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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to kayak

Earlier this spring my friend Roy and I promised to take some nice folks down the Niyukluk / Fish river from Council to White Mountain this summer.  This past weekend was a time when it could happen.  It was nice to get back to kayaking and a little nostalgic as I haven't had time to do any overnights lately.  

Roy's family camp, half way 

Roy is from White Mountain and provided an incredible history and cultural lesson the whole way down.  It
was a blast.

The mode of travel was a nice change of pace from my typical go go go attitude. The river was glorious and the weather cooperated.  When I have done this segment in the past I usually continue on to Golovin Bay then kayak out on the ocean back to the Lost Train outside Nome.  It's a 100 mile strenuous 2 day paddle so it was really nice not to have such lofty goals and enjoy a more casual pace on the river.  Though the pull of the ocean was pretty strong when we reached White Mountain. It was a little hard not to continue but really happy that I didn't.  The wind changed dramatically to a 30 + mph blow a few hours after our trip back up river.... which would have been a typical Phil madventure but will save it for the next one.  

Boat haul back upriver
Doesn't get nicer than this sunset 
calm and picture perfect

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Wedding, Another Triathlon

Wow, what a weekend this has been.

On Saturday Sarah was invited to sing and play music at our friends, Erika and Tyler, wedding. It was such an honor to accompany her on mandolin.  The wedding was at their place out on the tundra outside of Nome and I wish I had pictures to post.  It was an incredibly beautiful wedding.  I'm sure I'll find some pics to post later.  A few hours after that I rushed home and hopped on the late flight to Anchorage to race in the Alaska triathlon championships the next morning at Knik Lake.  The flight was delayed and eventually arrived by midnight.  My friend Mike picked me up and then I had to sort all my gear together for the race.  Mike was able to find a road bike for me a really cool looking old Lotus (thanks Dave!).  I switched out the seat, added some aero bars, put my bag together and finally crashed at 2 am.  6 am came way too early and a friend who was doing the race too, picked me up and off we went.
(top) coming in for the finish, maybe a little too much lycra
(above) awesome retro Lotus bike

It was super cool to see Knik Lake in the summer, I just couldn't believe we would be swimming in it.  Someone had cleaned a bunch of salmon right at the ramp into the water, it was a little nasty.  Overall, the race went fine. I was super impressed how well it was organized; how competitive (and fast!) but nice everyone was during and after the event.  I didn't exactly perform as well as I thought but technically it was my first olympic distance triathlon so have nothing to compare.

The swim 1.5 km: Having never worn a wetsuit to race before, I didn't know what to expect.  I was told if fit properly it can make your time faster but all I felt was constricted.  I just couldn't find a rhythm and was already drained when I stumbled out of the swim in 19.36 minutes. Maybe it was the cold but I was a little disoriented and took a couple of minutes at the transition. Lesson #1: don't swim in a wetsuit for the first time in a race.
Knik Lake parking lot
The Bike, 25 miles: My bike started off OK till my seat loosened, it barely hung on for the 25 miles- in a way it was kind of comical.  Lesson #2: don't touch the bike the day before the race and just maybe... get my own bike.  I finished that in 1 hr 7 minutes.

The run, 6.2 miles:  I'd rather call this the plod. I feel like I plod along, my feet are so flat and wide it sounds like someone is smacking their sneaker on the pavement or something.  Anyway, that took a little under 48 minutes. I came in 12th overall and 2nd in my age group.   It was a really great course and brought back some memories once I past the Point Mac area from the ITI.  Lesson#3:  I will most definitely return to race it again next year.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Heat wave

A little blueberry pickin' followed by a glorious beach day.  These consecutive 70 degree days feel like a heat wave. The kind of days where swimming in the ocean is a relief from the heat.  I was laying in the beach sand soaking in the heat today and thought (as I do rarely) a few months ago this same spot was -20 or -30 and at some point blowing viciously.  Such contrast. 

Sarah picking berries, a gallon in 2 hrs. 
It was great to have a sand bar go out and out

Couldn't believe I found a sand dollar so far north
How much family fun can we squeeze in a weekend? Well the weekend isn't over yet, another great day awaits! 
Hahnah and Dave jamming at work picnic

Family beach fun (no worries I'm holding the key) 

Hahnah and I kayaking
Kayaking some more