Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Primal Quest - looking for volunteers

In between all the racing, I enjoy occasionally volunteering at events.  Some of our favorite memories have involved volunteering at previous editions of Primal Quest, watching teams do amazing things and helping as we can.

This year I'm going a step further, signing up as volunteer coordinator for Primal Quest in British Columbia.  First time attempt at getting more involved.  I'm looking forward to being a part of the race, living the adventure without all the crazy training or gear preparations (yay!).

So -- full disclosure that I have a vested interest -- Volunteers wanted!  Come join me and the rest of Primal Quest crew and be a part of this epic race in beautiful British Columbia.


We will be based out of Squamish, exploring the area up into the mountains and around the waterways.  Teams will be trekking, mountain biking, white water and ocean paddling, and completing a fixed ropes course.

The race is September 6-15, and we'll be doing setup/check-in for a couple days beforehand.  If you can help for any part of the September 3-16 time period, that would be excellent.

We're looking for volunteers to assist at checkpoints, deliver gear and supplies, help with communications, work with the media team, and many other roles that make the race happen.

To sign up as a volunteer, fill out the form on this page:

Below are some photos from Primal Quest around Lake Tahoe in 2015.  I volunteered that year, but these aren't my photos - thank you to Kaori Funahashi for these excellent shots.

A typical transition area with a racer surrounded by gear and bike boxes:

British Columbia is sure to provide spectacular scenery, especially for the ropes section:

Everything's funnier on sleep deprivation:

Living outdoors for a few days... a chance to see sunsets and pretty places:

I did take a few photos, detailed in my blog posts from back then:

Feel free to send questions - my PQ email is marcy at primalquest dot org

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Recent roving

Time for another set of quick accounts, vignettes if you will, of what we've been up to lately.

We really like the escape adventures that SCRAP puts together, and recently they created another innovative one called Spellbound Supper.  You sit at a dinner table with friends and solve puzzles that combine projections with real objects - neat idea!  Quite ambitious.  We ran into a couple challenges that slowed us down for seemingly purposeless reasons, and we theorize that it's so hard to set up the game that they can't adjust it on the fly like most other escape room setups.  That's our excuse for not solving the final puzzle, anyway.  The concept was fun and we enjoyed thinking outside the box.

John had a weekend off recently so we took the opportunity to explore downtown San Jose a bit.  Interesting public art:

Love the bears - made from pennies!

This always impresses me, glad I got a chance to show Kip and John:

Now for a walk through a Google building near where Kip works - you never know who or what you'll find:

A place to hang out between coding:

I'm sensing a space-related theme:

And in a different mood, something more rustic:


Barber chairs and shuffleboard, because why not?  Google makes exploring fun:

John got to join us the next day too for a Nav-X rogaine at Las Trampas park.  It was a doozy!  Very scenic but with lots of steep hills:

Just getting up to the big ridge near the starting line took some work, and once you dropped down to the back section you had to be aware what it might take to make the return trip.  Kip and I ran the first several controls together, then he took a different route that wasn't quite as ambitious as what I was thinking.

I made a run for the far reaching CP's and basically fretted the whole time about the 4-hour time limit.  I had some good navigational moments, but also didn't help myself by going the wrong way at the top of the steepest frickin' climb (mini Barkley-esque, and I'm really not kidding).  So I had to bail on a couple checkpoints I wish I could have gotten, but at least my route plan worked by giving me options at the end.

Beautiful rock faces near the final controls of my loop:

I could see Mount Tam occasionally in the distance, very cool:

John walked the 2-hour version, happy to get some orienteering in now and then:

I made it back with a couple minutes to spare, phew, that was exhausting.  But great training and lots of fun.

While writing a recent blog post, I looked up the PostSecret website and discovered there was a live event coming up in San Jose - what are the odds??  Of course, how could I not go.

The event was really neat, lots of stories and interesting/funny/emotional postcards, history about how it was started and where it's going.  Frank Warren is a wonderful speaker and I very much enjoyed the evening.

In the meantime, John flew to Las Vegas to spend a day with Danny - fun!  They covered a bunch of ground in one day, starting up near Fremont Street.  They sent photos throughout the day to keep me company during one of my training runs.  Thanks guys!  Love you!

Always amazing displays at the Bellagio Conservatory:

And on the other side of the temperature spectrum - the following weekend I did a steep snow climb with a couple folks from Mountain Ascent Association.  We were supposed to climb Mount Shasta, but a big storm took aim at the mountain right at the wrong possible time.  So we adjusted our goals and found much better weather at Round Top near Lake Tahoe.

The climb was excellent, good training with the ropes, crampons, and ice axes.  I wanted to take more pictures, but I was pretty focused on the ropes and belaying, and I don't have a good "pocket system" for mountaineering yet.  Here is the hike back afterward:

A couple photos from a similar club climb in 2017:

The views from there are awesome, I really like the Sierras.  Even if the Sierra weather seems to always be aiming at me - I'm 1 for 4 on good winter weather weekends, and this time only worked because I faked out the weather gods and planned on going to Mount Shasta first...

Back to the warmer lowlands, a view of the bay from the end of Stevens Creek (a bit of prep for a possible new FKT creation):

I think this group was doing Search & Rescue training, something that seems to call to me even though I haven't been with a SAR group in several years:

The egret rookery on the Google campus is in full swing - my first time here and once I figured out to "look up, duh" I could see many nests in the trees:

And lots of great white egrets coming and going:

Very cool, a neat place to visit during a run:

Speaking of neat places, Kathy and Bob recently mentioned SF Boudin as a place to get good sourdough, so I routed my run to try it.  Also my first avocado toast.  Yum for both!

And finally, a concert!  John and I visited the SAP arena for the first time:

Excited to see Train, one of our favorite bands:

They were awesome!  Such fun, great interaction with the audience, and we love their music.  This photo doesn't do it justice, of course:

So that's what we've been doing lately, thanks for reading!