Archive for the 'family' Category

Event: Santa Cruz Triathlon Relay (bike leg)

Date: 09.25.2011

Teammates: Team Not Related Johnsons (Camille Johnson,/swim, Jay Johnson,/run)

Time: 58:48

Distance: 24.5 mi

Weather: Sunny, overcast/ low 6os

Power: 222w/549 (Avg/Max)

HR: 178/183 (Avg/Max)

Avg speed: 25.0 mph

Gearing: 50-34, 11-23

Place: 1st Coed Relay/3rd All Relays 2:10 (Results:

First off—no I have not been body-snatched and replaced with a hill-avoiding flatlander diesel engine. Its still me! But last week before Folsom the owner of my borrowed Cervelo P3C TT bike invited my wife Cami and I to do a relay with him at the Santa Cruz Triathlon. I figured if the guy who owns the bike invites me to ride it in a relay and he’ll run, how can I say no? And truth be told, I sort of enjoyed the race against the clock at Folsom even though I was out-classed by my M123 competitors by a significant margin. But that was a short 11 mile TT—and this one was 25 miles. I was ready to see what I could do.

The Santa Cruz Triathlon course starts downtown, winds its way through the western edge of Santa Cruz by Long Marine Labs, then heads out on Highway 1 to Davenport, does a quick turn around and comes back. The course has a lot of little rollers, none super steep but definitely not flat, and the wind usually blows towards the North, making the return leg to town hard. I have many memories of hammering out with the UCSC club on Highway 1 only to turn around and limp home because of the wind.

My wife Cami rocked the swim and was only preceded by a few other relay swimmers, so I knew we were in good position. I honestly was worried I was going to give up quite a bit of time, as the dudes who were lined up in the relay gates looked more like Ross Tinline and Mark Slavonia than yours truly, and I knew that could be a problem for me! I strapped on the timing chip and proceeded to run about 1k uphill to where we were actually allowed to start pedaling our freaking bikes. It was silly but they didn’t want people to mount before a hill, derail their chains, etc. Luckily all that cross practice remounting with Clark a few weeks back translated to the TT bike, so I think I was the only guy with both feet off the ground doing the flying mount onto the TT bike. Adrenaline makes you do silly things sometimes.

My goal for the TT was to break it into 4 segments, and hold a nice steady tempo and ramp it up in the 3rd and 4th legs. But most importantly, I wanted to keep my starting wattage under control so I might just finish this thing without exploding. What I didn’t count on was the fact that relays started last, so I spent the entire thing passing bike after bike after bike and making sure I didn’t get taken out by someone randomly sitting up or swerving or by the traffic whizzing by on Hwy 1. The upside was I felt really fast passing all these people, and was forced to keep my eyes on the road ahead which helps with that aero helmet. But at some point I recognized that the dude wearing high tops riding a mountain bike might not really be in the same class as I was. But I took solace anyway 😉

The ride is pretty boring, the wind wasn’t too strong, but at some point I was going about 35mph downhill and getting blown about which brought on some pucker factor, but I figured I couldn’t let my team down and forcibly relaxed my arms and shoulders and stayed in the TT position. Corners and turn arounds were the most scary as I was flying through them and felt like I was playing Frogger or something as I had to swerve around the other riders. But in my head, I was loving the challenge and it motivated me to go harder.

Playlist for the first 3 segments: Soul Asylum “Runaway Train”

Runaway train never going back Wrong way on a one way track ?Seems like I should be getting somewhere Somehow I’m neither here no thereLittle out of touch, little insane Just easier than dealing with the pain

Not the most motivational of tunes, but its what was sticking and I went with it. Then on the last segment, the Doors blasted their way in as I started to “Break on Through” for the last 5 miles. The mind is a funny thing when its blocking out the screaming pain in your legs. As I was approaching Santa Cruz, I ramped up to 250 watts, and immediately my pedal stroke felt forced and unsmooth. I kept imagining smooth circles and powered on.

The last part of the course winds through town and goes to a little turn around to extend the distance, and this was a major slow down as I had to navigate turns and other riders that were riding 2 and 3 wide on both sides of the single lane road. Thoughts of T boning or head-ons while in the bars flickered through my brain, but I told them to HTFU and go faster.

The final straight goes right above the boardwalk and back down the hill. I imagined I was in the TDF and carving the curves but instead of motoring across a finish line, you have to come to a stop, dismount and run down the same damn hill. I flew in, did a cross step through (hard to do on the TT bike with the damn bars in the way) and caused the volunteers to have a heart attack that I was going to crash. But no such luck. I cruised into the transition zone and apparently passed the other teams out on the course, because I was the first relay bike in. After dismounting I underestimated the weakness of my adductors and suddenly found myself squatting to take of my shoes and falling over because I couldn’t stand back up. It was quite graceless and undignified, but such is life.

True confession: I really enjoyed doing the TT. Its pure and painful, but also brings out the best in me. I can hardly walk or sit from the nerve pain, but I will be doing more TTs in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Strava segment:


A few good days on the bike

For their last field trip of the year, the cub scouts got to learn some bicycle safety and do a group bike ride together. Matty quickly decided he was going to race everyone, and faster than I could even get the camera out, he was gone.

And besides learning how to pass safely on the left, they somehow found every…single…puddle and bit of mud so that they were covered in seconds. Who can blame them, its a blast!

Add this to the bike fun we had yesterday as I chased Matty around an office park, and its been a good several days on the bike


How the boys play

What’s a father and son to do on a hot day left to their own devices?  Well watch and see.  And do note, all those orange things are non-toxic and biodegradable


Gymnastics Show

Admit it, you miss “Eye of the Tiger”!  Well here’s your chance to hear it all over again, in all its glory


Moving towards home ownership!

Well its official, we have put a bid down on a nice house in Redwood City and its been accepted!  After months of searching and wondering if we would find something with the right balance of features that met our eclectic needs (read “large garage for Menko”) we found something great.  The original owner has lived there for the last 50 years, and the moment we saw it we knew it was the place for us.  While that long-time ownership often results in some “deferred maintenance” the house itself has checked out OK. 

The house has a living room, dining room, 3 modest bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  There is also an enclosed porch that we will be using as a family room.  With hardwood throughout and a nice backyard, we saw the place growing with us.  I have posted a few pictures, so enjoy them!

front of house from drivewayfront of house from driveway

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Cami accepted a friend’s invitation to do the See Jane Tri sprint triathlon on Saturday in Pleasanton.  Designed specifically for women to inspire them to rise the challenge of putting themselves to the test.  In that spirit, Cami shruggled off her normal reluctance to pound the pavement, and put in a lot of time training these last few weeks.  I tuned up her bike, removed the rack and about a pound of grease, and she was ready to race.

Cami and her friend Kathy left at 4:30am to get there and set up for the 8am start time.  Mattheus and I headed out at 7am to watch and cheer them on.  The folks at See Jane Tri really know how to get a positive atmosphere going, with music, food and lots of excited women of all ages competing.

The swim was a relatively short 400-500 yard swim, followed  by an 11 mile ride and a somewhat mountainous 3 mile run.  Cami, no stranger to swimming, was the first out of the water by a good 40 yards, giving her a good start.  In her words, “I’d spend the rest of the race getting passed, so I needed as much time as possible!”  She had no trouble getting transitioned to the bike, and rode off and did a good 11 miles and was back before we knew it!

The run was her greatest challenge and it was quite a hilly run on some dirt fireroads around the park.  I knew she would be suffering, so Matty and I ran along side her for a short part of the course and cheered for her!  This tired me out immediately, since the kid wanted me carry him *and* run.  But Cami smiled and just kept on going.

The camera battery died, but Cami finished strong at 17th overall in the 34-39 age group even if we didn’t capture it.  Damn good performance for the small amount of time she had to prepare and its a testament to the competitive athlete that lies within.  Matty really enjoyed watching Mommy compete and maybe now we will convince him swimming is a good thing to do, since Cami did so well at it.  Congratulations to you Cami!

More pictures are posted on our web photo gallery


Holland here we come!

Holland by bike..the best way to go Its been some time since I’ve had the desire to share anything exciting in life, as it has been inward-focused for the last several months. But a much deserved vacation is upon us, as Cami, Matty and I head “home” to Holland for 10 days where we plan to visit with family and spend some time far away from California, technology and work. Cami is making two presentations, one in Holland and one in England, which was the impetus for our trip, but those luckily occur at the very beginning and conclusion of the trip, so we have some time in between to visit the family farm, take some bicycle rides, and visit some sites.

One site I very much hope to take Matty to is Madurodam a model dutch city located in Scheveningen, picture of Den Haag, a town I only know because it was the Dutch code word during World War II used because Germas simply could not pronounce it with the proper accent. Thankfully I am writing this with the assistance of the web, for I can neither pronounce it or spell it. I remember being entranced as a kid spending hours there, so I hope Matty will also enjoy it. Of course we’re going into uncharted territory with a 9 hour time difference, but Matty has done well before and he’ll be so excited I’m sure we can get him to solider through. The first day will be the hardest as we leave in the afternoon in California and arrive at 10:30am in Amsterdam, essentially missing our first night of rest. Fingers are crossed!

While no other real plans have been made, I’ve realized it has been far too long since we took a real vacation away from home that wasn’t to visit family in Kentucky or California, making it long overdue. Realistically with our jobs and educations getting in the way, its been about 5 years! We are also armed with various digital image devices and hope to catalog this trip like never before, so expect a few pictures on our return. Yes I know, I’ve promised them before and our gallery is devoid of recent shots, but really, I’m finding some more free time to devote to this soon.

Life otherwise is pretty good despite the recent speed bumps. Work is going well and I have been getting around to different places to talk about Learning Spaces and have 3 more talks booked for the summer. So much for slowing down in the summer! But hey, atleast we’re getting a real family vacation in.


A Weekend at Home, FINALLY!

After what seemed like continuous travel, we finally had a quiet weekend at home which all of us needed badly. Menko went to work Saturday morning to support an event in the Incubator Classroom Saturday morning, which left Cami and Matty some time to go to the Y and spend a little time shopping to replenish our house with real food. The rest of the time was passed cleaning up, relaxing and playing games. We even did some Fall cleanup, which entailed putting down new hay, giving away more possessions, and generally just catching up. Mattheus and Beckett thought that hay was the best place to play, and we captured them on video. Quicktime movies are in our Photo Gallery.


Matty and Daddy Halloween

Matty and Daddy Halloween

Matty and Daddy Halloween

Wednesday was a particularly scary Halloween night, but luckily, Menko had Superman to protect him! This scary character was one of the many at Greg’s house greeting us. Greg and Stefanie dressed the twins up and pushed them around in the stroller. Devin was a dog, and Bethany the buzzing bumble bee. We had a good time and saw some people that really get into decorating their houses (Greg included!)


Halloween Party Fun

batman and horsey

batman and horsey,

Today is the party at school, and while I’m not sure kids are dressing up for it, I got him his Batman outfit out and he put it on. His hair is not just “messed up” but was my feeble attempt at putting “ears” on his head like Batman. Daddy wasn’t really prepared for this so it is what it is!

Horsey is coming along as his sleeping buddy, crime stopping buddy, and share day toy. Lots of mileage outta that donkey!

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