Happy 2018 – thankful for a growing family…

Guess we’ve been a bit busy…Baby Announcement. We did announce to all our family and friends, finally, in our Christmas card. I cannot express how difficult it was to keep it a secret! It is a bit harder to hide now, so no sense in keeping quiet about it any longer!


Yes, we are so excited and of course nervous about this next adventure. Of course, this quite literally feels like the longest 9+ months ever, but we are being patient. I’m sure as the date nears (May 30th) we will wish everything would slow down. We have decided to keep the social media to a minimum, so we created a separate blog to keep any interested family and friends updated. (You can find that in the link above).


Well, here’s to the next 18 weeks left!

Meet Bruce

June 17, 2017

I don’t think we realized when we woke on Saturday, June 17th that we would be adding a new member to our family. We planned to spend the day at the beach after making a quick stop in San Jose to check out a used truck. We did a test drive and we were completely disappointed. However, it sparked an interested in checking out another used truck. Still, the price was high and it wasn’t my ‘dream truck’. So Stew contacted a guy on Craigslist (craigslist always worries me) and we set to meet at a Lowes parking lot. Stew had noticed this truck for sale and recently the price was lowered so we jumped at the opportunity to check it out since we were nearby. The minute I saw him pull up it was love at first sight. I sat in the driver’s seat, adjusted the mirror and drove a quick loop around the lot.


As I turned to park next to Stew and the seller, I had the biggest grin on my face. Yup, this was it. Stew didn’t even drive it. We both knew. It was perfect. Lifted, good mileage, great condition, and talk about epic sound system. It was a done deal. We were now the proud owners of a 2004 F150. Bruce.



Adventure Vehicle

We’ve been discussing designing an adventure vehicle since we started dating. We both love camping and the outdoors but sometimes weather gets in the way and we’ve spent enough time camping in the cold, rainstorms AND even in unexpected snow storms that we agreed being a little more comfortable was okay. Stew wanted a van. I wanted a truck. So of course, we got a truck….now we just needed to agree on a design and get building. But first, we needed to take Bruce to our favorite sport, Tahoe, to test out its off-road abilities and long car ride journies. It definitely passed the test.




Stew also finally got to drive the truck and took us all down an awesome dirt road at night. Good thing we have a light bar!


We had our Oregon trip set for August, only a little over a month away. I started taking measurements, Pinteresting and designing. We came up with Phase 1 and set dates for construction.


Since we didn’t have a camper shell yet, Phase 1 included designs for the platform and base. This also included setting up the electrical and lights for the back of the truck. We also started our search for finding a camper shell.

The base includes 4 slots, the ones on each side run the length of the truck bed, while the one in the middle runs 2/3rds of the way back. On the right side (looking at the truck) there are vertical cubbies for quick access. These cubbies would be initially left open until the final design. On the left side, secret doors allow access to additional storage. At the head of the truck bed, there is one big storage cubie that can also be accessed through a door. Phase 1 included construction of all these components.




Build Phase 1



I headed up to Danville for the weekend to borrow my dad’s workshop and knowledge. Friday night we headed to Home Depot and purchased all the wood for Phase 1 that we thought would be enough. (side note: we were spot on). I wanted to get started right away but in the heat of summer, we called it a night. I did start playing with the lighting to see how it would look though. At this point, we still didn’t have a camper shell so it was all speculation.









We woke up early on Day 2 to try and beat the heat. I started with the final measurements before cutting. And yes, everything was being sized to this cooler….The height of the base was 15.5″, allowing for just enough room to slide the cooler back and forth underneath the bed.



We learned very quickly that nothing in the truck bed was square. All the side panels were going to have to be drawn and cut by hand. Stew was on his way up (via bike) so I started working on the electrical before he arrived. The temperature was really starting to heat up.




Well that doesn’t really look exciting….


Solar Panel – 20W 12V Solar Panel (Amazon)
Battery – 12V 12Amp Rechargeable Battery (Amazon)

We then have a Dual USB + 12V Outlet built into a box, which houses all the electronics, including two switches. One to turn on the lights and another as a master switch to turn on the full power to the back of the truck. We also installed two USB chargers to the head of the truck for additional power at night.












I picked Stew up (flat tire) and we wrapped up day 2. We discussed final design at the halfway mark and finished up the left side of the truck, including the two side secret pockets. Everything was sanded and fitting together nicely. Surprinsgly it was extremely sturdy too. We thought we would need to brace the platform to the truck bed but it did not seem to be going anywhere.




We put together the final touches on Phase 1 on day 3 of the build. With unlimited storage and a comfy bed, we were ready to roll.


We purchased a foam mattress from IKEA. This sure is camping in style.




Camper Shell

We ordered a NEW camper shell from a place in San Jose that would match the color of the truck and install for free. We were starting to get a little too close to our trip to Oregon and we wanted to take it for a test run first. Luckily the called a few days early saying it had been delivered and we were ready to go!




I didn’t think Bruce could get any bigger. But he did! Some perks of the camper shell? Improved gas mileage, no wind noise, super smooth ride, OH and no we have a place to sleep.






Officially ready for an adventure. So we decided to take a quick camping trip to Northern California for the weekend.



Test Run

I woke up early to start work so that we could leave by 1pm. We loaded up Bruce with all our camping gear and hit the road north. We already knew Bruce was a comfy ride from our long drive to Tahoe….little did we know that after being in the truck for 12 hours we would still be smiling….

After making one giant loop we found a small little campground with availability. We called it a night and slept amazing in the back of our adventure vehicle. This is what Bruce was built for.


Can’t beat waiting up in the morning to this view.


The next day we headed to Lake Berryessa, backed into a private camp spot. And enjoyed our little piece of paradise. Success. We worked out some details for the Phase 2 build and felt we were ready for our trip to Oregon. It was hard to come home after the short weekend, we wanted to keep going.


Phase 2

I stopped at my parents on the way home from the quick weekend, Stew had a work meeting up North so it worked out perfect. Made some minor adjustments in preparation for Oregon. In just short of a week we would be headed North again.




Built for Adventure




We purchased a new Küat bike rack which arrived just in time. I put it together and loaded the truck up for Oregon. We discovered that if we put bikes on the middle two racks we would still place the tailgate down.






We filled almost every cubby. I mean, why not?



After spending another week camping in the truck it was perfect. It worked out amazing, it was warm, we were comfy, and everything stayed dry. Now we want to go on more adventures! If only we didn’t have to work! Excited to see where Bruce takes us next.



What’s in a Name?

I name everything. All my bikes have names, the Subaru is affectionately named Blueberry, so there was no question that our new truck was going to be needing a name as well. I had a long list of names and presented them to Stewart. We finally agreed on Bruce, named after the shark in Finding Nemo.

So of course, Bruce has a shark….

Morgan Hill Half Marathon – Race Recap 10/22/2017


New for 2017, a redesigned flatter course. For Mother’s Day, we invited Stewart’s mom to do sign up for another race together. In 2014 she ran my first half marathon with me, which was, in fact, the Morgan Hill Half! We decided to race it again in the Fall. Fast forward to Sunday….I wasn’t feeling 100% but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. In fact, besides my nerves, the first 3 miles felt great! I was holding my normal pace and just cruising along.


Unfortunately, after mile three, I pulled something in my foot. Quickly my pace was dropping and I felt like I was falling backward as I was being passed, one by one. My mother-in-law passed and checked in but told her to keep going. I wasn’t going to quick or let this slow me down. Well, short story, it did slow me down a lot! And for the first time I found myself in the back of the race with the fellow walkers and walk/runners. I’ve never walked in a race before and it was actually kind of nice. I met some amazing people along the way and got to really encourage so new runners. I enjoyed it!



Plus, I never take good race photos, and look at that! Maybe that is the trick, I have to go slow? It was a beautiful day and despite being in a lot of pain I enjoyed the race. This is me, unfiltered.

Mt. Diablo Challenge – Race Recap 10/08/2017

Last time I made my way to the summit of Mt. Diablo was on two feet when I ran to the top on the last day of 2016. Today, I would racing to the to the top on two wheels, in my second Mt. Diablo Challenge, fourth Mt. Diablo race in the last two years.


Under new leadership, all registration and check-in was at Monte Vista high school. I woke early to start the ‘pre-race’ jitters before venturing around the block. It was cold, colder than I remembered last year. I’ll blame the temperature on my initial attempt to check in under my maiden name….quickly figuring out my error, I checked in and made my way to Athenian. It is always strange riding on Diablo Rd. Luckily I was ahead of the crowds and did not have to experience any cars the narrow, windy road.


Mom was leading the volunteers, so I got to visit a bit with her before, it is nice to be relaxed before ‘a race’. I was placed in wave #7. Congrats from wave 2 last year….I was going into the ‘race’ with no expectations so I put a finish time of 1 hour 20, 11 minutes slower than last year. Our wave was supposed to start at 8:30, so I was a bit shocked when we were called to line up at 8:15 and were off shortly after.


Very quickly I made it from the middle of the pack to the front five riders. By the time I reached the entrance gate I had already passed two riders in wave 6 and was in the front of my field. My Garmin told me I was on target for an 1:09 finish, same pace as last year but I knew this wasn’t going to stick, I was told there were 50mph winds near the top.


Looking way more pro than I actually am…


Right from the start, you climb. There is no warm-up or gradual incline, it is straight to the point. By the time I got to Kiosk I was solo. It was still cold and the wind was already making itself known. The mountain was exposed, there was no protection. I hung to the side of the mountain as I continued to Junction. We turned. Boom. The wind hit like a ton of bricks. The wind was unforgiving for the rest of the race. A mixture of side-winds and head-winds. Strong. The kind of wind where you fear you may tip over.


I quickly watched my Garmin count down….1:09 passed, 1:10. I knew it was more than 5 minutes to the top…..1:15, the wind was playing games. I knew no one would be hitting any PRs in this. I could hear the cheering, the bells, it was close. One last turn, out of the saddle. Three men ahead and I see the finish line. Out of the saddle, I own these short climbs. Quickly over the finish line, 1:20.


Amazing how much faster that was in comparison to running….


I quickly turned around and road down the opposite side to meet the crowd for us to be escorted down. We were all freezing, the winds were like nothing I’ve ever felt before. Even standing in place was hard. This left me a little nervous for the ride down. The follow car pulled out and we were on our way, quickly my group disappeared behind me as I stayed close behind the bumper of the follow car. I followed that car as close as I could (in retrospect, I think I made the driver really nervous because they problem had never had bikes follow them like this before – oops) but this helped with the wind and riding 64s, that was all I cared about.


It was the longests descent I’ve ever experienced on the mountain but I then made my way back to my parents house for a quick costume change before joining my parents back at Monte Vista for the rest of the festivities.


Always a great time on the mountain.

Sturdy Dirty Oakridge Enduro – Race Recap 8/19/2017


My first enduro meant a trip down memory lane, back to Oakridge. Last year Oakridge was a highlight for Stewart on our 2-week adventure, for me, let’s just say I was a bit nervous. We arrived Thursday to a ‘dirt lot’ that would play home for the next few days. We set up Bruce (our new addition to the family, F150). Friday morning we loaded into old school buses to shuttle up to the mountain for a test run of the Enduro course on Alpine Trail. 5 Stages, all with their very own personalities, challenges, and awesome descents.



Meet Echo, an S-Works 2018 Stumpjumper FSR. A work of art. Friday marked my third time riding the bike, so we were still getting acquainted. The ride started with a couple of hiccups, as I reached down to adjust my rear suspension I wasn’t aware of the different placement and nicely smashed my fingers between the switch and water bottle, this threw me off guard and like a newbie, I nearly crashed. Fingers tingling, we continued up hill to the first transition. Half way down the mountain and we were finally a team. Hitting little (baby) jumps, speeding down long stretches of trails, only putting my foot down for a couple right-hand turns. I felt great. Saturday’s race might just work out.


The Race

Stage 1 Sourgrass Meadow to NF-1912 crossing
Start this stage off in stunning fashion with an “is this real life?” blast through Sourgrass Meadow on fast rocky (and narrow!) singletrack before descending into iconic Alpine Trail flow with occasional roots, bumps, and several tight switchbacks. We could say this for all of our timed segments: you will get cookin’, so be sure to look ahead and be ready for sudden and abrupt switchbacks. 

I’ve never raced an Enduro before. I raced a few downhill events in College, but nothing too technical. When I registered I initially put beginner. Stewart quickly corrected me and made me register in Sport but I still had no idea how I was going to compare. As we began lining up at the first stage, a couple of women went off a head. We were all trying to get a feel for pacing and who would pass who. It was my turn and almost immediately I passed the person 30-seconds ahead of me. Quickly after that passed another. And right before the finish, passed one more. Okay, maybe I do know what I am doing.

Stage 1 was the longest stages out of the 5, it took me 7:46.77 to complete the stage, despite getting held up three times. Its a flowy descent with a few switch backs near the finish. Great single track, the kind of descent that you don’t want to end. Luckily I was going to have 4 most equally as awesome trails to come. It was a great way to start the race off as we hit our next transition.


Stage 2 Jedi to NF-1912/Windy Pass crossing
Ever wanted to ride like Leia? Pump and bump your way through a section of Alpine locals refer to simply as “Jedi” – a nod to the old-growth trees that the trail twists and turns through. Smiles, shout-inducing berms, and quick techy changes in direction are key features on this segment. 

You can’t go wrong with a description like that! You really do feel like you are in episode 6, fighting off the storm troopers, weaving between trees. This portion has some great rolling rocky sessions, things I would never had ridden in years past but now absolutely eat up. There is a little kicker in the middle to remind you that this isn’t all fun and games, as you actually need to pedal a bit too. We learned but the previous stage to have me out in front, so I only passed one person before reaching the finish. 4:09.83 was the shortest and quickest portion of the race.

Next, we had a long transition to do, with some left hand ‘cliffs’ I wasn’t too fond of but knew I needed to ride. I was pumped. I was riding the best I’ve ever ridden and feeling incredible. Stage 3 had everyone in my little pedal group a bit nervous. It starts off with some sharp turns that threw you a bit off course, but after that, you could fly…


Apparently, I still had my XC experience in my head, keep moving. I didn’t stop at the rest stops, I just keep riding through to the transitions onto the next stage. I don’t like stopping, even for normal rides, so adding in the pressure of a race, there was no way I was going to stop. This put me quite a ways in front of the main field. Luckily I had two awesome women to ride with for the transitions but there is no telling how far ahead we were for the duration of the race.

As we reached Stage 3, the volunteers were a bit shocked to already see some riders, see….you are supposed to stop and hang out, take a shot, chug a beer at these rest stations….oh well, not my style I guess. We hung out a bit at the start of stage 3 to let them get settled and radio ahead. Then I took to the course.


Stage 3 Vista Meadow to NF-683 crossing
After you stop for a couple of selfies with your friends and drink in the absolutely ridiculous views of Transition 3, power up a climb and get ready to start your engines again (after catching your breath). There are several tight switchbacks along this section, so check yo’self before you wreck yo’self! 

They aren’t joking about the switchbacks, they definitely keep you in check. It was a good reminder to slow down and not get over confident. After the switch backs were done I had full run of the course. This was only my second time down this section and loved it! 6:46.05


Stage 4 Buckhead Shelter to NF-5828 crossing
One word describes this segment: FAST! Long corridors of straight-ish trail allow you to pickup crazy amounts of speed. The exposure may give you pause to take it down a notch, and there are several sections of loose srabbly shale to test your handling skills. 

Fast is right. One of the most fun stages on the whole course. There are some technical loose rocks that make things a little interesting but the long descent is epic. Built for speed. 6:00.82.

When we were test riding this stage on Friday, Stewart actually told me to slow down a bit, that is how comfortable I started feeling on Echo. The bike just rolled over the technical sections and never once did I feel out of control or going above my limited skill level. When I finished the stage I was tempted to hike my bike back up and do it all over again.


Stage 5 Jurassic Park to Westfir Portal
No, a T-Rex may not be chasing you…but if one was….you could probably pick up enough speed in this section for that tiny-armed fella to eat your dust. This segment basically follows the mountainside one direction before a sharp left brings you back down the other way. Short punchy ups keep you on your toes until you get the once-in-a-lifetime experience of throwing down the hammer as you finish the course in an all-out-sprint along the fire road which brings you right back where it all started with a screaming crowd of your #1 fans and of course, cold beer! 

After winding your way through ferns, you come to the realization that the race is almost over. Most races I’m praying that the finish line is just a bit closer or that I’m magically transported to the end. But the Enduro was different….here I was wishing that there was a surprise bonus stage or that I would have to do it a second time before crossing the finish line. Regardless, I gave it all I had left on Stage 5. Maybe a bit too much to be honest, I forgot about a couple of turns and nearly washed out. By this point, the course had seen some better days and was getting washed out in some corners and sandy sections. I wasn’t paying much attention and pushed myself a little too hard. I was brought back down to reality when I ran into a blackberry bush (I swear it wasn’t there the day before) and I almost missed a quick climb by being in the wrong gear…5:43.87


I was the first one down. Yay, I won! Oh wait, this isn’t like other races…this is a timed event. I crossed the line and it was like a ghost town, guess they weren’t expecting people to be down so quick. Again…..rest stops, I’m not used to that. Total race time: 30:27.34. I felt great. I was a little overly confident in my finish time, especially in comparison to the first couple of riders. Then I quickly got pushed down to 4th. I was a little upset, it was the first time I’ve ever finished a race and actually thought I stood a chance. Stewart reassured me that 4th was very impressive for my first Enduro, but I still don’t know….Regardless it was extremely fun and I can’t wait to race again! Going downhill sure beats climbing on a MTB!


Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon – Race Recap 5/21/2017

Since Wildflower has been canceled until further notice, I needed something else to do this year for a triathlon. For some reason, I had no idea that Morgan Hill had their very own Triathlon! It isn’t an Olympic distance but at least it is a tad longer than a sprint. So I decided to sign up with my amazing friend. The course is the usual lunch ride, so saying I was familiar with the terrain is a bit of an understatement. I know every single turn, descent, wind-blown corner, and crack in the road.


My race started at 7:00 sharp, Sunday morning. We were in the middle of experiencing a random May heat-wave, which nicely kept the wind at bay and the air temperature at 70 degrees. Meaning that the water wasn’t a shock to the system. Of course, the minute I put my wetsuit on, my brain started over thinking. Over water swimming. Crowds of people. Limited visibility. Nearly a mile with no walls to hold on to or breaks to take. Whew.


I definitely didn’t break any world records with the amount of time it took me to get into my wetsuit, but eventually, I was ready. This very kind man who had stationed next to me offered a pair of earplugs. Life saver! New best tip ever, already ordered on Amazon!


Around 6:45, Court and I headed down to the water. She is born swimmer, been swimming her whole life. She is strong, extremely strong. having her by myself calmed my nerves as we ventured out way waste deep. The starting line was a couple of yards out, meaning we were starting the race fully under. I think this actually helped. This forced me to get the nerves out and breathing under control. I watched Court warm up as I slowly made my way further out in the water. I tried a few strokes and to my surprise, it wasn’t a ‘Wildflower Repeat”. We found each other among the crowd forming near the start line, with a few more encouraging words I was off. Court would start 6 minutes behind me. My goal was to finish not that far behind her….yes you read that right, she is that fast.


The water was clear(ish). I could actually see some bubbles and peoples’ feet in front of me. I kept my distance but was able to hold on to the end pack of swimmers. I was the first wave to start the race, all elite racers and 29 under. Which meant this was a big and fast group. One stroke after another, I kept my head in the water and held it together. The course is a “3/4 mile” loop around an island like landmass. Super awesome course. I’m like a Labrador, always eager to see what is behind the next corner, so this really helped the swim. I continued on, a few rests to keep the lungs under control but always quickly getting back into the grove. I rounded the tip of the shore before our group continued their way around, one more turn and we would be back. I knew once I could see the final yellow buoy I would be golden. Then I saw the green swim cap of Court, but where were all the rest of the ‘green swimmers’. Yes, again, she is that fast! Inspiration! Love her!


Finally, we turned the corner and I knew this was the home stretch, I was exhausted so thrilled to be getting on my bike! I gave it all I had and before I knew it I was running up the boat ramp. Goggles, swim cap, ear plugs off. Started unzipping my wetsuit and I wasn’t even to my transition area yet. Dang 3rd triathlon and I’m finally getting the hang of this!


Official Swim Time 29:44 


11th – Age Group
87th/175- All Women
(My goal was 28 minutes, pretty much nailed it! This summer I plan on doing more Tahoe open swimming and in general training, goal to shave another 5 minutes off my time)


Transition 1 2:23

10th – Age Group
53rd – All Women
(still some room for improvement)



Shoes on. Helmet. Go time.


Boom. Car. No, I didn’t crash, but seriously? Why is there car blocking the road entrance? Okay, now I was moving. I mean, you have to dry off somehow. The thing that was different this go around was my wave started first, so there weren’t as many carrots to chase. Since I was hungry and I was going to hunt them down.


I’ve ridden this loop too many times to count. First, you go up, flat, around, down, fast, turn, rolls, down, flat, turn, gaaaa, busy road, climb finish. And that is exactly what I did. I didn’t have the strongest ride, I could feel my legs starting to cramp but I did my best. I was borrowing an aero helmet and I made the mistake of not fitting it the night before, something about firepits lasting until 11pm…oops. I had to keep pushing the helmet back up so I could see. It did make me really want a TT bike though. I just can’t hold the aero position extremely long on the Venge. My arms start to get heavy, next time I’ll set up the bike more with some aero bars or something.


16-mile loop completed. Into the shoot. Unclip. Run to my zone. Shoes off. Golden.


Official Bike Time 49:53 


1st – Age Group
13th/175 – All Women
(Pretty sure I could still improve that time if I wasn’t fussing around with my helmet and held my aero tuck longer)


Transition 1 2:23

11th – Age Group
72nd – All Women
(I had to tie my shoes !!!! 🙁 dang shoe laces)



Off the bike, it was time for the run. Normally I can hold my position. My legs had other plans though. Slowly I started getting past….it took a good two miles before my legs felt like myself and at that point there was only 3 miles left. I muscled through and was able to sprint the last glorious feet to the finish line….a final sprint for the sprint triathlon.


Official Run Time 44:54 

8th – Age Group
56th/175 – All Women
(I’m actually kind of embarrassed of my run, not going to lie. I really should have done better….)



Final Results

4th Place – Age Group

38th Place – Women

179th Place – Over All


Total Time 2:08:27

So, what’s my next race?