Pics From Training and Racing 2016

Our first full calendar year in Colorado is coming to a close and it has been a great one! It was exciting to be able to get out and explore the more scenic areas as the weather warmed up and the rides got longer. One of my favorite rides now is the route up Big Thompson Canyon, then through Glen Haven to get to Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. One of my favorite runs is the Thursday evening Towers Road Time Trial with Fort Collins Trail Runners. It’s a brutal but rewarding 3.4 mile climb from 5,600′ elevation to a little over 7,000′. Fort Collins is feeling a little bit more like a home now and I’m beginning to know the roads well.

The racing year was great and I saw improvement in all three sports. I raced five half iron distance races and one full Ironman: 70.3 Texas, 70.3 Boulder, 70.3 Coeur d’Alene, Wildlife Loop Triathlon in South Dakota, 70.3 Austin, and Ironman Arizona. I lowered my personal best 70.3 time to 4:05 and my IM time to 8:37. Now for some down time and to plan out next year!

 

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L.L.Bean Discovery Project – Ascent Jacket

I was selected, along with 17 other outdoorsy-types from across the country, to participate in LLBean’s Discovery Project. Throughout the coming year, they’ll send us four “kits” of LLBean things to try out. We’re simply encouraged to go on adventures and post about our experiences. We’ll provide our feedback and thoughts on the products. This should be fun!

The first kit came in mid-November in a nifty tin box for packaging:

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The kit included the Ascent jacket – a Gore-Tex 3-layer Pro Shell. It’s windproof, waterproof, and breathable – well, so far I know it’s windproof and relatively breathable; haven’t tried out the waterproof part yet!

Soft billed hood. This was before I realized the hood strings can feed into those holes so they're not hanging out.

Soft billed hood. This was before I realized the hood strings can feed into those holes so they’re not hanging out.

I think the drawstring holes in the pic below are a great idea and something I’ve never seen before.

Hood drawstring feeds to the inside of the jacket instead of hanging outside

Hood drawstring feeds to the inside of the jacket instead of hanging outside

The inside layer is designed to move against base layers more freely and feel less clammy against skin.

Inside right has a zippered pocket with a slit for headphone cord. Waist drawstring is below that, and there's another drawstring around the bottom of the jacket as well. Easy to somewhat tailor the fit.

Inside right has a zippered pocket with a slit for headphone cord. Waist drawstring is below that, and there’s another drawstring around the bottom of the jacket as well. Easy to somewhat tailor the fit.

Inside left has an open pocket big enough to hold a water bottle

Inside left has an open pocket big enough to hold a water bottle

Pits can zip from both ends

Pits can zip from both ends

Gore-Tex Pro Shell garments “are built for maximized ruggedness and are ideal for extreme and extended use” and “Garments with this rating are engineered to pass Gore’s most aggressive rain test, simulating extended vertical and horizontal wind-driven rain conditions.”

Sleeve has an easily-grabbed tab for tightening the cuff. Zippers are waterproof.

Sleeve has an easily-grabbed tab for tightening the cuff.

While the hood is big enough to go over a helmet (bike or ski, for instance), the top drawstring pulls the hood toward the back and the bottom drawstring pulls the back down so you can make it small enough to fit without a helmet.

While the hood is big enough to go over a helmet (bike or ski, for instance), the top drawstring pulls the hood toward the back and the bottom drawstring pulls the back down so you can make it small enough to fit without a helmet.

I biked to campus wearing the jacket when it was 28 degrees with a long sleeve and fleece underneath and it turned out to be far too warm haha. Employed the pit zips!

It really does fit over a helmet!

The first kit also came with an AZ hiking guide and the "Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder" app for Iphones and Droids. It's free and you can search thousands of federal, state, and local parks. I don't have either phone, but you can explore ParkFinder on llbean.com.

The first kit also came with an AZ hiking guide and the “Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder” app for Iphones and Droids. It’s free and you can search thousands of federal, state, and local parks. I don’t have either phone, but you can explore ParkFinder on llbean.com.

It’s been unseasonably warm here in Flagstaff lately, but needless to say, I can’t wait to test it out more. I just took a part time job at the Arizona Snowbowl as a lift operator for the winter, so it should see plenty of use!