Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RIP Michael Popov!!

Picture from Sarah Spelt's Facebook Album!!
Michael Popov, you know who I am talking about, right?    An amazing athlete and a gentle person left us earlier this month   He took his last run in Death Valley, and like Caballo Blanco, he found his maker doing what he loved to do; running that is.   I learned of his death and I simply couldn’t believe it,   this guy as fit as one can be, as strong as he was… was… no more.   It took me a little while to absorb the news, we weren’t close friends, but the times we interacted he showed to be a gentle giant. 
I first met Michael at the end of a race back in 2007, he had crushed the course.  And then, when he took over co-management of PCTR, Janet and I were very keen of the sweeping of the courses.  We enjoyed being out there on our own, and sweeping the courses was something we enjoyed to do.   Many times we cursed Michael since we found way too many ribbons out of our reach, us being vertically challenged.   We brought that up to him, and his big smile was a sure indication that he was playing with us. 
Michael lost his life after he miscalculated the distance of his run and the amount of water he needed.  He and Sara Spelt went to Death Valley on a reconnaissance trip to scout their next event, a 100 mile race they were planning to stage next year.  According to Sarah, he said “So, I may regret it, but I’m going to run from West Side Road to Badwater today. You can drop me off and drive to Badwater and pick me up.”  According to Sarah, this was unlike him since he was a meticulous planner.    Unfortunately this particular run was his last,   Michael miscalculated the amount of water he would need to complete the “short” run in 120 degree temperatures.   He was found lying on the asphalt after he actually completed his planned run, he was delirious but conscious.   Unfortunately his condition worsened rather quickly and all resuscitations efforts failed, he died at the end of his last adventure.  The cause of his death was “heat related, including asphyxiation due to pulmonary hemorrhaging”.
Michael was an amazing athlete, and it put in perspective my own mortality. I always told my friends, if I am going to die, I rather die running.   Michael had no intention of dying that particular day, but it happened.  And so recently, thanks Michael, I am faced with the growing awareness and acknowledgment that life isn’t forever and this day could be very well be my last.  But instead of wallowing in fear and sadness, I am driven to make good choices, and focus on living (like Michael did).  I rather “go”  running. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tour ' Organics

Tour d’ Organics 100 mile bike ride
Last weekend I had the pleasure to join a bunch of others on my third ride of the Tour d’ Organics in Sebastopol, CA..   This particular ride is very beautiful.   It is unlike any other organized ride I have done, specially because most of the food at the aid stations is organic, fresh, locally sourced and vegan… yes vegan.  That was the reason I started to do this tour, but now as a carnivore, I still enjoy the beautiful scenery and the challenge of this ride.

Vegetarian/vegan lunch...  Awesome food..   now back to Paleo!!
Oliver, Jim, Janet and I did this last year,  Janet, was out this time, so it was an event for the three amigos…  We decided to leave early and Jim was supposed to drive.   But the boy had insomnia the night before so he did what anybody would do… take Nyquil a couple of hours before he was supposed to get up. ;)      Well the time of meeting came and went by,  I called him a couple of times and he answered and told me… I am on my way.   The reality is that he was woken up by my call… so needless to say, he was a bit late, but in good spirits.  We drove all the way to Sebastopol and got ready to go for a great bike ride.

Ride started nice and mellow… and cold a bit.   But it soon warmed up pretty nicely.   I didn’t train for this ride at all… well I went biking three times last week,  I wouldn’t necessarily call that training, but being as stupid as I am, I decided to do the ride and bring my friends with me since misery likes company.   Interestingly, we did awesome…  Last year we did the same ride and it was considerably slower than this year, which can attest of the amazing way CrossFit keeps us fit.    
A few weeks ago I read a very interesting article about how CrossFit is generalist and does not train you for anything specific…  But being in shape, being healthy and being simply awesome is specific, at least in my view.  We did this ride basically with zero specific training, and we finished and had fun doing it.  Granted, one of us had some cramping issues, which were not related to fitness, but nutrition.
The total elevation is not that much ~6,000K,  but it has lots of rolling hills and some start at the end of a 90degree turns and there were several road crossings that were a bit dangerous in my view.  And the most difficult asphalt to ride on..   The tour goes through many old roads that had been fixed way too many times..   My butt is still sore from the consistent vibration,
After we finished the ride...   Still smiling!!
The food, as I mentioned earlier, it is awesome.  Nothing like getting a ripe peach to quench your hunger or a few sweet cherry tomatoes with pesto to finish it up.  This was the highlight of the whole ride, the amazing aid stations in organic farms.  Love it and we will be back next year for more. 
The course starts a bit hilly until about mile 40,   after that aren’t any more long significant climbs, but a million of tiny hills that sure will require you to shift constantly and get off the saddle.  From my scale of awesomeness... this one is a 10!!   

The route and elevation profile..   Awesome!!