July 2010


Variation on an old favorite around here. Ground elk meat, cauliflower rice and grated carrot, onion, kimchi, and spices.

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Three eggs with mushrooms fried in ghee, sardines, feta cheese, tomatoes, a few olives and some Tabasco. This was my post ride meal after 55 miles and 5500 feet of climbing on the roads of east county San Diego today.

Probably not carby enough to replenish glycogen stores if I were doing a hard ride tomorrow. But since rather than riding I’ll be getting on an airplane for 30 hours until I get to Botswana, this made more sense.

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After rising up from the desert heat that surrounds it, riding through the high country of the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains is simply stunning. With thick groves of ponderosa and sequoia trees, there are times when you feel like you are riding a speeder bike on Endor, except that the little people wearing Ewok suits are replaced by real-life bears.

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While the prospect of running across an ornery bear on the trail is a little unsettling, there is also something deeply satisfying about getting out into areas where you are not the top predator. I suppose it’s an integral part of “forest therapy.”

In late July, a riding buddy and I spent a weekend exploring some trails in the Southern Sierras, ranging from technical downhills with log rides and other features, to smooth alpine singletrack. We camped under the stars, and took showers under a freezing high-mountain waterfall. We also donated at least a pint of blood to the local mosquitoes, all of which must have been imported from Alaska. Good stuff.

On our last ride of the weekend, my riding buddy was dreading the climb back up to the car on his single speed, and turned back before the trail finish to get an early start. As it was getting toward sunset and I found myself doing a large part of the climb back by myself, the thought occurred to me that riding alone on the trail through bear country at this time of day might not be the best idea.

Continuing my solo climb, my mind started playing tricks on me as various shadows and hunks of wood took the shape of bears lying in wait. After about an hour of climbing, I finally caught up to and passed my buddy, grumbling something about it not being a good idea to ride alone.

IMG_2135Bear cave-womb? I think Georgia O’Keefe would have liked it.

About half a mile later, the trail overlooked a meadow and I stopped to stare at two curious shapes that looked like bears. As I looked more carefully, it turns out they weren’t bears at all, but just pieces rotting wood. Just as I was laughing at my bear paranoia,  a real life bear sitting not too far away from the two hunks of wood sprinted away across the meadow. I didn’t get my camera out in time. Feeling vindicated for my bear paranoia at least, we continued, hoping not to get a closer look at any bears.

About five minutes later, however, we both approached another meadow and spotted two more bears! This time I was able to get the camera out and take a photos before the bears sprinted off. Glad they were as scared of us as we of them. Either that, or the they were satiated because they had already eaten Goldilocks. There are actually two of them in this picture:

bear 2Checking out the bikers.

Three Bears stories aside, here’s a few other photos we took in the course of the weekend:

IMG_2071Railing a banked turn on Just Outstanding.

barcy 5Overlooking Isabella Lake. Photo by Barcy.

IMG_2108One of the most photographed Sequoias ever?

barcy 3One of several log crossings. This one at least had a rope to help with balance.

IMG_2133Barcy was rocking the log rides! I wasn’t.

barcy 6They might be giants. Photo by Barcy

IMG_2120Lovely alpine meadow. Beware the bears though.

IMG_2106Sometimes Barcy’s awesome speed cannot be captured by the camera.

barcy 9This particular trail sucked.  Luckily, the views didn’t. Photo by Barcy.

barcy 4Nice cycling tan! The waterfall shower was definitely a highlight of the trip.  Photo by Barcy.

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Full photo set can be found here.

In trashing Bob Dylan’s 1970 album “Self Portrait,” Rolling Stone opened its review with the now famous question: “What is this shit?” That was pretty much my reaction when I first moved to San Diego and started riding the rocky desert trails. Having grown up in Utah and Colorado, I guess I was spoiled by easy access to miles and miles of buff and flowing alpine singletrack.

If Utah was The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, SoCal was the Dylan of the late 70s and 80s:  some real gems, but gravelly and uneven in quality.  Since then I’ve learned to love SoCal too, but there’s still nothing quite like the high country to remind you why you became a mountain biker in the first place.

When most people think of mountain biking in Utah, they think of the great destinations in southern Utah like slick rock and gooseberry mesa. Those places are hard to beat, but northern Utah offers some fantastic trails too, particularly in the Wasatch mountains between Salt Lake and Park City. You could easily design routes in this area that would give you 50+ miles of almost pure singletrack.

In the last week or so, I’ve racked up about 100 miles of singletrack in the area, and just about all of it between 7000 and 9800 feet. The altitude has definitely been humbling, but the views have more than made up for it. I even saw a couple of moose on the trail, which was a highlight.

Photos below are taken from a combination of trails including Dog Lake, Wasatch Crest, Glenwild, Mid Mountain, and Spiro. Thanks to my good friend Steve Parrish for playing tour guide on a couple of days.

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Nothing like riding through the aspens:

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Full photo sets here, here, and here.

All stuff already discussed on this blog, but nice to see Dr. Weil coming on board.

Great post over at Mark’s Daily Apple about “Primal Compromises for Athletes.”

If you love Thai but want to eat Paleo, it might seem challenging since so much of Thai food is rice based. But the rice is really just filler to the delicious sauce anyway. So why not make Paleo Thai soup?  If you use enough vegetables, meat, and coconut milk, it makes a fine dinner by itself, and no rice is needed.  Here’s a dinner I made using Mahi-Mahi, potatoes, carrots, and onion. The sauce is coconut milk, red curry paste, ginger, and lemon grass.

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