Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Week of Senior Year

Sadly enough, I've just finished my first week of my senior year of college. It's hard to believe how time flies. This year will be full of plenty adventures.

My classes this semester will be generally good. I don't have any unbearable classes and my teachers seem pretty passionate about the subjects they are teaching. I'm taking Brand Management, Information and Analysis (Marketing), Personal and Family Finance, and Current Issues (Government). Personal and Family Finance is pretty interesting- it's all about how to be a real adult and buy a car, a house, how to set up your 401k, how to invest, blah blah blah. It's all very useful information.

As far as the bike is concerned, I've already decided I'll be doing Collegiate Nationals and U23 Nationals this year. As far as what team, that is TBA. I can't jinx anything!

Life has been pretty dull with getting settled in still with the house, and cycling stuff, and training, and school. I did manage to get out for a nice long ride with the Austin Flyers and Shontelle. I'm just trying to get caught up and maybe even get ahead with life, so I can start enjoying it next week.

Next weekend is 10K in Atlanta, Georgia, the last NRC race of the year. After that it is break time for me :-) Pictures will follow next week!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Welcome Home

Wow I always forget how exhausting it is to move and unpack a whole house. I haven't made a ton of progress, but I have unpacked all the boxes that I could lift. I'm saving the rest for the boys to move into the house first.

My welcome home gathering was fantastic. It was so great to see everyone that I hadn't seen since maybe April or May. It was good to get caught up on everything that has gone on since I left :-) Jed missed me so much that he wrote my name on his plate in pepperoni pizza grease. Hahaha.

The proud artist, Jed, with his art utensil

It says "WHIT"

After a few hours, we headed to the Teresa Appreciation Party where it seemed like the rest of the Austin cycling community was. It's always entertaining to see everyone in their "normal" clothes since you always see them in cycling kits.

Despite being exhausted from unpacking all day and jet-lag, sleep was not on my side and I woke up at 5am unable to sleep. What to do? Unpack! The rest of the day very very uneventful- just unpacking and applying to jobs. I walked to the grocery store because my commuter has a flat and I haven't unpacked what I need to change it yet and managed to get dumped on by a passing thunderstorm. What were the chances? The city has a drought the whole summer and I probably got hit by the only rain cloud.

Today Peter gets back to Austin from Dallas where he has been visiting his family. We have a busy agenda in front of us with finishing up the house stuff and getting ready for school and, oh yeah!, riding. I think it can all get done though. Perhaps there will be something to report later.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The End of a Swiss Trip

Well I finished up my Swiss trip and I'm back in good ol' Austin. The trip finished up nicely but I'll start from where I left off.

We raced the last weekend in Bern.Saturday, a women's UCI Italian team came out, Selle Italia, and a few Bigla and Cervelo girls came out. It was a 4-lap circuit race with two climbs per lap- one longer, gentler one (still steep by Texas standards) and one short and very steep one. The steep one didn't go so well for me. My abilities right now aren't quite there, but maybe next year. I did catch back on after the first time through but then couldn't make it up again with the group. I finished two minutes down from the group, so it wasn't the end of the world and I guess I'm getting pretty good at time trialing by myself ;-)

Sunday was an 8-lap circuit race with a 300-meter pretty steep climb. I ended up basically doing the whole thing alone again but the team did well and won the race. It's a bit discouraging with how the last few races went but I have to look at the progress I've made this year and how long I've been racing and training. I'm happy with the improvements for the year and now I know where I am lacking and what I need to do for next year. It was sad saying good bye to the team Sunday but I think we'll keep in touch and hopefully I'll get an opportunity to see them again. Everyone was so awesome and their awesomeness really made the trip extraordinary.

Shannon, Peter, and I opted for a touristy finish to the trip and packed up the bikes for the remaining three days. Monday was Peter and my long-awaited Zurich tourist date day. We headed to downtown Zurich and walked around Bahnhofstrasse (used to the world's most expensive shopping street), old town Zurich, and the lake. We went in a few famous cathedrals like the Grossmuenster. It was a super fun day with super awesome company ;-) We were so exhausted when we got home at 9pm from all the walking.

Tuesday was another busy day, starting with a trip with Shannon, Peter, Rebekka (Benji's sister), and I to visit Benji in the hospital. He had gotten surgery on his nose so he can breathe again. He had this really nice single hospital room and I swear it was nicer than the average hotel. We just had a two hour dance party and said our farewells. In the afternoon, Shannon and Rebekka went shopping and Peter and I took a boat ride on Lake Zurich. It was really relaxing. It was pretty warm the last few days in Zurich. While it was only 32 degrees Celcuis, that ends up being pretty warm when there is no A/C anywhere and buildings are even warmer with no fans either. Phew.

Boat Ride

In the evening, we met with Shannon and Daniel downtown for our night out. First we went to a traditional Swiss restaurant. Peter got this crazy beer that they light on fire. It was pretty cool. After we went to a bar that was on the roof of a building that overlooked the whole city at night. It was really cool. We later went to this other bar across the city called Pure Pure where the waiter was hilarious. We had lots of laughs and fun that evening. I'm glad we got to go out like that once during the trip and once was probably enough for me and for my wallet (everything is so expensive in Switzerland!).
Shannon and Daniel...they don't get along haha

Peter and I

Wednesday Shannon and I left Weiach in the early afternoon after a delicious curry lunch made by Benji's mom. We got back to Embrach and packed up our stuff and our bikes. In the evening, Daniel came back to Embrach and picked us up for a movie in downtown Zurich again. We saw "Public Enemies" with Johnny Depp. After the move we came back to Embrach and said our farewells :-(

After a missed alarm, we got to the airport a little late and got to struggle getting checked in and going through security and all that fun stuff. The plane ride itself was pretty uneventful besides a proliferation of small, screaming, and seat-kicking children on the flight (which means no sleep). We arrived in Atlanta where we spent an hour and a half going through customs. They were a bit suspicious about me bringing Haribo gummy bears back. Haha. I got to my flight just a minute or two before we started boarding and enjoyed a very turbulent flight back to Austin (no sleep there either).

Tammy picked me up from the airport and we went straight to the Driveway where I saw friends :-) It was so hot with capris on, but I guess that's Austin for ya. It was lovely seeing everyone and I'm looking forward to more hanging out tonight. I got back to the explosion that is my new house. It's going to be a lot of work to get unpacked before school starts but I think it can happen. I was so tired and couldn't get my mattress, so just fell asleep on the floor on a blanket at 9:45pm.

Today is just a day of getting internet stuff done (like getting internet for the house!), starting unpacking and moving furniture, and a welcome home party in the evening. It's nice to be home though!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Final Week

The rest of this week has turned out nicely. In the evening on Tuesday, I went with Shannon and Ernst to the track where I met Peter. It's quite enjoyable watching all the races from the stands. The points races are fun to watch, although impossible to keep score.

Wednesday ended up being a long ride, with a 45-minute ride from Embrach to Weiach and then another 1 hour 15 minutes to Brugg to the crit with Peter. It was a pretty enjoyable but hilly route and the crit was fast and hard. We didn't get back until 9:30pm when Benji's homecoming party was almost finished. Benji's mom made some of her amazing pizza in an outdoor stone oven and she also made some fancy shmancy raspberry mousse. I was pretty worn out after that and was happy for sleep.

In the morning, Shannon, Peter, and I journeyed from Weiach to Embrach to hang out for the day and wait for Daniel, our friend from East Switzerland, who was taking us out to a movie in English in Zurich. We went and saw the Hangover. I'm not sure if it was really fun because it was really funny or because I haven't heard as much English as of late. The seats in theaters here are so much better- more like a squishy armchair- but maybe that is why a single ticket is 17CF! Yikes. Then, of course, you have to take into consideration the higher wages...

Today, Shannon and I rode to Zurich to her friend Laryssn's house. We then took the tram downtown and did some present shopping. The city is so big and there are so many shops. It was a lot of fun though, which is saying something because I don't usually enjoy shopping unless if I'm on a mission. I was able to get a couple more presents so that was good.

Tomorrow we leave pretty early for the Bern West race in, well, Bern. We'll stay in Zollbruck to get the rest of our stuff there, race again in Bern on Sunday, and then head back to this area to Weiach for the rest of the trip. It'll be a good but busy weekend. All for now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


After work, Ernst took us to Rheinfall, the largest waterfall in Europe. It was pretty sweet, but boy it was raining. We were pretty soaked by the time we got in the car, even with our umbrellas. Here are some sweet pictures:

Monday, August 10, 2009


Today’s race didn’t quite go as planned for me. I had a lot of high hopes for the race, but flat-out didn’t have the strength I needed to be successful. The races are much bigger now that the summer lull is coming to an end. Fifty girls started including a bunch of Cervelo and Bigla girls. The course was kinda cool with steep hills, lots of turns, and mountain and sprint prizes, most laps. Two Cervelo and one Bigla girl broke away and Jessica of Bike-Import won the pack sprint.

This week Shannon and I are in Embrach, but have some enjoyable things planned for our last week. Peter is riding to Embrach today to hang out, Tuesday is the track, Wednesday is the Brugg crit and Daniel, our friend from Liechtenstein is going to visit and take us to the movies, Thursday is the welcome home party for Benji, and Saturday and Sunday are our last races here! Phew!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cheese Buttons and Bike Riding

Our visit in Lietchtenstein has been great as usual with lots of relaxing, good riding, and too much giggling. Friday Shannon and I took a trip into town to check out the international beach volleyball tournament that is going on literally in the middle of downtown. It was pretty sweet. We also walked around the shops a bit. The downtown is very nice, but very small for a capital city!!
After our ride, we went out to a traditional restaurant where we got these things I'd guess you call cheese buttons. They were pretty much these chunks of fresh pasta dough briefly boiled and covered in a cheese sauce and served with fried onions and applesauce to put on it. I guess it is the Liechtenstein version of mac and cheese. It was good for the first few bites and then it got old, but the applesauce was fresh and amazing!

Today we had an easy morning with a long breakfast (cottage cheese and jam on bread is amazing) and then a good 2-hour ride with some friends of Stephanie and Philipp's with a couple of openers. After a snack, we did some shopping in downtown and I got myself a jacket as my Switzerland present to myself. We also watched a couple of women's games of beach volleyball in downtown before the rain came so we left. It was an enjoyable day and now its just time to get ready for tomorrow's race.

I've been feeling much better on the bike than I have in weeks, so I am delighted about that. The race tomorrow will be harder with the full squad from Cevelo and Bigla showing up. The course looks like it will be a lot like the Sunset Road Race course at Redlands with lots of climbing, descending, and cornering and pretty much no flat roads. I'm getting pumped up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Brighter Week Ahead!

Well my past week had a few bumps in the road, but I think things are getting back on track. Being sick all week was not the ideal for getting to spend time with Peter, but he did a great job taking care of me J The last couple days we didn’t do much besides ride, take care of little things we needed to get done, and go to the farmer’s market to gorge on fresh blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. One day, Peter got a whole kilogram of plums for $1.50 and ate the whole thing that day. I don’t know how he did it. It must have been well over twenty plums.

Friday morning I walked Peter to the train station and said my sad goodbye. His race was in Austria that weekend and mine was in a neighboring town near Freiburg so Bike-Import was just picking me up on the way. Being sick and hacking and coughing all week, my training load had been pretty light, but I was looking forward to a solid two hour ride that afternoon. I was about 20k outside of town when I shifted down like normal and the derailleur went into my spokes and self-combusted. I had no cell phone and not enough money to get me home so I got to walking. I was surprised that no one (not even one of the 4 dozen riders that passed me) stopped to see if I was okay. I was walking in my cleats with my bike- that’s just not normal. Finally, 8k later, a guy stopped with his car to see if I was okay and to see if he could repair the bike (haha). He gave me a ride home. Luckily, I’ve learned enough German to figure out how to give directions to where I needed to go. Yeah, my two hour ride didn’t even make an hour.

The next day, I knew I had to find a bike shop that could repair the bike. The problem is, I am riding Campy and not many shops carry it. The closest shop I found was 5k away so I got to walking. When I finally got there, they said they didn’t have Campy. I was crestfallen. But, luckily, his friend and his son who were in the shop offered me a ride to a shop outside of town that carried Campy. Once we got there, the mechanic looked at the bike and pointed out the fact that the derailleur hanger was in two pieces and there wasn’t a BH dealer in the city at all. I had an extra derailleur hanger, except I gave it to Peter on Friday for his which was bent. No repairs for me. The two guys were nice enough to give me a ride home. They were mountain bike racers and apparently Freiburg is the place to be for that because there is no snow year round so you can train all year! All the German MTB pros live there I guess. It ended up being a very walk-intensive day once again.

Sunday, Stephanie and Philipp picked me up early in the morning (after I locked myself out of course) and we headed to the course. Philipp let me use his bike for the race. It was like a 56’ or so it was so big. Trying to turn the thing was really hard! My race didn’t go as planned, but maybe that was to be expected with the no-riding, no-bike, sick week. I was dropped not far into the race. It was pretty much the most miserable time I had on the bike. To top it off, I ran into a corn field while cornering too hot on the monster bike. I finished, of course. During the cool down, with my luck, I flatted Philipp’s wheel and had to ride it the two miles back to the car.

In the evening, I went back to Ernst’s house so he could fix the derailleur once the parts got in from Bruno. It’s been a pretty chill time here. I’ve gotten a lot done that I need to before I get back. Yesterday I went on a nice 2.5 hour loop that Ernst wrote down for me. In the evening, I went with him, Peter, and Shannon to the track to watch the tracking racing. It was pretty neat sitting in the stands. They did this race where each rider has his own motorcycle pacing him for 150 laps and they tell the motorcycle to go faster or slower. It was pretty cool to watch, but I would never want to race a race like that!

This evening, Shannon and I are being taken to Stephanie’s in Liechtenstein again for the rest of the week. That is always very enjoyable, so I'm looking forward to that. Sunday’s race in Basel will be pretty hard. It’s an 80K circuit race with lots of climbs and sharp turns. I guess all of Bigla and Cervelo shows up and it’s supposed to be tough. I’m guessing it’ll be a lot like the Sunset Road Race at Redlands. One way to find out…