REWINDApril 17, 2012
I figured that this week I would do a little rewind of my past few weeks and share it with you because I could not come up with one thing to write about and my past few weeks have included, well....bikes, riding bikes and watching people ride bikes.
First, a couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to make it home to see my family and most importantly, make it to my nieces first birthday and be a part of the celebration. (Thank you Scott!) Although some of you may not understand it, a first birthday is a huge celebration for us. The little one may never have any recollection of the day or the festivities, but I think it is more about the celebration of life, bringing family and friends together and creating memories. And just so that we are clear, when I say home, I mean Hawaii.
But to go back a few days before taking off to Hawaii, I got a text message from my bike shop (Rock n Road in Anaheim) that read "your bikes are in and ready." This was not an unusual text because I was waiting for the message of when my bike was done, but the unusual part was the plural of bike with an "s" at the end. I was told that I would be getting a new road bike soon, but had no idea when that would be and surprise, surprise....it was in!
A day later I went to the shop and was so excited when I saw my new Specialized Tarmac SL4 sitting there....she was gorgeous. And not only is she gorgeous, but she is also pretty fast.
Now, fast forward a few days and I was on an airplane on my way back home.
It had been almost a whole year since I had been back and I was anxious to see my family and friends, but the other thing I was looking forward to was the heat. I feel like I have been permanently frozen and I was dreaming of feeling the warmth of the sun beating down on me, but of course, that first morning that I woke up.....I walked out side and it was freezing! I understand "freezing" might be an exaggeration, but let me tell you, it was cold. My mom was laughing at me, but reassured me that the heat was coming.
Yes, it did warm-up, but I would not say to the point of super hot.
Of course, my trips back home always include bikes, but the bike was extra special on this trip because I shared it with my little niece and for her 1st birthday, I gave her....a bike. It was a little pink Haro balance bike that she may never remember, but I will never forget the look on her face when I put her on the saddle and I will never forget that little death grip on the handlebars that refused to let go. She is still not walking, but hey, maybe she will be "riding" a bike before she walks!
But speaking of riding, there is one ride that is a must whenever I go back and that is going up and over Tantulus. So, on Saturday morning, I met my friend Ray at the base of Tantalus and convinced him into joining me in my torture of intervals. Granted, I did not really enjoy the ride until my the completion of my last interval, but this ride is a must if you ever make it over there with a bike.
Tantalus is a 9-mile loop with about 1500' of climbing up and down a twisty road that is tunneled with rain forests and bamboo forests until you fly around the corner that opens up into a panoramic view of Diamond Head all the way to Downtown. It is pretty amazing.
In the 4.5 days I got to see all my family, catch up with some friends, ride my bike, celebrate my little nieces 1st year, go to the North Shore and have a picnic on the beach and see a lot of Hello Kitty. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but so needed and so special and before I knew it, it was time to fly back home to California.
After getting back home, it was back to the life of sleep, eat, train and repeat.
But, during that time I did get to make it to a few practices with the Yucaipa High School Team and managed to put them through some torture as I stood on the sidelines (for a change!) , share some laughs and just have fun on the trails.
And just yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to make it to one of their races. Their first 3 races always had a conflict in schedule, but as soon as I realized that I was going to be able to make it to this one...I was ecstatic.
The race was held at Vail Lake in Temecula and the kids were challenged with a 6-mile course that included some super fun singletrack along the ridges and in the valleys of Vail Lake and some short little steep grinds that gave the spectators a spot to gather around and cheer each rider until they crested the top. Depending on what division they were in they had to complete either 2, 3 or 4 laps.
I have been to these races before, but it has been a while and I was once again amazed.
There were so many people and many more girls toeing the line this year. Because of this growth in numbers, the girls actually had staggered starts that were determined by their division. In the past, it was a mass start because there was not enough girls to cause any traffic. There were also exhibitors, team pits, campers, friends, families, volunteers and coaches everywhere. The racers even had a drumline to pull them through the finish.
Just before the Varsity boys were to start, Race Director Matt was looking for someone to take the drumline out to Marine Hill. This is a short, but super steep hill that needs to be attacked with enough momentum, determination and strength in order to make it to the top without stepping off and Matt wanted to provide the racers with some motivation and support. So, me and another Coach and his family marched the boys and their drums to Marine Hill. All I can say is that I wish I had a drumline along the course when I was racing!
But, I have to say that the kids were amazing and I am so happy that I was able to make it out there. It is so refreshing to see these kids out there, pushing their limits, challenging themselves, overcoming fears and discovering new things about themselves that they didn't know. Also, to see all the support that they have from not only their dedicated parents, but from their zealous coaches who dedicate so much time and effort.
There were also many future racers out there who were being inspired and from the moment their family parked their cars, these little ones could not get off of their bikes the whole entire day. This little one below, Haley who is the daughter of one of our coaches, had her helmet on from the moment she got up and never took it off.
I am not sure if I will be able to make the next one, but I believe that it is in 4 weeks in Lake Arrowhead and if you haven't been able to witness to one of these races and are available, I highly recommend going. These kids are inspiring and many of them are scary fast.
Congratulations to not only Yucaipa, but to all the schools and racers out there who represented yesterday and keep on pedaling!
Speaking of racing....on Wednesday we drive up to Sea Otter for a fun weekend of bikes and then I head to the Whiskey 50 the following week for some pedaling action in Prescott. So stay tuned!
Oh and by the way....Scott loves to start rumors and no, I did not win a Viper!! But I did get to drive it and let me just say...that thing is crazy fast.