Thursday, July 26, 2007

Digging up the yard.... My first project as a home owner!

My new sanctuary, the shop, on the right behind the apple tree
and the corner of the garage on the left

When we bought our house it was known that one of our two outbuildings was going to be my shop/sanctuary. But it was also known that one of the outbuilding was not wired with electricity making it more of a shed than a shop. Since the other building actually has a garage door I figured I would not take it over as my shop and instead conquer the shed as my oasis!
But doing so necessitated under taking my first major improvement project as a home owner, wiring the shop. I went down to the Tacoma Public Utilities office and obtained a permit, $60, and was impressed how easy it was to obtain. Then I consulted my dad as to how to go about the job. I knew he would be up here in WA state next week as he gets home from his annual Alaska job.

Under the house against the back wall.

According to the code books that Tacoma PUD gave me that I would have to dig a trench. Ok I said I can dig a ditch no problem. Acording to the book it said the trench needed to be 30 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Well the two out building are about 40 feet from the back of the house and they are about 20 feet apart from one another. So that meant 60 feet of digging! I should have gone an rented a Ditch Witch but I decided to beat myself up and dig it by hand. It took me about three days and two shovel later I had a 60 foot, total length, "T" dug and a back yard in shambles. The book called for the bottom 6 inches to be sand , in which, the conduit or UF (Underground Feeder) cable should be buried.

The start of the trench against the back wall of the house.

Well today I went back to the permit office to ask some questions. When I pulled out the book and my detailed drawing to show the inspector and ask questions about the trench I dug he kinda laughed and said, "Your trench only had to be 18 inches deep." WTF?!?! Everybody got a quick laugh at my expense and then the inspector said, "That book is not for you it is for contractors and the specs that you dug your trench for are for laying cable to underground secondary service boxes (SSB)" Oh well better to have dug deeper than not deep enough.... He also said I did not need to line the bottom of the trench with sand and if I didn't want to I did not have to lay conduit that I could bury the wire directly in the ground. We are going to use conduit because it is much cheaper running individual strands of wire vs. bundled romex for the length we have to lay wires, roughly 100 ft, and individual wires must be contained inside conduit (pipe).

The trench, 40 feet of it, 30 inches deep and 12 inches wide!
Bottom corners of the garage on the left and shop on the right.

When I was digging I encountered a pipe next to the garage which I have since determined to be out water main line. It is 18 inches deep and 12 inches from the garage. The inpector said the not only would it not be an issue but that if I wanted too I could lay plumbing pipes in the same trench with the conduit. So I am thinking that I might plumb off the main to run water out to the shop and eventually put in a utility wash tub sink?! I still need to get a plumbing permit if I intend to do so.

Existing wiring into the garage, think it's to code?
And the water main pipe to the house.

So as soon as my dad gets back from Alaska, on Sunday, we will get started with the wiring. We are going to run four 6 gauge 30 amp 220 volt wire strands out of our main 200 amp breaker panel into a 30 amp sub panel inside the shop and then run another set of the same wires into the garage into another 30 amp sub panel box. We will then do the rough in wiring of the shop pulling all of the wires for all of the receptacles, switch, and light fixtures. I also plan to rebuild the work bench inside the shop so that I can place all of the power outlet receptacles in just the right places to be useful in a shop.

Under some concrete walkways and into the shop!!
I will hold off on showing the inside of the shop until it is done,
then I will show before and after pictures in a future post!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Going back to Emergency Medical Technician - Basic school

I just got a phone call from Seattle Fire Department inviting me to the Emergency Medical Technician - Basic, or EMT-B, course they we be hosting this fall!!!

I have a pretty extensive background in emergency medicine. I first received my EMT-B certification in North Carolina back in 1998. I then became a volunteer with the Watauga County Rescue Squad (WCRS) based in Boone, NC. While I was volunteering with the WCRS I went through the NC EMT - Intermediate course and became a certified EMT-I which allowed me to start IV's and administer some medicines. EMT-I can be a bit more agressive with their field interventions under the direct supervision of the area Medical Director. I worked part and full-time for the county EMS service, Watauga Medics, Inc. During this time starting in 2000 I started the NC EMT-Paramedic course of study. The Paramedic course was a year and a half long and pretty intense. I also complete a wilderness medicine course through SOLO Wilderness Medicine and ASU Outdoor Programs. I continued to volunteer with WCRS conducting search and rescues and EMS service through out the county. I also did my college internship as an Outdoor Trip Leader requiring Wilderness First-Aid training.

In the spring of 2001 I applied to the US Forest Service to become a wildland firefighter, or a Hotshot. I was hired on to the Baker River Hotshot crew based out of Concrete, WA in May 2001 for the 2001 fire season. I was one of the few crew medics and I used my medical knowledge at least a half a dozen times to help save peoples lives. I completed my Paramedic course final exam, sent through the mail, during the first few training weeks with Baker River in May 2001. I never did receive my EMT-Paramedic certification due in part to King counties rules of who can be certified as a Paramedic, only firefighters. Thus started my quest to become a paid firefighter in Washington state. I reciprocated my NC EMT-I to a WA EMT-B and started working for Tri-Med Ambulance but after working primary 911 ALS response working secondary BLS transport just did not cut it.

My WA EMT-B certification expired in December 2004 and I have been waiting ever since for a chance to renew!!! Here is my chance and I WILL make the most of it! I also plan to go back to KCFD #20 and I will be able to keep my EMT certification updated through them until I either get hired as a firefighter or complete nursing school and get my RN license.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday Night World Championship mountain bike races

I have been going, on and off, to the weekly Wednesday Night World Championship race series since it started this year. It has been my main source of training this year as I have struggled to find time to ride I figure if I just race like a bat out of hell every few Wednesday nights it will work. Running up to the 24 hour race back in May I raced almost every Wednesday night. Then my Achilles tendon started to flare up and with all of the big races I had planned this summer I did not want to further injure myself so I stopped going. I race in the Sport category and usually I get passed, towards the end of the race, by the expert/pro racers that use Wednesday night as a training race. I have only finished one race this summer in which I did not get passed by the faster expert racers. I flatted out in one race convincing me to "go tubeless" and typically come in mid pack in the Sports. Well this week I raced FLAT OUT and gave it everything I had. I had swapped my Black Sheep over from a front suspension geared mountain bike that I used in all of my long endurance races to it's fully rigid singlespeed configuration.

Now Wick, of Stiff Wick Productions, the master-mind behind the WNWC races puts on a fun race at a place that can tend to offer the same boring terrain all of the time. Wick mixes up and changes the course, to include direction, area of the park, and terrain features, every week. Sometimes it is a fast some what flat fast course other times it can be long and hilly. Each race typically lasts about an hour long, ranges from 5 to 9 laps, and varies in distance between 8 to 12 miles long. I typically run in the RED from the get go averaging about 170 to 180 beats per minute and maxing out my heart rate in the high 190's or so. I really need to be able to race at this same intensity, but with my heart rate staying down in "zone 2" or about 146 to 157 bpm.

I am telling you all of this because last Wednesday night on THE hottest day of the year, 97 deg F in Seattle in record setting!!, I actually was able to out last and out race all of the other Sport class racers to win my category!!! This was a first for me and I truly felt like I was redlining the entire time I averaged 180 bpm maxed at 193 bpm rode 10 miles in 50 minutes! I did get passed by the experts on my second to last lap but it as a flat fast rough course and I knew they would catch me. What made the race "win" even sweeter was the fact I was racing on my singlespeed!! The race series does not count for anything and is just for "fun" but it has been fun to watch my progress and rejuvenate my interest in mountain bike racing all over again.

If the weather is nice out, not cold or rainy, I like to invite Christie and Abigael along to watch and play in the dirt outside for a change. The race regularly snakes through the "spectator" area / parking area. This allows the family and spectators to catch a glimpse of the racers and give Abigael a chance to say "Go Daddy Go!!" as I ride through huffing and puffing.

Over the next year I plan to put so more focus on my training and actually do some! I just recently had a full Metabolic Test done at Real Rehab PT. This will give me a good base line to gauge my fitness as I work on my fitness over the next year. The test measured my max heart rate 186 bpm, max power output in watts (425 watts after 13 minutes which I held for about 3.5 minutes!!), set up my 5 heart rate zones, my VO2 Max 54 ml/kg/min, my fat/carb kcal usage and most importantly my lactic acid threshold heart rate 177 bpm. I am meeting with Erik Moen, Corpore Sano, in a few weeks to setup a training/coaching plan, incorporating this info, that I can use to get my butt back in shape since my leg injury and to accomplish/smash my goals for 2008!! I plan to, no I WILL, finish the CCP100 next year if that is the only thing I do in 2008!!

I also found out that I DO have a small tear in the Labrum cartilage in my right shoulder, also know as a SLAP tear, that is what has been causing me pain. SLAP is short for Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior. The tear is small in the 12 o'clock position in the Labrum cartilage. I should be able to rehab it through PT but, surgery is an option down the road... I have also been given a prescription for some massage therapy, SWEET!!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cascade Cream Puff (73 miles out of a) 100 miler

WARNING VERY LONG POST: but totally worth reading!! Sorry this took so long!!

Pictures to be added soon!! link at bottom of post...

This weekend I traveled down to Westfir/Oakridge, OR for the Cascade Cream Puff 100 mile mountain bike race. I left Tacoma Saturday at 11:30 and arrived rather quickly at 4pm. I set about picking up my registration packet and setting up my gear before the mandatory 6pom riders meeting. I ended up bumping into Mike Ripley and Carl from Corvallis, OR and set up camp next to them. Mike hosted the Test of Endurance 50 back in early June. Around 6pm all of the racers, about 120 plus family and volunteers, gathered in the Westfir School cafeteria to eat an amazing meal and then talk about race particulars. Around 8pm we finally started drawing for raffle prizes. Amazingly enough my number was picked shortly after starting the raffle, winning a sweet pair of Ergon grips! I was able to slip out and finish getting my race stuff situated due to the race starting at 5:15 am Sunday morning!!!

I slept "OK" in the rental tent. Due to the move I could not find our tent in the many boxes we have yet to unpack. I slept pretty close to the port-a-potty and people kept letting the door slam shut all night, next time pack ear plugs!! I was awake when my alarm went off at 3:45 am, giving me enough time to get dressed and go eat breakfast between 4 and 4:45. Let me tell you it was WAY too early! We had to roll out of camp for the 2 mile ride to the start line by no later than 5 am.

Once we got to the red cover bridge we had to check-in by race number and name in order to officially start the race. Running a few minutes behind we were off on a neutral roll out at 5:20 am down the paved road until we hit the base of the dirt fire road climb and the race was ON! Well at least it was for the fast racers, for me I started at the back of the pack just so 121 riders would not have to pass me by as I set in on my snails pace. I rode the climb with about 10 or 12 of the same people all the way up to Aid station #2. It was 11.2 miles from the red covered bridge to Aid #2 and we gained about 4000 feet of elevation! I spent about 15 or 20 minutes catching my breath and replenishing my liquid food supply, Hammer Nutrition MMmm good, stocking up on energy bars, and stripping off the early morning layers. I had an ice chest brought up to Aid #2 within it I had most of my water bottles pre-prepped. I also had some extra clothes and essentials should I need them. It was then that I realized that my gel flask full up mixed up Perpetuem paste had completely emptied out into the bottom of the ice chest! YUCK! What a mess, luckily my extra clothes were in a plastic bag and everything else was mostly unaffected. It still took extra time to wash some of the goop off and refill my hydration pack. As I was leaving Aid #2 I heard someone yell out "Bacon on the right" in response to all of the volunteers yelling "Water, gel, food, and sports drink on your left!". I said something to the effect of "I love bacon!!" and the next thing I knew I had my picture taken with a strip of bacon hanging out. I was soon back on the bike, munching away on my bacon strip, and pedaling my way up to Aid #3, more uphill fireroad. I got to a high point and called Christie around 7 am, waking her up, to say hi since I did not get any signal down in the campground. I told her I would call again later when I got a good signal.

I finally got to Aid #3 and plowed on through into my first taste of singletrack! I was riding with two other riders, an older dad 57 yo!, Frank, his 26 yo son was also racing and a former pro/team manager, Brent, that had not been on the bike in over three years! Both of these guys were kinda hurt'n so it was nice to just ride along with out feeling pressured to push the envelope. In hind sight I may have kept my heart rate down where it needed to be but I slowly, with out realizing, ate up my time to finish the full 100 miles. Before leaving Aid #3 the volunteers stopped me to gawk over the Black Sheep, they said it was the best looking bike present at the race (THANKS!!), and ask a few questions. I got to talking about my leg and the accident and pretty soon I off down the trail to hoots of "Go Black Sheep Go!!" After the amazing ride through the Jedi trail post Aid #3 I swung through Aid #2 on my way down to Aid #1 and finishing lap 1. I was determined, with as slow as I was riding, to take as many pictures as I could during the ride. I got some amazing shots but it too worked to slow me down overall. As Brent and I started the downhill singletrack neither one of us really realized how much downhill we were in for!! By the time we hit the half way point our brakes were smoking and our triceps where on fire!!

When we both hit Aid #1 around 10 am and Brent called it quits and DNF'ed. I checked in and continued down the trail that bordered the river all alone. They said it was chock full of poison oak but I didn't see much because I was moving trying to make up some time on my own for the first time since the start of the race. Soon enough I was climbing the steep fireroad. At least the first 3 miles, which were the steepest, were some what shaded. Beyond the mid way oasis it was nothing but mean, hot sun beating you about the head and shoulders. I slowed down alot up this part of the climb. My back really started to tighten up and ache, partly due to the 4.5 hour drive the day before and partly due to "sleeping" on a foam mattress in a tent the night prior. I got off and walked a bit just to stretch out my back and when I remounted I moved my hydration pack from my back to my front, fastening my sternum and waist straps behind me to keep it on. Boy let me tell you it was like taking a weight off my back!! I popped into Aid #2 again before I knew it! My legs felt GREAT I had not had a single twinge of a cramp all day so far, but I was very close to over heating!! Let me tell you how amazing this race was run! EVERY time I came into an aid station, especially Aid #2, I was overwhelmed with volunteers trying to help me out! A cold water spray bottle was in my face immediately and the cold water towel on my neck did the job of cooling me down!! I replenished my Hammer Nutrion bottles and water supply and set out for Aid #3. I gave Christie a call and talked for a few minutes on the way. I was also passed by the top two riders as I came into Aid #3. on their third lap! I was warm when I got to Aid #3 but I had them douse the towel on my neck and all was right in my world. When I came back into Aid #3 after the short loop we only had to do on Laps 1 and 2 they made me sit down and take a rest. I was coming up on 2pm and they told me the time cut-off for being able to leave Aid #3 to finish Lap #3 was 6:15pm. That gave four and a quarter hours to basically do a lap form Aid #3 and back. Four and a quarter was totally do able! I set out with a renewed since of purpose, I damn well wanted to finish all 104 miles and get my hat!

Well that started to wane as I road from Aid #3 to Aid #2. I hit Aid #2 around 3 pm and came to the realization that I still had over 10 0r 12 miles of serious downhill singletrack, then the three roller coaster miles along the river, and then the brutal 9 mile climb to Aid #2 and another 5 miles to Aid #3 BEFORE 6:15pm!!! As I rolled into Aid #2 I knew it just wasn't going to happen for me this year. I sure as hell did NOT want to ride all the way back up to Aid #3 just to get told that I could not go on and I was being pulled. So I walked over to the "Team Bacon Strip / Vulture Cycles flock" and ordered up a sweet,and rich dark homebrew beer and grabbed a few real food Subway sandwiches from the stacks of food the volunteers had for us, sat down and didn't move for about an hour! Around 4pm I decided I had better start my decent back down to Aid #1 to finish lap 2 and officially DNF (Did Not Finish). I could tell that my bike handling skillz had rapidly diminished and it turned into more of a hang on for dear life ballz out run downhill!!

When I crossed the finish line I was disappointed with my performance. I rode straight through without stopping, just want to get back to the campground and take a shower. Scott, the organizer, ran over to get my number and hand me a finisher's hat and I sadly snapped "I DNF'ed only got two laps, my number is M33!!" Scott said sorry and probably something else but I was already turned around and cranking out the final two miles back to camp. I am soooo sorry for snapping at you Scott! I was mad at myself for dinking around on the course and eating up my time to finish. My legs felt great and I had plenty of energy left, I just flat ran out of time. I crossed the line at Aid #1 at 5:06pm with almost 12 hours on course, here are the overall results for the race.

When I got back to camp I immediately showered in the School gym with Technu. Scott actually brought Technu on board as a sponsor! I then received my 20 minute professional massage form one of about 6 or 7 masseuses. Then dinner spread was great! I ate dinner and talked with Scott's wife Donna who massively helped with the race organization!!

Overall this was HANDS DOWN the best hosted, most well run race I have EVER attended!! Yes, the entry fee is steep, $222, but well worth EVERY penny!! I do plan to be back next year, as I can now pre-register as a veteran racer! Not a single person I talked to had any complaints. I may not have walked away with the ultimate finisher hat but I got a t-shirt, socks, three or four good quality water bottles, an awsome race, useable raffle schwag, free camping with showers and porcelain! Amazing singletrack, views to die for on course, a professional post-race massage, enough food to choke a horse, total support out on the course, and a feeling of having accomplished something (or at least most of) that only a handful of people get to do each year!!

I crashed out in my tent that night and woke up late the next morning!! Sorer than I have been in a long time!! My poor prostrate took one hell of a beating!! I went into Oakridge to have breakfast with the few people left in town. It was nice to just chat and throw ideas at Scott. I apologized for snapping at the finish and he said no prob like water off a ducks back.... I also learned that the folks that feed me bacon on my first lap were from AZ and the have a team called, "Team Bacon Strip"!!! Go figure!

This is the post for the 2007 CCP100 it has some great post race reviews of the

Most of my pictures are on my Flickr here!

Monday, July 02, 2007

We have a new cyclist in the family!!!

Abigael is just rocking the pink bike ever since she has had a flat level place to ride regularly!!! It won't be to far off before she is out at the track racing against me!!! I really hope that she enjoys riding her bike as much as I do!! I pray it will be something that we can share together!! The video is about 5 minutes long but well worth the watch....

(And yes Abigael ended up with my temper, sorry folks! I will try to work with her to improve that!)