Monday, December 28, 2009

Fort Collins, Part 3

Sadly, tonight is my last night in Fort Collins with the 'rents. It has been a long trip in some ways, but in other ways it has gone by in a blink of an eye. Who knows, perhaps I'll see some Fort Collins time in my future...

We had a lovely Christmas here. Of course I had some riding Christmas Eve but I got that out of the way nice and early so I could enjoy the family. We kept our traditional Christmas Eve ritual with church, Christmas light-looking, turkey chili, and present opening from each other (Santa's presents are saved for Christmas day). We probably made a pretty funny sight since we all knew most of our presents beforehand because we went shopping together for them and we were quite sarcastic guessing what each present was :-) I am very grateful that we have the opportunity to do that and I am very grateful for my family.

Christmas day was full of fun. We woke up early and I made breakfast while my dad made coffees and we opened "Santa's presents." Later we planned on going shoe-shoeing but the winds were over 20mph and it was below freezing so we passed. I cooked most of the food for our Christmas feast and I must say most of it turned out pretty fantastic. I love cooking for people but especially when it turns out good haha.

I was supposed to have a solid four hours of riding (on the trainer) Saturday but I just couldn't bring myself to suffer that long on the trainer. After a good 2.5 hours with plenty of intervals and Harry Potter #5, I called it quits and went shoe-snowing with the parents for an hour and a half up in Lory Park. It was really fun! It was like hiking except with a marching-like gait. Typical Whitney managed to fall plenty of course :-) The day concluded with a beer sampler from Odell's Brewery.

Sunday was our final day out and about. After church we went out to brunch at possibly my favorite place, vegetarian restaurant, Rainbow Cafe. We journeyed back to Boulder so my dad could exchange a Patagonia shirt he got from Santa. A little pit stop at Celestial Seasonings was made so we could go on the tour- it was quite interesting! They make over half a million boxes of tea a day!

Today was a good final day, although it started ridiculously early. I woke up at 5am so I could do my LT intervals and ride two hours before my 8:30am massage (a gift from Santa). It was very hard not to go back to sleep, but I am so so glad I sucked it up and rode. For the massage, I went to GTS Therapeutics. I was extremely impressed with Gary the masseuse. Even though I had my first LT intervals of the off-season, my legs feel like a million bucks right now. Later, Brenna and I went out to Alley Cat cafe downtown, famous for their Chait Tea and we played a couple rounds of Battleship. The shop was fantastic and artsy with murals painted on every inch of the ceiling. The evening was nice and chill with my family and packing, packing, packing.

I am ready to roll tomorrow morning. With the increased security, we have to leave the house by 5:30am tomorrow so it looks like another early morning. I'm definitely going to miss my parents big time, but it looks like they'll be busy with all their racing they are doing these days! Endurance mountain bike events, time trials, half marathons, duathlons, etc. Only a few more hours of vacation are left now- once I get back to Austin, work will start up, training camp is just around the corner and there is plenty left for me to do with that, not to mention job searching, and training! I am looking forward to getting home and tackling those projects and I am looking forward to seeing Peter and friends of course!

Pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fort Collins, Part 2

This weekend I got out for a little riding on the road. It was a bit cold for an Austinite like myself on Saturday- a blistering cold 25 degrees- which made for a cold Whitney after 4.5 hours to Boulder and back. Despite the cold, it was a very nice ride and a great route. An interesting and noticeable difference between Austin riders and Colorado riders is that in Austin you are pretty much required to wave, say something, give a head nod, or at least acknowledge a person when you pass them and if you don't you obviously think yourself better than others. Here that rule doesn't apply- 80% of people completely ignore each other. Perhaps when there are so many riders, seeing a fellow rider isn't such an anomaly like in Texas! I love riding here either way. Sunday was pretty much the same thing- another longer ride, just short of 4 hours, but luckily a lot warmer and almost 50 degrees!

Monday we took a nice trip out to some fancy outdoor/indoor mall and then we went to CELESTIAL SEASONINGS! It was very exciting- I love their tea. Unfortunately we got there a little late for a tour, but we did get to try teas and they obviously had every tea they make including their hard to find Sugar Cookie Tea :-) I was a happy camper.

One of a million walls of tea!

Yesterday was the last day of decent weather but it is a rest week for me, so I just had a quick power training and some trainer stuff. My mom and I finished Christmas shopping and got everything for cooking for Christmas. We like to cook :-) I'm pretty sure I spent a solid hour and a half wrapping presents for my dad, mom, and Peter. Somehow my parents, especially my dad, manage to give me all the presents for each other to wrap. That is all done now.

Last night it started snowing and the white stuff continued falling through most of today. There seems to be a solid foot of snow outside! I've never been around when stuff like that has happened. Helloooo White Christmas! I can't believe yesterday would have just been arm/leg warmer and vest weather for outdoor riding. Nevertheless, I managed through a two-hour trainer ride due to the inclement weather- riding the trainer is definitely a drag, but it's always nice when you finish early in the day and have the rest of the day to be a normal human being.

Normally there is a sidewalk and a street out there!

Pretty snow-covered trees

The patio?

I can't believe tomorrow is already Christmas Eve! I have a long 3 hour ride to get through on the trainer (more snow) in the morning and in the evening we'll have our tradition: church, Christmas-light looking, chili, Christmas present opening and maybe a game of Rummikub. I love traditions and family :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fort Collins, Part 1

Hi from Colorado!

My flight to Colorado went as smoothly as possible. A 4:30am wake-up call and a drowsy ride in the car to the airport (thank you Peter!) got me to the airport an hour and a half before my flight to Denver. Southwest is still the most "cyclist-friendly" airline I've been on. Flat, reasonable (if that is possible) bike fee. A quick and quite bumpy two-hour flight later, I arrived in Denver at 8:20am Colorado time. My bags were waiting, my parents were there, and my bike appeared almost immediately- things couldn't have gone smoother that morning.

We made a detour in Boulder on our way back to Fort Collins. A nice, hot coffee at The Unseen Bean, roasted by a blind man kept us warm for some shopping on Pearl Street. Our Christmas shopping efforts were focused on the wonderful Patagonia and Prana stores there. I may or may not have gotten a couple of sweet presents that I may or may not know about ;-) The Boulder trip ended with some amazing Ethopian lentil soup from a little soup and gelato cafe (random?!). I'm pretty sure I slept the entire way home and groggily made it through my training when I got back. It sure is nice to be with my family though :-)

Tuesday's highlight was a warm yoga class at Corepower Yoga with Brenna and her friend Cassandra. They have a free week of yoga for new students so of course I had to take advantage of that! Wednesday was my mom's birthday so I made her a Tex-Mex breakfast of breakfast tacos and then we went to another hot yoga class. It's good to spend some quality time together. I actually got to ride outside on Wednesday because a lot of the snow had melted so the roads were mostly safe for a wimpy, Texas-based cyclist. It wasn't too bad at all and I think I'll be able to manage my 4.5 hours in the cold tomorrow.

Yesterday was some more early training, perhaps New Moon with my mom, some hair chopping, and a bit more hanging out with Brenna before she leaves Fort Collins for the holiday. Today my mom and I did a hot yoga class and the heater was actually working. It was so hot and I was so sweaty but it felt really great. I definitely need to bring a towel next time because I slipped out of Wheel Pose. I was able to make some good progress on some stuff for Texas Cycling training camp as well as some job stuff which has been looming over my head. A bike shop in town here, Lee's, had a sweet 1-hour bike sale of 40% off of everything in the store so I was able to stock up on new training tires, cables, cleats, etc. for hopefully a good portion of the season.

It's finally starting to feel a bit like a the break now that things are slowing down. Tomorrow should be another great day with a long ride all morning, perhaps I'll check a couple things of my to-do list in the afternoon, and some Christmas tree decorating in the evening. Sounds like a plan. I love it here in Colorado and I'd definitely love to live here someday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finals done, Marathon done, now off to Colorado

The past four days have been a whirlwind. Thursday after my final final exam of the semester, I hopped on the car and headed to Dallas for the White Rock Marathon with Clif Bar. I did the event last year as well and I loved that we got to stay at Hotel Indigo again this year. Per usual, it was a busy weekend with long hours but I still managed to get in my abbreviated riding schedule...meaning all the intervals before work at 5:30am :-) Saturday night, fellow Clif crew memebers Eric, Emily, and I went to dinner at Cosmic Cafe in Dallas. It was amazing- really good vegetarian Indian food complete with free yoga classes and a meditation room upstairs. Next time you are in Dallas, you've got to hit that place up. Today we had an early morning and made it to the Mile 19 rest stop by 7:30am and set up the monster Clif arch. Luckily it was warmer and less windy this year compared to last year so it didn't blow over and crush anyone. After a solid 5.5 hours setting up, handing out Clif gel shots and tearing down, we hit the road by 1pm. I've been home for a bit taking care of some loose ends and soon I'll hit the rollers for an easy spin and then PACK. Tomorrow morning I fly out to Fort Collins at 7am to see my parents :-) I am very excited. We have some fun stuff planned and also lots of relaxing and training ;-)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

3 Down One to Go!

Three finals down and now just one to go! So exciting :-) Thursday I went out with Tammy to Cork and Co. where we wined and dined on a couple of really great white wines and cheese. Later we met up with Peter and Pat and headed to First Thursday for a bit. Boy it was cold! Nevertheless, it was a great night, in my book.

Friday it SNOWED for like ten minutes- absolutely crazy. We also had the end of the semester party for UT Cycling and I was lucky enough to get to organize it. Two wonderful, ironically non-cycling friends helped me get everything ready. We did a lot of baking, that's for sure. The party itself was a blast- too many tacky sweaters, some pretty funny white elephant gifts, and lots of friends.

A very late night turned into an late morning for me (10am wake up!). Peter, Joey, Daniel, Sean, Ken and I went out to Lime Creek. After almost two hours, I pulled off and did my own thing until the 4.5 hours were up. I was pretty tired since I started the power phase in weight training this week...alternating lunge jumps did me in on Friday and I could barely peddle today.

Right at the end of the ride with 20 minutes left, some nice guy pulled up behind me on a 4-lane road, horn blaring. There wasn't a shoulder and the other lane was free. After maybe 10 seconds he swerves around me and his buddy dumps a big things of Hi-C on me all over my face and it splashed down onto my vest and all over my white sleeves of my long-sleeved jersey. Unbelievable. I don't understand how someone can be so inconsiderate to another human being. I definitely follow the "treat others like how you want to be treated rule" and I believe in karma...who knows...maybe someone will barf on him :-P The rest of my day has been pretty chill- just trying to get some studying done and do a few things around the house and STRETCH.

Tomorrow is another long-ish ride but I'm not sure if I'll have to trainer it up or brave the 40-degree-and-raining weather on the forecast- both sound pretty awful. Lots more studying is on the agenda and maybe my Netflix if I am productive with my reading!!