Monday, June 29, 2009

Italy and Switzerland...more cycling

I joined a CA cycling buddy and good friend on his trip to Italy. We stayed with another friend in Switzerland just across the border. It was a new experience cycling with my passport as we would cross the border several times each ride.

Self service milk!!! This was heaven for me.

Oscar brings the milk bottles and fills us up.

One of the views from Oscar's backyard.

One of the views over Lake Lugano. We climbed up, up,up and I was SLOW.

The face I make when I try to get on a bicycle where the saddle is too high.

Not a bad view when stopping for a mechanical adjustment.

Something very cool about cycling in Italy - fountains. All the cyclists only have one water bottle on their bike because there is a public fountain in every town, village and city.

Some fountains are so big you could also wash your clothes!

Others were quite decorative. Err... that's a nice way of saying a bit scary.

And still others were decorated with statues. Water, water everywhere and each a drop to drink...

Stopping to play tourist with the beautiful view.

Oscar rests while Dave fixes a puncture. Again, not a bad view.

And finally Dave and I pose for a photo over the lake. It was his vacation that I poached so special thanks to him for inviting me along. Gosh, I think he is skinnier than me now! More photos from the non-cycling part of the vacation next.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Semi Synchronized Diving

Tucker and I get pretty amused by the swans on our walks.

I think the judges gave them a 7 out of 10.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

70.3 Post Race

Race is over. I survived - now comes the fun!

Tom is nice enough to give Sarah and I hugs after we finished a good 2 hours after he did.

My reward!!!!

After a few pints, it is time to pick up the gear. Not a lot of bikes left.... didn't everyone have a few hoppy beverages after the Half Ironman like we did???

Tom is drunk. Or he just likes to sit on the ground next to his bike.

What do you eat after competing for almost 6 hours? You order the number 9. That's right. On the menu, it is the #9. We are talking pork loin, calamari, fried egg and french fries. It also came with salad but I told them to hold it because I thought it was too much. You don't see this combination every day in the States......oh yeah, and that's a weiss beer in the picture thank you very much.

In the evening, it was time for a few more liquid rewards. Michael wanted 'Euro trash' music so we hit the 18 and over clubs. Tom and I with our self portrait. If you can believe it, this was early in the evening.

It's all fun and games until it is time to go to the airport and the shuttle driver doesn't take you to the right one. Does Girona really sound like Barcelona? Needless to say I ended up taking two trains, crying and still missing my flight home. Here's a picture of my crap at the Calella train station. Note to self: NEVER, EVER, EVER travel with your bike unless it has wheels on the box or case.

My saviors when British Airways closed their counter after I missed the flight. Thank goodness for low cost airlines. Stupid shuttle driver.... oh how I love travel.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

70.3 Race Day

To continue the saga of my first Half Ironman....

Another self portrait - this time it is race day

Sarah and I smiling with nervousness. It's game day!

Time to panic. My swim cap rips in half and we are screaming to Julian to try and help me find another one! Arrgghh!! Good news - we find some random spectators who just HAPPEN to have an extra blue cap in their bag - the same one as my wave. Big sigh of relief.

Where's Waldo? My head looks weird in a swim cap. I'll blame the squished ponytail.

Chaos in the water! I did okay - I would have done much better except like a lemming I followed the people in front of me. They went the wrong way because the buoy wasn't big enough. I should have looked up more. On the bright side, I now know I can swim 2000 meters in open water.

Michael transitions from the swim. Pretend this is me since all our fabulous fans were busy with other people so there aren't too many photos of me. Also, Michael is much smoother than I am and fun to watch.

He can run without shoes on. They are on the bike. I'm not that talented.

Michael at the back. If this was me, there would be a lot less bikes in the way, that's for sure....

Proof that I made it out of the water! Julian catches me as I roll back into transition. A solid ride with 3 hours on the bike.

Proof that I ran too! Not too sure why my arm is all funky but I blame the last 13 miles on my poor form. Finish! Finish! Finish! Finish! Final time was just under 6 hours. I think 5:53:00-ish. Yeah, I could have gone faster. I'm smiling because there are people I know at the finish though. I also cried at the finish. But don't tell anyone.

The group at the finish. You can ignore the guy on the right in the black - my fault for being chatty with him and he joined our group photo. Everyone else in red is a friend - Sarah, me, Guy, Michael, Tom, Louise and Simon.
And that's the race from Spain. More photos soon since I have to share the post-race festivities. (They are censored of course)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

70.3 Pre-Race

A Half Ironman distance is 70.3 total miles. For some reason I signed up to swim, bike and run that far. On the bright side, it was in Spain....

Tom, Michael and I take a self portrait after we arrive in Calella.

Michael and I by the beach just below the lighthouse. The lighthouse seriously ends up being the best beacon ever due to the fact that when you saw it on the bike course, you knew you were FINALLY about to be done with the headwind.

We get together for a pre-race swim to check out the sea. Sarah, Julian, Michael, me and Tom. It's a good thing we did because I was so freaked out it took me two times to get in the water. It was like the perfect storm the waves were so big. I kept telling myself how great it was that I didn't tell anyone I was doing the race because they were not going to know that I dropped out the day before due to being a big chicken. But, the gang was patient with me- especially Tom who talked me back into the water for another go.

The pedestrian walkway in Calella. Home to 90% of the restaurants and shops.

One of our favorite past times along the pedestrian walk way was pre-race eating. Oh yeah.

and more pre-race eating. I really don't think you get the scale of these pieces of cake. That's why everyone has their cameras out. So when you ask 'why did I do a half ironman?'. That answer is 'I love to eat'.

Something unfamiliar in the States, the single bed hotel room. I kept hitting my elbow on the wall and waking myself up. Doh!

After putting the bikes together, Sarah and I take them out for a spin to make sure they actually work. And yes, my arms are that skinny now. All this cardio training doesn't make time for the gym these days. It isn't like my brother used to call me Chicken Arms for nothing...

And while taking pictures of the lovely scenery, it turns out this was a nude beach. And the people were old. We didn't linger.

So after the bike passes the safety check, it's off to rack it the night before. There were about 1600 participants in the event.

And here is my trusty Trek - all ready!
At the pre-race pasta dinner, Tom claps along to the music. I'm sure he's really going to love the fact that I put this picture in here.

And lastly, the water is FINALLY calm. Let's hope it is like that in the morning.... To Be Continued....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Land of the Lost

I found where Tucker has been hiding all the tennis balls.

There are a total of 5 hidden under the hall table.
I promise Spain pics to be organized this weekend. After I get some work done. Yes, I am that far behind.