Tuesday, January 1, 2019

FCA New Year’s Day Challenge–Troy, 2019


1/1/19 –

PART 1: Bike- Auburn, Overlook Park

PART 2: Resolution Run -Auburn, Overlook Park


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


Hill Climb #1 – 18:00 (PR 15:17, 2014)
Hill Climb #2 – 6:16 (PR 5:20, 2014)
Run 1: 1:27:58


1st Hill Climb #1
1st Hill Climb #2
2nd Run


Hill Climb: Dan Darby, Robin Soares
10Mile: Anna Soares, Carolyn Goulding, Elizabeth Katsura, Jesse Ellis, Manouch Shirvanioun
5K: Ariel Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Debbie Booth, Emerson Booth, Leah Booth, Suzanne Hartley

Our yearly tradition of bike hill climbs and running on New Years’ Day. It began as a way of starting the year out with some motivating accomplishments.  And it’s always better with friends.  This year, however, no one has said they’re definitely coming, so Robin and I bike to the Overlook Park knowing that it may just be us.  That’s ok, it’ll still be an accomplishment to push ourselves for God’s glory.  Robin prays for our day.  I’m a little nervous about how tough the climbs and trail run will be, but I’m committed to the Lord to have a good attitude.  Good effort, good attitude, and looking to God through it all.  That’s the plan and I’m excited now to get started.


I fly down Auburn Folsom, new bike jacket breaking the chilly air, and I’m surprised to see Robin so close behind.. she’s really descending well!  She heads onto Powerhouse Rd and I continue to Newcastle – the regular split for men and women on this ride.  I plan to meet her on Indian Hill, but seeing how strong she’s riding, that’s going to be hard to do.  I try to push the loop, although also not wanting to tire myself out before the real climbs.  On Glenview I’m happy to see Robin up the road, and with someone else, too.  Could it be we have antoher participant?  Sure enough, it’s Dan from the track who joined us last year as well!  We all push up the steep section together (this is the warm-up for the real climbs).  I give a steady push and get to the top breathing pretty hard and take off my jacket as Dan and Robin continue on.  We cruise through quiet downtown Aurburn, checking out the cute stores, and prepare to descend Hwy 49 (I put my jacket back on).  Robin first, then Dan and myself.  Dad doesn’t like descents so takes it pretty cautious and I’m happy to stay back and call out cars that are passing. 

At the bottom we line up according to last year’s times (Dan 24:24, Robin 21:05, Troy 18:24).  Dan seems pretty upbeat about the climb and takes off first.  Robin, always the competitor, starts the chase 2min later.  I use the bathroom quickly and then take off 1-1/2 min later.  I stand for the first section – it always feels so tough!  But after .5 mile I start to get into a better groove.  I can see Robin not far ahead so I think I may have started too early.  Usually we cross 2/3 to the top but it looks like I might catch her 1/2 way.  I keep pushing hard and she’s looking back and pushing just as hard.  She’s really keeping ahead!  I finally catch her after Mammoth Park and keep the pressure on.  it was nice last year when I passed her farther up right before the flat section – she surged and got on my wheel which was a really smart tactic.  But this time, still on the steep part, blocking the wind doesn’t give an advantage and I pull ahead significantly.  As I try to “time-trial” across the flat section.. my legs burning.. I look back and am surprised to see Robin not that far back.  She’s on her tri bike which is a disadvantage climbing but really proving beneficial on the flats and downhills!  The biggest surprise is that I haven’t seen Dan at all!  Last year I passed him early on (he had admitted to enjoying the sights so much he forgot to push hard).  Early on I saw somone towards the top but when I passed them it turned out to be a mtn biker.  I’m coming around the final corners, a glance at my time shows I might be able to beat last year’s!  I stand and sprint to the stop sign, at the same time noticing Dan waiting at the top cheering me on.  Yay!  Done, in 18:00, faster than last year.  Thank you, Lord!  I’m really happy for Dan to hear he did it in 20:42, almost a 4min improvement!  He was so surprised himself that at first he told us his computer must have stopped and the time was wrong.  Robin finished a minute behind me in 21:00, a slight eclipse of last year’s time.

We take a picture and then coast down to the Foresthill Bridge.

Before the Foresthill Bridge, we line up again ready to beat last year’s times (Dan 7:41, Robin 7:09, Troy 7:06).  I lead the paceline followed by Dan then Robin.  We cover the span at about 21-22 mph and then shift gears and start the climb up Raley Hill.  Robin pointed out there are 6 signs towards the top of the hill which you can count off.  This helps pass the grueling time.  I count down 6, 5, 4, 3.. as I pass the signs getting closer to the finish.  After the last one I stand and sprint.  Yes! Done. 6:16, faster than last year.  I catch my breath in time to go back and see Robin finish in 6:55 with Dan 10 secs behind in 7:05.  Everyone improved!  Now we cruise home happy and get ready for the run part!



The whole family fuels up, stretches, and grabs warm clothes.  It’s perfectly clear and calm and about 50 degrees.  Not bad, just a little chilly.  Wow!  We’re at the Overlook Park early and there is already a line forming.  Soon there are 700 people ready to run!  The race is sold out.  We see a bunch of friends here.  Elizabeth from the track is doing the 10 mi for the first time.  Suzanne & Caryn are here from CEM and we quickly take the opportunity to huddle up with them and pray for the race and the way we race it.  I’m really excited and want to represent the Lord out there today.  Anna is doing the 10mi for the first time and Ariel is trying to break her PR here.

imageStart. The 200 runner mass moves out, everyone seems excited and happy. Turning onto the path, we see Dan from our morning bike ride, “Hi Dan!”  Heading down the steep Dam Rd., I look back and see Robin and then Anna, all sticking to our plans of about 8min, 9min, and 10min paces.  I talk to a couple runners, tell them about the course.  Looks like 2 runners from the Sierra College women’s XC team.  There’s about 5 women ahead of me.  Up the Dam Connector Rd and then down the Dam Overlook Rd, my favorite path.

Mile 1 7:07.  Good pace. Mostly down.  A boy, about 13, is up ahead with a Camelbak pack.  I pass one of the Sierra College girls and catch up to another woman.  I ask her if she thinks we’ll catch the kid and she confidently says, “No”.  I was impressed last year seeing the boy finish the tough 10 miler.  He’s about Anna’s age.  Maybe she can keep up with him next year after getting the first one under her belt.  The long China Bar Rd downhill.  I’m enjoying it all, especially the other runners that make it possible for all of us to push each other.

Mile 2 6:45. Easy so far, but that will change soon..  We turn left onto the Cardiac Bypass Trail which is seriously rocky.  I focus on form, anticipating each step and staying light on my feet.   I pass a couple more runners and now am about 13th place.  I tell someone how happy we’re going to feel to get to the top.  Indeed it does feel great to get that climb behind us.  On the flat of the Dam Overlook Rd, I pass the 2nd woman.  She’s really breathing hard.

Mile 3 8:19. Pretty good for a bit of climbing, thank you, Lord, for helping me keep a good pace.  I count the runners far ahead going by the Overlook but not sure if I see them all.  I’m looking forward to getting some water but there isn’t an aid station at the top.

Mile 4 7:40. Good pace. Down the connector road I see Lauren from the track and he tells me I’m 11th.  Bobby, a well known Sacramento masters, and the lead woman are not far ahead of me.  I get to the steep Dam Rd descent and do my best to be efficient and use my long legs to my advantage.  The woman is also a good descender.  I make one more push on the next descent and pass her.  At the aid station I see there are no cups.  So that’s why people have Camelbaks!  It’s a cupless race.  They let me chug it and I hold the pitcher carefully to pour into my mouth.  The lead woman and Bobby are ahead of me again but it was important to get water.

Mile 5 6:52.  The descending is over and tough climbing ahead.  I pass the lead woman but she passes me on the steep climb. After the top, I pass her and Bobby and try to maintain 9th place now that it’s fairly flat.  There are beautiful views of the canyon and I’m appreciating how great this course is.

imageMile 6 8:51. Around Robie Pt. Great views continue.  I’m hoping to see the lead runners coming back if I can get to the intersection fast enough.  I see 10k runners coming back and then I see 2 men going really fast.  That’s probably them.  The end of the fire-road is the green gate but it seems to take forever.  I look forward to the slight downhill after the turn.

Mile 7 8:06.  Good pace. I make the turn in 9th place still but am surprised to see a man, the lead woman I had passed and another runner close behind me.  No relaxing, I’ve got to push these final 3 miles.  I can do it thanks to the Lord.  I really excited to see my wife, Robin, soon.  She’s really been a big reason I’ve had good races over the years.  She not only reminds me to give each race to God but also brings enthusiasm about training and racing to our whole family.  She loves the sport.  I hope her prayer for today, to feel joy throughout, has been answered.  And there she is!  “God is with you, my love!”  Her big smile answers my question and I know she’s having a good race.  And then I see Anna, right at the intersection to head up to Robie parking lot.  Perfect timing!  “Hi, Dad, I got to see my friends, Enzo and Hunter in the 10k!”  I’m so glad she’s having a good time. Proud of her.

Mile 8 7:54.  I’m tired now.  Robie parking lot is high above. The path is a little slick.  10th place passes me.  I encourage him and don’t lose hope but keep pressing.  The woman also passes near the top.  Over the top I go into a “controlled fall” down the steep trail and am able to pass them both back.  It’s exciting but there’s still 2 miles to go.  The guy stays right on my heals and appears very strong.  Part of me wants to say, “just let him go” but I know God wants me to give my best effort and not give up… the outcome is up to Him.  The single-track trail has a lot of 5k, 10k runners so I call “on your left” a lot.  The guy behind me seems calm and polite as he does the same.  I like this guy.. but I must still try to win.

Mile 9 8:15.  Very good.  The 2 hardest sections coming up.  I do well, but I’m really fatigued.  A lot of passing slower runners and the guy is hanging on.  With a 1/2 mi to go, he goes by.  I tell him good job, without giving any effort up.  But it’s legit, he’s stronger and pulls ahead.  I’m glad I never gave up, he is just faster.  With the finish coming into sight, my friend, Suzanne, in the 10k is ahead and runs with me which gets me going faster which I appreciate.  The other guy is far ahead but I still need to give it all I’ve got.

Mile 10 9:47. After a few steep steps up to the parking lot, I finish, thank you, Lord, for giving me a better race than expected and giving me a happiness throughout!  Now to look for Robin, Anna and Caryn finishing..