Dedan and his family

Dedan and his family
Dedan, wife Susan and children Lucy, Sospeter and Benson

Monday, 18 May 2009

We have been busy!!

Hi everyone,
Hope this post finds you all fit, healthy, happy and in high spirits!!!
You have probably been wondering where we have been and why the blog has been quiet for the past couple of weeks. Well..I tell can't be in two places at once.... although I have me it would be a blast to be able to do that!!!

Anyway..why so busy?
1. training...swim/bike/run/...check.
2. racing...check.
3. working with clients .....check.
4. food shopping for three...check.
5. keeping friends in the loop....check.
6. checking up on family scattered all over the world....check.
7. walking lessons....check.
8. english lessons....check.
9. playing tourist with Dedan.....check. Ahhh....what? Playing tourist?

English lessons at home:

You beat ya sweet boots we have been playing tourist!!!! So there lies the can you post blogs which require sitting in front of a computer when you are out and about eating ice cream and drinking totally amazing fruit smoothies at all the tourist spots that San Diego has to offer? Huh? now try and answer that question!!!!

So, where is Dedan? or should I say where has Dedan been?
1. Casa Quero....Our local Peruvian restaurant owned by the lovely Monica has a second business which is a house in Leucadia - one suburb over from Encinitas. She has made it into a very cool hang out place with table and chairs in the South American themed garden where you can buy food and drinks and enjoy the beachy, laid back atmosphere. They have Tapas evenings every Wednesday from 5-7pm and I thought it would be a novelty way for Dedan to socialise and use his new - hard earned English skills. Works a treat!

2. Sea World...Dedan loved this place and was chuffed to see the show with all the dancing and prancing whales, orca and dolphins and their respective handlers. The penguins and polar bears were also one of his favorites. Chris and Dedan spent all day at the park and he certainly got an honest days walking in. Poor little residual leg ala the stump was quite tired after the mammoth effort.

3. The an aircraft carrier that has been restored and sits down in the water front of San Diego. Once again it was a boy thing..I had already been to it and spent hours there when my dad was visiting from New Zealand so Chris and Dedan made this trip together. Once again they were there for hours and then topped off the visit with dinner in La Jolla.

4. Children's Pool and the Seals at La Jolla..La Jolla Cove is a really nice part of the shoreline of San Diego and we spend alot of time swimming in the Cove. There is a 1 mile swim race every year - starting from La Jolla Coves and swimming across to La Jolla Shores. What's cool about this race is the fact that you are swimming through a marine nature reserve and so as you swim all you can see are brightly coloured fish, stingrays, mantarays if you are lucky, harmless baby tiger sharks..(they make you swim faster) and lots of kelp. Around the corner is an area known as the Childrens pool which is also where the seals come to shore and bask in the sun.

5. Mount Laguna and Garnet Peak..Mount Laguna is south east of San Diego and a great area to go hiking and walking - sometimes trail running and mountain biking and it is about an hours drive out of the city. It is also where alot of the professional road racing athletes live and train (it's at altitude)and so it is not unusual to see packs of African runners doing narly hill repeats up the mountain. Chris and Dedan went there this weekend and Dedan loved the view and the vertical drop of about 2,000 feet when you get to the top of Garnet Peak and look over.

Besides all the tourist visits Dedan has also experienced two baby earthquakes. One a couple of weeks ago and one last night. Los Angeles had a 4.5 quake at 8.36pm and we could certainly feel it all the way down here. The house shook for a while and yep Dedan's eyes definitely had a look of surprise.

Chris has also ramped up Dedan's training in the last couple of weeks....we all did the last Fiesta Island time trial together (I finally got my act together and beat all of Chris's male clients who were there. I did pull out the speed weapon as in my Cervelo P3 bike which gave me an aerodynamic advantage but I still had the legs on the day!). Chris has specifically been working on Dedan's time trialing skills as it is an area of weakness compared to his other strengths. We got the estimated times that Dedan should be striving for from Craig the USA Paracycling Coach whom we met during our OTC training sessions...added bonus..and so we now know what Dedan has to achieve in order to get on the podium. Cool huh!

Dedan also had dinner with one of our neighbors last week. Too funny. Each evening we make him walk to our house from his house as 'walking practice' and when he gets to us we assess his leg and check that all went well. Well, he changed his route a couple of weeks ago to include more of an uphill route than a flat route. Just so happens that one of the neighbors on the corner of Requesa and Arden had been in Africa for 2 months so missed seeing his daily ritual of walking until last Monday when they arrived back to Encinitas. They had spent time in Kenya and Tanzania and had picked up a little bit of Swahilli and so spoke to Dedan as he strolled by. Their conversation and Dedan's natural energy got him a dinner there you go!!! I tell ya..if he stayed long enough I'm sure he would be adopted!!!

The owner of his guest house is also going to miss him and so has arranged a farewell BBQ for him next Sunday..too cool!

We have also been collecting things for Dedan to take back to Nairobi. Can't believe it but he leaves next Monday...3 months has passed so quickly. Chris picked up a bike box so we can pack his bike and he will definitely be needing a second suitcase for all his new cycling gear and the gifts of clothes that our clients have given him..ranging from sunglasses to shoes!

OK..I have to go to work so I'll be adding photos in the next post.
Hope you are all peachy..

Sunday, 3 May 2009

6.8 mile Uphill Time Trial with the US Paracycling Team

Hi there,
Well it is late Sunday morning and I am beat! Just did my first Duathlon race for the season and although I was supposed to treat it as a 'training race',(yeah right..for those who know me well, can you ever see me hanging back if anyone in my age group attempts to pass me?)..anyway, I pulled one out of the bag so to speak and got a second in my age group. Not bad for a start, now a tad tired and hence lounging in front of the computer doing the blog. Chris is teaching our endurance course this weekend and has taken the TV into the studio as a teaching aid, which means I don't get to blob in front of it and watch golf!! Dang! has been a busy week again.
The Leg:
Dedan and Chris went to Scope last Tuesday to see Kel Bergman again and he gave Dedan a new knee as the other one was leaking hydraulic fluid..not a good look. All went well until yesterday when it buckled under him while walking causing Dedan to take a spill. No damage to the leg or Dedan but it meant a late walking lesson around 7pm and close observation outside on Arden Drive when Chris got home from lecturing. They made a funny pair to watch....walk a little, stop and bend and do something to the back of the knee, walk some more, stop and glad the neighbors know us all! Chris has made the knee stiffer as Dedan is getting really good at placing all his weight on the new leg as well as walking quickly. We will iron out the glitches this week and so Dedan will be smooth walking again before you know it.

Olympic Training Center - 6.8 mile uphill time trial ala the ass kicker!!!
So early Friday morning we all went out to the Olympic Training Center at Otay Lakes and joined the US Paracyling Team for their training session which was to be a 6.8 mile uphill time trial.To beat traffic we left the house at 6.30am and had breakfast down near the center. I had never been out to that part of San Diego before and I must say that when I saw the hills of Mexico and the US-Mexico border to my right and the valley we were driving towards directly in front of me....yep...I kinda knew that this little 'ol time trial was gonna be an ass kicker!!! ....for sure!
Dedan at the Athlete Entrance:

Michael Shelly, the Team Dedan photographer met us there bright and early and this time around we had to meet the US team outside the venue by the athlete entrance as they were limiting who could come and go, in and out of the center due to the Swine flu! Go figure! We didn't care but we did see a local rider going in the opposite direction with full head cover, helmet and yes ..a mask over her mouth and nose.

We left the center from the athlete entrance and rode for about 45 minutes as a warm up to the start of the climb.I initially hung at the back with two of the male hand cyclists and one of them was Alejandro Albor. I was messing with him as his name is Alexander in Spanish yet he was wearing a cycling top with Alaska on it. I knew Alejandro's name from checking out the team on the internet (I was checking out who Dedan's competition would be) and his name caught my eye but I didn't realise his pedigree as an athlete until I checked him out when we got back on Friday afternoon. The dude is a monster!!! He kicked serious booty on the time trial....a beast of pure upper body strength. I asked him if he was training for London 2012 and he gave me a 'I'm 45 years old'..but once I saw what titles he holds...he'll be there! He's quite a character and lots of fun AND mischief for sure!! Alejandro has been to two Paralympic games to date - Athens 2004 where he won silver in the road race and placed 5th in the time trial and Beijing 2008 where he won silver in the road race and bronze in the time trial. He also won the New York Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon in 2008 and so he is no slouch!!! He also runs his own business, A-WON HandCycles, building low-cost handcycles for people who do not have the financial means to pay for the costly ones on the market. I tell ya he is infectious! I also spoke and rode with two other US Team athletes, one an above the knee amputee who lost his leg in an avalanche 4 years ago when he was back country skiing in Montana. He is the person riding next to me in the photo with Dedan at the front and me in the foreground. Nice guy and unfortunately missed making the 2008 US team by mere seconds at trials and so is set to work hard and make the London 2012 team. The other was born with a limb disability and so also races as an above the knee amputee but also races Cat 4 in able bodied races. He is good at the time trial but faded on the hills..and yes Dedan smoked him!

Once we got to the start of the time trial I spotted Tara Llanes getting organised and so gave her a hug and a quick hello before the US team was put into their starting order. You can see Tara in the foreground of the photo to the left about to start her timed effort. Although she is new to the sport, her motivation and courage is scary strong and so she will do amazingly well even if it's tough to start again in a new sport...she really is a legend. Tara was going off as number three and so it was a really quick hello!

Dedan was number 10 and Chris and I were extras, so the coach put us in amongst his team but we were not officially timed. Chris wanted me to go 90 seconds ahead of Dedan to be the 'rabbit for the fox'. With me in front, Dedan would go even harder, a little bit of testosterone is great for time trialing but so is bait in the form of a female cyclist who can ride!

It worked..Dedan blew his lights out with a 38min 10 sec time and 18 minutes of that was catching me! Once Dedan caught me, my job was done but I still pushed to the finish. I said to the US coach once I crossed the finish line that it would have been easier for me to email Tara rather than ride an uphill time trial. He laughed!

I had to get back to work and couldn't continue the rest of the training session with the US team as my afternoon appointment was an evaluation of a female runner who had flown in all the way from New Zealand! I figured it would have been the height of bad manners not to mention bad form if I was late!! So, I left Chris and Dedan at the top of the mountain and headed back into a raging head wind. NICE! One minute I had wind in my face and the next I was flying down the hill back to the was an 'ah ha moment' and it slowly dawned on me as to why I was hurting going up. It was a solid climb and that's why my legs and lungs were squealing!!! a high pitch ...Palomar over again!

Although Dedan did well, he found it tough and harder than Palomar. Chris explained to him that he had done four HARD training sessions during the week and so his legs were tired. Bonus is that the last two days for him have been ride to the pool, swim, ride home. Easy!!!

At the moment he is with our friend Michelle Neisler who has taken him to Fry's super store in San Marcos (and then to Jimbos food shopping). She thought it would be good for him to see the giant aquariums that are strategically placed throughout the store...which are superb and serve the purpose of distracting a wife, or husband or child and saves them getting bored while the 'shopper' drools at every detail of whatever they are purchasing. The aquariums are beautiful and it's a great idea!

What Michelle doesn't know is that Dedan is a techy and so will probably be salivating all over anything electronic. Next to bike stores, Fry's is right up his alley. The boy will be in heaven!

OK..I have a 70th birthday party to attend tonight and have to figure out what I am wearing. One of my long time clients is turning 70 next week and his party is tonight at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Fabulous place darhling so can't turn up in any old thing! Chris and Dedan are therefore dining sans two tonight.. so who knows where they will end up! Dine in? eat out? A mystery...
Hope you are all fantastic and once again thanks for all your support.
We love ya.
P.S. Do you think my screaming calves will let me wear heels to the 'swanky party? I know not to risk 2-click shoes (translation - high killer heels - two clicks as in two steps and you wish you had worn running shoes) but maybe a small heel? I guess I'll let you know the perpetual cycling shoe attached to my feet!

Over and out!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Olympic Training Center and Dedan is officially a hill monster!!

Well..hello folks,
How's it going? At the moment Dedan is getting some R&R/down time (with Chris) in the form of watching British humour and action movies! Chris's version of real live action English lessons....hmmmm so far..movies to date: 'Lock, stock and two smoking barrels', 'Snatch','The Fast Show' and some other Guy Ritchie (ex - Mrs Madonna) movie which had the required fast car, hot chick and a bunch of baddies.Oh well..makes a change from training huh?

Anyway..speaking of training. Last Saturday Dedan made quite the impression at the Olympic Training much that we have been invited back to race again in the morning. So, Chris and Dedan turned up last weekend to the OTC to find that:
1. The US coach is a kiwi - New Zealander and very cool.
2. There were 10 cyclists and 5 hand cyclists in the US training squad.
3. Dedan did the time trial and we found out that he didn't really understand the rules of drafting. He knew that you can not sit behind another rider and draft BUT he didn't realise that you can not ride side by side either and when another rider catches you, you have to drop back. He wasn't exactly next to the other rider, (there was enough space for Chris to ride through the middle of them when he was time trialing), but anyway the rider who caught up to Dedan was not happy and yelled at both Dedan and Chris. Not too sure how much of it was rules and how much of it was pride as the other rider was an above the knee amputee BUT had a prosthetic leg and yet Dedan was still able to stay with him.
4. After the time trial the group then did an hour and a half training over hills and this is where Dedan showed his strengths and nailed the lot of them..leg, prosthetic legs and all! Dedan apparently hung in the group for about 10 minutes and then decided that the pace was too slow and went off the front and smoked them all!! Way to go Dedan! Consequently, he got invited back as tomorrow morning is the 6 mile uphill time trial.
5. Smart move on the Coach's part. Dedan will go for it and it will probably motivate the other riders to stay with him!..including me..tee hee!

Tara Llanes:

One of the very cool things about Chris's visit (I didn't go..I stayed and rode with the Swamis group and then worked in my garden) was that he was riding with the group and looked down as he was passing one of the hand cyclists in the US squad. The woman had short black spiky hair and look familiar and it wasn't until she spoke that Chris made the connection. The fab gurl was Tara Llanes, an old client of ours who unfortunately had a terrible mountain biking accident in Sept 07, injuring her spinal cord and who is now paralysed from the waist down. If you google Tara you will see that she is an amazing athlete.

"On Saturday September 1, 2007, Tara had a horrible crash at the Jeep King of the Mountain series finale in Beaver Creek Colorado. During a semi-final heat with the eventual race winner, Jill Kintner, Tara entered the second to last straight on the course and hit an obstacle that sent her over the handlebars, coming down hard on her head then back. She was rushed to Vail Valley Medical Center, and then airlifted to Denver Health Medical Center where a specialty spinal cord team worked on her for seven hours over Saturday night. Tara's crash caused a fracture to the C7 and L1 vertebra and damaged her spinal cord, resulting in a below-the-waist paralysis, a condition her surgeons say is most likely permanent." As reported on The Giant Bicycles Website, story attributed to James Herrara

Those who follow the (downhill) circuit know that Tara is a fierce competitor. She's fast, she's aggressive, and she flies. During her career, spanning a decade, she has ridden for Haro, Rotec, Specialized, and Yeti/Pearl Izumi. But for the last five years, she's been grabbing victories for the Giant/Pearl Izumi team. Tara makes a habit out of gracing the podium, collecting accolades and generating excitement wherever she races. A national champion in all three gravity disciplines, she has won both gold and silver at the Winter X-Games. Tara has been a multi-time US Mountain Bike Worlds team member and multi-time World Cup podium finisher vying for a spot on the US BMX Olympic Team for Beijing in 2008. She has graced the pages of too many bike rags to list and she has even done a glamour shoot for Maxim. She's a huge inspiration to female athletes worldwide, proving that women can ride just as hard as the men. Since her injury, Tara has been focusing all of her energies on her recovery. Paralyzed below the waist, and pronounced "complete" by medical experts, she defied all the informed opinions when, on November 12th (2008) while in the rehab pool, she moved her left leg.

Cool huh! So..if anyone can do it Tara WILL....and so that's one of the reasons why I am gong to be putting myself through hell in the morning with this uphill time trial as I want to see her back in action with the hand cycle. Chris said it was a blast to see her there. Watch out paracycling athletes world wide Tara Llanes is one hell of a lady!!!

So...Chris and Dedan have been doing some seriously hard training this week in preparation for tomorrow and Michel Shelly our photographer/film person from the Palomar climb will be there to record the action. It also means that we will have photos..yeehaa.

OK..over and out time to hit the hay.
Trust you are all well.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Golden Opportunity coming up this weekend!

Hi there,
Just a quick post to let you know what is coming up:
Golden Opportunity:
The golden opportunity this weekend that awaits Dedan is.......ta dat! ta da!
Dedan will be partaking in a 9 mile time trial on Saturday morning at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista,(waaaaahhhhhooooo)against members of the USA Paralympic cycling squad. How cool is that!!!

The Training Center rests on a 150-acre complex adjacent to Lower Otay Lake in San Diego County. The center has sport venues and support facilities for nine Olympic sports: archery, canoe/kayak, cycling, field hockey, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, and track & field. Through programs developed by the national governing bodies of each sport, an estimated 4,000 athletes each year receive the coaching, support and facilities necessary to be their best....and Dedan is going to get the opportunity to show his form!!

Chris was cruising around the internet a couple of weeks back and saw that they were having a training camp and so emailed the USA coach to see if Dedan could attend. I think they are going to be surprised with how fast he can ride and fingers crossed that they will allow him to attend more days!! We had to give our names to the coach so that he can give them to the main gate to let us in. The general rule is - if you're not an Olympic athlete, well you ain't coming in here! We can't wait to get down there and have oodles of questions to ask the coach and maybe some of the athletes(hopefully they are willing to help us), as we need answers from people in the know!

Why the excitement? other than to have a look around...well
We have been advised to hold off on getting Dedan fitted for a cycling socket just yet as according to Kel Bergman (our main man at SCOPE who made the walking socket), once Dedan uses his walking socket for a couple of months his residual limb (the remaining part of his right limb aka stump) will grow and therefore change the fit of a cycling socket if we were to get it fitted right now. So....the timing of this USA Paracycling training camp has been fortuitous as we can get some of our questions answered.Some of the athletes choose not to use a prosthetic limb while racing and yet others do so it will be a fact gathering visit as well as a race for Dedan. We have also just heard that they are changing the classifications within Paracycling (Dedan is currently an LC3 - one leg with an above knee amputee) and so that will also have an affect on the cycling socket..what kind? what material? etc. The classifications will not be finalised until November 09 and so it looks like we will have to hold off and there may be another trip back to the states for Dedan in 2010!
We'll take lots of photos (if we are allowed) and post them to the blog next Sunday.

Dedan's turn to be a tourist:
It has been crazy hot here in Southern Cal and so we thought it a good time to show Dedan some of the local tourist spots ...which we take for granted as well as some down time to relax and recover from the Mount Palomar ride. Monday was a 93 degree Fahrenheit day and so at the end of the day, where to go? no other than La Jolla Cove for a swim in the ocean and dinner at Georges...fab restaurant overlooking the ocean.! The cove is a well used diving spot for locals, it being a sanctuary for fish and all other ocean creatures. It was funny to watch Dedan in the water with fish bumping into his leg. Kinda spooked him out to start but once he realised that it wasn't a school of shark he was off! He has been swimming regularly at out local haunt - The Boys and Girls Club as part of his cross training and recovery program since he got to the states as they have a gorgeous outdoor pool. Unbeknownst to us he has been watching a couple of the hot swimmers who train there and has taught himself how to butterfly and back stroke. He told me last night that until he came to the states he had never done those strokes before..I tell ya the boy is a freik of a good way! Other things on our list of things to do are The Midway - a navy aircraft carrier parked up as a museum in down town San Diego harbour and of course Seaworld. It was suggested to us that maybe we should take Dedan out to the Wild animal park...ah! why would we show a Kenyan lions and giraffes when they are from his home country? Lots of giggles after that point was made.

Swamis Ride:
Dedan outside Nytro about to join the Swamis ride through Elfin Forrest.

San Clemente Ride:
Kevin Koch and Dedan outside the turn around point of the San Clemente ride which goes through the marine base Camp Pendleton. The shop is a refuel stop for fluids and food and a momentary rest-ette!
OK..I have to go and do some work....
Hope you are all well.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Dedan Smoked Mount Palomar!!!!!!

Hope you are all well. As for us...Palomar Mountain Ride..check! Current energy levels..zilch!

Palomar Mountain Ride:
Warning...for the non cyclist Dedan followers who are reading this post, apologises in advance for all the boring details of the ride....but it was an exceptional performance on Dedan's part and so worthy of the record.

Chris leading Dedan up Palomar Mountain - check out the view as they climb:

So..we are home after the ride and it is late Sunday afternoon on a hot Southern Cal day and we are all beat! Chris, Dedan, Kevin Koch and I were up before the birds..well that's not totally true as a mocking bird has adopted our garden and has decided to serenade us every evening starting at 1.30am! Anyway, we were up at 4.45am getting tea, toast, bananas and sardines down us...Mmmmm..NOT!...but essential for what we were about to do! We loaded the trucks and headed out to Escondido to start the ride from there as the weather forecast had predicted a 'warming trend' and so we were expecting temperatures to be in the high 80's, hence our decision to go early. We had planned to meet our friend and client, Michael Shelly (who was going to be filming the ride as part of a documentary on Dedan) and a couple of other riders, who had voiced interest in joining us for the ride at 6.00am, at the school before the Lake Wolford turn off.

When we got to the school we found that they were doing major road works and so we couldn't park there and had to settle for the next turn off. We're not too sure if the other riders did turn up and couldn't find us, or decided not to ride but either way it turned out just to be the four of us. Our friend Michelle Neisler was the designated driver of the 'film wagon..aka our gas guzzling GMC or as Dedan calls it ..the Obama Car', Michael Shelly was chief film person..filming from the back of the truck and so after a swap of keys we were off.

Our route for the ride was to go up past Lake Wolford (nothing like a brisk climb to start your ride!), down to the T-junction at Valley Center, right turn at the T-junction to drop into the Rincon Valley - past all the Indian reservations and casinos, right onto State Route 76/Pala Road - stopwatch starts at the shop at the corner and gentlemen and one lady start your engines! We planned to ascend up the South Grade Road of Palomar Mountain and descend down the East Grade..clock stopping at the summit. If you look at the map below you can see all the zigzag hairpin turns and if you look at the terrain version of the area you can definitely see them hills!!!

View Larger Map

View Larger Map
Once off the mountain it was a mandatory snickers bar and coke stop at Lake Henshaw RV park, then on towards Santa Ysabel, through Ramona and back down Highway 78 - (fantastic downhill - I clocked a top speed of 44.4 miles/71km), past the wild animal park and back up to Bear Valley Parkway in Escondido. Full ride 82 miles/131 km with a narly mountain in the middle of it!

So we headed off and were bang straight into a head wind....GggggRrrrrEeeeeAaaaaTttt!
The light wasn't ideal for photos at the start of the ride (everybody else was still in bed!) and so it is a little bit blurry but you can see in the first one that we all have arm warmers on as it was still on the cold side. We were riding in single file so as to avoid the blast of wind. Ahh... yes..Chris was wearing it!! Anyway, we settled into a good pace and wouldn't you know it...around the corner of the first real steep part of the climb (about two seconds after Michael took the photo of the four of us) my chain gets thrown off into the wheel. Damn...I had to stop, put it back on and fiddle with my rear deraulier and consequently got dropped from the Chris Maund wind blocking train. many ways can you say...bummer...damn...(think lots of bad curse words) I knew from then on that I would be riding alone....yes into the head wind and no they would not be stopping for me! I was sure that Chris didn't even know that I had had mechanical issues as his head was down and he was pulling/blocking us from the wind. My bike was transported to the start of the ride in the back of Kevin's truck and so must have got knocked on the way. My mistake not to have checked it..a lesson learnt!

Janet going it alone!
Michelle and Michael noticed that I wasn't on the train and so stopped to see if I was OK, (which I was) and so they relayed a message up to Chris and the guys. They were going for it and so I pressed on and did my own ride which was eventful with 2 more chain throws and two flat tires, one during the first half of the climb and one just before Lake Henshaw...a nice staple used to hold wire on fence posts sticking out of my tire! Lovely!

Dropping down to the T-junction at Valley Center:
Remember...the climb to the top of Palomar Mountain Road is 12.68 miles, including 21 or so switchbacks, with an ascent of 4325 feet. The first section on State Route 76 is 5.82 miles with an ascent of 1810 feet and the second section on Palomar Mountain Road (which is also known as South Grade Road) is 6.86 miles with an ascent of 2530 feet.
Climbing up the first section:

While Chris, Dedan and Kevin were climbing the second section I was fixing flat tires and having a 'little hissy fit' on the start of the second section.I decided that I would totally blow my lights out if I did the second part of the climb AND then have to battle the wind all the way home by myself so I flagged the summit and rode the low road to Lake Henshaw where I knew I would meet up with the guys. No sooner had I arrived at the store and bought extra water (and a snickers bar..come on..calories out, need calories in..right?), anyway, no sooner had I scoffed my treats than the guys arrived, Dedan understandably tired but excited as Chris and Dedan had hit the top in a time of 1 hour and 27 minutes...a fantastic time all with one leg. Dang Dedan YOU ROCK! Congratulations Dedan...job well are totally amazing and truely inspirational!...and yes you deserved your snickers bar!!

The area around Lake Henshaw and Palomar Mountain is a great place to ride a motor cycle and so on any given weekend you can see packs of Harley riders enjoying the roads. While we were having our ten minute coke and food stop under the only small tree that was our shade bearer/umbrella from the temperatures that were now well into the low 90's Fahrenheit/low 30's celsius.. we noticed the 'Biker Friendly' sign hanging from the wall and so thought it most appropriate to have a group photo under it. Not exactly leather clad bikers we band of four but we had a lot of attitude and two wheels!! Does that count?

Once water bottles were refilled, we were off again and back into a raging head wind. Chris led us along the flat past Lake Henshaw and we rode in single file making sure to avoid as much wind as possible. Our luck changed when State Route 76 met State Route 79 and the wind became a cross wind so we rode in a zigzag formation until it changed again when the 79 met the 78 and we had a GLORIOUS, MUCH LOVED TAILWIND. Yeah baby..we were certainly lovin' that!!! Yeehaa tail wind all the way to Ramona along State Route 78 and back to Escondido.
The wind train past Lake Henshaw:

Temperatures were cool to start but during the ride they reached the low hundreds in the valley and on our last climb up the 78 Highway to Bear Valley Parkway at mid-day, we figured it must have been around 105 Fahrenheit/41 Celsius. The back of our legs, heads and shoulders were burning up even though we were smeared in sunblock and the heat was unbelievable. The last hill was a grind as it was coming up close to five and half hours in the saddle but getting out of the heat was our main objective and so we had to just go for it.

Billy goat Maund was pushing a blistering pace - hate that! He sees a hill and seems to develop another level, personally I think he has a secret invisible motor attached to his legs..dang he can climb! Meanwhile Kevin was starting to get blurred vision..(hmmm...low blood sugar?).. he's a monster on the flats and not a hill climber (yet!) but still managed to hang onto Chris's wheel. That's a stubborn German for you. As for me, I was behind them but could still see them up ahead and maintained my pace as I didn't want to blow up (like last time) and Dedan?... well he was at the back and paying big time for an earlier and rather hasty move when he took off the front like a mad man going into Ramona. That burst of frisky riding drained the tank so to speak and so he appeared to be going backwards up the last climb. He didn't need any help and still had a grin on his face so he was OK. We only had 5km to the car and so everybody was going it alone, which was a bummer as the right turn into Bear Valley Parkway took us straight into a head wind. Brutal!!

As you can see in the photo..we made it, still smiles at the finish..somewhat jaded but still happy campers! (Kim Koch and Michelle you both have to do it next is not acceptable . love you too)

A big thank you to Michael Shelly who we have decided to adopt as our official photographer for all future adventures that we partake in. Forget your aspirations of becoming a Professional golfer..I know you can shoot 68 with your eyes closed but dude you can also take a mean photo. Check your diary...Kenya 2010, available? London Paralymics 2012, available? Seriously, Mucho Gracias, Asante Sana, Thank you..the photos are HOT!

Once home we all hit the ocean at Swamis and it was SO refreshing to be immersed in cold water and to wash off the sweat and grime! Michael you should have been at the beach with us...Kevin pointed out that the Brazilian bikini bottom didn't quite go with my cycling pant tan lines!! Cooking dinner was not on the plan for Sunday evening so we took Dedan down to the Gas Lamp Quarter in San Diego and had dinner at a cool restaurant. Wine? ah no..but loads of pineapple juice, orange juice and a boat load of Agua...rehydration time!

A great day was had by time you should join us!
Love ya

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Trenton, it's Ok, I speak English!!

Hi everybody,
Happy Easter Sunday to all of you who celebrate it...and yes that is moi standing next to a HUGE chocolate Easter egg which was on display at the Four Seasons last night..see story later in the blog.


All three of us hung around the house today, cleaning bikes (me doing laundry...) but not really venturing very far from the couch after a long morning ride up to San Clemente (a 75 mile ride there and back) which gave us head winds up and cross and tailwinds back. The boys rode up in a group and I unfortunately did a solo effort...which wasn't that smart in hindsight when I realised going out what the winds were like but I wasn't ready to leave when they did and so I suffered a tad. Not to worry - hakuna matata - food was inhaled on our return - a combo of protein, carbohydrates and you won't believe it....chocolate cake...MMMMMMMMMMMMMM...hey - it is Easter after all and cake (care of the Four Seasons Aviara) is the substitute for Easter eggs! Anyway, after cleaning out the fridge in one foul swoop, we plopped ourselves down in front of the box and watched the Paris marathon on the Versus channel and then flipped between the one day cycling classic - Paris-Roubaix and the four day golf tournament - The Masters. We were all 'well spent' and so not much happened this afternoon at the Alexander-Maund household besides rest and a recovery swim in the ocean!

A cycling athletes washing line in California:

Swimming for recovery - down to Swamis they go!

Yes....I know I haven't updated you since my return from Orlando but yo!'s been a busy week, lots going on..busy, busy..almost bordering on hectic....which is a big deal for anyone living in Southern Cal where the pace of life is usually 'a la chillin' with a capital C! But here goes....I have to make a list:
a) Trenton's visit
b) New leg
c) Shopping and dinner out
d) Palomar Mountain ride
e) Swamis ride (and Dedan is a training monster)....see it's been quite a week!

Trenton, it's OK I speak English:
So, you may be wondering what's with the post heading? Who is Trenton? and why did he make it into the post title? Well........let me tell you!
Trenton Duval is a friend of Dedan's who lives up in the Bay area (San Francisco way) and was visiting family in Los Angeles last week and who came down to see Dedan on Friday. Trenton first met Dedan in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007 when he did a two month stint at JamiiBora, working for Ingrid Monroe, (Dedan's mentor and who Dedan calls 'mama') helping them to build their website.

Kenyan buddies - Dedan and Trenton in the Studio:
We arranged for Trenton to meet Dedan at 12 noon but Trenton got stuck in LA Friday traffic and so by the time he had made it to our studio, Dedan had gone up to the library to check his email. Chris gave Trenton directions to the library and said that Dedan would be at one of the computers. Trenton headed up there probably expecting to see Dedan with two crutches and one leg - just as he remembered him from Nairobi BUT Dedan had his new leg and jeans on and so it was a great surprise for Trenton. Dedan told us over dinner - with a huge grin and cheeky eyes - that when he saw Trenton at the library, Trenton apologised for not speaking much Swahilli and to that Dedan replied, "It's OK, I speak English". Dedan was so chuffed to be able to say that and it really made his day!!! Dedan got to show off his new bike, where he lives, a little bit of Encinitas and hang out with Trenton for the afternoon and so asante sana Trenton. It's was way cool for you to come and visit!

New Leg with a Carbon Fibre Socket:

Last Tuesday the visit to SCOPE and Kel Bergman resulted in the delivery of the new leg. It is quite the model and Dedan loves it,(it's pretty obvious don't you think when you look at the photos below - that beaming smile, now how can you miss it?..pure joy). Anyway, the new socket is carbon fibre..same/same....same material as his bike so it's a winner! The knee joint of this leg is hydraulic and so moves much smoother than the temporary one did. He has no problems going up hills and when he has a pair of trousers on it looks like he has something wrong with a knee not a brand new prosthetic leg. Dedan is a legend - he makes this walking thing look VERY easy!

Shopping and English lessons at the Four Seasons Aviara:
Friday night Dedan and I went shopping for new clothes as Phil and Marlene Kerbis generously donated some extra dosh to buy the boy new threads. Never one to miss a shopping opportunity, I quickly jumped at it and volunteered to be the executor of the task. We hit the stores and found success at Sports Authority where they had a great sale going on. There was a great array of items to be had including a swanky blue North Face shirt, a couple of what Dedan calls 'Tiger' shirts aka Nike golf shirts in shades of red/orange which looked great on his skin colouring plus an Adidas track suit jacket and matching shorts in red and black.

We also swung by Barnes and Noble our local bookstore to pick up a new speaking English workbook as Dedan has progressed past the 'a is for Apple' level and hovering at the past, present and future use of words. Ex-teacher has to get her act together and start planning lessons now! So...where else to practice English and get some real use of the language? Hmmm.. let me think? It's a lovely Saturday afternoon, sun is shining, we are hungry, where can we sit on a terrace and watch the sunset and have a nice meal and oh that's right...where can Dedan practice his English? OK if we have to...Vivace Restaurant - on the terrace - at the five star resort, Four Seasons Aviara...oh yeah baby! and excuse me we did have a good time!

Chris and Dedan sitting on the terrace - perusing the menu:

Palomar Mountain Ride April 19th at 7.00am:
During Stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California, a pro-cycling race, the riders (including Lance Armstrong) raced up Palomar Mountain - a 5,123 foot mountain. It is quite the climb and we use it as a check of our fitness or in preparation for mammoth climbing as in riding through Ethiopia with Tour d'Afrique and so on Sunday April 19th, Dedan is going to be doing the same! Time to put the hammer down! Check out to see the profile and what a climb it is going to's a doosy! Come and join us!!
The view from Palomar Mountain:
The climb to the top of Palomar Mountain Road is 12.68 miles, including 21 or so switchbacks, with an ascent of 4325 feet if you start in Pauma Valley on State Route 76, just west of Valley Center Road. The climb is made up of two distinct sections. The first section on State Route 76 is 5.82 miles with an ascent of 1810 feet and the second section on Palomar Mountain Road (which is also known as South Grade Road) is 6.86 miles with an ascent of 2530 feet. There is a flat section of approximately 1/2 mile between the two sections but trust me you don't really notice it when you're actually doing the ride as it just seems that you are going up and up....forever! We will be leaving the house at 7.00am and riding from Encinitas, through Elfin Forrest to Escondido, up past Lake Wolford and down the valley to Rincon to the start of the climb (any where from 2.5-3 hours)and then up the beast. We are planning to have a vehicle at the top to pick us up as the full loop takes 6-8 hours depending on speed and form on the day. Chris said that Dedan will probably be tired from the climb....ah!...but truth be known..his wife will probably be more tired than Dedan and I'm grateful for that part of the plan.Oh yeah.. I L-O-V-E it!

Dedan has been doing a lot of hard training including hill repeats of Torrey Pines in preparation for Palomar. He is now up to 6 hill repeats, with his fastest effort clocking in at 7 mins and 23 seconds, which is a 'hot' time considering he only has one leg! Chris has posted two videos on - Torrey Pines Hill Rep Number 5 and One leg is better than two so take a look at them..they look great.

Swamis Ride and Dedan is a training monster!:
One of our goals for Dedan was for him to be comfortable riding in a peloton (large group of cyclist) and he accomplished that goal well and truely yesterday. He did the Swamis Saturday morning ride (which can have as many as 100 riders varying in standards from the elite triathlete and pro roadies at the front of the peloton to newbie cyclists hanging on for dear life at the back) with Chris and another friend Kevin Koch and came in ahead of at least a third of the group. He has become quite a beast of a rider and has gained tremendous strength following Chris's training program and didn't even need help (in the form of a hand in the small of the back and a good shove)up any of the hills. Chris told me that if I had have been riding with them, I would for certain have been dropped by Dedan. Apparently he was on FIRE and even pulled his foot out of his cleat, not once but twice with his efforts. Hmm.....must be my cooking..what do ya think?

Hope you had a good Sunday.'s movie to La Jolla..later
Janet (and her boys) xxxxxxxxxxx