• 11th December 2009 - By greg


    Helen and I just got back from a wonderful trip out to the San Fransisco bay area.

    We started our little mini-vacation with running the California International Marathon. I was injured so I was expecting to walk most of it. As it turned out, my hamstring injury wasn’t that bad and I was able to run / hobble most of the race and finished in about 4.5 hours.

    It’s strange how the human body at times, seems to really suck at maintaining certain levels of already attained fitness. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older – or what, I don’t know. After a summer spent training for ultra marathons and running three 100 km + races – the last one in mid September (only 3 months ago) I figured that I would still have enough endurance built up in me to run a 26.3 mile marathon. Nope. I ran a decent pace up to the half way point at 1 hour, 47 minutes and since my longest recent training run was only 80 minutes, my body just shut it down -hard- and I slowed to a hobble for the remaining 2.5 + hours. That last 2.5+ hours were MISERABLE! It reminded me of my first Ironman marathon in 2000 at Ironman Florida.

    I kept telling myself that if I couldn’t take a few hours of pain, then there is no way I would ever be able to take 50+ days out on the Pacific ocean by myself. So, I sucked it up and just kept pushing through it.

    Helen had a fantastic race and she qualified for the Boston marathon again. This April’s Boston is sold out, so we are planing to go next year. That means that I need to qualify again because my last qualification will expire by then. It looks like I will take a stab at it sometime this spring before the ocean crossing on July 1st. I’d love to be in good enough shape to shoot for that 3 hour mark. My closest is 3:14 – still a long way away from 3 hours, but certainly a bold goal to shoot for.


    If I were the type to believe in past lives, I am certain that I would have been a surfer. I have never surfed, but have always been just fascinated by it. Maybe some day…

    After the marathon, we went to visit the big wave surfers at Mavericks, just off off Pillar Point north of Half Moon Bay, and it was insane! We watched tow-in surfers trying to catch really massive collapsing walls of water. It was really exhilarating. I wanted to be out there really bad.

    As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder what WiTHiN would do in breaking waves like that. I think it would make a really cool promotional video for both WiTHiN and PTO. I could pedal out into some 5 to 10 foot breakers far enough away from shore somewhere and see what happens. I would be completely seat-belted in and we would have to remove the mast, radio antenna and wind turbine. I think WiTHiN would handle it fine – even if she capsized. What a ride that would be!


    On the flight to San fran, I was reading the newest edition of Outside magazine and a feature article about adventurer and environmental storyteller David de Rothschild and his plastic yacht he calls Plastiki. This 60 foot boat is made of plastic water bottles and meltable plastic panels (recyclable) that they developed themselves. David is planing on sailing this boat from San Fran to Australia! I also noticed that it was being built in San Fransisco, so Helen and I thought we should stop by for a visit since we were spending a couple of days near Fisherman’s wharf.

    We walked down to Pier 31 as per information leaked in the Outside magazine article, and just walked in through an open door. The giant warehouse space was empty except for a curtained off area near the back. We walked over and were approached by a nice fellow who informed us that the boat is not open for public viewing yet. We chatted for a while and I told him all about pedaltheocean and my human powered ambitions to travel from Canada to Hawaii. He figured I was OK, so offered to let us go ahead and take a walk around. So Helen and I did that and snapped a super-secret inside-scoop, spy photo of Plastiki! (I should apply for a paparazzi job at eXtra!).

    Oh – and check out the amazing Plastiki web site. I have a serious case of web site envy – I want (no, I NEED) an interactive flash animation like that!!! If you can help me make that happen, then I really, really want to talk to you!

    Posted via email from adventuresofgreg’s posterous

  • 9 Comments to “California International Marathon, big wave surfing and Plastiki”

    • Matthew on December 11, 2009

      Greg wrote:

      “We chatted for a while and I told him all about pedaltheocean and my human powered ambitions to travel from Canada to Hawaii. He figured I was OK…”

      Probably more like, “He figured I was nuts, too…”

      {insert smiley here}

    • Joe Hilbig on December 11, 2009

      Don’t feel bad about your website. There’s information here, easily accessible, lots of it, and big beautiful pictures.

      Anything else is fluf.

    • Dave on December 11, 2009

      Need your email address and can’t find it on the site.

      Owner of my company voiced some interest in possible sponsorship, need an idea of “rates” (for lack of a better word).


    • Bryan Allen on December 12, 2009

      Echoing Joe’s comment above, don’t despair about your web site. On the somewhat vintage machine I’m using right now, I got a ‘sorry, you’re not seeing this web site because you need a newer version of Flash’ message via the http://www.theplastiki.com/selector.php intercept they have in place. MAJOR fail; one should always have a “click here to view non-Flash version of site” link at least. Both the browsers on my Blackberry gave the same “This site requires…” message. I’m sure an iPhone would fail too. Bad.

      What does it say about one’s environmental commitments when one’s web site requires the latest OS, extensions, and CPU to even view? Having a gentler impact on the planet is at least partially about rejecting the “must have new shiny toy NOW” mentality.

    • greg on December 12, 2009

      Dave: Please contact me at greg@pedaltheocean.com

    • Jeff Hoyt on December 15, 2009

      Your idea of testing Within in 5 to 10 foot surf has good/bad implications. On the good side it is better to test your boat in controllable big surf conditions with jetski rescue nearby than to to wait until the actual Pacific crossing where a large wave rollover/possible damage would be without nearby immediate rescue. On the bad side, you may not have time/funds to damage Within in large wave conditions so close to your planned departure. Is this untested risk worth taking? Depends on how prepared/safe you want to be.

      As a surfer with over 40 years experience, I suggest you try small waves (5 foot faces), then move to progressively larger ones. The problem with this testing is the likely shallow water you will have to be in. Look for a sandy bottom profile and choppy, confused breaking waves, not the clean orderly breaks preferred by surfers, to better simulate open ocean wave breaking.

    • Davis Miller on February 16, 2010

      I like this place! I love the idea and wish there was a place like this in Astoria, Queens. I am a surfer and found a “real surfer bar” in Point Break NYC. I am kinda jealous ;0PIts filled with surfers, people who like surfers, people who like the beach and people who don’t want to live close to town. I really like this place. You know what they have these real Proctor and Channel One surfboards on the wall. It’s nice for coming any day of the week and eating a late brunch. The food was outstanding. The brunch and sides were prefect and tasty. It is a perfect “escape” from city living. It is probably one of the only places where you can get a nice frozen pina colada or margarita. The service was on hit. They came up and checked on us so many times and made sure everything was up to par. It gets very active and the bartenders keep everybody having a good time. The bartender was very accommodating. He was nice enough to make a drink, that wasn’t on the menu, for me :0) Did I mention the bartenders are nice eye candy. It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied. Try it ..You will love it!! Oh. How can I forget, they even have a wheel o’ shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!! And when I spill a tray full of shots on myself, the bartender so kindly remakes them for me? Good music, too, and the decor helped us weather an otherwise overcast and rainy day. You know that old song “Brandy”? It goes, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea.” I believe Brandy works here. No reason, I just do. And that song happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, so that’s a plus in my book. You can simply waltz over to this colorful and warm establishment, enjoy some drinks with friends, and walk home. The bar is right at the center, so you can walk to either side for drinks, and the bartenders are friendly and at your service. There is a variety of seating, good music, and friendly neighborhood people to make your time more enjoyable. Not pretentious, very cozy, I think Point Break is a fabulous place to spend some time with friends.

    • we were there for the launch of the plastiki! it was very cool to see it in person…we were also really hyped up to interview them on their vertical garden, from which they will enjoy kale and leafy greens of all kinds over their voyage. if you’re interested we uploaded it here: http://www.yourgardenshow.com/latest

      it really gets your mind going on what is possible for not just the future of pollution, but the future of gardening!

    • p.s. i was also at mavericks, couldnt get in for a while due to the injuries, but after they reopened there was a bounty of free pizza. totally worth it. 😉

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