Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Saturday, March 29, 2008

SPRING BREAK 2008!: Days 6-8

On Thursday we sadly left Solvang and drove to Vegas for dinner.

This time we skipped the massive amount of meat and instead ate at some delicious Italian restaurant in the Venetian. It was quite tasty and, as seems par for this trip, we left ridiculously full. Instead of spending an obscene amount of money to stay for one night in Vegas, we drove on to St. George and stayed in the Best Western. Since we were checking in so late, we got a deluxe room for super cheap. Sweeeeet.

Friday was "Happy birthDANISH" day to me.

We drove from St. George to Moab, ate some delicious cheese danishes from Solvang with Starbucks (as is our Friday morning tradition), rode the first 10 miles or so of the Rim Ride course, ate at the Center Cafe (super yum, although they promised us a free dessert for not helping us for a long time, and then didn't comp the dessert -- the service seemed quite disorganized but the food is extraordinary), and went to bed early. It ended up being a very nice 26th birthday for me!

Today I dropped Chris at the Rim Ride trailhead at 6:00 am and watched him ride off with the other riders. I plan on going back to the start/finish around 3 to read my book in the Moab sun and wait for the boy to finish. Last year he won the single speed category and this year he wants to finish well single speed AND rigid. I'm proud of him no matter how he finishes. He gave me full veto power for this ride since it occurs both during our fun vacation and right after my birthday, but I know how much fun he had on this one last year and I couldn't let him miss it. He's a good hubby.

While he's riding, I had another Mondo's waffle, some hot chocolate, walked around the stores in town, and now am excited to see hubby soon.

I'm not sure what the next two days hold (we both took Monday off of work), but I'm awfully excited to see my puppy on returning to Denver whenever that is. I miss him.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SPRING BREAK 2008!: Days 2- 5 (with LOTS of pictures)

We are currently relaxing in our beautiful hotel in Solvang, CA -- Chris is reading his new book while I start sorting through pictures and updating the blog while waiting for Super Nanny to come on.

Umm, vacation rocks.

We have had a ridiculously amazing vacation so far, and we are only halfway done. After narrowly escaping catastrophe in the form of a tan cow in Moab, we've had a safe, relaxing, and exciting vacation.

Here are a few pictures out of the, literally, 200+ pictures we've taken so far.

After I enjoyed my yummy waffles in Moab, I rode down Mineral Bottom Road and Chris surprised me by showing back up after his White Rim trip in under 8 hours! WOW!

We quickly got on the road and drove until we got to Zion National Park. We ate pizza and slept in the Hotelement and woke up the next morning to a delicious breakfast and a day of hiking to Angel's Landing (a 3-4 hour hike, tame most of the time, but with some steep 'climbing' -- albeit with chains available to hold onto -- towards the top. Lots of fun, would totally do it again. The view from the top was spectacular and worth the techy/steep climb at the end).

That night, we left Zion and drove through St. George on our way to dinner in Vegas. We originally didn't plan on stopping in Vegas on the way out, but we happened to cruise through at dinner time and decided to catch some dinner, a few sights, and play $2 worth of slots (we actually got to play for a solid 30-45 minutes on $2, we are THAT good at quarter slots). We ate at the Carnegie Deli at the Mirage. I ate here with the girls last spring break and knew I'd have to bring Chris back one day. The MEAT on the sandwiches is ridiculous. Let's just say, Chris had no problem downing the meat, but I think he's still regretting it a few days later...

"It would be possible to write an entire chapter on the subject of bike racers and their food obsessions, but the bottom line is that they are skinny guys who eat like fat guys. Eating with a group of bike racers is like being in an aquarium during feeding time: they gather frenziedly, open their mouths, inhale, and the food vanishes..." Lance Armstrong's War by Daniel Coyle

After Vegas, we drove through to some town in California (Bakersfield?) where we slept nicely in the parking lot of the Ramada (thanks again, Ramada) and then woke up to delicious IHOP and our first view of palm trees! We must be getting close!

We left the Ramada and drove our way to Santa Barbara and Rufugio State Beach. We set up camp and spent the rest of the day on the beach with the cooooooold water, warm sand, and perfect weather. We rode our bikes on the beach path and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the beach. We later read our books in the sand, I took a nap in the sand (mmmmmmmm, wonderful), we made our camping dinner, hiked up the bluff to view the sunset (and saw three dolphins! REAL dolphins! In a REAL ocean! WOOOOOOAAAAH! Good thing my husband has eyes like a hawk!), and we slept comfily in the Hotelement while listening to the crash of the waves.

The next day we had a half day of horseback riding in the hills near Refugio beach. The ride was awesome. My horse was stubborn and Chris's horse wanted to bite my horse in the butt the whole time. At one point I got yelled at by the cowboy for not properly reigning in my horse when he wanted to nibble on the trees and so that part sucked. Minus getting yelled at (the man obviously deals well with horses, not so well with people), the ride was great. The views were unbelievable. Chris and I both decided that we'll stick to bikes.

Today, Chris and I rode up Figueroa Mountain Road (for our noncyclist readers, it's a regular training road for Armstrong and the Discovery boys) on the mountain bikes, came back and had lunch, got massages (uuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh yeah), had a gourmet dinner, and now are relaxing in our extreme mushiness. California really is a very beautiful place. I can't believe how green it is!

This is how we look now... post danishes, wine, riding, climbing, horseriding, and most important, massaging:

Up next will be Vegas and heading east toward home...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

SPRING BREAK 2008!: Day 1

Well, I'm sitting in Moab in Mondo's cafe waiting for my belgian waffle with strawberries and bananas. Yeah, sweet. Yay for spring break!

Chris left the cozy Hotelement at 5:30 this morning for his White Rim adventure. The weather is currently BEAUTIFUL so part of me wishes I was out there with him. The other part of me is totally psyched to get my belgian waffle. Yum.

The drive in was uneventful, for the most part. We stopped at Village Inn in Silverthorne for burgers/sandwiches and pie. Mmmmm, pie. Then we drove on to Moab and tried to keep each other awake since it was WAY past our new 9:00 bedtime. I took over the driving inside of Utah while Chris napped. I woke him up when we turned into Canyonlands so I wouldn't get us lost. The eventful part of the trip happened when some HUGE cows decided to be in the middle of the road (tan cows and black cows -- not easy to to see) so there ensued a 65 mph to 20 swerve and screaming. Nice. Luckily we didn't hit the cows. And today, driving into town, I passed the gigantic herd of cows and stopped and took some pictures. They were seriously cute, I'm glad I didn't hit one. That would not be a good start to SPRING BREAK 2008! I'll have to download the pictures at some point. They were even mooing. Last night's stay on the air mattress in the hotelement was perfect. So comfy and wonderful that it even took Chris an extra hour and a half to get up and start riding.

I can't believe we're actually out on vacation. Assuming Chris returns as scheduled between 2-6, this will be an awesome start to the vacation. The red rocks and sand are beautiful as always and this waffle in my mouth is delectable. Now the big decision: What do I order for us to have for lunch when Chris returns? Hmmm?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring break 2008! Wooo!

Bags are packed.

Toenails are painted.

Very flat back tire on Bluebee has been fixed.

Dog has been kissed and snuggled and bribed with treats.

One more day of work and then freedom... for 9 days.


(oooh, and one week until my birthday! Thanks again to Mom and Dad for awesome cheese grater and vacation money!)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pink is my favorite color except...

When it's the color of my eyeball.

I woke up yesterday with pink eye.


When it rains, it freaking pours.

I'll leave it at that.

In better news, spring break is quickly approaching and I absolutely can't wait. Chris and I are actually taking a... gasp... vacation! Not a vacation centered around family or bike races (although there will be some biking involved). We are heading west and expect to hit Fruita, Moab, Zion, Vegas, and Santa Barbara among the many other towns along the way over our nine day break from reality. We will camp half of the nights and stay the other half in fun hotels. Chris has put a lot of planning into this vacation and I can't wait to get away. For those 9 days, we will not worry about work, responsibility, house cleaning, training, or babies (in fact, we are intentionally taking advantage of this DINK -- dual income, no kids -- lifestyle that we have while it lasts). We are going to get away... with each other... for SPRING BREAK 2009! Woo! The fluids are changed in the car and now we just have one week to wait...

Now I need to grow a white eyeball.

Here are some pictures of our last non-family, non-bike race vacation. We were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after our wedding almost four years ago. For those bike friends of ours who don't believe Chris was ever out of shape and "fat" (which he wasn't ever fat, but we refer to the honeymoon as his "fat" phase because he was 25 lbs heavier back in the day) I hereby present these photos:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Great quote

Chris got a bunch of climbing and biking books from our sister-in-law for his birthday. He has been ticking them off one-by-one in his usual addicted fashion.

I, however, have been plodding slowly along a book recommended to me by our vet. It has a Golden in it but I've come to realize that the book is intense and a little scary. Unfortunately for me, I get WAY too emotionally attached to the characters and, as much as I want to put the book down, I have to see what happens to the darn dog.

Chris finished "Lance Armstrong's War" and "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" and told me that I need to read the Lance book. So I've decided to read my book and the Lance book simultaneously so as not to get too wrapped up in my lame book but still be able to finish it.

Chris said, prior to my reading the Lance book: "there's a part that will crack you up, you'll know it when you get to it." Well, last night I got to the part. It is totally blog worthy. I may not be married to a PRO cyclist, but Chris is basically a pro cyclist with a job and a little more freedom. So this quote definitely hit home:

"Being married to a pro bike racer sounds a lot cooler than it actually is, which might help account for the oft-cited high divorce rate. Yes, there's travel; yes, there's Europe. But there's also the fact that you're dealing with a guy who's gone all the time...who trains obsessively, who has idiosyncratic dietary requirements[see Chris's new blog on his new obsession with Fig Newtons], who never wants to walk anywhere, and who requires a post workout nap every afternoon. My wife, Jen, after meeting some of the Girona wives and girlfriens, pointed out that being partners with a pro bike racer, on the whole, wasn't that different from taking care of a toddler." - Daniel Coyle

Immediately I knew this was the part he had told me would "crack me up". And crack me up it did.

I love my toddler.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

My heeeaaaaadddd huuuurrrrrrtsssss...

Was that a whiny enough title?

I hope so.

Seriously. I came home from the race last night and took a three hour nap. Then I was up for a few hours eating dinner and watching the end of the Ray Charles movie. I slept through the night powered by night-time medicine and after shoveling down some great French Toast made by hubby, I went back to sleep. I didn't actually make it out of my bed until 4 pm. And now that I'm out, I regret getting out.

As long as I'm sideways laying down I feel ok -- just stuffed up. As soon as I get vertical though... OUCH. *(&^%%)@)@^^)#!!! My head seriously hurts. A headache of biblical proportions if you ask me.

This sucks.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wind beneath my wings

Today Chris (who has up the pictures since my blog doesn't seem to want to load them) and I raced in the Frostbite Time Trial up on a road on the side of I-25 near the Wyoming border. For once we got to sleep in a little before heading off to ride and then even had time for pancakes. YUM!

We knew the weather was supposed to be good, although the possibility of wind is always there when you have a flat piece of land near the mountains. It was windy. On the way out the wind was awesome. It was a cross/tail wind. I cruised along nicely. Then, after the turnaround, I suffered in the wind for the return trip. Wow. It was windy.

Overall it was great fun. Unfortunately for me, I woke up this morning sick AGAIN (darned children...). The race was hard with a plugged up head and it would've been nice to breathe through normal lungs instead of some that feel like they are full of sand. But I've been looking forward to the race and wasn't going to be forced to sit it out. I'm glad I went out and rode and now the next few days will be extreme resting to get over this. With spring break looming around the corner, I need to kick this one fast.

Now I'm napped and showered and ready to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the night.

In other good news -- I found out this week that I get to teach Kindergarten next year! I really like first grade but I LOVE kindergarten and I'm looking forward to a fun year working with the tiny ones. I can't believe it's March and I actually know what I'm doing next year. This is a major first. Makes me feel like a real grownup with a real job for once! Yay!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Who's the spoiled puppy?

This evening Turbo became the luckiest dog in the world. We had saved a few empty peanut butter containers just for a special moment like this. The following events occurred when faced with the prospect of sweet, delicious, peanut buttery heaven:

Who ever said you can't buy love with the butter of peanut?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My undefeated snow race career...

Yesterday, Denver reached a record high of 75 degrees.

So we headed for the hills for what we expected to be colder weather.

(not on purpose of course, how nice it would've been to have seen such a warm day around here)

It was the third winter race in the Leadville series. Chris has completed and, frankly, done extraordinary in the first two races. I intended to do the first one, but got sick in time to knock me out of that one. I expected to get better and race the second. Unfortunately that mad illness lasted longer than I would've liked and I was merely a spectator at the second. This week, I wanted to ride. No matter how I felt.

Lucky for me, I was totally healthy for once.

Despite the fact that this is a fairly small race series in a sleepy (and snowy) mountain town, the pre-race jitters were ridiculous. Whenever you put a nice mug of hot chocolate, plate of pancakes, eggs, and bacon in front of me and I hardly eat two bites... you know something must be up. I didn't really care how I placed, but I've never really even ridden in snow (minus commuting in college). I was nervous that I'd be cold. Nervous that I'd have to walk the whole thing. Nervous that I'd do something stupid in the unknown medium beneath the borrowed tires.

Once the race started though, I had a blast. And that cold weather? Yeah, no. It was so warm. My guess is in the 40s. Downright spring-like for Leadville.

We rode as a group up onto the groomed ski trail and within 20 feet we all were walking because of the choppy snow. I had a chance to look up ahead as Chris zoomed off the front of the pack on Pugs and I quietly cheered him on. Every once in a while I'd try to get back on, but would ultimately only go about three feet before getting off and resigning myself to walking in the slush. I ended up getting back on for a little bit and passed a few people walking. The first few miles looked a bit like this. Ride for a while, walk for a while, ride for a while, walk for a while...

I walked several sections but not nearly as much as I'd worried about before the race. Generally there was a ridable line on the left of the groomed track, but my wheel would often get sucked into the middle and I'd get myself into trouble. Once, near an old mine, I stepped off the edge of the track and postholed my left leg into the powder all the way to my hips. As my right leg stayed up on the trail, I used the bike to pull my other side out. I laughed hysterically to myself as I got myself out of the stupid predicament. At this point in the ride I could see Dave Nice up ahead of me a little ways and someone really far behind me, but generally saw and rode with no one. It was peaceful, quiet, and unbelievably beautiful.

The race itself was fairly uneventful. Just me, trying to beat myself into completing a snow race. My goal was to finish.

The most exciting moment came as I started a big downhill on a really well groomed section. The snow was hard and the bike rolled nicely. I cranked it up a few gears and pedaled my way down. It was nice to be moving on top of the snow instead of battling through it as I'd been doing previously. Unfortunately for me, I got sucked into someone else's tracks and my front end grabbed to the right and I hit the snow. Hard. I went over the bars, but wasn't going fast enough to actually fly past the bike, so I simply tumbled to the ground tangled with my machine. I got a handlebar to the thigh (which has left a fancy bruise and big fat lump), a seat to the ankle, and took the front end impact on my forearm and shoulder. Judging from the achiness today, I think I also got some bike part to a rib. I sat there for a second, pondering crying because it hurt, but instead I untangled myself (which actually took some thought and effort) and moved everything, realized I was ok, and quickly jumped back on the bike. My right quad felt totally dead where I'd hit it on the bars and my wrist was throbbing, but I knew I had no bad injuries so I went as long as I could for as fast as I could before the adrenaline wore off. I knew I should milk those endorphins for all they were worth. I kept repeating to myself -- that hurt, but that would've hurt a lot more on dirt, rocks, or pavement. So I laughed a little -- mostly at my own noise that I made as I crashed... a true oooooooomph.

I rode along some more, enjoying the scenery and ignoring my ouch leg. After a while I saw Chris coming back up my way. He was riding back to make sure I was doing ok and that I didn't have any mechanical issues. He told me he had won -- in 51 minutes. Dang. He's a serious rock-star. He rode near me for a little while, encouraging me to keep going and told me what I had left of the course. After a while he zoomed ahead to meet me at the finish line. Shortly after that I saw and passed Dave Nice who was not only battling the snow but also a killer hangover.

Pretty soon I saw the finish line and I slowly slopped my way across.

The beautiful weather was unbelievable to ride in. I was hot and pealed off my jacket in the first five minutes. The bad part was that the snow turned from nice, crunchy consistency to snowconeish by the end. It was one heck of a workout.

11 miles took me an hour and 41 minutes. It took Chris 51 minutes. Dang. He could've lapped me and almost beat me! I had a blast though and it was totally worth it. Today I am sore in the crash spots and my face looks like a tomato from the sun.

Chris got to add another big Win to his arsenal of awesomeness. I'm so proud of him!

How'd I end up placing?

I won the women's class.

And came away with an awesome Melanzana base layer, SmartWool socks, and a super warm hat.

Just don't ask me how many women braved the course...