Posted by: Travis | July 8, 2009

…aaaaaaand, we’re back!

It’s been pretty fast and furious since we got back from Houston Sunday morning, so i haven’t had time to blog.

The trip was, in a word, awesome. As usual, the time flew by and it felt too short. I got to see a ton of people i hadn’t seen in a while. We had a group of about 12 doing stuff together Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, which was cool. I felt like i didn’t get to spend as much time as i was hoping to catching up with everyone, but when you live thousands of miles away and try to get a year’s worth of hanging out with 12 people done in 3 days, you’re kind of destined for failure. But damn if we didn’t give it our best.

As with the people, we got to eat at a lot of places i’ve been wanting to try for going on a year now (Textile, Little Big’s), as well as places i’ve been missing (La Jalascience, Central Market), but i wish we could have hit some more places (Feast, Catalan, Ninfa’s on Navigation, Asian Market, etc.)

We didn’t sleep very much, so by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around and a lack of sleep, a little dehydration, the Texas heat, an outdoor 4th of July BBQ, and some beer all got together for a party, i hit a wall, my body shut down, and i had to call it an early night, missing the planned fireworks all together. Luckily, i didn’t feel too bad for the 4am wake up call the next morning and the 6 hours of traveling to get back home.

One aspect of the whole super early flight back that was pretty entertaining was that we arrived home at 9:30am, even after 6 hours of travel. But because we had been up for 7 hours, Rachel and i were hungry for lunch. We desperately searched for some place serving sandwiches, but all we could find was breakfast fare. We finally descended upon Quiznos within 2 minutes of them opening. It was delicious. I think we took a 3 hour nap that afternoon. We were so wiped out. When am i going to learn that i can’t revert to my college behavior when i get back together with my college friends?

It’s Tour time, have you been watching!?! Considering the first week of the Tour is usually boring flat stages where only the last 5km are interesting as the break away inevitably gets caught and the sprinters duke it out for the win, this has been an exceptionally exciting first week of the Tour. I can’t wait to see what happens when the race hits the mountains. I’ve gotten to the point where i really like most of the riders in the pro peloton and find it hard root for a single guy or team. I guess i’ll just keep watching a see who i feel myself pulling for. I think the only way i’d be unhappy was if Contador just smashes the field, or Cadel Evans finds a way to squeak out a victory. For the most part though, just give me a compelling story and some exciting stages and i’m a happy camper. Seeing Lance grab number 8 would be pretty sweet though.

I live a monk-like existence during the 3 weeks of the Tour: wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, go for a ride, shower, cook dinner, watch the tour, sleep. That’s it, not much time for anything else.

This weekend should be a good one, but in a totally different way than last weekend. Saturday morning we’re going to a Tour watching party at 5am with some people from our softball team. It should be a good time. After that Rachel and i will be heading to the velodrome for a track racing clinic. This will be number 3 for me (after which, i can start racing on week nights!), and number 1 for Rachel. She’s a little reluctant to give it a try, but i think she’d really enjoy it if she just gave it a shot. Sunday morning, it’s looking like we’ll be heading out for a mellow bike ride with some riding buddies.

So are we doing anything this weekend that doesn’t involve bikes? Why yes, we are. Since moving into our apartment 2 years ago we’ve aquired quite a bit of new stuff without ever really getting rid of older stuff that we haven’t touched in two years. Our little back yard, once a bare 15′ X 15′ patch of dirt, is now starting to look a little ‘white trash’, over flowing with camping gear, bike stuff, grills, smokers, potted plants, gardening tools, etc.. The kitchen, which was already pretty starved for space is full of kitchen gadgets, dishes, cookware, and small appliances that we don’t use anymore and should probably get rid of. I think the thing to do is just go through every single item in every single room and decide if we really need it. Unpacking closets haphazardly stacked with stuff that just gets thrown in there, evaluating what we need and what we don’t, and repacking the closet could go a long way to getting us more storage space that is so precious for people like us that like to do a wide range of activities, but live in a place without a ton of storage place for all of our toys.

Just because: embrocation.

Embrocation is a liniment that European cyclists have been putting on their legs in cool temperatures to keep them warm for decades. It’s a staple of Euro cycling culture, especially for riders from places like Belgium where the weather in the winter is terrible, and remains pretty brutal for the spring classics races there. So what’s the tie in? I decided to order some this winter, just to see if i liked it. For the more mild NorCal winters where temperatures hoover around the mid 50’s, it’s incredible stuff. It keeps your legs warm and your muscles supple on long rides in the cold when your legs would otherwise be tight. So why mention this in the summer? I woke up at 5:30am last week so that i could get in a 90 minute ride that included a trip up Old La Honda before work. Temps when i left the apartment were in the mid 50’s so i threw a long sleeve base layer on top, but stuck with my shorts on the bottom and slathered up the legs with embrocation to keep me warm. I forgot how much i loved the stuff. The ritual of putting it on feels like shooting jump shots on the basketball court in that it just feels good and gets you excited for the ride you’re about to go on. The slow burn you feel (in a good way) out on the road. The ‘hot legs’ sensation you feel when you get back and for a few hours afterward. The way it makes your legs glisten and pick up little specs of dirt over the course of a ride. I just dig everything about the stuff. The company i got my mine from, Mad Alchemy Embrocation, is based out of Massachusetts and is a pretty small, mom and pop operation. I just got an email newsletter from them today. They have 2 new summer embrocations, one with eucalyptus and mint, the other with mango, as well as a new chamois cream. Not to mention a coffee embrocation making it’s return this fall. Damn, i might have to get an order together.

Oh crap, it’s getting late, i’ve got to get to bed. G’night y’all.


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