What started as a sunny, clear, crisp 45 degree Xmas Eve day in Eugene turned into a rainy Xmas Eve night, perfect for cozying up next to a warm fireplace! A wonderfully uneventful day today...just like Xmas Eve should be...relaxing with the family, watching a few movies, prepping for a traditional prime rib and yorkshire pudding dinner as well as checking out a few of the Xmas light offerings around the neighborhood:
Palm trees and reindeer...oh oh oh!
Ah, there's the warm fire I've been looking for...with a beautiful Xmas tree next to it...can't wait to watch family and friends open gifts tomorrow morning:
Hard to see the morning sun rise over the hill's crest through the down pour of rain, but this morning brought with it more than just wet weather...it brought with it the excitment of the first Christmas holiday meal...something long on the list of "things to try"...and this would be the night for the southern delight known as Turduken!
Prepping for the evening's cullinary creations calls for a visit to the local southern/soul food kitchen...
...a charming establishment with all the right accoutrements for the meal...ah yes, and finally to the meal...a de-boned duck layered inside a de-boned chicken layered inside a turkey woven together with creole sausage & cornbread stuffing covered with an incredible cornucopia of cajun spices...some smokey collard greens on the side and mmmm mmmm mmmm...a flavor explosion for the palate's indulgence!
It was a long month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a long month. The pre-holiday, pre-vacation work rush was quite taxing on the mind, body and spirit. But alas, the hard efforts of the end of the year crunch is behind me and ahead of me only holiday and vacation divindends forthcoming. First stop on the road, the beautiful pacific northwest and Eugene, OR.
Here's a shot of the stair climb to the top of Skinner's Butte, overlooking the city of Eugene:
Out of the woods to the top of the butte:
While the weather this time of year is cold, rainy and often overcast, these grey overtones are offset by the numerous shades of greens, light and deep from the multitude of foilage that flourish in this beautfiful state year around:
Here's a shot of the city from the top of Skinner's Butte:
Here we have a local top-of-the-butte resident, snacking on some leftovers...curious
Well, the warm weather couldn't last forever in ol' UT. In the span of just two days, a cold front blew in and temperatures plummeted by 25 degrees! Just in time for the Thanksgiving Day 5k race I ran along with 1000 other participants!
The race was staged at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center in SLC, below is a shot of registration...so many participants showed up that egistration in the recreation center's basketball gym was jammed packed:
Here's a shot by my buddy from the back of the pack as the racers of all sizes, shapes, speeds and intensities cross over the start line, back dropped by the Rocky Mountains:
And here we have the finish line, taken from a grassy knoll 50 meters away...spectators awaiting the first finisher:
Here we see the first few racers crossing the finish line:
And here I come...to put perspective on the day's conditions...it was a 9am start...the temp was 23 degrees...the sun was shining, but no warmth, the air was crisp and slightly breezy...it was frigid, tough to warm up the legs!...the elevation was 4,816 ft (not easy breathing for a sea level California guy!)...just a short 5k distance, but rolling hills and challenging none-the-less...#394's finish time was 22:44, a 7:10 pace, not bad considering the elements!...And now, it's time to prepare for a serious T-day feast!
I few days ago I left the warm Santa Monica weather, heading NE to Salt Lake City to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving Holiday, as well as to sneak in some long overdue relaxation (and by relaxation I mean not dealing with any work related issues...although, that's always a lofty aspiration that never quite seems to come true...). Upon my arrival I was fully prepared to a "normal" November in Utah, which means temperature highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s with a better than 50%chance of snow. To my pleasant dismay, I stepped off the plane to temps in the low 60s...almost unheard of conditions in these parts this time of year! So, what did we decide to do on a blustery 61 degree afternoon yesterday...visit the zoo of course!
Hogle Zoo is located in the north east section of the city, near the Emigration Canyon foothills, as seen below:
Above is a playful black bear chomping on an orange...not too far from his locale was a hungry cougar, devouring what appeared to by some very tasty raw meat!:
Next we have a few shots of elephants, rhinos and tigers...always feels strange seeing Serengeti Plain animals in Utah...
And lastly we have a few shots of my favorite animal, the bear! The super-predator Grizzlies, Polars and Kodiaks are my favorites, but the zoo didn't have any of those amazing creatures in residency...what we have here are their "smaller" cousins, the black bear...still a pretty awesome animal none-the-less:
The day after the less than stellar turn of events in the SF Tri (as well as an unfortunate loss by my Cal Bears to my least favorite team, USC) the prior afternoon and evening's rain gave way to a crisp, clear, beautiful day in the city by the bay, perfect for a visit to some of my favorite SF sites!
Below are a couple shots from the Presidio, great views, interesting history...
Driving across the GGB, one of my favorite man made structures:
And here is a map view of one of my most favorite spots on the planet...a top the Marin Headlands looking down on the GGB across the bay, past Alcatraz, past the city, past the Bay Bridge clear to the Berkeley Hills and beyond...truly a majestic, awe-inspiring spot that can induce deep thought and wondrous imagination from those who take the time to just relax and observe:
And after a beautiful day in SF, what better way to end it that with a pristine sunset over the Headland cliffs across the pacific ocean horizon:
Saturday the 10th, 7am. It appeared an ordinary San Fran morning, slight fog hanging in the air as the sun struggled through the clouds. A chill was in the air for the participants in the San Francisco Triathlon (formerly known as the Treasure Island Triathlon), but this was due to the unfortunate events of earlier in the week when the side of a tanker collided with the Bay Bridge, spilling thousands upon thousands of gallons of oil into the bay. Among the many able to claim a direct adverse impact were the triathletes who came to race that morning as, for obvious safety reasons, the swim portion of the event was cancelled. Even more unfortunate, becuase of time constraints and the priority needs of the ITU pro divisions (as this was a points qualifier for the Bejing), the amateurs' 3 sport race was mitigated to a 2 sport, bike-run only.
Below is a shot of T1, athletes prepping for the race, the mood is somber, the day's hopes tainted by the bay spill:
The Bay Bridge and the oil-soaked waters below as the sun rises...this is where the swim leg would have taken place, alas not to be:
Another shot of the transition area, flags of the international field softly fluttering in the morning's quite breeze:
For me, the race was not to be. The swim was cancelled by force majeure, but it was the bike course that truly reared an ugly head for this racer. The course, 6 loops around Treasure Island's roadways was challenging, but not in the traditionaly sense of difficutly level, but rather as a result of road dangerous road conditions comprised of old, worn concrete and uneven asphalt peppered with rocks and debris everywhere. By lap 2.5 I had my first flat! After what seemed like a never ending 9 minutes I'd fixed the flat and jumped back into the race...by lap 4, rounding what was just about the first mile in of said lap, flat number 2 put me out of the race! Most race days are packed with adrenaline filled excitment...this day was the antithesis of all that could be...but sometimes, those are the breaks.
Over the next few months I'll be an ambassador for the use of the new Sony GPS CS1KA device. In combination with a camera & camcorder I'll be documenting my participation in a few races and a few globe trekking trips!