Station 9 Climb

Yep, that's Frank. On the ground.  Exhausted.

We had just climbed 3,500 feet to the summit of what's known as the Station Climb, near the LA County Fire Department's "fire suppression camp" atop the mountains overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

And it was awesome!

This was the view we were rewarded with after climbing for roughly an hour.  Off in the distance in the upper left is the Burbank Airport.  At one point, I saw an American Airlines jet overhead near the mountain's peak and felt like I could wave to the passengers -- and see them waving back!

A year ago, I'm not sure I could have survived that climb and the rest of the 50-plus mile ride -- along with the 20-minute run after.  Let alone know that I had more in the fuel tank at the end of the run while never crossing into heart-rate zone 5 (not even close!).  That is such a great feeling.  Even better, my achey right knee wasn't flaring up badly following the run.  I'm icing it as I type this blog as a precautionary measure, along with applying the Jack Black Grooming Products "Dragon Ice" recovery balm.

Today's ride was a perfect training course for Wildflower.  Long climbs resembling "Nasty Grade."  Running uphill following a quick bike transition.  Miles of flat road in between to recover.  Yet again, a solid confidence boost going into my next big race.

I even got a confidence boost by fixing a flat tire on the return trip from the Station Climb.  My back wheel popped and fizzed heading through an underpass near McBean Parkway in Santa Clarita.  The tube came apart at the valve, which I haven't seen before.  While serving as a good tutor, Frank let me fix the tire myself, guiding me when I was screwing up and demonstrating the patience of a saint while it took me 15 minutes to finish the job.  But, I did it!  At least I know if worse comes to worse, I can change a front or back tire.  The worst part, for me, is pushing the last quarter section of the tire onto the wheel. I need to work on that.

Speaking of confidence boosts, my buddy Dustin is competing in his first triathlon tomorrow.  I called to wish him luck and it sounded as if he didn't need it at all.  Maybe it's the stress of his job as a technical director for Prime Ticket cable television that has him so nonplussed.  Maybe it's the hours of training he's been putting in since making the commitment several months ago.  He's got a pregnant wife along with a 3-year-old boy, so finding the time and finishing what he started is no small feat.  I'm excited for him.

Now, after a slight break in the action, I'm going out with Stephanie for an evening of fun at a birthday party.  Time to rally!

Next up tomorrow: Trail run and swimming.  I hope it'll be as much fun as I had today with Frank.

221 days and counting.