Sunday, November 29, 2009

Going to Miami



Today was one of those days where we were just hammered. Our plans were to head back to Port St. Lucie today but we just couldn't resist relaxing on the couch and checking out Miracle Mile which we were right on at our friends condo.

So, it ended up being another local touristy day in Miami where we only traveled down the elevator to the Starbucks across the street in the morning and then back down that same elevator for some sushi on the corner that night. Oh, and the only time I get eating alive on this trip by mosquito's???? At the sushi place on the patio in the middle of the city. Weird.

So not a big day but we needed A BREAK. We were whomped from our "vacation".

I thought these Pelicans at the beach were cool. They may have to be my new favorite bird. They are pretty sweet.



And the good ole Seagull.

So we will leave tomorrow for Port St. Lucie, FL pack our stuff up and head to the airport on Tuesday. This was a nice relaxing way to end a much needed trip.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Real Vacation Day!



Today was awesome. We woke up in the Keys pretty beat down from a great evening with our new Florida buddies... who all rock by the way. Very serious athletes who are serious about having fun. They live and love life. So cool!! Wish they were closer because we'd be hanging with them all the time!

First today it was off to a brunch at this place that looked like a dive but on the inside was awesome. Still not sure how Chris got me to even walk in the place! Our table was over the Atlantic ocean. Unbelievable.

Then it was off to check on the wind of which there was none but Chris still suited up just in case it picked up. I headed off for my training ride in the sunny 75 degree weather and I had to do sprints. 1000M sprints to be exact. And, seriously how to do you gage that?

Weeeeelllllll......believe it or not I found a road that had a bike line which was painted with meter marks!! No stinkin way. How convenient! That made training super nice.

Afterwards Chris and I went to the Marina to chow on some fresh Mahi Mahi for a late lunch and then hit the road to head back to Miami for the night.

That was until we a passed a little sign for a Bird Refuge still on the Keys. I am IN!!! We pulled in and these guys were sitting on the main building which was a house actually.


There were small sidewalks that meandered through dense thicket of trees and there were birds just hanging out. Some were obviously very hurt and they were also VERY used to humans as most of them didn't move an inch.

Check out this free range vulture just hanging out


This bird was as big as my head and just sat there all stoic looking. I was kind of scared he might peck at my head when I walked by but he didn't!

This video was taken while walking through one of the sidewalks checking out all the birds. They had everything at this refuge from owls to pelicans. And being a bit of scardy cat, I swear that these pelicans were going to bite at my little toes sticking out of my flip flops! They have HUGE bills that almost reach the ground as they walk right in front of you.

video

After all this we started heading back to Miami for the second time and I decided that if I didn't see a stinking alligator while I was in Florida, that was going to be stupid!! So we found one to hold.


Then we decided to finally do an airboat ride. I love being a tour-on!

Our driver was awesome. Here we are doing 360's on the air boat in the Everglades. And, it is kinda loud so watch your volume level.
video
What a fantastic day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

From Funk to Fun



Today started out super messed up. We got to Miami last night and I woke up exhausted and crying. I didn't want to move or go anywhere. I was tired, beat down and I had enough. But Chris was off to Kiteboard off of Islamarada (one of the Keys) and I either sat in the condo alone for the rest of the day or figure a way out of this mess. So I went with him not wanting to put a wrench in the plans.


Once I dropped him off to catch a boat that would take him off shore to Kiteboard I didn't know what to do or where to go. Plus all I could do was cry and cry! So I stayed in the car for a long time and just cried - probably something I just needed to get out.

That is when I remembered seeing a Starbucks on the first Key so I "bucked up" as my mom used to call it and drove myself there, got on the computer and figured out a plan of attack because what I was doing was dreadful and not fun!

I really had no idea where I was, I needed to train, I was pretty miserable considering I was in the Keys and I was flat out sad and missing my parents. Having one of those days I guess. Oddly enough, I talked to my brother on the opposite side of the country and he was having THE SAME kind of day. Weird....or maybe not so much.

Once I figured out where to park and train and once I finally got on the bike, all was better. The bike always helps!! By then Chris was done Kiteboarding as the wind died and he had met 5 of the people he went Kiteboarding with off the shore of the Keys for drinks.

So I met up with all them and that is when I truly got out of my funk.

We had the best time with these guys and gals - what a great group from FL! We did drinks, went to their house on a canal in the Keys and had fresh lobster they caught that day, then went across the street to a bar/restaurant for dinner.
Yep, I was out of the funk but a bit whooped from an emotional day. Well, at least my head isn't on fire.

But Chris DID almost manage to lose his wedding ring in the ocean (green) while at the bar/restaurant. He took it off to show and the next thing you know you could hear it bouncing from the table to the deck and there were slats in the deck that would have ker-plunked that thing right in the Atlantic.

He lucked out BIG and it landed safely on a wooden slat.

That night we decided to hang it up in the Keys at our new buddies house. It was SO NICE of them too offer that up to us cuz driving back to our place in Miami wasn't a good option.

How your day can turn around if you just give it a whirl (that I almost didn't give).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day - Port St. Lucie, FL

This whole week in Florida has been great. It is pretty crazy training too. Kind of like you are in a jungle or something with all the squeaky and squawky birds and whatever else is out there making noise. Quite different than riding through cow pies like in Utah and I like it! Only thing that I don't like is the amount of geckos that I have squashed with my tires so far. Poor little guys.

When not riding I have been hanging out a lot in this area of the house. Every house has a screened in porch like this to keep the mosquito's at bay. When not riding I have been deep in decompression mode, that is for sure. Life has been so crazy for me lately and to just not be dealing with that all right now has been so nice. I think removing myself completely from the situation I had going on at home has been good for me in a lot of ways.

These two HUGE (at least 4' tall Blue Heron) hung out in the yard by our place. Pretty neat.

Also been getting a chance to train right on the ocean. On A1A to be exact. They have a sweet bike lane that just goes and goes and goes endlessly for miles and miles. And yes, you guessed it, it is straight and flat as a pancake. Made for some good but super painful intervals. Painful for 2 reasons: one can go way harder at sea level and the scenery and road is pretty much the same the whole way not giving you much to think about, do or navigate while in the pain cave.

On that note, there were actually these 3 houses to check out as I went by. So colorful and cool! Right on the ocean too, wow.

"Rubbish" hugh? Not everyday you see a sign that has that on it.


Chris has been getting his fair share of kiteboarding in although he has turned into what I call the "windwatcher". All he does is study the wind on the computer and then goes to chase it. But that is what he wants to do so I let him do it but it equals LOTS of driving.



After training in the pain cave then having Thanksgiving dinner with some of Utah's famous GREEN JELLO....
..... it was off to Miami and then the Keys because...yep you guessed it...that is where the wind is supposed to be for the weekend.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Florida Cyclocross - Clermont, FL

We found hills in Florida!! Today's race was completely different than yesterdays because it was all hill. We started were I took this picture and went up to the top towards that tower on the left every lap.



Today the women started on the line again with the Junior Men but this time the Junior boys were after it and gave me a run for my $$. What a blast!



We were going back and forth the entire race with each other. It was perfect training! I won the Womens A but got beaten by one of the juniors. That kid was fast!


Hills and off camber turns!
video

And, just like yesterday, afterwards, Chris and I headed to Cocoa Beach so he could Kiteboard. We took a wrong turn and then another and kept having to pay tolls just to turn around.

But once at the beach finally I dropped him off up wind and picked him up a few hours later a few miles down the beach.


While waiting for him I started chewing on an apple. At first I was all alone hanging out, then one seagull arrived....


Then another... and another...and soon after that I was surrounded! Did they really want my apple of all things? They can forget about it!


Ok, racing is done so Chris and I can officially start the vacation!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Florida Cyclocross Race - Orlando, FL



Instead of going to bed at 3am like we did last night, we got up not too long after that! The cross race was early and we had to drive a few hours north from the beach to get there and I wanted to get there with plenty of time. We forgot about all the tolls around these parts too. Ugh.

We got to the race with plenty of time and it was great! The Florida Cyclocross Series is still pretty new getting about 100 people total to the races.


That didn't stop them from putting together a great course! Wow it was fun. VERY flat, UCI regulation height barriers, tons of low cut grass, lots of turns, a bit of an mtb section that had singletrack with some drop offs in it, a log to jump over and even a tiny run up. The weather was beaming with sun and the humidity wasn't too bad.



Sign for the pit zone:


They even went as far as putting in a mud section. And how do you get mud in Florida? You break out the hose of course! This guy was in charge of the mud bog.

video

As I lined up I had no idea what to expect of myself or of anything really. It's been one heck of ride with my life being turned upside down on me and there has been nothing pleasant about it. Training has been a joke, emotions have been on a roller coaster, I just got done burying my parents last weekend, I was extremely tired and here I was ready to race. Why, because I wanted to. But could I handle the stress of racing again? Will my body implode? It could have been good or it could have been bad very easily.

But off the line I jumped right into the lead and never looked back. How in the world did that happen? Cool! I certainly wasn't expecting things to go well, let alone THAT well. Ok, I will take it.

So with that I guess now you can say I am officially on the other side of this hell I have been through. My thoughts during the race were good, I seemed quick, I had the fire again to race and win .....all of which I didn't know was still there. But it is! What a HUGE relief. I am still in there somewhere beneath the layers of loss and pain.

Because the race started so early we got a chance to head to Cocoa Beach afterwards so Chris could Kitesurf. On the way there we went across Cape Canaveral and saw this big ole cruise ship. Not something you see everyday in Utah!


One of the biggest surf shops there is Ron Jons with a Starbucks inside. A Green Tea Latte and a beach is the perfect recovery food and venue - I will take it!



Ron Jons sells it all!


Chris got his wind while I hung on the beach.


Never seen this kind of kite before!


Chris kited until super late and then we had to drive back home about 2 hours. Repeat it all again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Port St. Lucie, FL - Day 1

I am FINALLY going to slowly start updating my blog...

After dealing with the death of my father, burying both parents 12 days later, having a Catholic Service and then Celebrating their lives with a party I was reminded by my husband that we were supposed to be headed to Florida for fun in 4 days!

I hadn't even had a chance to THINK about that trip and practically forgot about it all together. It was going to be good to gather with some family for Thanksgiving because this was bound to be a difficult one, that was for sure.

So completely switching gears in the blink of an eye I packed for Florida and headed away for what was going to be a pretty long vacation. Oh did I mention that this vacation was going to include some cyclocross races too? Yep, took my bike!

We got to the Florida airport late Thursday night and it was a nice one with palm trees everywhere inside!



We were quickly reminded that we were in the land of gators and lizards! This little guy came with our rental car.



We got to bed around 3am and the next day which it technically already was we settled in and tried to figure out our plan of attack. Chris's whole purpose was to Kitesurf while in Florida. My purpose was to get some good training in because I was eyeing nationals in December in Bend and I hadn't really been training........just taking care of family business. So it was pretty important that I get on a bike daily especially since it was super nice out (70's) unlike at home!

Chris found some good Kitesurfing not too far from where we were staying and the only thing that I found for training was this road with no shoulder. When I say no shoulder I mean it! It was scary.



At least there was some reprieve of the road with some sidewalks here and there!



Next up, is a double race weekend in Orlando! That should be fun considering how much I haven't trained. Can you say ouchy?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dad is Gone


The last time I saw dad we "had dinner together".

Today was a strange one. I didn’t ride today which was weird in of itself. I was supposed to train but something was driving me inside to not train today and to instead follow up with everything from mom’s death.

I just felt like I needed to get things done, make phone calls, wrap things up, do my thank you cards, answer tons of emails, get moms Celebration of Life in order, print programs, etc. I worked tirelessly all day on everything which kind of came out of the blue for me because I wasn’t planning on doing it all day like I did. And when I say that I worked on this all day, I mean ALL day.

I finally got to a point at 8pm where I felt really good about things, where everything stood with moms stuff and my own stuff as well. I felt like a weight had been lifted and that I was in a good spot because of all I accomplished today. I got a lot done and it was time to chill for the night.

I got an hour of chilling in and at 9pm I received a phone call from my brother about dad.

Dad was showing signs of probably not living more than 24 hours and the nurses had called us to let us know. The signs were that he stopped eating in the last few days, his heart rate was up and his blood pressure was down. The classic signs.

What to do now with this news??! I was supposed to be leaving for mom’s Celebration of Life in WA in 10 days and now it was looking like I was going to be leaving for a plane in 8hours heading to WA.

Ok.

I booked my flight for 8am and started packing for what could be an insta 2 week trip to WA. Dad could possibly last longer than just a few days and I needed to be prepared to stay up there for days and/or weeks. Whatever it took.

So with my flight booked I started packing frantically at about 11pm. I needed stuff for the next couple days at least, possibly my Celebration of Life attire if I was there that long, ALL (and I mean ALL) of the Celebration of Life stuff in case I was up there for a few weeks. That would be a disaster to have me there in WA and all the finished stuff in Utah!!

And then I needed to think about the possibility that dad could pass while I was up there and his obit was in Utah, his pictures (for any Power Point that I would want to do at the Celebration of Life) were also in UT, nothing was set for him to be a part of the Celebration of Life and I now I had to start thinking about scanning pictures, making copies of things and going through his stuff to find things that represented him.

Talk about having to plan ahead and this was VERY important to me. VERY. I was taking moms Celebration of Life party extremely seriously and I would do no less for dad. No less.

During the night I took several calls from the nurse that was caring for dad. I also spoke to hospice at length at about 2:30am. Both were helpful, understanding and insightful.

I was in a daze, focused at the task at hand. I was running on pure energy and/or shock and I never got the least bit tired while doing all these things all night long.

At 4:30am after a long night of getting things completely ready for what may lie ahead I laid down for just an hour. Woke up at 5:30am and was off by 6am for my flight.

I was just hoping and praying that my dad would make it at least long enough for me to see him. I had booked the earliest possible flight as soon as I knew what was happening. I was also hoping to just call dads care unit and have them put the phone up to his ear so I could say any last good byes but I was waiting for a more reasonable hour. I didn’t want to wake him.

On the way down to the airport at around 6:25am I got a call from my brother and I knew what he was going to say.

Dad had passed 25 minutes earlier.