For a guy who pines for the outdoors and spends large swaths of time running the wild and scenic trails of the American River canyon, ultramarathoner Tim Twietmeyer's home in Auburn looks downright civilized.
It's a handsome gray two-story, five- bedroom ranch house built in 1989, part of a development featuring custom and standard units. The front yard, lawnless, is immaculately landscaped with native plants and trees encircling a stately, many-branched heritage oak.
Twietmeyer's wife of 27 years, Kathy, has given the interior a warm, homey feel. Five generations of family wedding photos are mounted along the spiral staircase, a mural of a Tuscan vineyard graces a curved wall connecting the kitchen and family room, and an expansive wraparound redwood deck affords views of the canyon below, Folsom Lake in the distance and, on clear days, Mount Diablo.
This may not be the dwelling some would expect for a man who enjoys playing in the dirt, an elite athlete who has won the prestigious Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run five times and holds the record for 25 finishes done in under 24 hours. He now is vice president of the board of trustees for the race, which starts June 29 in Squaw Valley and ends at Placer High in Auburn.
Then again, would you expect Twietmeyer, 54, to live like an ascetic Grizzly Adams figure in a yurt down by the river?
But when Twietmeyer, a research and development project manager at Hewlett-Packard in Roseville, starts to tell tales of animal encounters at the family homestead lo these past 24 years, you realize this is not such a tame, sedate place, after all.
"We get bears," he said. "They know the garbage schedule. We've got (the yard) cycloned (fenced) so we can see through it, but the bears just climb over. It's funny. Two of the times I've had really weird things going on in my yard, I was on the phone with work. I'm like, 'Wait a minute, I gotta put the phone down. I've got a bear in my oak tree.'
"We get rattlesnakes and deer, too. One of the first times, before we put up the fence, there were two bucks right out back, bucking it out in front of us. I'm like, 'What's that noise?' "
Location is what drew the family to Auburn from Citrus Heights, where Twietmeyer originally settled after college at Chico State.
"The trail is, literally, a quarter-mile away," he said. "In three minutes, I'm on the trail and gone. (I) can run all the way to Tahoe if I want. You can't ask for anything better."
So, yeah, Twietmeyer is fully domesticated. He gives credit to Kathy, who over the years kept the house stylish despite raising three boys (Matt, 23; Trevor, 21; and Austin, 19) and a husband who likes to bring part of the trail home with him.
What you won't see, however, is a shrine to Twietmeyer's long career as an ultra runner. As Kathy joked, "We don't have a dedicated shrine to Tim, because in our house he is just my husband and a shrine clashes with my decorating themes."
Call The Bee's Sam McManis, (916) 321-1145 Follow him on Twitter @SamMcManis.