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Best Treks I Want to Do

Machu Picchu

After our Inca trail hike this summber, I have been thinking of the world’s best multi-day hikes and have compiled this list so far:

  • Grand Canyon rim to river, USA
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
  • Routeburn Track, New Zealand
  • Torres del Paine W Trek, Chile
  • Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal
  • Tour du Mont Blanc, France/Italy/Switzerland
  • Haute Walking Route, France/Switzerland
  • Santa Cruz Trek or Alpamayo Circuit, Peru
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • Ausangate/Rainbow Mountain Trek, Peru

I would have included Nanga Parbat base camp trek as well as K2 base camp trek but the murder of several mountaineers at Nanga Parbat base camp a couple of years ago means I don’t want to go there.

Which of these treks are must-do in your opinion? Which others should I have included in my list?

Gobble Jog 5K 2013

Running the same race twice in successive years means it’s a tradition now. On Thanksgiving Day 2013, Michelle and I ran the Gobble Jog 5K together in Marietta.

It was cold, but it was fun running with my 9 year old. We finished the race in 42:35.79.

Lanier Under the Lights 5K

Every year for Christmas, Lake Lanier Islands have really nice Christmas lights. We have been there quite a few times and I have posted photos before.

They have a race at the start of the season where you run a 5K through the lights instead of driving. We ran the Lanier Under the Lights 5K on November 9. The race started about 10-15 minutes after sunset.

Here’s my data for the 5K:

I ran it with my 9 year old daughter. My time thus was 37:36.

The lights were a lot of fun to watch while running. I think in the future instead of driving the lights show, we’ll run this race.

Outbreeding Works in a Single Generation

As I have mentioned before, cousin marriages were fairly common among my family. My parents are first cousins. So are my father’s parents. My mother’s parents are second cousins once removed. So instead of 32 great-great-great grandparents, I have only about 18.

Since my wife and I are not related, I wondered how my inbred genome had transmitted to our daughter.

Using David Pike’s ROH utility, I computed the regions of homozygosity for my parents, me, my wife, and my daughter, all tested by 23andme.

I used the default settings for the utility. The total Mb gives the total size in megabases of the long autosomal regions where both alleles are the same. The longest ROH gives the size of the longest such region. Percent Homozygous is the percentage of the genome where the two alleles are the same.

I included the worst chromosome column because of my chromosome 9, which is beyond crazy. This column gives the percent homozygosity of the worst chromosome.

Person Total Mb Longest ROH (Mb) % Homozygous Worst chromosome (%)
Dad 297.45 57.4 72.498% 76.921%
Mom 112.13 22.99 70.662% 79.802%
Me 402.78 71.38 73.588% 93.542%
Wife 37.33 9.64 70.003% 72.411%
Daughter 42.40 8.82 69.936% 71.759%

As you can see, my Dad has higher levels of homozygosity than my Mom as expected and I have the highest levels. My wife is not inbred at all and our daughter has ROH results about the same as my wife. So one generation of marrying someone unrelated, even if from the same/similar ethnicity, has removed all the long runs of homozygosity bred over generations. Good news!

GA-400 Bike Ride

On June 30, there was the GA-400 bike ride. Last year, I had done the 9-mile ride, but decided to go 45 miles this time.

Here’s the route along with my info:

Some observations about the ride:

  1. Some cyclists use earphones in both ears during the ride which I believe is not allowed in Georgia.
  2. Most riders call out before passing you, but a few pass too close without any verbal warning.
  3. I know it is a hassle to stop at every stop sign and traffic light when you are wearing cycling shoes attached to clipless pedals, but all must stop even if there’s no traffic. This is one issue which gives cyclists a bad repute.
  4. Most car drivers do not know that they have to pass cyclists at least 3 feet away. But I was surprised when several vehicles passed close to us who had bicycle racks on them.
  5. While most drivers are considerate and careful, a few would really like to hit the cyclists off the road.

Here are some photos:

Body Fat 14%

My body fat percentage is now down to 14%. It’s the lowest I have ever measured.

About 9 years ago, almost 25% of my weight was fat. That got me worried and I had exercised my way to 20.5% fat by New Year 2005, losing 11 lbs (5 kg) in the process.

Body Fat 2004

In another year (Jan 2006), my weight was down a further 10 lbs (4.5 kg) to 158 lb (71.7 kg). My body fat was also down to 17%.

17% was still on the higher end of normal, but it stayed that way for years.

Then last year, I got excited about running and cycling. That is now paying off. I haven’t lost any weight. I am 159 lbs (72 kg) right now but my body fat is down to 14%, lower than my New Year 2005 resolution target of 15%.

I wonder if I can reduce the body fat percentage further to 12%.

Oh and my BMI (body mass index) is 21.3 kg/m2.

Silver Comet

I had been thinking of riding the Silver Comet trail for a while, but first I needed to up my mileage. The original plan was to ride with a friend, but he had to back out. Since the trail seems fairly safe and well-traveled, I decided to go it alone.

On April 13, Amber dropped me off at the Anniston, AL trailhead of the Chief Ladiga trail. With all my things in my Camelbak Mule NV, I was ready to ride the longest distances I had ever done.

Here’s what I packed:

  1. Plenty of Power and Clif bars for snack and lunch
  2. Energy gels
  3. 100oz water (with GU Brew electrolyte tablets) reservoir in the hydration pack
  4. 25oz water bottle
  5. Tube patch kit
  6. Tire levers
  7. Mini pump
  8. An extra tube
  9. Bike lock
  10. Garmin Oregon 450 GPS
  11. Chamois Butt’r
  12. Rain jacket
  13. Rain shell pants, which I also wore when I went for dinner etc.

The one thing I forgot was sunscreen. Portions of the Chief Ladiga trail don’t have much tree cover and I did get tanned a lot.

I rode 45.3 miles the first day to Cedartown, GA. I went at a comfortable, slow speed and stopped a bunch of times to enjoy the scenery.

I stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express there which is about 1.5 miles from the trail. The hotel let me keep my bicycle in the room which was nice.

The next morning, I had the complementary breakfast at the hotel and headed out. Sitting on the bike seat hurt at first but I got comfortable soon.

The weather started out as cool and nice.

Right out of Cedartown, the trail left the old rail tracks and got hilly for a few miles. I was glad because I am used to rolling hill rides around home.

The Silver Comet had a lot more people, cycling, walking and running, than the Chief Ladiga trail.

Around Dallas, GA, it started raining. I was glad I had my rain jacket and rain cover for my backpack. But I still got completely soaked and had to ride the last 20 miles in the rain.

Finally, I reached the Highland Center Shopping Center on the Connector trail (about a mile long) where Amber was waiting to pick me up.

I rode a total of 54.4 miles on Sunday, thus totaling 99.7 miles for the weekend.