Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year Challenge 2017 (Troy)


12/31/16-Bike- Auburn, Overlook Park
1/1/17 – Resolution Run -Auburn, Overlook Park


Hill Climb #1 – 3mi Old Foresthill Rd
Hill Climb #2 - 1.2mi Raley's Hill
Resolution Run - 10mi Trails


Run 1:13:30


Bike 3rd
Run 1st (3rd O/A)


Hill Climb: Jesse Warda, Kayden Kelly, Mike Bradley, Trixie Bradley, Robin Soares
10Mile: Diana Boyer, Elisabeth Katsura, Gary Carpenter, Kayden Kelly, Manouch Shirvanioun, Scott Eckardt, Sena Minshew

First, is the bike challenge on Saturday, 12/31/16.  It’s a little cold but otherwise a really nice day.  6 of us (Trixie, Mike, Kayden, Jesse, Robin and myself) come out.  I pray for the Lord’s protection and we’re off, descending down Auburn-Folsom.  Kayden was the first one down and the only one with bare, frozen legs – maybe that’s the secret.  Robin, Trixie and Mike took the hilly Powerhouse route while Kayden, Jesse and I took the Newcastle route.

On Glenview, a sheep dog comes out to greet us and runs alongside of us.  We’re impressed how easily he lopes along at 15mph.  On the steep switch-backs Jesse challenges the dog to a race up the hill.  Jesse is out-of-the-saddle and pulling way ahead of us.  But the dog casually continues along-side of him as if to say, “are we racing yet?”

Before the busy Indian Hill road we give the dog a good scolding to send him back home.  We meet up with Trixie, Mike and Robin and they had been familiar with the friendly dog as well.

We rolled through town, by Victory Velo, and started our descent down to the American River.  Jesse, carving through the corners, slowed only by the cars ahead, was the first down.  Mike, sensing dry roads, passed his wife, “Trixie-the-cannon”, on the way down.

Climb #1
Mike started us off on the 3mi, 5.6% grade, Old Foresthill Rd climb.  Robin took off after him, then Trixie, then me, and then Kayden & Jessie trying to see how many they could catch.  After the first big turn, the chase was on.  6 of us were evenly strung out on the gradual climb.  Then the place-changing began.. highlighted by friendly encouragements.  Each take-over was followed by an extra effort to latch on.

I haven’t been doing a lot of hills but I focused on making my pedal stroke even to squeeze out a little more power.  It seems to be working but it is still a heart-pounding, oxygen grasping effort.  Jesse is on my wheel and does not appear to be breathing hard.

Everyone took advantage of the false-flat towards the top and picked up the pace.  Up to 24 mph.  But Robin is still leading the race.  In the final turns, we catch Robin, then Kayden catches us, and the Jesse counter-attacks and wins a close race to the top.

Jesse (15:20), Kayden (+8), Troy (+15), Robin (+20), Trixie, and Mike.

Everyone pushed hard.  But Mike was willing to do it again because he thought this was the Old Foresthill hill-repeats workout.  Boy was he happy to hear that wasn’t the case.

While at the top we saw the memorial turn-out for a well-known mtn biker who died recently.

Climb #2
We cruised down to the Foresthill Bridge and lined up with Jesse at the lead.  We take off in a paceline for the 1.2mi, 300ft  Raley’s Hill climb.  Jesse held a 22mph lead-out across the bridge and then the action began on the climb.  Kayden took over the lead and never looked back.  Jesse was working on him and I was farther back giving it all I had and realizing I left a lot on the first climb.  Oxygen-deprived near the top, I still had to keep track of the finish times.  As I saw Kayden, then Jesse, crest the top, I glanced at my watch.  Whew!  So glad to reach the top, even though it is short.

Robin & Trixie were neck-n-neck at the top.  Trixie took it by a second.  Mike had a great climb.  I’m so impressed with him joining these really tough rides even when he can’t get training in.  He has a great attitude and the “hurt” never gets in the way of the fun he’s having doing it.

Kayden (5:20), Jesse (+20), Troy (+33), Trixie (+1:01), Robin (+1:02), Mike

We ride easy back to the Overlook Park.  Kayden & Jesse say we should keep going, and without a run race to follow, but with an Ironman on the horizon, I have no reason not to, so we ride another 10 mi.  A great day.  Thank you Lord for keeping us safe and giving us these opportunities to bond and push ourselves!

Hill Climb Totals



Prev Best

Age-Graded Total

Robin Soares




Trixie Bradley




Kayden Kelly




Jesse Warda




Troy Soares




Mike Bradley




Resolution Run (Sunday)
The bike ride was yesterday.  Having a time to rest should make today’s race feel much better.  It’s a tough course, featuring 3 significant climbs.  I’m excited to see what I can do.  Usually I start conservative and let some guys get way ahead down the long road to Oregan Bar.  I remember in 2014 watching my friend Dave Campbell fly down the road at the beginning never to be seen again.  But this time I plan to push it more early on to try to keep tabs on who is ahead of me. 

Robin & I line up together and pray for us and others.  I love being able to start the same race as Robin.  I’m excited, and surprised, to see Kayden Kelly here.  He’s had some serious running injuries so it’s great that he can run again.  I encourage him to take it easy.  He’ll have fun, as he always does when riding or running in a race, but he also likes pushing himself…  , but  in a race, but the most fun he has is when he’s pushing himself.  Our neighbor, Scott Eckardt, is here again.  And longtime track runners, Diana Boyer and Elizabeth Katsura, are also running.  It’s Elizabeth’s first time for the 10 miler.  Diana has conquered it before.  Gary Carpenter and Manouch Shirvanioun are familiar faces here and at other difficult trail runs.  They always have a good time as well.  And finally, Sena Minshew, an accomplished long-distance triathlete that has raced with Robin multiple times is here.

The group heads down Pacific Ave. I tell Robin to have a good race as I pull ahead.  170101_rrun_10mile_start

I see someone running with a backpack, ahead of everyone, and continue straight when we’re supposed to turn left.  He corrects, comes back, and hustles down the access road ahead of everyone again, just to make another wrong turn and head down the 5k route.  I yell to him.  Others are saying he isn’t in the race.  But he finally realizes his mistake and we see his race number as he runs back up the hill and falls into formation, now about 30 runners back.  I never saw him again.

It’s cold but a nice day.  The long descent is gradual and you can go fast, but what price will be paid after 3 miles of pounding??  I’ll find out today.  I’m about 7th place.  2 guys way up front.  2 guys (1 in orange, 1 in black) a ways ahead.  And then 4 guys all around me.

Mile 1. 6:33. Onto the level gravel section. I’m 6th place.  I’m running well. Achilles isn’t hurting. Temperature good (arm warmers, shorts).  I keep thinking what if I can catch the guy in orange (in 3rd place)?  Down the curving paved road.  Using the tangents.  Wondering if I’ll be able to switch to the uphill ok.  I’ll keep up the strong push down and hope I can switch over when we hit the climb.

Mile 2. 6:36. I get ahead of the guys around me.  Nearing the bottom I try to get pysched up for the climb up Cardiac Bypass trail.  It’s very rocky.  I start the climb, trying to dance across the rocks and stay light on my feet.  Breathing deep.  Up, up, up.  I see a photographer ahead.  His camera is on the ground. Is it broken?  It’s Michael Cook!  Getting creative with the camera angles.  He’s been nursing a broken foot from a fall while running as Mr. Pickle to help our elementary school raise money. It’s so good to see him out here on his mtn bike.  It inspires me to run faster.


At the top. No time to rest.  Gotta push this flat section.  Ahead I see that the guy in Orange dropped the guy in black and he’s fading back to me.  I pass him and encourage him.

Mile 3. 7:56. A good split.  I’m wondering where the 3rd place guy in orange is.  I’m all alone.  Suddenly a woman passes me!  Wow, she’s pushing hard.  This is perfect because it gives me a challenging pace to try to match.  I stay with her.  We climb the last part well. I get water at the aid station and then drop-in to the steep “Dam Road” descent. 

Mile 4. 7:14. I pull ahead of the woman and use my longer legs to pick up distance on the steep decline.  It takes a lot of focus to keep from falling or just pulling a muscle.  A breif flat, then another steep drop.  Over some gravel and then, wham! the grade switches back up.  Legs are taking a beating on these sudden changes.  I’m running by the 10k’ers now and wonder where Anna is.  I pray that she’d doing well.  This is a tough 10k course and we weren’t sure but she wanted to do it so badly. I hope she’s pacing herself well.  I also pray for Ariel who is trying to match Anna’s time from 3 years ago in the 5k.  She should be making the final climb out of the canyon.  And I pray for Robin that her hamstrings will work great and she’ll feel strong.170101_rrun_10mile_troy

Mile 5. 6:37. Up the 2nd tough climb – switchbacks.  It’s short though.  I grab water and start on the fireroad to the Green Gate.  Suddenly the woman goes by me again on the final climb!  She’s running stronger than me on the climbs.  We’re both working really hard.  We encourage each other.

Mile 6. 8:28. As we come around Robie Pt, I wonder if I’ll see Anna coming back from the Green Gate.  Instead, I see the 1st place 10 miler, and Bryan Hacker right behind him!  Bryan was doing the 10k.  I cheer for him but he tells me that the 10k turned too early, so he ran the 10mi course instead.  Hmm, what’s going on?  Heading towards the Green Gate turn-around at Hwy 49, it’s a gradual climb but it’ll be great coming back!  I push the pace.  I see the 2nd place young kid I met beforehand.  Then, 100 yds from the turn, I see the guy in Orange coming back!

Mile 7. 7:34.  The woman is right with me as we make the turn.  I’m pumped up for the easy part now and hope to make up time on the guy.  I jump the muddy sections and try to keep to the inside of each turn.  I’m so glad to see Robin as we pass.  I love you!  I cheer for some others as well. We hit the Robie Pt climb.  It’s slippery.  I’m using my short, low steps to climb with less effort.  I push really hard and summit at the parking lot.

Mile 8. 8:00.  Again, unexpectantly, the woman blasts past me and starts the descent back to the trails ahead of me!  This is the fastest descent yet. One trip and it would be a bad wipe-out.  Staying barely in control, I pass her and tell her she’ll probably catch me on the next climb.  She says she’ll try.  I bank hard onto the trail again, avoiding the 10k runners going both directions.  If I’m going to stay ahead of her, I need a bigger lead this time.  I grab water again at the final aid station and charge up the single-track trail. And then, up ahead, I see the orange shirt!  I can’t believe it, I actually could catch him!  I’m tired and hurting but I realize this is a rare opportunity.  I’ve never gotten 3rd place.  I’m already happen with how well I’m doing, but I’d rather push even harder now than have to do all this work over again at another race.  Go!170101_rrun_10mile_troy_mc2

Mile 9. 7:53. I’m pushing every step of the way and gaining a second on him about every 20 steps.  We’re both having to pass slower 10k runners and I’m breathing so hard I can barely say “On your left” anymore.  A 1/2 mi to go and I’m right on his heals.  Now he is having to blaze the path around the runners and I can simply follow his steps.  At a stream crossing, a young kid gets in my way so I have to go around.  I catch back up but am doubting that I have enough in me to pass him.  At the final corner before we climb to the parking lot, I make my move.  I surge and get by him and don’t look back.  Now I just have to run like crazy and trust I can stay ahead. 

And then I see Ariel!  She’s cheers for me and that’s just what I needed.  Thank you, Lord, for letting me push.  I push indeed all the way to the finish where Anna and her friend, Leah, are waiting.


Mile 9.7. 9:10 pace. 3rd place. Highest finish yet and one of my fastest times.  Thank you, Lord, that was the best I could have imagined.  And the worst I’ve probably felt afterwards.  But that’s ok.  An exciting, hard-fought 3rd place.  There were times I didn’t want to go for it, but settle for a good race.  But I usually feel God prompting me to trust Him and push harder.  And it’s a great humbling feeling to be helped to go faster.  Thank you, Lord, for your help.

Running Results

Troy Soares 1:13:30 1st
Kayden Kelly 1:24:09 6th
Robin Soares 1:25:02 2nd
Scott Eckardt 1:27:49 7th
Diana Boyer 1:28:44 3rd
Manouch Shirvanioun 1:31:23 7th
Gary Carpenter 1:32:16 8th
Sena Minshew 1:44:41 9th
Elizabeth Katsura 1:45:22 4th

New Years Challenge Results (Age-Graded)

  Bike Plc Run Plc Total (Lower is Better)
Individual Male      
Troy Soares 5 1 6
Kayden Kelly 3 6 9
Individual Female      
Robin 1 2 3
Trixie & Anna 2 2 4
Jesse & Evan 4 3 7 (TIE)
Mike & Ariel 6 1 7 (TIE)