Sunday, November 29

Single Track Getaway!

It has been pretty full-on here in New Zealand. Between craft making and dishes doing and kid chasing and cooking, not too much time to do things i would normally blog about! But Sunday brought a different landscape, and it was fantastic.

After connecting with the Manawatu Cycling Club last week, I knew they were good people and they offered to show me some trails on Sunday!

Mountain biking is the best hobby/obsession ever! I brought my shoes, pedals, helmet and kit (next time saddle too for SURE..yikes) and then found my sisters bike, a stellar Mongoose Rockadile in the back. This bike in the US would rate mid-level Wal-Mart buy, FYI. Thus the horrid seat. I don't even know if the gear ratios are the same, and the "shock" may have had 3 cm of travel!

BULLS: this is the town we went through to get to the tracks! The Knights, who I connected with before coming here, are in charge of the riding club and getting race courses mapped out and organized. Pretty cool.

The trails were a majority of single track in dark forested, humid country. There were no long climbs, but a ton of pitchy little ascents and descents. The efforts felt a lot like Short Track where you have to pin it for 4 seconds to get over the hump then keep the momentum going down the other side.

The tracks were so swoopy and smooth. A thick layer pine-needles mixed with the tacky dirt made for a fast ride!

With trails named "Snakes and Ladders" and "Roller Coaster" I knew I was in for a treat! Some of the drops and tight switchbacks popped my heart right up into my chest! Its been awhile since I have had that feeling and I love it!

Nothing like foreign trails, on a bike you don't know, in a land I am new to! So much fun! Unlike the trails at home, some of which i could ride with my eyes closed, every corner brought something new and exciting! Everything was bright green, with dew on the tops! I think the most similar trails are up in the Napa Valley or farther up NorCal. Just beautiful!

I was so impressed with the trail markings and on the really steep sections, pieces of outdoor carpeting had been put down. Pretty brilliant actually. This race course gets a lot of traffic, and with the rains and muddy soil, the hills would get eroded in a weekend. But with the carpet down, no excuse to walk, you gotta power it up the climb!

My body took a bit of a beating though. Geeze. Everyone was laughing at my bike! Going down the descents you could hear suspect rattles and my arms got sooooo tired! But thats a good thing since I haven't ridden a bike in like 2 weeks! I just kept thinking it was equivalent to at least one upper body gym session!

I think I had a grin on my sweaty face the whole time! Sure I could have ridden on the road or kept up my running torture, but I think the best way to truly immerse myself into a new culture or region is to Mountain Bike there!

Nothing is quite as exhilarating, fun, or just dang cool!!

Thursday, November 26

They call this summer? where's my hoody!!

So I have come to find out many things on my short adventure here on the other side of the world!

1. Summer here is colder and more rainy than any day we have had in SoCal since like 2007
2. I can utilize my iPhone and the Wifi to find any and everything at an instant. Some important items, in no particular order are:
How to make play dough
How to make Ratatouille
How to make pie crust, pie, numerous casseroles
What to do for a little boy with a belly ache
Where to find local mountain bike tracks
What exactly is 320 grams in cups???
How to drink vinegar to get rid of a chest/head cold
3. The word LOVELY at home is used quite sarcastically. Here, it is a true fact. "That dinner was lovely. That family is just lovely." Odd...
4. Either it is the hair, the hot pink I wear, or the fact I am out running in gale force winds, but the farmers all stare at me.
5. Thanksgiving dinner will be Saturday, and we will call it a feed.

One of the coolest things I have come across is a mountain biking club. I found them online before I left and they are rad! I met up with them on Wednesday night in the park and they have a whole lot of junior riders! My favorite! We did cool skills and some hot laps on a "Short track" type course. Now that was some solid effort! Plans are in the works for the Real Deal single track expedition on Sunday!! Woop Woop!!

As for the sister, things are on the Up and Up. We have had a handful of "firsts" while I have been here which is really cool. Its full-on over here making meals, cleaning up, taking care of the 2 and 4 year old as "best" I can, although the one diaper change I got to do ended up with quite the altercation with a 2 year old. Yikes. I will stay in the kitchen!!

I will create another blog when I get home of links and photos, for some reason can't get them on here!

The sun is out and the wind is calm, better snag this opportunity to go for a run!

Monday, November 16

Off To Follow Summer...

At least they call New Zealand the Island of the Long White Cloud...otherwise, I would be bummed out. I really do not like summer and the heat and frankly the sun at this point in the year. Its just been too dang hot and sunny. Although, riding my bike at night, which 80% of my rides end of taking place, has been oddly pleasent with shorts and short sleeve jerseys.

In about 6 mintues I get to head to the airport to begin a long trek to the Southern Hemisphere, and summer, to check on my sister and her family! I am not sure what I will find, except I do know there will be little feet waiting for me to run and play with! I can't wait! My roll is Comedy Enforcer, so the goal is to make Julene laugh so hard she cries, make her delicious vegan food, and anything else on her "honey do" list!

This is going to be quite the adventure!!

Monday, November 2

Wintering in SoCal

Nothing but clear skies, 80+ degree weather bringing in the month of November. I am a bit cross about this, I must admit. Being that I spend up to 10 hours, a day, Outside, I am burnt out on the sun. And straight up burnt. I just know when I turn 50 I will be the stereotypical PE teacher with leathery skin who looks closer to 70.

In the spirit of Skin Preservation, however, Shelli and I ventured where I promised to never delve. The SPA......Glen Ivy Hot Springs and Spa offers a variety of blah blah blah!!! Sat by pool, ate salad, sat in sulpher hot pool, mud bath, eucolyptus steam room which nearly exfixiated me!! and finished off with some Roman baths. This experience proved again that most of my "ideas" about doing certain things out of my routine or comfort zones are super lame and I need to buck up and get on with it! Good fun and half off after 2pm!!
Hiatus: That bike break i took really panned out for me! I have been loving being back on the bike and catching up with everyone! I completed my FIRST full week on my NEW and IMPROVED training program and I am loving it. I get to fully access and utilize the Training Peaks site which is awesome! Powertap and Garmin files being uploaded daily and looked at by my coach is really cool. It's fun and refreshing to start from scratch and learn new tricks. This off season is going to be Great!!!

And it doesn't hurt that I have some pretty rad people to do it with!! over 20 riders out on the team ride sunday, 5 heavy-hitting chicks, and a lot of roads to be covered and climbed!