Conditioning Hike or Snow Travel?

This past Saturday 27 of us headed into the Angeles National Forest to hike up to Mt Wilson. This was the Group 4 conditioning hike for the Sierra Club's Wilderness Travel Course. Throughout this 10 week course there are 4 weekend outings, this first of which is the "conditioning hike".  The purpose of the trip is to practice newly learned navigation skills, work on nutrition & hydration while hiking and get used to clothing and gear choices. The round trip loop from Chantry Flats to the top of Mount Wilson always proves to be a challenge at 14+ miles and close to 5ooo' of elevation gain. This year a small winter storm threw a new, but very cool challenge to the mix, SNOW and near freezing temperatures at the top. The "snow travel" outing is usually the 3rd outing for the course, but we got a preview this weekend! This was also a great hike for us to check our fitness level as we are now in serious training mode for our Mt Whitney hike in April with the Big City Mountaineers Summit For Someone program.

For many, this was the first time hiking up to Mount Wilson and we have to say everyone ROCKED this hike. Each person rose to the challenge and did great! We are super excited to head to Joshua Tree National Park with the group for the next round of adventure.

[gallery ids="297,298,295,293,294,292"]

Outdoor Retailer Winter 2013 - Things We Now Covet...

This was the first time I have attended the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City, UT and it was pretty incredible. Aside from seeing people like Alex Honnold, the incredible Steve House and legends like Fred Beckey and Jim Whittaker, we got to see every piece of gear you may want, need or otherwise. But still in the sea of cool new things certain items blew us away.  - Paul One of the greatest things about going to a show like OR is not only do you get to see the latest and greatest of what is new in the outdoor industry,  but you have the opportunity to really see the depth of what many of these companies produce. Often as a consumer you only get to see what your local retailer has decided to sell, and because they have to represent a diverse option of brands you only see a small portion of what the brand offers. It is really quite impressive to go and talk to a company like LOWA or Sea to Summit and see how many items they actually make and how diverse their product lines are. Often you have no idea how many cool things one company makes until you see them all in one place. There were many things that caught our eye, but here are the top 2 things that each of us are now dreaming about. -Saveria

Paul's most coveted items:


Patagonia was kind enough to let us check out their Mixed Guide Pants, a soft shellpant that has H2No panels in high exposure zones. Basically it is the best of having soft shell and hard shell pants in one pair of pants. They come in both Men's and Women's and also have a Mixed Guide Hoody. I hope that one day this will reside in my closet.

CiloGearThe booth I visited the most however was the Cilogear booth, they make packs. They make packs to order in Portland, Oregon and they are works of art, functional art. Made of super tough light weight materials they are the pick of mountain guides and climbers alike, in fact instead of having a catalog they just had a copy of the most recent Patagonia catalog that had a climber on the cover tackling an amazing route with a Cilo affixed to his back.

Saveria's most coveted items:

When you are small and have to carry all your gear weight and size are critical. Ounces add up making a big difference. That is why the new Sea to Summit Spark SpI  sleeping bag caught my eye! It packs down to the size of a grapefruit, only weighs 12oz, boasts 850 fill and uses Ultra-Dry Down technology. It is rated at 46 degrees, but even if you bring a liner to increase the warmth, the two combined are still smaller and lighter than most sleeping bags. At this point I can only dream about how great it would be to have on summer backpacking trips. Coming out in August 2013 it is at the top of my wish list for things I covet!

Sea2SummitSparkBag Sea2SummitSparkBalls

The other item I was super impressed by was the Women's version of the LOWA Weisshorn GTXMountaineering boot made for mixed alpine routes. This boot will be in market Fall of 2013. It was great to see LOWA making so many women specific mountaineering and technical boots. The other boot that I may not be able to wait for is the Cevedale GTX. This boot was made for the Sierra's where you have amazing 3 season backpacking with enough 14k+ peaks that you may encounter year-round snow.


Keep an eye out for our next OR blog.... "Coolest Things That Fit in Your Pocket!"

The Winners Are Announced!

First we would to thank all of friends and family for donating to support Big City Mountaineers and our Summit for Someone Climb, for each $100 donated your name was entered into the hat at least once and twice if you had donated during the bonus week! We also want to give a big shout out to everyone who donated the AWESOME prizes! Now for the winners!

  • Jane A = olloclip, the complete lens solution for your iPhone 4 or 5. Fisheye, wide angle and macro all in one lens.
  • Payson T. = Local Los Angeles designer Teresa Rae is donating some of her amazing BOERA jewelry.
  • Jacq L. = Diet For Health is offering a 6-week weight loss program valued at over $500! (LA area only)
  • Lisa & Pete L. = Pet Sitting (LA area only)
  • Trisha S = Haircut with Maureen Blache at Loraine’s Color Bar in Santa Monica (LA area only)
  • Linda C. = One of a kind ceramic art piece by artist Pam Kisor

We will be in touch with all the winners about getting you your goodies!!!!

The Ultimate 10 Essentials from Outdoor Retailer Winter 2013

The "10 Essentials" are an established list of items that, in an emergency situation in the wilderness, you would be glad you had. This list is based on feedback from numerous people who had been in life threatening situations. One should always have these items in your pack whenever you step on or off the trail. There are MANY options for each of the categories and there is often not a right or wrong item. That being said, we here at the AdventurUs offices decided to keep our eyes peeled at Outdoor Retailer to find the best and coolest items to complete your "10 Essential Systems" list, with some style. 1) Navigation - We know there are many fancy new options out there, but we believe having solid map and compass navigation skills is important and therefore feel a manual compass is important. Our choice the Suunto MC-2 global compass.


2) Illumination- The Goal Zero Solo, solar powered, compact flashlight, no need for concern over spare batteries. Just hook this guy to the back of your pack and charge as your go.


3) Sun Protection - Sun Bum Pro sunblock, 30 or 50 SPF. This all natural sun care product is non-greasy, non-migrating and recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation that caught our eye because of their great packaging. They also have chapstick in great flavors with SPF to protect your lips. Just as important as protecting your skin is protecting your eyes. We love Optic Nerve and chose their "Roger That" sunglasses to protect our eyes. They are ideal for snow travel having removable side shields and polarized lenses and have a price point that won't break the bank!


4) Nutrition - The hardest part of having these bars as an emergency product is that they are so yummy you will want to eat them! NOW energy bars are gluten free, all natural and loaded with Chia Seeds! All of the flavors were great, but the energy bars are top choice for calories and protein. NOW-bars

5) Hydration - We love the Vapur anti-bottle because it becomes super compact when empty, has an easy open lid when you wearing gloves and a drinking spout that won't spill all over you. At the show they unveiled their newest line which is a Vapur bottle with a slim filter built-in allowing you to collect and drink water safely from any source!


6) Insulation - The new Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid is awesome, puffy and fleece, why choose when you can have the best of both worlds.


7) Fire - ReadyFuel Utility Flame and a Bic lighter, done! The cool fire starter gel lights easily, burns hot enough to boil water and leaves only sand residue behind. Stay tuned for a video with more about this cool product.

ready_fuel_4pack 8) Emergency Shelter - Introducing the NEW Sol 2 person Emergency Bivy, for you and a friend or your gear, allows you to cuddle and keep warm, and is the size of a Red Bull can. TINY! Is this too big? :) Then you can get even smaller with the 1 person Sol Emergency Bivy.

Sol2PEmergencyBivy2 Person SolEmergencyBivy1 person

9) Repair Kit and Tools - We wanted to highlight the ultimate multi-tool that we found. We talked to the rep at the Wenger booth and after telling him what we were looking for he did not hesitate when recommending the Wenger EvoGrip S18 in Yellow. This knife had all the tools you need, great grip and the yellow make it hard to lose! The scissors are self sharpening and the S-version has a safety mechanism on the blade making it hard to chop your finger off when opening and closing it... very helpful.

evogrip_s18_yellowWengerEvoS18Scissors WengerEvoS18grip 10) First Aid - This may not be the smallest and lightest option, but the Day Tripper Mountain Series Medical Kit is well-organized and a complete package. Adventure Medical Kits has a full line of products ensuring that you will find a solution that works for you.


Winter OR a Success

The AdventurUs spent the last 3 days in Salt Lake City at the Winter Outdoor Retailer show. We walked and talked and walked some more! Stay tuned for our upcoming posts on the "Ultimate 10 Essential List", "Things We Covet", "Coolest Things that Fit in your Pocket!", "What the? aka The Double Take List". Can a sleeping bag fit in your pocket?  What could help you during a zombie apocalypse? Can you boil water and cook food with no fuel, fire or electricity?

We will answer these questions and more!


New Years at Joshua Tree

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="182,183,184,178,185,202,186,187,201,188,189,190,191,180,181,195,177,179,196,197,199,200,198,192,194,193"] Saveria and I had been planning New Year's starting six months ago when Saveria booked our favorite camp site at Joshua Tree National Park, in Indian Cove Campground. I'm leaving out the camp site numbers, because we don't want to give away everything. We invited our friends and the trip was set. We talked about it about once a week till the date finally arrived.

Saveria, her brother Sebastian and I went up early to set up and our great friend Bob joined us. The next morning we were joined by more of our friends and some new friends too. We woke to a beautiful day with a brilliant blue sky and set up some fun climbing routes. After doing a few climbs, we are in the desert just to remind everyone, it started to SNOW, only for a little but real flakes and the rock got pretty slippery not to mention we were freezing. We returned to our camp, built a giant fire and our friend Ian cooked us some spectacular chili.

The next day we set up some great routes near our site and everyone had a great time and did really well. The best part was that we had people of all experience levels and everyone was able to successfully climb a route or two proving that anyone can be AdventurUs!

After a long day of climbing I was tired and was deciding to celebrate east coast New Year's, but this was not allowed and I reluctantly stayed up till midnight. It was very cool because despite the strict noise code we could hear all the camp sites around the desert celebrate when the clock struck midnight. We even had neighbors come and serenade us with a ukulele and a song. One of the coolest things about Joshua tree is night-time with a full or mostly full moon. The way the light hits the rocks making them glow brightly and the sound the sand makes crunching under your feet all under the moonlight makes you feel like you are in a snowy winter wonderland.

This was Sebastian's first time at Joshua Tree NP, so we took the scenic route home and traveled through the main part of the park. We bought an annual National Park Pass good at all parks. I like to think of it as a challenge to visit enough National Parks this year to make it worth it!

It was great to be out in the desert, under the stars, with our friends having fun and laughing, I could not imagine a better end or start to the any year.

Oh...and Norman was with us too. Another great family adventure for The AdventurUs!


Hurry! Only a Few Weeks Left for the Chance to WIN While Supporting an Awesome Cause.

What You Should Do! Donate $100 to Big City Mountaineers (BCM) through our Summit For Someone climb with Backpacker Magazine before January 31st and automatically be entered to win great prizes! Click here to donate,

How it Works.

For every $100 you donate to our climb you will name will be thrown in the hat to win some awesome prizes! Already made a donation and didn’t realize that $100 could enter you to get cool prizes? No problem! Donate the additional amount to get to $100 and it will still count. Want to increase you chances to win? Donate $200, $300, or a billion dollars…. totally up to you.

Why Support BCM?

Your donation makes it possible for urban youth to get outdoors and experience the wonder, beauty and challenges of nature. Can you imagine never having seen stars? Some of these kids literally have never experienced nature. Your donation will ensure that someone gets to have this kind of once in a lifetime experience.

What Can You Win?

Companies such as The North Face, The Coleman Company, Diet For Health and others have generously donated great prizes!!! We are super thankful to them all. Here are some of the amazing things you can win!

  • olloclip, the complete lens solution for your iPhone 4 or 5. Fisheye, wide angle and macro all in one lens.
  • Local Los Angeles designer Teresa Rae is donating some of her amazing BOERA jewelry.
  • Diet For Health is offering a 6-week weight loss program valued at over $500! (LA area only)
  • Pet Sitting (LA area only)
  • Haircut with Maureen Blache at Loraine’s Color Bar in Santa Monica (LA area only)
  • One of a kind ceramic art piece by artist Pam Kisor[gallery ids="163,166,165,162,169,167,168,164,160"]

Machu Picchu, Looking Back on an Unforgettable New Year Adventure

We sit here looking to our future trips in the new year and I can't help remember a trip that kick started our adventures. Saveria and I were in the middle of training for Wildflower Long course triathlon with Oceanside 70.3 and Ironman Couer d' Alene on the horizon. We had gone into shut down mode...all training-all the time, no social life, just work and working out. One day Saveria got a call from our friend Mark and he asked if she wanted to hike the Inca Trail for New Years, Saveria answered with "Sure, if you do Wildflower with us." Both agreed and after a bit of convincing, I figured a week at altitude would help my cycling.

I had not hiked or backpacked since Boy Scouts, more than a few years ago at this point, but I decided to go along anyway, we borrowed most of the gear we needed, got stuck like a pin cushion at our local travel doctor and off we went.

We flew into Lima, then quickly on to Cusco where we had a couple days to rest, acclimate to the altitude, meet our guide, explore ruins and sites around the city and fall in love with coca tea. It was a bit of a rainy season, that comes into play later, but that just made it more beautiful.

The hiking part of the trip was 4 days and 3 nights finishing with a day at Machu Picchu and an optional second day for exploring the ruins. The first was a surprise to some in our group as our guide had told us that it was flat after many miles of hiking up hill we began to tease our guide that this was hardly flat. He kept insisting that it was flat. We came to realize in the coming days that by "flat" he meant the trail didn't have steps or rocks. Apparently hiking straight up hill could also be "flat" and after day the next few ays we would have to agree! On day 2, we hiked up and over a 14,000 ft. peak in rain and wind, I was warmed up by a sugar based spirit one of the porters made and kept in a water bottle. The way down the mountain to the next campsite could be described as a torrential down pour. Day 3 brought us up and over multiple passes and through some impressive ruins. There were steps, more steps, then some more steps... Keep in mind the steps are uneven, slippery, off kilter rocks making the trail a bit technical at times.

Our last night, New Years Eve, was spent at Winay Wayna, the terrace our tents were set up on would be washed completely away a few weeks later. We celebrated New Years Eve in the bar area that was set up, it was our group and about 100 other people from all over the world, it was a great experience. The next morning we made our way to the Sun Gate and we looked down to see a beautiful valley and a single cloud below, "Where is Machu Piccu?" I wondered and as I said that the wind picked up just so and the cloud moved on to reveal the city, it was pretty amazing. Couldn't have been planned better.

We spent the rest of that day waking around the ruins with our guide and then heading to the restaurants buffet where we ate and ate and ate. We boarded busses and headed down a crazy switchback road to Aquas Calientes for an hour long shower in the room of the posh spa we were staying at. The Inca Terra was heavenly after four days of hiking. The next day we returned to Machu Picchu and explored more before heading back to Cusco, then Lima, then home.

This trip was something I did not think I would do, Saveria and I encourage each other to get out of our comfort zone while supporting each other as well. It makes us a great team.







Getting Outdoors with the Family - New Year's Resolution!

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="132,133,72,68,69,67,64,65"] So much of our outdoor time is "training". We head out to the gym, go for a run, or hit the trails with a specific goal in mind, whether it be time, distance or skill specific. We usually do these adventures with just the two of us because they are so specific. The one bummer about these outings is that part of our family usually gets left at home... our four-legged adventurer Norman. It is not that he doesn't want to come... because he does, but being a bulldog he can only go so far and so long. Although if left up to him he would go until he dropped....literally.

So we have been trying to designate one of our weekly outings as a "family" adventure so we can take him with us. These have become some of our favorites, because they are really about enjoying the moment. We stop and take lots of pictures, notice things that we may not otherwise see, let him get dirty and overall just have fun! Our New Year's Resolution is to do this regularly.

We often joke that he is our child, but the reality is I can imagine this is very similar to taking young kids outside into nature to play. The exercise component may be lacking for you, but the quality time spent with your family, exploring nature, seeing things from a different perspective are totally worth it. Even a short hike can be filled with new experiences, things to see and learn about, opportunities to get a grimy and a great chance for you to become a kid again.

Let us know what your favorite kid friendly adventure is!

Training Philosophy

As we continue to focus our efforts on the Whitney climb in April with Big City Mountaineers our training has evolved as well. We are again hitting the gym but with a different set of goals, a little more upper body, also focusing more on the hip flexors. Balance and the little muscles in our feet are getting more attention as well. We are also doing more stairmaster than stationary bike as a warm up and cool down, it is important, I have learned and experienced, to remind your muscles of the multidirectional and sport movements you will do after the mostly unidirectional work that is put in with weights.

We are realizing the importance of building up. Our fitness coming away from Ironman was great but it was long moderate efforts. Now we are trying to keep that endurance while giving more focus to some power and speed with hiking and mountaineering specific goals. We are approaching our climbing in the way we approached our other races, periodization training, a series of ramp ups and recoveries building with each to "peak" for a specific event. Also our nutrition is similar to when we run and bike, we use Infinite Nutrition, a custom drink formula, so that we can monitor and experiment with anything from calories, protein, caffeine and many others.

We continue this journey excited to see ourselves change and improve and just as excited to share what is working and not working in our training, diet, and gear with all of you.

Great Deals for Christmas!

12 days till Christmas! Still doing some last minute shopping for the holidays? A friend of ours has created a great way to get great deals on all sorts of items and support cool causes. The way it works: The sites listed below search the internet for the best deals on items you want making it super easy to find awesome deals in one place. You then choose what you want to buy and the link will take you directly to the online retailers site to buy it. When you use the sites below to find the item you want and buy it, a percentage of the purchase automatically goes to a non-profit/charity.

Our climb with Big City Mountaineers is currently the featured charity!!!  So please use this sites to find great gifts and a percentage of your purchase automatically will be donated to Big City Mountaineers' Summit for Someone program and our fundraising efforts.

We have already used it and the deals are awesome!!!

Ready to shop away??? Check out these sites. = Great deals on outdoor gear = Shop for the sports fan in your life = A little bling for someone you love = Tons of designer brand shoes for great prices = Great deals on food and beverages = Low prices for top brand clothes

Just think guilt free shopping... the more you buy the more you will be helping kids to get outdoors!

Happy Holidays!

Top 3 Ironman 2012 Items

Training for an Ironman is no joke. During our training and on race day there are 3 things that I loved and could not have lived without.  My Optic Nerve sunglasses, my CamelBak running belt and Endurox Excel.

1. Sunglasses. These are a must....running, riding, driving, I always wear sunglasses and have been wearing the same pair, literally, for 10 years. I loved them, yup past tense. At Outdoor Retailer last summer I won a pair of Optic Nerve sunglasses. After talking to the owner Bill Cotton about my lifestyle and athletic adventures he gave me a pair of the NeuroToxin PM's (MSRP $79). I immediately fell in love with them. I feel a little bad about the other ones. I mean a decade is a long time to be in a relationship with an accessory and now they are gathering dust as my back up pair.  The NeuroToxins are super comfortable, as in I forget that I am wearing them as I look for them before I head out the door kind of comfortable. The photochromatic lenses get lighter or darker automatically depending on the light conditions. This is especially helpful when on the bike or running out on the trails and you often go in and out of sunny and shady conditions. So you aren't taking them on and off.  I'm looking forward to this new long term relationship. The other great thing about these glasses is they are affordable. Great quality product at a reasonable price. Brilliant.

2. Hydration - When going out for long runs hydration is critical especially in the summer. Everyone has a personal preference as to how they carry their hydration: backpack, bottle in hand, run belt and for each of these options their are numerous companies offering a variety of products. CamelBak is synonymous with hydration. They are the leader in backpacks with bladders and drinking tubes for all kinds of sports and activities and have a great line of bottles too. I was lucky enough to get to test the Arc 2 Podium Run belt (MSRP $45) which will be in stores in 2013. This was hands down the most comfortable and easy to use run belt I have trained and raced with. There was no bounce, even with full 10oz bottles, and getting them in and out of the cages was as simple as click out/click in. The velcro closure on the front made it super easy to get on and off and elastic in the waist belt made it feel like a custom fit the first time you put it on. The wide mouth opening on the bottles make it super easy to put your preferred sports drink in them and the podium series cap allow you to keep the top open with no spilling or splashing. And they have a small pocket to keep your essentials. Let's just say my husband and training partner was a bit jealous. If you are a runner....keep your eye out for this product!

3. Nutrition/Recovery: We have always been good about our recovery drinks and trying to fuel properly, but this time round I decided to add in a daily training vitamin supplement from Pacific Health Labs, Endurox Excel (MSRP $17.99). My testimonial is this, I was never really sore even after race days. In the past long training workouts and races would leave me barely able to walk the next day. This time round, especially after Boulder 70.3 and IM Florida, I woke up the next morning astonished by how good I felt. Walking around, taking the stairs instead of elevators. God knows I am not getting younger, and I used the same training program as last time, so the only thing I can attribute the faster recovery to is the Endurox Excel. I am excited to keep using it as we train for our Mt. Whitney climb and to see if helps with the recovery from our long hikes and climbing adventures.

3 Reasons to Help Us Support a Great Cause!

We are excited to officially announce that we have been selected by Backpacker Magazine to join one of their teams climbing Mt Whitney this April via the Mountaineers Route. For more details about this adventure and to keep up with our journey getting there, please visit and follow our blog, This adventure is also a fundraiser for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), a non-profit dedicated to getting under-served urban youth outdoors and into the mountains for life changing experiences. We are super excited to have the opportunity to combine our love of the outdoors with our desire to support such a great organization. BCM is really changing the lives of these kids by offering them an opportunity learn about the outdoors and gain valuable life skills as a result. Paul and I are asking you to help support BCM and make a difference in a young persons life. As if this wasn't a good enough reason, we have 3 more GREAT reasons for you to donate.

1. By making a donation by DECEMBER 31 you can receive great discounts on gear from great companies such as Kelty, Sierra Designs, adidas Outdoors and Osprey. And these discounts are good for all of 2013! Here are the discounts based on your donation amount:

Basecamp > $50 = 40% discount on Kelty products in 2013 Approach > $100 = 40% discount on Sierra Designs products in 2013 Ascent > $250 = 40% discount on Kelty and Sierra Designs products in 2013 Summit > $500 = 40% discount on Kelty, Sierra Designs and adidas Outdoor products in 2013 Summit + > $750 = 40% discount on Kelty, Sierra Designs, adidas Outdoor and two Osprey products in 2013.

2. In addition to the discounts above. For every $100 you donate by January 31st you will be entered to win one of many cool prizes. Our friends at The North Face have already donated a sleeping bag and daypack to be given away, another artist friend has donated one of her ceramic pieces, we have some free pet sitting to give-away (LA area only on this one) and this is just the start. So donate $100 get your name in once... donate $200 get your name in twice... and so on and so on and so on. Who are we to limit the number of times your name gets put in. :)

3. Worried about your taxes? Here is one more thing you can write off! Your donation will allow BCM to continue to provide programs that have a proven track record of improving integrity, self-esteem, decision-making abilities, and communication skills that keep kids healthy, active, in school, and motivated to strive for success. Go to to make a donation.

Thank you for supporting such an awesome cause.


Taking The AdventurUs On the Road

As much as we love our comfy bed and chilling on the couch watching TV, sometimes you need to head outta town to change it up a bit. Whether we are heading to the Sierra's with our packs for some backcountry adventure or jumping on a plane to visit family and friends there is usually adventure to be found. It is all of these experiences that make our lives just a little more AdventurUs! :)

The Big Switch

This weekend started our official switch from Ironmen to hopeful climbers, Tony Stark to Spiderman. Friday, after a Thursday of turkey we road from our house to Newcomb's ranch, 25 miles up to 6000 ft. with our often training partner Adam Kisor, had some lunch and then was driven home, nice.

Saturday we really started the change over and headed to rockreation in Santa Monica to work on our climbing chops, it was fun but we have some work to do in that department.

And finally Sunday, we hiked from Lake Ave. to Inspiration Point via Echo Mountain then met up with our friend Steve Soong, who is training for an ultra marathon, and ran down with him, we kept up most of the way.

It was our first weekend dedicated to our build up to our mountaineering goals but it has to be looked at like any sport one does, build, recover, build, recover, build, recover, peak (good pun right).

Off we go!

Don't Leave Home Without the Verto!

"Don't leave home without the Verto!" has become a joke in our house as it seems everytime we don't bring our Verto Jacket (made by The North Face) we wish we had. It is an ultralight, ultra-compressible shell that just gives you that little extra protection from the elements to get you through the day. And based on it's size, it packs down to a little bigger than a CLIF bar, it is pretty silly that we wouldn't always bring it. I am not sure if they are still making this jacket as it is not on their website, but you can still find it online at sites such as

We also love the Verto26 pack which doubles as a sleeping bag stuff sack and summit pack, working double duty to save weight.

Climbing for a Great Cause!

A few months ago Paul & I applied to be part of a team, that the editor of Backpacker Magazine was putting together, to climb Mount Whitney via the Mountaineers Route and to fundraise for a great organization, Big City Mountaineers (BCM). We were selected to be a part of the Summit for Someone program, which means that Paul & I will be climbing one of North Americas most sought after peaks to help benefit the at-risk teens BCM serves. We will be attempting to climb Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental US, via the Mountaineers Route April 2013. This will require us to use some of the winter mountaineering and snow travel skills we have been learning over the last couple of years.

Our fundraising goal is $10,000! With your help and our summit attempt, the BCM program will reach over 300 at-risk teens nationwide. We know what a huge impact these kind of experiences have had on our lives and can only imagine that once these kids get out into the mountains, challenging themselves with new skills surrounded by the magnificent beauty around them that their lives will be changed forever.

We hope that you will donate and help make a difference by supporting this worthy cause.

You can follow our training and the trip reports here by signing up to follow us on our new blog,

The First AdventurUs Post!

Ironman Florida. No Really This Was the Last One. It wasn’t long ago that doing our first Ironman, Ironman Canada 2006, seemed like an impossible feat. The anxiety of the unknown had me in tears the night before the race, so much time put into getting ready, could we do it, would we make the cutoff, would all the training pay off. Covering 140.6 miles in under 17 hours. The training and hard work did pay off and we got to hear “Saveria & Paul Tilden, you are an IRONMAN!” for the first time as we crossed the finish line together. That experience was so powerful in so many ways. The knowledge that if we could do that, we were be capable of anything we set our minds to. It might hurt a little, but anything is possible with the 4Ps - planning, preparation, perseverance and passion. OK maybe 5Ps if you include pain… no one said the journey was easy. This was a journey I was not planning repeating. Not being able to walk for days and the training time it took to get there… I was good with being an Ironman. Been there, done that, checked it off the list, no need to do another one.

I honestly can’t remember why we signed up for Ironman Coeur D’Alene 2010, considering it took me 2 years to want to look at my bike or think about putting on my running shoes, much less head to the pool. Maybe it was wanting to remind ourselves what we were capable of. I had experienced 2 serious bike accidents upon returning to riding and was feeling vulnerable, maybe this would make me feel strong again. It could have been the fact that sometimes you look back on an experience and think now that I know I can do it… I wonder if I could do it better, smarter, faster. Maybe it was just wanted the feeling again of crossing that finish line to know it wasn’t a fluke. Regardless of exactly why, once again there we were. In many ways it was a very different experience, btu in some ways it was the same. Now we knew that finishing was within our abilities, but could we do it again and how would it go. The day before the race I announced I would never do an Ironman again…the training really takes over your life… 6 days a week, every weekend consumed, nope too much, I was exhausted from the stress of making it all work with a job, and life and everything. I was ready for the race, but it would be my last. Paul rocked the race taking an hour off his first time… I squeaked in a PR by 2 minutes. But this race was unique in that all 3 segments are 2 loops and you come through town repeatedly, the support for the races is amazing, making the 140.6 miles fun, exciting, you feel like a rock star. We had amazing support from our family cheering us on throughout the day. I think I smiled the entire time, despite the hills that were kicking my butt all day long, and had a great race. The next day I woke up tired, sore and wondering which IM we should do next. I think the fact that Paul’s mom and aunt had come all the way from Florida to support us helped the decision that Ironman Florida would be next. It helped that the course is known to be notoriously FLAT and at the moment that sounded really appealing and three just sounded like a good number.

So there we were at our third and last Ironman, Ironman Florida 2012. Everything felt different about this one. We started training with a very business as usual attitude. We knew what we needed to do and got to it… coaching plan – check, nutrition plan – check, Ironman Boulder 70.3 prep race – check, equipment – check, getting our bikes & gear transport to the race via Tri Bike Transport – check, social life put on hold – check. The only really hiccup in this whole plan was Paul getting a movie in Nashville for the 7 weeks leading up to the race. For both of us loosing our training partner and doing the longest and hardest workouts solo was hard. I had great friends jump in and ride with me and he found some amazing rides in Tennessee… but this was definitely hard. Race weekend came before we knew it. The jitters and nervousness at the other races for me was gone. Being our third race, we knew the drill and planned accordingly to make sure that everything would go smoothly. Register… buy swag… bike some of the course, swim some of the course (making sure to do a swim the day before at the race time), run a bit, get our gear bags together, drop bikes & gear off the day before the race (required at IM)… but mostly relax and take it easy. Once again our amazing moms were both there, they too were going 3 for 3 as our IM Support Crew. Having them at all 3 races and share our journey was really incredible. There was a cool strange calm to the pre race build up. We both had high hopes for the race as our training had gone really well, and unlike the other races this course was flat giving us both good chances of PRing.

RACE DAY! Race morning started with the alarm going off at 3:15 am. Getting to the race shuttle by 4:30am, dropping off our special needs bags, chilling in the hotel lobby by 5:15am.

SWIM! The 2.4 mile swim was a 2 loop counter clockwise ocean swim. The morning decided to give us a good swell that lasted the entire race and was present throughout the entire course. Luckily being from CA we are used to this. Tons of racers we met got really seasick both during and after the swim. Paul came out of the first lap right before me and we actually saw each other on the run back in. Crazy considering we entered the water with 2600 other people and it would be impossible to swim “with” someone. The swim is definitely my favorite part and despite a few times of having the Jaws soundtrack play though my head the swim was fun and uneventful. The layout of transition makes you cover a ton of distance to get in from the swim to your bike bag over to the changing area and back to the bike corral making the transitions times a little longer than usual.

BIKE! As I headed out on the bike I felt good…it took my heart rate awhile to come down so I tried to start out keeping it easy. My goal for the bike was to average 16mph giving me a 7 hour bike. The important part of Ironman is to remember that you are racing your race. Stick to your plan. Don’t be concerned that you are being passed by a billion people. I realized on this race that I had a pretty decent swim as it seemed like at least 1000 people passed me on the bike… it turned out to be almost 900. The first half of the bike was awesome and I was averaging 18+mph while staying in my heart rage zone! I started having delusions of an epic bike… then I hit the back half of the course which was slightly more “uphill” and had a continuous head or side wind. This took the wind out of my sails…. literally. I still came in 15 minutes under my goal so I was super happy coming into the run. We are often asked “how do you run a marathon after that swim and bike?”. The answer is simple around mile 95 you start fantasizing about getting the HELL OFF the bike… you will do anything to get OFF the bike even if it means running a marathon! J

RUN! I felt good coming out of T2 and immediately started looking for my mom and Payson knowing they always find a good spot to see us off on the run. I saw Payson and then my mom but there were two guys standing in between them, which seemed odd. Then I realized it was my dad and brother, Sebastian!!!!! They surprised us all and flew in from Oklahoma after wrapping a shoot they were working on the night before! It was such a great surprise and I took off into the run all fired up! I had 2 super fast miles and was feeling great but knew I had to bring it way back to keep my goal pace of 12:30-13:00 min miles. Not fast but sustainable or so I thought. About mile 3 I started feeling off… couldn’t get my HR down, was feeling a bit queasy, was run/walking thinking I just needed to get in a groove. Then every time I started running I became nauseous. Saw Paul as we passed each other on the 2 loop out and back course J as he was coming back from the turnaround on his first loop and found out he was having stomach issues too, his started on the bike, such a bummer. So I took a nice 5 mile walk… chatted with the EMTs about how I was feeling, took some time to check out the other racers, met some nice people and enjoyed St. Andrew’s State Park. I think one guy was excited to start talking to me because he thought we were going to walk the whole marathon together… we were talking about finishing being the accomplishment… my fantasies of a low 14 hour finish from hitting my bike goal were gone… my goal of getting in the 14s was a slipping away… and then I realized I wasn’t ready to completely give in to walking the whole marathon quite yet. So I picked up my stroll to a speed walk and met CJ. He was on his 2nd loop - me my first, we got to talking about racing, funny stories, how sometimes things don’t always go as planned, but we push through it. CJ did Ironman Coeur D’Alene with a broken rib a few years back and today had gotten seasick from the swells here which was giving him stomach issues. After about a mile he decided he would push through and run to the end. The thought of finishing an Ironman with a broken rib, helped me put my situation in perspective. So I decided to give running another try. Saw Paul for the 2nd time literally 50’ after I started running, so we stopped a caught up. I jogged back into town and to the special needs bags where I got to see the family really quick and got an infusion of energy from them. I actually felt pretty good on the second loop and ran all the way back to the park/turn around except for stopping at the aid stations to get ice and coke. When I got back to the park I had to walk again. I think the thick moist ocean air was not agreeing with me, because as soon I was out of the park I felt better. Then it was back to business and finishing this race strong. The rest of the run actually felt pretty good. Next thing I knew I was in the chute heading towards the finish, high-fiving people, and hearing the announcer say, “Saveria Tilden from Pasadena, CA… You are an Ironman!” Paul was waiting in the finish area… a bonus of having your loved one also racing! We got some finisher pics together and then I headed to the med tent because I started to feel nauseous again. Trying to get a little nutrition down there actually helped everything else come up, which actually made me feel better! Our amazing family helped gather our gear, drive us back to the hotel and grab dinner. Post Ironman Dinner of Champions… a McDonalds Quarter Pounder, small coke and Krispy Kreme donut then sleep!

Everyone has been joking that they have heard before that I would never do another ironman and I understand the skepticism based on the fact that I said that after the first and have now finished 3. But I can say with complete confidence that this is my last full Ironman. I may do another triathlon someday, but not a full. To train for an Ironman everything else in your life takes a backseat while you train and we had started to plan lots of new fun adventures we want to go on. In the past couple of years we have starting exploring the outdoors in a whole new way… climbing mountains to be more specific. Mountaineering and rock climbing have become a new love for both of us and we had to put this all on hold while training for IMF. Now we are excited to get back to it!

We have learned so much about ourselves during these adventures, along with new skills along the way, and we want to make sure we have a history to look back on of the crazy life we have chosen to lead hence the creation of this new blog, The AdventurUs. We hope to find the time to write about these good times, funny times, and maybe not so good times… but at all times remembering that life should be an adventure. There is Adventure in all of Us and we are excited to share these adventures with you.