Monday, September 04, 2006

Coronado Bike Ride

On Saturday of this Labor Day Weekend, I went for a bike ride in Coronado with Chad and Fatima. We rode our bikes down through Little Italy to the docks to catch the San Diego Ferry across the harbor. We got a great view of the large aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, at the Navy Pier as we passed close by on the ferry.

The ferry docked in Coronado after crossing the San Diego Bay
This is my second bike ride in Coronado this year. There is a nice bike path that follows the San Diego Bay all the way to the south end along the Coronado's Silver Strand. It is a flat course, but it is a great place to practice riding in a paceline where we would take turns pulling off the front.

Chad leading the way down the Coronado bike path
It was a beautiful sunny day, but there was a pretty strong head wind on the ride back up the bike path. That just gave us more motivation to keep a tight paceline to help conserve our energy.

Noah at the viewpoint located at the south end of the San Diego Bay
After resting from our morning ride, we went to the Cadillac Diner in Hillcrest for a big meal to regain all the calories we had burned off.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Midnight Madness Bike Ride

Saturday Night I did the Midnight Madness Bike Ride with Chad and Fatima. It is an 18 mile course that starts and finishes in Downtown San Diego. People rode every possible type of bike and many wore costumes or pajamas. The ride started at midnight along the San Diego Harbor towards Point Loma and looped the lengths of Harbor and Shelter Islands.

Chad at the finish of the Midnight Madness Bike Ride
Everyone had bike lights but it was still a little tough weaving our way forward through the large crowd of riders who started ahead of us. When the course reached Rosecrans Street, Chad, Fatima and I were able to get up to speed and haul ass towards Old Town and then back into Downtown to the finish.

Fatima and Noah at the finish of the Midnight Madness Bike Ride
We had a nice dinner at the Mona Lisa Restaurant in Little Italy before the race.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fun Weekend

I had a fun weekend. I went to a party at Suzie's house Friday night, Medieval Times on Saturday, and a beach party at Tide Park in Solana Beach on Sunday.

Foot to Nose is tough in Body Jam
Suzie's party was really fun. We played a drinking game version of Jenga and a game I have never heard of before, Body Jam! To play, you draw two pairs of cards to determine which body parts you have to use to carry two foam pieces to the bucket across the room without dropping them. I teamed up with Sara against Tiffany & Dave and Suzie & Kurt. After a tie and a triple play-off with Tiffany and Dave, Sara and I emerged victorious as the Body Jam Champs. I think all the Jello Shots helped get everyone in the proper game mood.

Foot to Chin and Hip to Shoulder, now how do we move?
On Saturday, I went up to Orange County to celebrate my grandmother's birthday. The whole family went to Medieval Times where we were seated in the Blue Knight section. Our knight kicked ass in the games of skill, never missing a ring with his lance, but he was the first one to die in the one-on-one combat. Boooo! The food was quite good, even though you have to eat with your hands. This was my first time at Medieval Times, I have wanted to go ever since seeing it in the movie, The Cable Guy, with Jim Carrey.

Tiffany and Dave almost to the bucket
I had fun hanging out at Tide Park in Solana Beach on Sunday. There was no waves but I had a fun time at the party throwing the Frisbee and playing wiffle ball. Blayne hit a nice walk-off double to lead our team to the win. The trash talker in the outfield wasn't able to get a handle on the line drive directly at him.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Helicopter Ride over North County

My brother, Joel, is a helicopter pilot and instructor at Civic Helicopters located at Palomar Airport, the busiest one-runway airport in the United States. He got his license last year and yesterday was my opportunity to go on a flight with him. I was a little worried that we wouldn't be able to fly because of the heightened security at US airports because of the arrests the night before in England of the terrorist plotters who wanted to blow up airliners with liquid explosives. It turned out to be no problem at this small domestic-only airport.

Joel getting Helicopter ready
Joel took me up in the two seater helicopter that they called, 88 Spanky, the Love Machine. It is his favorite helicopter at work and was the one he flew to cover the Los Angeles and San Diego Marathons. It is a strange feeling taking off in a helicopter. You don't get that rush of speed you have in an airplane before takeoff, instead one moment you are sitting on the ground and the next you are going straight up. It feels like you are being lifted off the ground by a crane or something.

Noah flying in Helicopter with Joel
It was a beautiful day with hardly any clouds as we took off around 6:15pm. Within minutes, we were out over Baquitos Lagoon and heading for Leucadia. There was no doors on the helicopter so we enjoyed a nice cool breeze while watching the cars fight it out on the crowded freeway below. My head was on a swivel as I tried to take the whole view in at once. The ground seems so flat from the air, making it is harder to pick out landmarks I am so used to seeing everyday.

Aerial View of Leucadia from Helicopter
We flew over my house and out over Beacons Beach. The ocean was so clear below us and a few surfers gave us a wave as we flew overhead. We flew along at about 200 feet, the same height as the cliff, as we followed the coastline down to Swami's before turning around to head back to Beacons and buzz the house again. In such a small helicopter with no doors and a clear bubble, the sensation of flying feels so much more real than if we were in a bigger craft with smaller windows.

Aerial View of Swamis Beach from Helicopter
Leaving Encinitas, Joel let me fly for a while as we heading inland over Rancho Santa Fe toward Lake Hodges. At first, it was really tough because I kept overcompensating with the cyclic (stick that controls the rotors) but as soon as I concentrated on the horizon I started to get the hang of it. To fly forward and increase the speed I had to pull back on the stick until the front of the helicopter felt like it was about to go into a dive.

Joel taking off from Ridge in Helicopter
As we neared the high hills along the Del Dios Highway overlooking Lake Hodges, Joel took back the controls and headed in for a landing on one of the high ridges. We touched down at the end of a small dirt road at the edge of the ridge with a great view of the whole North Country area. I jumped out and Joel took off again to let me take a picture of the Helicopter in the air. For a brief moment, I thought he might play a practical joke and pretend to fly away and leave me stranded.

Noah with 88 Spanky at Palomar Airport
Flying back to the airport, Joel wanted to show me the runway and make a brief landing on it. Listening to him talk to the control tower in my headphones, I didn't even recognized his voice because he sounded so professional with all the flight jargon. The tower told us the airport was too busy at the moment so we just landed back at the helipad outside his hanger. I helped Joel and his boss wheel the helicopters back into the hanger before driving my car home on the boring roads. Heh!

  • Helicopter Photos
  • Friday, July 14, 2006

    Sunset Surfing at Beacons Beach

    With the heat wave we are having here in Southern California, it is nice to be able to go surfing after work. When I went out on Wednesday, I took a waterproof camera with me to take a couple of shots of what it is like outside in the lineup.

    Noah Unsworth surfing at Beacons Beach
    Like always, sitting outside waiting for your next wave is really peaceful and relaxing (unless the waves are huge).

    Popping over the lip of a wave at Beacons Beach
    The next best thing to actually riding a wave for me, is popping over or through the lip of a wave when you are paddling out.

    The view north while surfing at Beacons Beach
    The water is so warm right now. It is in the 70s, just perfect.

    Sunset while surfing at Beacons Beach
    The best place in my opinion to watch a sunset is in the ocean, sitting on a surfboard.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove & Shore

    I went snorkeling on Sunday with Chad, Fatima, Vince and Dave down in La Jolla. We went to the Cove first. For the last few years we have tried to come snorkeling here a few times every summer. The water was a little cold inside the small rocky cove but once we swam out into the open water the temperature warmed up. The visibility was not very great, but we saw the usual assortment fish with the bright orange Garibaldi being the most prominent.

    Noah snorkeling at La Jolla Cove
    The first cave along the cliff is pretty cool. It has two narrow openings that you can swim through into a decent size cave. There was a bit of a wave surge so I would use the forward swell to swim forward and then hang onto a rock along the bottom when the surge would suck back. The back of the cave opened out onto a rocky beach. We tried to get out on the beach for a brief stop but the waves were too rough against the rocks on the shore. Fatima lost one of her fins but Vince was able to rescue it before it was swept away. I was trapped with my back against a large rock as I got hit by wave after wave. I dropped my camera twice and I got scrapped up pretty good before I was able to escape back into deeper water.

    Snorkeling inside of Ocean Cave in La Jolla
    Vince lost his mask while taking a picture with his camera so he headed back to the Cove. The rest of us swam further down the coastline to the second cave along the cliff face. The best visibility of the day was in the water outside. There were quite a few people on the little platform inside the cave that you can reach by going down the narrow tunnel steps from the old shell shop on the top of the cliff. The surge wasn't as bad there so I had less trouble entering and checking it out without getting washed up against the rocks.

    Garibaldi swimming in La Jolla Cove
    After our swim back to the cove we were pretty hungry so we went to the Hard Rock Cafe up the street for lunch and a couple beers. The blue cheese burger with the horseradish sauce on the side was great.

    Fatima and Chad snorkeling in La Jolla
    After dropping Vince off at his car, we headed over to La Jolla Shores. Parking was hard to find but we finally found a spot by the Marine Room. I got stung when I stepped on a bee, but it was no big deal. We relaxed on the sand for a while before going out snorkeling again. We were hoping to see some of the leopard sharks that Kurt had told us were around this weekend, but all we saw was lots of stingrays and five foot long sandsharks.


    On Saturday, we went to Christina's Birthday Party at Moonlight Beach. I had a fun time surfing with Christina and playing quite a few games of sand volleyball. We had a nice bonfire after sunset.

    Sam and Christina at Moonlight Beach

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Wine Tasting in Temecula Valley

    View of Temecula Valley from Falkner Winery
    I went wine tasting in Temecula Valley on Sunday with Greg, Barb, Chad, Fatima, Dave, Tiffany and Condorman. This was my second trip to the valley, but I was a designated driver the first time so I didn't get a chance to enjoy the fruits of the valley. We had a limousine drive us around the valley so I was able to drink irresponsibly this time. Heh!

    Noah molesting window at Falkner Winery
    Our first stop was Falkner Winery that is in a picturesque spot up on a hill. It had a hunting lodge feel with a nice wooden deck and a band playing out on the lawn. We tried the "Combo" tasting which includes five regular wines and three of their premium wines and a souvenir wine glass. Each had different color poker chips to turn in for a pour. I really liked their Italian-style red wines, the Cello and the Amante.

    Noah sniffing wine at Wilson Creek Winery
    Next up, we went to Wilson Creek Winery. It was pretty crowded, so we hung out at their backroom counter among the wine barrels. I didn't really care for the selection of wines there. The Zinfandel was way too strong for my taste. I did like the Chocolate Port that was served in a shot glass made of chocolate at the end.

    Everyone huddling up for a group shot
    Our next stop was Callaway Vineyard. It is the most industrial looking of the wineries I have seen here, but they had good wine and I like there wine tasting room with its big picture windows and nice views of the valley. Hanging out on the grass outside waiting for the limo, we got to enjoy the boiling hot, humid air that was in Temecula this weekend.

    Relaxing in the grass at Callaway Vineyard
    We bought a couple bottles of Callaway's wines to take with us to Maurice Car'rie Vineyard to get some of their Famous Baked Brie in Sourdough Bread. We tried to keep the bottles hidden as we ate the bread and cheese at a picnic table on the front lawn. It was delicious.

    Stopping for the Famous Baked Brie at Maurice Carrie Vineyard
    Our last stop was at the Leonesse Cellars. It is at the end of the valley but in a beautiful spot and in a pretty cool looking building that had just been renovated. I was pretty toasted by then and I don't think I was able to appreciate the quality of their wines. We had a fun time singing along to the radio in the limousine between the wineries and on the trip back home.

    View of the vineyards from Leonesse Cellars

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    My Nephew, Ryder, and my Dad

    My Dad and Ryder walking to the Beach
    I took a couple of pictures of my Dad and my 1 year old nephew, Ryder, as they were taking a walk up to the beach.


    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    2006 Wildflower Triathlon

    I completed my first Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday. It was the Jamba Juice Wildflower Triathlon held at Lake San Antonio in Monterey County in Central California. It is 1.5k Swim, 40k Bike and a 10k Run and the course is brutal with lots of hills.

    I drove up with my friends, Chad and Fatima on Thursday and we set up our tents in the G Loop of the Redondo Vista campgrounds. We found a fairly level spot in the hilly area with a nice moss-covered tree for shade. Fatima was part of the Team in Training group for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society so we were camping in the same area as them. Jessica and her boyfriend, Matt, arrived early the next morning to share our spot.

    On Friday, I started to go on a training ride with Chad and Fatima and the rest of the TnT group but my rear tire blew out with a loud bang while we were going down Lynch Hill. I was able to buy a new tire at one of the Expo tents for $45 and Chad put it on for me. Later in the day, we all went for a nice training swim in the lake. I got to test my new swim wetsuit. It was nice and comfortable and I could really feel it's effect on my swimming.

    Saturday, I got to watch Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand win the Long Course Race, breaking the course record in the process. (Finish Time - 3:54:43 for 1.2 mile Swim, 56 mile Bike & 13.1 mile Run) I got a nice picture of him high fiving the crowd as he came into the finishing straight. I also got a high five from him as he came out for a little victory lap. He wrote an interesting article about his race here called "When It All Goes Your Way"

    The 13 mile Run for the Long Course ran right near our campsite and it was fun watching all the participants running past for hours after the professionals had already finished. That night, a large group of the Long Course racers streaked through the large dinner tent where we Olympic Distance racers where having a meeting. It was pretty funny, but too many male streakers for my tastes. Heh!

    Sunday morning was the Olympic Distance Triathlon and I went down with Chad to the transition area around 8am to set up for our race start. Chad and I were in the 9:40am wave wearing the white caps. I was near the front row when the horn went off and I got off to a good start out ahead but my goggles kept filling on my right side. With the rest of the swimmers in my wave rapidly bearing down on me, I had to make a couple of quick pauses to adjust my goggles before getting run over. I was able to fix the problem and I got into a good stroke for the rest of the swim and came out of the water surrounded by mostly green caps of the wave that left 5 minutes earlier.

    My legs felt really fresh as I jumped on my bike after the swim but having to go up the steep Lynch Hill first thing out of the transition area was pretty rough. I really enjoyed the bike course, tough and challenging but fun all the same with lots of rolling scenic hills. I spotted Chad on his bike on my way back from the turnaround point after climbing one of the longest hills on the course. I wish I had a few extra gears on my bike because I found myself having to stand up on my peddles on several of the steepest sections of the course.

    My transition times suffered a bit because I made sure to slather on extra sunscreen each time through, but I glad I did it because I escaped a major burning. My run started out better than I expected from my experiences in earlier triathlons. Doing brick training really helped get rid of the feeling of running with anvils in my shoes after getting off the bike. But soon I started to suffer and I found that I had to walk on the hills. The sun was blazing and the long 2 kilometer hill at the halfway point was brutal so I appreciated the aid stations giving spray downs with a hose as I ran by. I think I dislike going downhill even worse and running down Lynch Hill to the finish line was torture on my knees and feet but I made it across the line. The cold, wet towel they put on my head after the finish was heaven.

    Climbing the steep hill back up to our campsite was not that fun, but we broke down camp fairly quickly and we were on the road by 6pm. We stopped for a quick bite at Taco Bell before driving down to Santa Barbara where we had hotel reservations. We went out for pizza and crashed pretty early that night. In the morning we had a nice breakfast before finishing the rest of our drive back down to San Diego.

    For more in-depth report of the Wildflower race check out Fatima's posts at Dolphins Name Themselves. She kicked ass in the race.

    Previous Races:

    Los Angeles Triathlon Post

    Long Beach Triathlon Post

    Mission Bay Triathlon Post