to the college.

Totals: 60 pretty tough miles on the bikes, a little over 20 miles running with some great hills, and about 10:30 moving time.

In all, a pretty good kick in the pants!

Physically, we both felt pretty good the morning after, which I hope indicates that we are getting in race shape.

We’re heading out to do some rappelling on Wednesday, and hope to get some more good work in this week as well.

Hope everyone is getting out and doing some training… we are heading over to Montana to scout out the Grizzlyman terrain a bit this next week… you’re all welcome!

Don’t forget to put Adventure Sports Week on your calendars… it’s coming quick, and we would love everyones help to spread the word!

See you soon!



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How a photo, a mirror, some friends and a vacation rental can change your life.

Imagine… Hawaii for our anniversary getaway, in a beautiful rental home… Our business was successful(ish), and we were pretty fit(ish), dazzling examples of humanity… life was good!


Then, on Sunday, reality came calling.


First, my beautiful wife photographed me on the beach. I looked, I dropped the camera in horror. No way did I look that bad! C’mon; I ran (sort of). I ate… oops… maybe that was part of it?


Back at the house I did the unthinkable, for any self respecting male: I looked in the mirror – sideways (gasp!) – and it was true! I was middle aged and out of shape!


We also weren’t pregnant, even after six years of trying.


That was our wakeup. Back home, we started changing our lives. We discovered “Adventure Racing,” and hardly knowing what it was, it became our vehicle back to health. “AR” is a team sport, so we talked eight friends into traipsing across the country by bike, kayak, and foot, using a compass to get there.


This last year was a mix of contrasts – both blessings and challenges: with the changing economy, our business turned south, leaving us without income, just as our fitness (and happiness!) improved. We embraced (at first, IN)voluntary simplicity, then remembered the “Maui Rules,” where the best things in life aren’t things. We went out less, but our friendships became deeper, as our true friends helped us through the trying times.


A year of training brought us to the Big Race: our team of ten in another rented home in Tahoe for an amazing week of competition and camaraderie. We won the race, and oh, we just found out that somewhere during our stay in our rental hideaway, we started something that nine months from now, will bless our lives even more.


We would love to be able to take our friends – our lifelines – for a vacation of a lifetime to beautiful Taos (, as thanks for being our lanterns in the dark times, for making our lives worth living, and for showing us what’s truly important.


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Great Snow Training to “welcome” Winter…

Hi ho!

December 27th… after a marvelous fall, it’s been snowing for 10 straight days… 5 feet… help! Glub, glub… record 24 hour snowfall, record 5 day… send St. Bernard!

Yup. After no snow until basically 10 days ago, I’m rapidly running out of room to pile the snow. At least until today, it had been cold enough that the snow was dry and light. Today, it warmed up a bit, and now, we have HEAVY, wet snow (and LOTS of it!), black ice, and an all-around mess. Now, I like snow as much (probably more) than the next guy, but this is getting ridiculous!

Even so, we’ve managed to get in some cool, original, tough workouts.

I’ve been getting in quite a few six mile runs, trying to rehab the hip, but it had all been on roads, so not too adventurous. On the 23rd, I had to go downtown to take some pictures while running for a big article that came out in the Coeur d’ Alene Press today (the 27th), and called to Keith to join me for some training… (very nice article on Adventure Week 2009, BTW)

We decided to run around the college and then try Tubbs Hill, which, we found was between 6 & 18 inches deep. Let me tell you, THAT was a workout! Two miles of rolling, uppity, rough trail is hard enough, but add in the snow, and it’s a K.A.W!

After that, our Durango promptly broke down in the Rite Aid parking lot, so I got to run over to Derek’s to pick up Fritz and Becky’s truck, which has been a lifesaver.

Later that evening, Jeni came out, and the morning of the 24th, we went snow biking.

One of my biggest worries with winter’s arrival was losing all of the progress I had made on cycling over the past year, but now I know that’s not going to happen.

We set out about 8:45 a.m., temp about 14 (yes, it sounds cold, but it’s actually a great temperature to workout in! Trust me!) and headed for the mountain. Now, this is the mountain that’s a pretty stiff workout when dry, and when we arrived, it was blocked off for all vehicles except snowmobiles, and covered with several inches of snow all the way up the cuddly little 15 degree grade. Imagine riding in thick, soft sand. Cold, white, slippery sand… uphill.

Oh, and my back brake was frozen, as were my gears, and I was stuck in whatever I was in.

We made it exactly 1.1 miles up the hill in 25 minutes, and I’m pretty impressed with us! To steal a quote, “it was as intense a workout as you can imagine, going 2.5 miles per hour!”

This was just plain hard work. Tough, slippery, rutty… fun, huh?

The way down was also a bit of a rush. Jeni discovered the right technique: She put her feet down and actually glissaded/skied her bike down, while I tried to keep my feet on the peddles. She kicked my butt.

The only negative after that (besides the fact that it started snowing again) was that I was hopelessly stuck in mountain climbing gear the 3.6 mile mostly flat/downhill ride home. I was able to keep my revolutions up to a sizzling 724/minute, while topping my speed out at about 4 mph…  not fun, but I didn’t have to pee bad enough to unthaw my gears!

On the 26th, to celebrate my birthday, Lisa and I did a nice 2 mile run/walk, as we always do, and then I ran the Loop. After that, we headed into Spokane to meet Jeni.

We parked along the Bloomsdaycourse at Spokane Falls Community college, and after narrowly missed being run over by a trash truck heading down the hill, we did Doomsday Hill three times in a row, with part of the second leg in the waist deep snow along the side.

We headed back for the college, but took the wrong turn into the parking lot, and ended up at the bottom of a hundred yard high, 60 degree angle hill, crotch deep in snow (on me… mid torso on Jen!) from our car.

In true Adventure Racing fashion, we started up the hill, slogging/tromping (we’re still searching for the correct word here) up the big, steep, snowy hill.

All in all, just a really fun, tough couple of workouts, and something we’re looking to repeat! We showered, headed for town, and I got to do some birthday shopping at REI and B&N (yay my new Jetboil!) and then race back home.

For New Years, I think we’ll snowbikeup the mountain as far as we can go, take our snowshoes and tromp to the top, and make lunch with our Jetboils on the top of the mountain.


I’m also looking to try out my new/old cross country skis. After twenty years, I’m kind of looking forward to it. I used to be a “real” skier, so hoping it comes back, It’s great exercise!

I’ve been thinking about hosting a winter race next winter; possibly a winter triathlon with snow shoes, mtn. bike and run, or a “Quadathlon,” adding CC skiing… sounds kind of fun. What do you think?

Despite my complaining, I’ve really enjoyed getting out in the snow so far, and look forward to a bunch more good workouts, using the white stuff as the main resistance.

Hope everyone is keeping their training up, and Lisa and I are really looking forward to seeing you all at New Years, or shortly after.


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Happy Holidays to all of you!

Ho, ho, ho…

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope that you all had a peaceful, happy and healthy Christmas and DBD day… (Dave’s Birthday Day). Yes, there’s nothing like having your birthday on December 26 when you’re a kid, but I must say, Lisa makes a marvelous effort to make my birthday special, and with all of the sales post Christmas, I’ve had some wonderful days.

This year, I received an REI gift card from my parents-in-law, and a Barnes and Noble card and some birthday cash from the Grandparents, so had a marvelous day hunting for exactly the correct loot… I ended up with the Jetboil combo with large pot, a cycling neon jacket/vest from REI, and a handful of terrific books from B&N.

We actually discussed NOT buying any real gifts prior, and just going out together the day after and enjoying the day… hmm… Speaking of Lisa, she and neo-baby are doing well. Hopefully, we’ll know the gender within a week or two, so you’ll know what color baby Salomans to buy!

Our Christmas was really delightful. With the economy taking its toll this year, we decided as a family to really cut back on gift giving, and instead concentrated on having a quality day, with a few smaller, simpler, heartfelt gifts. Let me tell ya, as a chronic gift giver, it was a struggle at first, but I was able to find some terrific sales, put more thought into what folks might like, did some baking, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

The leadup was relaxed, and the actual Christmas Day experience was sweet. I cooked dinner for the clan, and we really just enjoyed each other’s company.

Derek’s gift to the family was to set up a family website/sharing site on “facefeed” where we automatically can stay in touch with what we’re all doing, and by the afternoon, the folks in Seattle were viewing our photos, and vice versa. It was great!

In all, a different, much appreciated, special holiday!

We are very excited, as several FARTS including Andy, Morg, Kelley, Jeni, neo-FART Zeb and hopefully Jeremy, Sheena (?) and Peggy will be here for New Years, and boy, do I have plans!

We’d also like to welcome Corey and Michelle Hustein to our group; They are both XTERRA/Ironmen athletes, newly arrived to CDA from California, and are going to be hugely involved in Adventure Week 2009.

Thank you all for your love and support, and blessings to you and yours as we head into a very exciting 2009!

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