Friday, February 27, 2009

Home, Sweet, Home

I'm back home after a crazy day and night of traveling. It's lovely and mild today and just wonderful to be back w/ my dog, my boy, my fam!

Feeling a bit jet-lagged and promise to fill you all in on the adventures soon. In the meantime, go read THIS.

Believe me, you'll be reading much more about our team - doing things to help others and kicking some major arse!!

100% Natural (Insert Richard's "Go bigger" boob jokes here). 100% Nice. Baby!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


"the world's a roller coaster and I am not strapped in, maybe I should hold with care, but my hands are in the air and I'm saying, 'I wish you were here'" - Incubus

Well, the campers have all left - another one in the books. The weather this year was fantastic for both camps - first 2 days were bit overcast, but then the sun shone on us for the duration of the camps!

This morning I said my goodbye's to Sean, Chuck, Ken and Jeff - holding onto the memories we've all made while here. You get to know people pretty well, living in close quarters and spending many hours on a bike. When the small talk falls away, you get a view of who people really are and it is a pleasure. Connecting with friends old and new on this trip will fuel me through my training for months to come. Of course, there are already plans in the works for Aubrey, Dikran and me to meet up for some rides in the Litchfield hills - Chuck and I will see eachother this weekend racing the Bethel Criterium and the others I will see during other adventures along the way.

Taking advantage of the quiet, I headed out on my bike for an easy ride. As I do every year, I try to find time to take it all in, one last time. The vast vistas - olive groves as far as you can see, dapper-dressed old men strolling along the road-side, couples enjoying the sunshine at an outdoor cafe, the flowers in bloom and the taste of an almond when picked from a tree in full bloom, cracking open the hard outer shell to reveal the delicious treat it holds.

I'm taking it all in and bringing this life, this light back with me. I find peace in movement and at that, in shared movement. I cannot wait to return next year with Sam and other friends to share the joy of this experience. To lay eyes on something from the perch of a bicycle is a unique feeling - and something that most of the population will never know or appreciate.

Ok, enough of this waxing philosophical on y'all. Time for a run and some more time in this glorious sunshine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where in the World?

So by now you've all figured out I'm not in CT... not surrounded by over a foot of snow and negative temperatures. This afternoon after a "recovery" ride - it would have been recovery if the boys weren't "being boys" and actually slowed the pace down. Goodness! Good thing is, no matter how hard they make me go, I can always make conversation (even if it's just talking at people).

After what was meant to be an easy effort, we headed back to the villa - Richard (my roomie extraordinaire!) had to rush out to catch a flight home to Canada. A bit about Richard - we became fast buddies in St Croix last year - during the awards ceremony dinner, he leaned over and said "Mandy, you let me know when you're done with Triathlon and I'll get you a set of boobs - they're too heavy for competing". I nearly fell over laughing and ever since the offer, he's been one of my favorite people (side note: I'm quite happy with my modest helping of "boob-iage" as the boys refer to it).

Needless to say, Richard was constant entertainment and a real pleasure - the kind of person that wakes up happy, asks you how you are, and really intends to learn the answer. Not to say our other campers are chop suey, but it's always sad to say goodbye, especially after spending a month in close quarters with someone.

After Richard's departure, the remaining boys headed out for a hike and I took the opportunity to nap poolside in a bikini. mmmmm sun!! It wasn't 5 minutes later (when I found my comfiest position, of course) that Sean, Johnny English and Coach David showed up for a swim workout. Crazy Brits - I have trouble understanding them and most conversations consist of me getting the giggles at the mention of words like "skivvies".

I think David intentionally splashed during flip turns, but it was a bit too toasty in the sun, so I can't complain. He coaches a series of pro athletes around the world and it was a blast to do my favorite things all at once: 1. Enjoy the sunshine 2. Talk 3. Talk about triathlon/cycling/training/exercise It was a blast and he is a riot. What felt like 15 minutes was actually 2 hours of intensive training talks. Always great to get a different perspective and debate a bit. Also, I can't help it - I love gossip. Not spreading it, just learning what's happening. Yes, it's sick. Get over it.

Lying on the beach chair next to the pool, I had this little nagging voice in my head - well, not quite nagging, more of a "do this, or you'll get a swift kick in the arse" - and I think it was a deep baritone or bass. Say 6'2" and maybe about 200 lbs? Yup, Coach E had told me to do a run and at 5 PM, I finally peeled myself off the deck chair and suited up for a run that ended up being one of my most enjoyable.

The reward for getting in today's work? "girly-time" with Tracy (Andy's wife) - by the way, check out their website so you can see where I'm lounging, I mean training -


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Time Zone Craziness

So I'm in Spain (Today was another great day - 4 hour ride and a transition run in the sunshine) - have been for the past 19 days. Right now it is quarter past 6 (PM). Exactly 6 hours ahead of Connecticut time back home. All was well for the past few weeks - getting in phone calls and work without issue.

"Why am I talking about time differences now?", you might ask - good question. You see, I'm used to talking to my Sam-boy a fair amount. Yup, miss independent has found herself head-over-heels and well, downright in need of a little time w/ her man each day. He politely types back sweet responses to my inane babbling about rides and towns and types of fruit he's never seen. On Friday he headed West (young man) for a ski vacation (and I guess technically a visit to his younger brother - sorry Jer, but the skiing is pretty darn good and he loooooves snow). This trip to Wyoming now means he's an additional 3 hours behind - totally 9!

As I was about to get on bikes this AM, I counted backwards to see what time it was for the Dodger. Turns out it wasn't even dinner time in Wyoming!! Can't be upset for not chatting. He's been happy for me training here for three weeks, I'm just as (if not more) excited for him to be "shredding" (not sure I'm cool enough to use that term) it out West. Today was beautiful for me and hopefully it will be the same in Jackson Hole.

When I get home on Thursday, I'll be falling back in time, my boy will be leaping forward and I know we'll meet up just right, as always.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

Just like Mr. Rogers sang, it is " a beautiful day in the neighborhood" - this neighborhood of course being the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Southern Spain.

Today was another epic day - a new route that Andy calls "The Kirkwood Express" - not sure why, but after spending a full month with 15 guys, anything that involves wood or phallic fruit is sure to have some secondary "guy" meaning. Looking forward to a girl's night out (after a night with my boyfriend, of course - let's make sure there's no mistake about priorities!!).

The ride today featured nearly 8k feet of climbing and was glorious - my favorite ride so far. Just the right balance of climbing gradients and descending - quiet, empty roads, spectacular views and BONUS - warm sunshine! I have the silliest tan at the moment - need to let the upper 1/2 of my face get some sun before I get home!

After the ride, I headed out for a short transition run - I brought my camera along and took pictures of the flowers in bloom.

Tonight we say farewell to one of our campers and Monday, I lose my roommate, Richard. Bummed to say goodbye and will definitely miss riding w/ these boys. It's a good thing I get in all this socializing because it's a solitary training road from here on out. I'll keep these new memories and experiences and let them fuel me thru the year. If I can climb these mountains, I can climb any hill back home.

As we drove home from the Pico de Veleta climb yesterday and I was just drifting off to sleep, a Wyclef song came on - the lyrics are all too perfect for those of us Ironman folks...

"See you have got to understand, I can't work a 9 to 5, so I'll be gone 'til November"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tired Pony

Goodness, sometimes I really think I should just get Twitter and send you all updates during the day. Big day again here - the Pico climb for group 2. I had strict directions again this time to "stay controlled" - with a distinctly low HR cap. This HR cap can be hard to keep when 1. I have a strong desire to be competitive and have to shut that off - "Race with ego, but train with none".
2. The climb averages about 15% and goes up to almost 27% in one part (according to Dr. Richard's crazy bike technology).

It was another epic day and one to remember for all. Records were broken (not by me) and on the car ride home we all napped. I headed out for a nice transition run before a massage tonight. Will have to post pictures of my favorite run route thru olive groves - usually better done earlier in the day. I went out at dusk and almost had a close encounter w/ a wild boar - made me miss my Luna-Lu (Great Danes were bred for Boar Hunting!).

A more exciting and hopefully picture-filled post will be on its way.

Until tomorrow!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Adventure Continues

Greetings, Y'all! Sorry about missing yesterday - it was another glorious day here in Espana - sun shining and tans being augmented!

The day started off with Yoga/core, a 4-5 hour ride and then a run for me. Followed by the best thing ever - a nap in the sunshine, in my bikini. YAY!

Everyone was wiped last night and so we opted for a lighter day in the saddle today. A group of us rose early to get in a swim and then a quick ride. This afternoon we'll go to Antequera to drink coffee and watch the end of the Tour of Andalucia - a race Cadel Evans won last year (and a race that attracts a great deal of Euro talent).

I'll try to post pictures and such later.

In other news - Happy Birthday to my Momma Bear and to Richard here!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Make New Friends, but Keep the Old...."

I love people. Simple as that. My family learned early on that though I may only take 30 seconds to use a bathroom, I may be in there for 30 minutes chit chatting with someone about a haircut, celebrity gossip or their recent medical trauma.

Talking is by far my favorite hobby. During races, I always try to find someone that will chat and chat and chat. Ask one question and they talk for 1/2 an hour. That's probably why I love Matt Cappiello (of Cannondale) so much - he can be running a 5 min. mile and still chew your ear off (in a good way of course).

One of my favorite parts about these training camps is that I get to meet and catch up with new people. We always have varied groups - opposing political views, varied financial and life backgrounds, etc.

The last camp was great and today, riding w/ the new group, I got to chat up friends both old and new. Hearing stories and advice from a completely different point of view. It was fantastic and eye-opening.

Today's ride was gorgeous and despite keeping my heart rate low, I cut nearly 2 minutes off my Puerta del Sol time trial record! Woot!

After getting home, Ken (we call him MMA here for his background in MMA fighting and boxing) and I went out for a short transition run and then abs/yoga.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Confidence - it doesn't just come from training

Training has been going great so far and I got the nod of approval from Coach E - SCORE!

I've had some entertaining encounters - which is typical for me in Spain. With my blond hair and green eyes, it's the one place on earth people find me exotic.

A few days ago, I was mistaken for being Argentinean - always fun when people don't think you're American! I had a good time putting the shop keeper on for a bit, before I admitted I wasn't really Argentinean.

In the past week and change, I've received over a dozen marriage proposals (sorry, y'all - I'm taken!) and many other funny comments. Mostly people just stare - it's odd to see a woman on a bicycle here and even the customs officials in the airport had a laugh when I said I was here to train - it's like you're alien!

On Saturday, riding thru Archidona after ascending the Sanctuary climb, an old woman walked by me with a young escort from the pharmacy - she commented to him "She's too pretty to be riding a bike" which made me and my company laugh. No one would ever say anything like that back home.

This morning, I got another sweet compliment. The old men here are more grandfatherly than lecherous. So when I get waved down while running through olive groves for a man to tell me I'm "guapa" or gorgeous, I take it with a smile and move on. Back home, I'd give any guy that whistled at me the finger (sorry mom, but that's my reaction). But here, it just goes into the nice confidence vault.

You my readers will always be guapa to me!!

Happy Birthday, Joe!!

First and foremost - today is my very best friend's birthday. Joe-da-Joe, Giuseppe, G - Happy, Happy Birthday!!

Today was a transition day for the group - the boys headed out for a ride and to catch a glimpse of the Tour de Andalucia - and I went for a nice run this AM, then a bit of girly shopping time with Tracy before picking up Chuck at the airport.

Chuck arrived in good spirits as always - just love this guy!

We made our way back to the villa, had a bite to eat and chatted over tea in the sunshine. This afternoon, I had orders from Coach E to do a 2 -2 1/2 hr ride. Felt nice to spin the legs out after a big run yesterday and this AM's run.

Looking forward to some great training in the next 10 days and some great training partners!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pictures to Please!

As much as I miss all of our camp 1 campers, there absence means a freed-up internet connection! Here are some pics of the past few days!

Aubrey "that girl can climb" Fleszar and me enjoying the sunshine at the start of a ride. She was an expert at scoping out places for "nature breaks". Andy and Me just before making out way to the Puerta del Sol (Door to the Sun) climb where we proceeded to peel off layers b/c it got waaaay too hot! A wild site - seeing the snowy peak in the background.
Happy Campers at the top of the Puerta del Sol climb. In the distance you can make out the Mediterranean Sea and to the left, that snowy peak! Ken and Dikran shone brightly that day - pushing hard and breaking my record on the climb!!
A classic Granada street in the old Gypsy quarter. Granada is a beautiful city and a University town - lots of young people, lots of activity and TONS of heritage!
View of the Albaicin (old Gypsy Quarter) from the Alhambra. At one point in time, there were more than 10o mosques in this part - all were either destroyed or changed to churches during the inquisition (1492). In the hillside you can make out the Gypsy caves - beautiful tiled homes w/ electricity and plumbing. To see real flamenco, you go there, where families have been performing for centuries!
A view of the Nasrid Palace portion of the Alhambra from a cafe below. The campers had coffee - I had wine. Hey, 'when in Rome'!
Andy and me before the famed Pico de Veleta climb. The highest peak in Southern Europe at just over 10,000 feet and the toughest climb in all of Europe. 42 KM long. Andy has pretty distinct facial hair and the group thought it would be funny to grow mustaches like his during the week. Thankfully, Aubs and I do not have facial hair, or the ability to grow it - so we snuck into the van and drew them on ourselves. I've never seen Andy laugh so hard before!

Aubs and me, modeling our 'staches.
Strong Like Bull Camp 1 before the Pico climb.
Richard and I handed the camera back and forth - this photo was taken with about 10k of climbing to go. That's a ski resort in the background and below. Site of the European Ski Championships about 2 years ago. I'm sweating, jersey fully unzipped and covered in salt - got a nice tan that day and many cheers from drivers!
Last ride w/ Camp 1. This is Aubs at the top of the Sanctuary climb on our last day together. Notice the gypsy head in the mountain next to Aub. Spectacular weather yet again and even better company.
Happy Climber - who wouldn't be happy looking down and seeing pink! that is the village of Archidona below me and Trabuco and Rosario in the distance.

Strong legs. How do I thank them? With a run and a ride again today of course! Hoping my shoes can make it a few more days - they are literally crumbling off me!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day is Done

It's hard to believe it, but Camp 1 ends tonight - the campers fly out tomorrow AM and the new group arrives on Monday. We have a bunch of athletes staying for both sessions and that should be a blast! The weather has been perfect and spirits are high as huge gains have been made. This camp was fantastic - varied personalities and ability levels came together and the result was fantastic.

Today, after handing out some Valentine's day treats, we decided to split up into 2 riding groups. One group with the goal of a longer, harder day and the other, a lighter ride and run day. I led the group on a shorter ride of 2 1/2 hours and we included a nice hop up the Sanctuary Climb - this short climb (just about 1.5 miles is steep, switchbacks with bad pavement - great prep for St Croix as the gradient is insanely steep. The view up top was as glorious as I remembered - looking over the valley and into the mountains, spotting the Gypsy Head in the distance and reveling in the beauty of this 16th century structure. It's hard enough riding a bike up something like that - not to mention building up there!

Looking forward to another 11 days of training, but all the while missing my Valentine back home. Think I can petition to Hallmark for a date change?!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Every Day is Friday

In one of my favorite Wyclef songs, he sings "For all my people with no jobs, everyday is Friday" - well, and here we get to pretend we don't have work. We escape on our bicycles - into the mountains of sunny Spain and just ride. No cell phones beeping or buzzing. Watches are used for chronograph features and that's about it.

Somehow I missed updating you all yesterday. Oops! As Natalie (Andy and Tracy's older daughter) likes to say, "My bad"! Yesterday a group of us headed into Granada to tour the Alhambra and bop around the ancient city. Lots of fun, lots of shopping - lots of wine and pastries at lunch.

Last night we headed into town as a full group for a meal of traditional Tapas. It was fantastic and again - much good food and libation were had... well, wine, beer and then apple schnapps - more schnapps for me since I took a few to defend the group honor.

Luckily, coach E didn't chastise me - instead he congratulated me on out drinking the rest of the group (oh wait, I shouldn't really be bragging about that, huh?).

This morning came pretty quick and before I knew which way was up, we were in the car on our way to the base of the Pico de Veleta climb (hardest in Europe and the highest peak in Southern Europe - and those aren't my expressions). The weather was perfect - warm, sunny and just brilliant. The group was strong today - climbed really well and we all had an amazing time!

The Pico goes up to a height of just over 10,000 feet - from the top you can see the Mediterranean. Truly WILD!

I later went for a run w/ a few of the boys and then had a massage - I feel human again!

Tomorrow is El Torcal - and I'll try to post pictures then as well. Camp 1 ends on Sunday and tomorrow I have a bit of a Valentine's Day surprise for everyone. To all the spouses back home - happy V-day and ask for something extravagant when your spouse gets home!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Stars

Another day is in the books and I can tell everyone is getting in great training b/c they look like zombies.

I have to say, I'm feeling great. My energy feels constant and I'm chipper, which, given the number of hours I've put in (5 hours of swim/bike/run constituted a "recovery day"), is remarkable. I emailed Coach E-Rock to check in (we've emailed a few times each day) and today's email was remarking that I'm adjusting to taking the ego out of my training.

We have a few "time trial" climbs here. Today was one of them. I took heart that I have some respectable times already posted on the board from last year. With so much training to do, I was instructed to keep my heart rate low and controlled. The first few days it was hard to just watch the front guys cruise up the road - look down at my heart rate monitor and realize I couldn't go with them. But today was different. Today I could not wipe the smile from my face. Enjoying the scenery (and that's not to say I wasn't working, because I was!) and taking it all in. Being in Spain, and in arguably the most culturally and historically rich regions of Spain, it would be a waste to not enjoy it. Being here is more than the hours and hours of training like a pro, meals and wheels taken care of!

After 5 hours of riding in the sunshine, sweat pouring off of us, we called it a day. The boys began cleaning bikes and going in the hot-tub, and I headed out for a lovely 45 minute run.

Being here just feels natural and by here, I mean Spain. Andy and Tracy are lovely - accommodating beyond belief and offering advice that I can live by. It never ceases to amaze me, I don't get to see them nearly as much as I'd like throughout the year, but we can pick up right where we left off. Some people you just know. And they know you.

Most of the group is headed into town to watch the soccer match w/ Andy. I just chuckle, as we all know, no one can keep up w/ a partying Andy! Going into town is never a short trip - and usually involves more than a few drinks and practical jokes.

Tomorrow I'll be headed to Granada with a group to visit the Alhambra, do some shopping and enjoy a rest day. From the Alhambra, we'll be able to see (towering above) the Pico de Veleta (highest peak in Southern Europe and the toughest European Climb at 42km). We'll be climbing that on Friday and everyone is already buzzing with excitement!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some advice for you, even though you weren't asking.

Somehow, I always find myself agreeing with this one. Rob was one of the first people I spoke to when I decided on some major life changes last year and not only did his emails keep me laughing, they kept me grounded.

He writes (not as much as I'd like him to!) over at and his recent POST is as brilliant as ever.

Guess that arctic weather is agreeing with you?


A few pictures to tide you over!

Reagan, the sweetest dog on the planet. He is huge - startlingly so! Here he is with Tracy (Andy's wife and our chef!).
The view facing West on my first ride. In the distance is the Village of Concepcion. To the South is the Mediterranean sea and behind me is the mountain I had to get over to get home. At the top of this climb, I turned around to take it all in and spotted the sign. 10% grade - great way to "shock" the legs into some work!
Traffic Jam on the way home.
Looking over at the Venta De Zaffaraya - that snowy peak. Mind you, it was sunny and I was sweating climbing it. Seeing it 2.5 hours before you hit the base is just wild!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Food Centric

Thank sweet baby jeebus for protein shakes (well, that and tasty cakes). It's only been a few days and already the little bit of brain power I've got is completely focused on food. Today's ride was brutal - totally and completely brutal. And I'm saying that will a giant and sublime smile on my face. The Ruta de Rute is quite possibly the hardest ride - no, scratch that - the hardest ride we do here at Strong Like Bull.

It is an 86 mile route that takes you over various mountain passes. To give you an idea of just how hard this ride is and the gradients we scaled - it took us 5 hours and 45 minutes to do that ride. At some point I looked over at Richard (the plastic surgeon from Nova Scotia), he was eating a snickers bar and I almost tackled him to take it. Yup. The hungry has overtaken me.

Before coming I swore I'd skip dessert, that I'd be militant about my calorie intake. Well, I'm so far behind in calories that I can't stop myself from putting anything slightly edible in my pie hole. Lost a few pounds already and looking forward to getting a bit leaner.

Again, I'm supremely impressed by the athletes on this trip - all survived the day and when the question was raised - "who wants a massage" - extreme cagefighting almost broke out (Deborah our masseuse will only do so many at a time).

Tomorrow is mercifully an easier day - but there will be running and swimming in there to balance out the lack of cycling time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mountain Song

"I was coming down the mountain!!!" - Jane's Addiction

It was only a few weeks ago I was singing (well, not sure if you can call what I was doing singing) this song after a game of Texas Hold 'Em and today, it was reality.

I finally got in a nice effort on my bike - a 5 hour ride on some of the toughest terrain the world has to offer. With sunshine to spare, the group headed out the famed "Zaffaraya" climb. It would take us 2 hours to get to the base of this climb, an hour to get up it and 2 hours to get home. It was lovely and I couldn't have been happier than when we hit that first pitch.

My instructions were to "ride without ego". And that's what I did. I got in my workout, but also made sure to spend time rotating through the group. I visited with our front guys for a bit and then found the other individuals throughout the day. The beauty of this camp is that we can all train together, but independently at the same time. A support vehicle makes the rounds - so no one gets lost, cold or hungry!

Within the first hour, you can see where you will be 2 hours from that point. The views across the mountain tops are incredible and truly sublime. While unzipping my jersey because I was so hot, I looked across the divide to see snow capped peaks. Just wild!

I could not have been more impressed with Dikran and the other campers - still jetlagged and on barely any sleep, they all put in immense efforts.

After the ride, the group hit the hot-tub and Richard and I ambled out for a short run. It was perfect and made the hot tub afterwards feel all the better.

A hearty meal of paella, wine, luscious dessert and good company and I'm officially ready to crash out - another day in the books.

Tomorrow is the famed/feared Ruta de Ruta (Route of Ruta). It boasts 87 miles and nearly 9,000 feet of climbing. It is brutal and I can't wait.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle."

Well, it's almost 5 o'clock here, despite it being about 11 AM back home. Get out of bed, already, will ya?!

This morning began with a nice group run - Aubs and I kept it easy and chatted for 5k while the boys did a more intense 10k loop. Was SO nice having company for my run this AM and when we got back, breakfast was waiting for us. Andy had loaded up the bikes and we were set for an earlier than usual departure. We made our way to beautiful Villanueva de la Concepcion (sorry, can't put accent marks on this computer - argh) - Village of the Conception.

Because Dikran was arriving this afternoon, I opted for a solo ride so I could meet him at the airport. I had a lovely time and stopped to take a few pictures. And I stopped due to a traffic jam - one involving goats.

It was a lovely ride and I got off my bike wanting more and feeling fresh - exactly what Eric ordered.

Tomorrow is a big ride - with the main focus being a traverse of Zaffaraya. A large climb that I did a few years back on accident (I dropped my water bottle and took a wrong turn) - oops! IN any event, it will be fun to relive this route and be sure I'm going the right way! Somehow, years ago, I guessed right and made it home. Long story for another post.

In the meantime, the campers, though jetlagged, are in good spirits and I think everyone will only get stronger as the camp goes on.

Keep on riding!

Friday, February 6, 2009

And so it begins...

The campers arrived today - well, all but one. It's actually a blessing in disguise. Eric has instructed me to take it easy these first few days and let my body settle back into "healthy" mode as well as not get blasted early on. With that in mind, we had a camper that at the last minute needed to change his reservation. He will arrive tomorrow around lunchtime and it's just enough time to let me get in a quick run in the AM and then a 2 1/2 hour bike at my own pace before I pick him up at the airport. In the afternoon, we'll all congregate for yoga and core.

Today was filled with excitement - the arrival of the athletes is always a lift - fresh faces seeing the place with fresh eyes and the returning campers with there knowing smiles - well, and tired eyes! Dinner tonight was delicious as usual. Tracy prepares each meal specially and takes into consideration all dietary restrictions. I had a wonderful meal of stuffed avocados and am satiated beyond words. YUM!

Looking forward to tomorrow and I promise I'll take pictures and upload them then.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back on Solid Ground

Not much to report - I touched down in Malaga, Spain earlier after an uneventful flight. A bit of rain when I landed, but the skies are clear tonight! I had a lovely afternoon drinking tea with Jon and Tracy - catching up - my-oh-my does a lot change within a year!

The campers arrive tomorrow and I'm looking forward to kicking off Strong Like Bull 2009.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

22 days

I'm sitting here in jfk airport waiting to board my 10:45 flight to Spain. This isn't my first trip, but it is my first trip this new year and this time, I'm flying direct. My ticket with delta was cheap (350) - but I got slammed with a nasty one way charge of 300 dollars for my bike - no joke. My bike weighs less than most luggage and certainly most passengers. A call to delta proved useless and while I never plan to fly with them again (wow, how do you lose a 24 year-old passenger that travels a lot?!) I also intend to fight this charge. My 20lb bike box should not cost 600 dollars to fly round trip when I payed 350 - that's insane!

Ok, enough ranting and back to the good. I love traveling and especially flying. I've always found takeoff exhilerating and I still love to see the pilot and cockpit. It's strange traveling alone, but there is a certain calm to it when you are used to a lot of activity.

I said my goodbyes to Luna, Cass, West and my parents today and got to have a nice last night with my boy. Just before turning out the lights, Sam handed me a box. He said I could open the box, but not my gift...confused, I peered inside. Lined up were 22 sealed envelopes. One for each day I am away. I was allowed to open the first one tonight in the airport and after the check-in stress, my already active tear ducts found something more to form - this time from the recognition of caring, compassion and love.

Counting down the days - and looking forward to returning stronger, leaner, fitter, faster and most importantly, returning to my loves.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Luna curls up on a chair as I pack my bags...I wish I could bring her - she'd love Andy's big shepherd, Reagan.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Keep on Keepin' on

Hey y'all - my apologies for the blogging hiatus. I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days - add insult to injury, I broke out in hives all over. Yup, they are a great accessory to the cough and stuffy nose.

I shouldn't be complaining, I haven't been sick very much - last illness was just as well-timed as this one, the days before Hawaii. Being sick definitely makes you appreciate being healthy and functional. Well, I shouldn't even be complaining at all. I have all my limbs, I will get better in a few days and I can technically still function normally - just without workouts or excess energy.

The boy has been incredible. I've never had someone be so sweet and caring. If someone can still show you affection when you're coughing all over them and covered in hives (and scratching those hives like some kind of crack addict), well, besides owing that person many times over, you definitely recognize how much they mean to you.