Wednesday, June 27, 2007

back home, too much work to do, miss my honey

We got back around Midnight on Monday night after a harrowing ride in a sardine-can Cal Train with 1,200 Giants fans and 5 or 6 other weary travelers. Up at 6:00 am headed to work. Barely got through my email, attended 1 meeting and finished 1 help ticket before the end of the day. Then it was off to sprintervals in Fremont, which was great. It was a good way to whip my body (but not too hard) back into high-intensity after the long break.


This morning when I got up I realized how much I missed my honey. After 15 days of nearly 24x7, it's hard to go back to little snippets of him in the morning and evening. I tried to convince him we should call in sick and lay around in bed all day as we were getting ready to go. He seemed tempted, but the sense of duty eventually propelled us both to our respective offices.

I guess I have to look forward to Maui in the winter after I graduate.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

marmots, pikas and elk, OH MY!

Well, we're wrapping it up here in Canada. Yesterday we hiked the Cascade Amphitheatre - our longest hike to date. It was about 16km round trip. The first part was slightly downhill into a river bed. Then it started relentlessly up, then up even more with terrible footing. But, we made it in 2.5 hours. It was a beautiful cirque with a meadow.

We sat down on a flat rock in the middle of a couple talus slopes to eat our snacks. Looks like elk was on the menu here over the winter. Soon, we were joined by a couple marmots, 3 pikas and a host of ground squirrels. They made an interesting cacauphony of sounds.

After finishing our hike, we saw some baby big horn sheep on the road. And, we saw a mule deer while heading into town.

Today we went to Radium Hot Springs, because the weather was crappy. I also got a massage. Yay! We stopped on the way to view the paint pots. They were only marginally interesting - nothing like the ones in Yellowstone.

On the way back, we took the Bow Valley parkway to look for moose. We did find a lovely bull elk with a nice rack. Beautiful!

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Randomness from Canuckistan

Thursday we hiked up Sulphur Mountain to the top of the Banff gondola and weather station. We'd heard if you hike up you can ride down for free. So, we did the 5ish mile hike in 2 hours. We ran a pretty good pace the whole way.

However, it was no longer free to ride down but $12.50. Yikes! We once again bent over and gave it up to the tourist machine, because I didn't want to hike down for 2.5 hours (I am always slower down than up and it hurts my feet).

Today, we rented mountain bikes and did a 15km off road trail loop. Most of it was non-technical, but there were a couple challenging sections with whooptie-do river crossings. Then we did a mostly road but some trail loop around the Banff Springs golf course looking for elk. I did my first drop-off. It was about 5 feet and not completely vertical. I didn't really see it coming. I just came over a rise and realized I had to drop down a rock face. I didn't have time to chicken out. So, I just angled the bike and stuck my butt out and survived. Yay me!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wildlife and Sun - Finally!

We've finally seen a decent amount of wildlife. Cyclistrick is happy now.

Monday we were supposed to hike Cavel Meadows, which is a high cirque directly across from the glaciers of Mt. Edith Cavel (Angel glacier and cylistrick in photo below). But, when we got there, the trail was closed due to snowy conditions. So, we hiked the short lower trail that was open.

On the way back on that trail, I heard a cooing sound coming from a rock. Turns out the rock was a Ptarmigan (with his girlfriend pictured below).

We finished that hike just in time for the rain to start. So, we bailed on outdoor stuff for a while. In the evening, it cleared, so we hiked Patricia Lake trail near Jasper because it was supposed to be good for large mammals. We didn't see any. But, on the way back, a black bear cub popped out on the road!

On Tuesday, we left Jasper and headed south for Lake Louise. We saw mountain goats on the road.

And Tangle Falls....

We stopped at Wilcox Pass to hike to the top of the pass, which is across from the Columbia Icefield.

Near the top of the pass amidst stiff, icy winds and snow flurries sat a family of bighorn mountain sheep.

In the last leg of driving we were approaching Bow Lake. We saw a few vehicles along the side of the road taking photos and pointing. We pulled off and saw what the commotion was all about. About 150 meters away was a mamma grizzly bear and two cubs following behind.

Today, we woke up early to hike around Lake Louise. It was beautiful and still in the morning. Finally, the sun has come out!

We were the first hikers to arrive at Lake Agnes this morning. A glacial lake set in a cirque about 3.5 km above Lake Louise. As we headed down, the throngs of tourists were headed up. We dashed out of town and are now in Banff.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Randomness - Sheep farm B&B and Jasper

The B&B was a turn of the century house that was going to be demolished for a hospital project. The owner had it moved to his sister's sheep farm land.

They just had two litters of baby goats.

If you think Yosemite is expensive for the entry fee, you should come here. It is $9 per person per day or $17.50 per 'family' (two or more). So, it ended up being cheaper for us to buy an annual pass for $125 than by the day. Anyone want to buy our pass off us when we get back? We've seen lots of wild flora, but cyclistrick is bummed at the lack of big game so far.

We had some nice 'summer' conditions for our hike in the Opal Hills yesterday.

Eventually, the skies cleared a little on the way back to Jasper town and we got this great shot of Medicine Lake.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We're back online!

After two days at a sheep farm with no Internet access, we are back online. More updates coming soon....Oh, and Panda and Flandria successfully located us - deep in the heart of Canuckistan (well more deep now than when we were in Vancouver)!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Where in the world is chatterbox? Part 2

OK. Some photo evidence for you....points for the correct region, double points for the correct city, triple points for the exact location in the city where the photos are taken. Savvy travelers, ready, set, go!

The "Giantess" - see any resemblance?

A little city-scape....

A friendly white whale....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Where in the world is chatterbox? Part 1

No photos yet. Maybe some tomorrow.

Hint #1-
We had to take a plane

Hint #2-
We're in a big city (for now)

Hint #3-
I had fish cooked in a dried chile paste for dinner

No fair guessing Lorri, Mom or anyone else who knows where we are!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Peskydero Highlights and Lowlights

Highlight: The Sea of Pink

Lowlight: The 25 minute!!! line for the port-o-lets

This was a tough race for me (as expected). It is probably one I wouldn't choose to do again for a while. I finished last, which I try hard not to do. But, I felt good because I contributed to the team effort by leading out for the sprint prime, which pretty much blew my last gasket. But, it did string out the peloton and make the sprint a lot safer and set up a couple teammates to attack on the first climb. I then circled for 42 miles alone. The W4 lead group finished with a 20 mph average!!! This race was 47 miles with about 4,500 feet of climbing. They even caught the lead group of the W3 race, which had started 10 minutes in front and was supposedly a faster category. Yikes. I was happy to finish with nearly a 15 mph average considering I was solo all day.

Friday, June 8, 2007

My Summer Reading List

For the last few years, my reading has mostly been contained to stimulating titles like "Information Literacy Instruction", "Perl Programming" or "Encoded Archival Description - Context, Theory and Case Studies". Zzzzzzzz.

I have managed to read a few other things - mostly during the winter and summer breaks. So, for vacation, I've stocked up on books I've been meaning to read. Here's the list.

  • Locke 1928, by Shawna Yang Ryan
  • A Long Way Gone - Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

I also intend to finish the Chronicles of Narnia over the summer, which has been my bedtime reading for a couple months. And, I plan to read the new Harry Potter book over my birthday weekend in July.

I was just going to get the first two books on the list. But, when I saw Khaled Hosseini had another book out, I had to get it. I bought Kite Runner used to take on our last mini-vacation and couldn't put it down. It was probably the best book I've read in the last 10 years. I was even reading on our bus ride in Mammoth to Devil's Post Pile. It was making me nauseous, but I had to push on. I've heard the new book is as good or better than Kite Runner. Yay!

In addition to the fun titles, I will be reading a book on Spiritual disciplines by a Quaker woman circa 1900, for my women's group. I only have to get 1/3 of the way through that by the end of June, though. Phew!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Just one more suffer-fest before a much-needed break...

Saturday is the epic Pescadero Road Race. To quote Panda, this is a race that I have a "snowball's chance in hell" of surviving in the main pack. But, I will be there to challenge myself - to see how many hills I can survive before I spew out the back. After it's over, I will be READY for a break.

This has been a brutal spring with racing, work and loading up classes in my master's program to try to finish in December before next racing season. The good news is that my candidacy has been accepted and I will be turning in my thesis project in November. Yay! I will have until July 22 to become re-inspired after Pescadero. I haven't had an extended vacation in 2 years. So, we will be doing that, but without bikes this time. Then, I'll have several weeks to build back up before the final phase of my season. Then, over the fall I will ponder all the types of races I've done this year and try to be more strategic next year in picking races that will suit my strengths and minimize my weaknesses. Of course, I'll throw in a few that will be challenges, too.

The only hitch in my time of recuperation is that I have to come back from vacation to a web site redeisign project at work, which will mean long hours for the rest of the summer. Drat! But, I will take what I can get. My body is screaming for a break - mentally, physically and emotionally. So, it will get one. Hooooraaaay!

Monday, June 4, 2007

TTrying to gett Resultts

I did my first 'real' TT since Berkeley Hills yesterday - the Dunlap TT. It was 34km.

I went pretty fast ~20mph. But not fast enough. The only improvement I made to my setup was to put mini clip-ons on my road bike. I pushed really hard with good wattage and pushed stronger as the race went on, and the legs were burning the whole time. And, I started getting the inadvertent snot flowing out the nose at the end (a sure sign I was working hard). However, it appears if I'm going to be good against the TT specialists, I need to train more specifically for the event (maybe 1 x per week and hit the local TT mock races), and I probably need to get a real TT-type setup for the bike.

Cyclistrick and I were thinking of modifying his abandoned Trek Y-foil with cowhorn/TT bars and a more forward seating position, since it's nearly a complete bike that's already paid for. And, we have a Nimble rear tubbie that came off his Colnago that I could use.

At least I look fast!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Goodbye Lou

I got some sad news yesterday. My friend Melinda informed me that her husband Lou, also my friend, had passed away. Lou was an advertising icon in the 80s and was a famous creative director at a large agency in New York. But, that wasn't the Lou I knew. The Lou I first met was the guy who was the partner and later husband of my mentor and friend.

He and Melinda encouraged me through those first rocky years of my career. He gave advice and listened to my whining about advertising agency politics and drama. When I decided to go a new direction into starting a web development business, he supported me by letting me develop a site for his artwork. His artwork is beautiful and haunting and a great testament that creativity can thrive beyond a creative career. He also kept me busy with work fixing and upgrading his laptop that always seemed to have one ailment or another. I suspected he was secretly sabotaging it because he knew I needed the money.

I haven't seen much of him in the last couple years - partly because of my geographic shift to the south bay and partly because his struggle with Parkinson's kept him sidelined much of the time. I know he will be missed - especially by Melinda and his kids. But, I also know that his soul is now free from his failed body that caged it...He's free to Be all that he Can Be.