270 Miles

That was what my odometer read when I got home Saturday night.

My day started with my alarm going off at 5am, and I was out the door on my way down to RSM in OC to meet with the group for the last training run for TP 50/50. That was my first 70+ miles.

I could’ve hitched a ride to the trailhead to save 10 miles r/t, but wasn’t sure how I would feel during the run, so in case I had to cut it short, I figured it was best to drive separately. I ended up feeling fine, and did the whole run with the group anyway — 16 miles and 4000′ up Holy Jim to Santiago Peak and back. Some people (Carmela, Rocky, etc) did a little more — 50k I think. Others (Brian, Michelle, Kyle, Jeff, and Robert) did the out and back, but started earlier (5:30), so we saw them when they were on the way back. For our main group, Mark and Keira were there from my run the other week, and a few more I recognized from the previous training runs in OC. I ran most of the way to the Main Divide with Kim and Jim, then joined up with most of the rest of the group to the peak. The temperature was cold at the bottom/start (36), but warmed up rather nicely, unlike the last time up there. After snapping some photos, we headed back down. On the return down Main Divide, I ended up chatting with Eric (?) and Marisa, who I found out had done Comrades, and was from Durban. We gathered at the Holy Jim junction for a little while, then I led the way back to the trailhead. On this section, I pushed a little harder, since I wanted to see how well I could run the downhill, and turned out I did fairly ok. At the parking lot, Mark was there, since he finished earlier, then the rest of the group showed up not too long after. I think my watch read about 3:40 for the run including all the stops, with about 4000′ of elevation gain. Hey, not too bad only a week after finishing HURT. This was in fact, my first time I’ve run this soon after doing a 100, but I wanted to prepare myself for the Wasatch/AC back-to-back combo later this year as part of the Last Great Race.

Now back in the car, and off to Torrance to pickup some stuff from my house, but I was planning on making a short detour into Seal Beach for some lunch — Taco Surf…one of my favorite Mexican restaurants that I’ve been frequenting since I worked at the Naval Weapons Station almost 15 years ago. Well, I soon found out that they were closed temporarily for some reason, and was very bummed, since I was looking forward to it all the way there. But as I was walking down the street, I noticed a new restaurant — Beachwood BBQ, which opened up recently. Their menu includes brisket, pulled pork, baby back, spare ribs, and chicken — all slow smoked over pecan and apple wood. They come without sauces, which are all on the table bottled separately — spicy, sweet, vinegar, and mustard. The side dishes included grilled corn on the cob, hush puppies, corn bread, sweet potato fries, beans, fried green tomatoes, blue cheese grits, etc. To wash this all down, they had a relatively extensive selection of wine and microbrews. They also have a selection of fish and salads, but I didn’t even pay attention to that part of the menu.

Ok, so I’m about half way done with my driving — still needed to get to Torrance, then back to Sierra Madre to shower and change before heading over to Bill’s beer tasting party, which happened to be in Simi Valley. At that point, I had already logged 180 miles in my car, with the worst part of it being the traffic-ridden 110 through downtown LA, which was stop and go until after I passed the 5 interchange north of Dodger Stadium. As a result of the delay, I barely had enough time to take a shower, then had to get back in my car for another hour drive plus 45 miles to Bill’s.

I got to Bill’s just after 6, and was one of the first to get there, but more and more people started arriving shortly thereafter. I didn’t know anyone other than Bill’s wife who I met once before at BJ’s, and some of his running friends — Wendy, JR, Steve, Diana, Greg, and Annie. Overall, it looked like there was about 15-20 people there. The beer tasting involved sampling various different stouts — American, Imperial, dry, oatmeal, etc, then giving it a rating between 0-5. We got to sample 11 different ones, including Bill’s own home brew called Chin Scraper. We were told the type of stout, but not given any other info.

Here are the results:
1. Rouge (OR) Shakespeare Stout ˆ American
2. Anderson Valley (CA) Barney Flats ˆ Oatmeal
3. tie Deschuttes (OR) Obsidian ˆ American
3. tie Samuel Smith (England) ˆ Oatmeal
5. tie Alaskan (AK) ˆ Oatmeal
5. tie Sierra Nevada (CA) ˆ American
7. Chinscraper (CA) ˆ Oatmeal (my homebrew)
8. Victory (PA) Storm King ˆ Russian Imperial
9. Santa Cruz (CA) Organic Devout ˆ American
10. Bear Republic (CA) Black ˆ Russian Imperial
11. Guinness (Ireland) Draught ˆ Dry

Interestingly enough, Guinness, one of my favorites came in last. I can’t say that I’ve had any of the others in the list, so they were all new to me. I do like Young’s and Beamish as well — wonder how they would’ve ranked with the rest. So after some delicious baked goods from Porto’s Bakery in Glendale, and saying goodbye to everyone, I made my way home.

270 miles in my car, an empty gas tank, 16 miles on my legs, and a full stomach.

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