Posted by: Travis | February 18, 2010

How ya been?

We’ve been really busy lately, but busy in a good way. In mid January we decided to go to Seattle for the weekend. Rachel had to fly a round trip in order to get a free round trip from Southwest by the end of January, so we got to looking at where we could fly cheaply and Seattle was tops on the list. I hadn’t been to Seattle since i was 15 or so on a family vacation, and Rachel had never been, but has been mentioning it as a place she wanted to visit for the last couple of years. On my last visit to Seattle i remembered it being a lot like Portland, but with the volume turned down to 4. I believe the words i used were ‘okay, but be prepared for it to be Portland’s lame little brother’.

I really couldn’t have been further from the truth. Seattle, though similar to Portland, absolutely has its own feel, and is an awesome city in its own way (i exchanged a series of novel length emails with my Dad about how Seattle is so different, but i won’t go into the details). I believe it was our first time to fly to a city where we didn’t know anyone and had no reason to go other than to just explore.

Since we were paying for airfare and hotel, we opted to keep costs down by not renting a car. There’s now a light rail system that will take you from the airport and drop you off downtown for a whopping $2.50, and in about 35 minutes. Totally awesome. In two days (in which we used zero vacation time) we saw everything we wanted to see within walking distance of downtown. I would guess we walked about 10-12 miles a day. The routine was pretty much get up and shower, leave the hotel around 8:00am, spend the whole day out doing stuff, come back around 5:30 to change clothes, rest for a few minutes, then go get dinner, coffee, and continue exploring until we could no longer walk.

We did a ridiculous amount of eating and coffee drinking, with walking and some sightseeing mixed in. I was expecting to leave Seattle on Sunday with no real desire to come back for a while (that sounds bad, but i mean that in a ‘well, check this city off the list of places to visit’ type of way), but instead this trip only acted as a feeler. From mid-day Saturday until the end we kept talking about how we need to come back for 4-5 days, rent a car, and see all of the other stuff we missed this time around.

So yeah, watch our seat Seattle, we’ll be back.

Ten days after getting back from Seattle i headed to San Antonio on business. My company has been working with some seniors at Trinity on a project and i’ve been the point of contact, so i went down to finally meet all of the group members and get a feel for the progress being made. While there i gave a presentation to the engineering department about my company, what we do, and what my life has been like in the 3 years since i graduated. I got the impression that it was very well received, but who knows. One of the awesome things about the trip was that i got to stay with our friends Corey and Beth in San Antonio. Rachel flew down for the weekend, and a bunch of our friends throughout Texas also came into to town for a little get-together to celebrate the absurd number of girls that Rachel lived with in college that have February birthdays.

A bunch of us went to the rodeo Friday night and consumed copious amounts of fried food at the carnival beforehand. I brought my bike along (on the trip, not to the rodeo), and though it rained most of the time i was there and i didn’t get near the amount of riding in that i was hoping for, i did get out on Friday afternoon for a ride out of Bulverde, about 30 miles north of San Antonio on some roads Katie, Rachel, and i used to ride a lot in college. Because of all the rain, the ride involved a handful of creek crossings where the road had been flooded by a nearby creek. They got progressively deeper and deeper, starting with just a few inches deep and finishing one that required me to roll up my bike shorts because the water came up to about mid thigh. All that being said, it was still a good time. Though we get back to Texas quite a bit, the trips never feel long enough and  i end up leaving wanting more of the place.

Last weekend i jumped in for a day of SportVelo’s spring training camp. SportVelo is a coaching service run by Dan Smith (Coach Dan) that sponsors my bike racing club. He has a few scholarship athletes from the club that he coaches, and then he also does an indoor spin class in the winter and twice monthly outdoor training sessions for the club in the summer. They did camp Thursday-Sunday but i had to work Thursday and Friday and was on Valentine’s duty on Sunday, so Saturday was my only day to tag along.

I felt like money going up King’s Mountain. So much so, in fact, that i had to tell myself to settle down and ease the pace a little bit so i wouldn’t be cooked by the end of the ride. Dan took us on a little loop called Lobitos Creek off of Tunitas road that i had no idea was there and was stunningly beautiful.

Unfortunately, the only way to get back home was a climb up Tunitas. Tunitas is a beautiful climb, and only about 2 of the 10 or so miles between Hwy 1 and Skyline (the top of the ridge between the coast and the bay) are really all that steep, but after a long day in the saddle, Tunitas can be soul crushing. It chewed me up and spit me out pretty good. Luckily, after a long decent back into Woodside i was feeling much better and was able to have some fun while we attacked each other on the run in to Menlo Park. Finish that up with a crock pot of chili, birthday cake, a huge spread of other foods, and a talk by local former pro cyclist and Olympian Christine Thorburn, and it was a damn good day.

In other news, we’ve fully adopted this cute little guy. He’s been sleeping on my car for the last 18 months or so. For some reason Rachel called him Mr. Kitty and it stuck. Just before Thanksgiving he came strolling through our open apartment door and it’s been a steady progression to full adoption. We finally got around to getting him a collar and he’s got his first vet visit tomorrow. The name Mr. Kitty has never sounded as stupid as it did when the receptionist at the vet asked what the cat’s name was. C’est la vie.

This weekend is looking to be pretty sweet. We’re going skiing/snowboarding at Squaw Valley at Lake Tahoe on Satruday and then driving back Saturday night. If i’m feeling up to it i’ve got a bike race in Brasbane (just south of Candlestick Park) on Sunday. I’m not going in looking for a result, just looking to get some racing in in preparation for Snelling next weekend, so that i don’t toe the line not having raced in four weeks.

Snelling is the next weekend. It’s a bike race (road race, not a crit) in the Central Valley that is considered one of the ‘Spring Classics’ of the NorCal bike racing scene. Our team will have a full squad guys making the drive out and racing, so hopefully we can bring home a good result. It’s a flat/rolling course that tends to favor sprinters so it should suit me well. The field is already full (100 category 4 racers), and the wait list is pretty long, this will be my first time doing one of the spring classics, so i’m really looking forward to it. At 60 miles, it will be a really good test to see how far along my fitness really is. Rachel has a family friend that lives in Mariposa (just outside of Yosemite), so i think we might stay there and avoid having to get up super early and make the drive out before dawn. I’m giddy just thinking about this race and it’s 10 days away. Reports to come.

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