After writing all these posts for Europe, I noticed that I neglected to write about some other weekend trips I made this year. Apologies for having them out of order – but better late than never!
I scheduled a trip out in March to visit some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. There was still snow on the mountains, so I packed the snowboard. My friend Sahala and his girlfriend were heading out to Crystal Mountain with their friends that weekend, so I tagged along. As it turns out, cycling tightens up my right hip and psoas, so I had some pain trying to control the board. After a miserable first run, I logged into work and saw there I was a minor emergency. I spent the afternoon working while the others rode. All wasn’t lost, there was a REI company party sponsored by Marmot, so I got some Marmot schwag. I’m not giving up cycling, so I’m just going to have to learn to ride switch (with the opposite foot in front). It will absolutely suck the first couple days, and it will feel like learning to ride all over again since I don’t have muscle memory for it.
The next day, I got to hang out with my high school roommate, Maaike. It was a good time walking around Seattle with her and catching up. She’s an architect, and she lives in a flat with a fantastic rooftop view of Seattle.
That evening, I had dinner at Spur Gastropub with a bunch of Trilogy and TAMS friends. These folks across different periods in my life clicked, and it was a nice feeling to introduce them to each other.
Pigging out in LA
Some of my college friends and I decided to do a quick getaway to LA for a weekend in April. This was the eating crowd, so we spent all of our time eating, discussing what to eat and then eating again. I managed a run from Venice to Santa Monica beach and back, but not much else. Highlights included Newport Tan Cang, Korean food and Umami Burger.
At Newport Tan Cang, we ordered a huge plate of lobster. Most of the folks weren’t willing to do the work to get to the lobster meat, so Judy and I cleaned up. Hours later, I ended up with pretty bad hives, and thought I had developed an adult onset allergy to lobster. Months later, I was still breaking out in hives and eventually figured out I was allergic to dyes in laundry detergent. I can safely eat lobster again.
At some point in time, my friends and I decided to do a trail half marathon at Leadville at the end of June to see how we would feel at altitude (some are ascending Kilimanjaro in fall 2013). I signed up and promptly forgot about it. Typical me, I didn’t run for the months leading up to it. Race day came, and it was rather miserable. Leadville sits at 10,000 feet of elevation, and the race (a heavy half at 15 miles) has us going up to 13,000 feet. I walked most of it (slowly at that) and was just happy to be done with the race.
Being us, my friends and I also decided to go whitewater rafting the day after the race. We weren’t the most nimble folks, but it was nice to be active without using our legs. I actually stood in the river for a bit during lunch for a much needed ice bath.
Of Montreal (and Mont Tremblant)
I traveled to Quebec mid-August to watch several friends compete in the inaugural Ironman Mont Tremblant. It was nice to get out of the stifling heat in Austin and head to a cooler climate. The town really took to the event and made us feel welcome. They repaved most of the bike course, displayed Ironman banners on the small businesses and installed Ironman street signs along the route. We later found out that the banners were sold by the Chamber of Commerce to the businesses at CAD 200 each.
After four years, I finally made use of the S&S couplers on my bike and brought my bike along for the trip. It took about two hours to break it down the first time and then another hour to put it back together. It was interesting to see how far I’ve come in understanding how my bike works – I don’t think I could have done it alone four years ago.
The bike course was gorgeous and was broken up into segments: 1) transition out to the highway, 2) an out and back on a fast and mostly flat section, 3) a short in/out of St Jovitte (where I stayed), 4) rollers from (1) back to transition, and 5) an out and back on a nice hilly section that went up in steps. The road back on the hilly section was net downhill – I had a stupid grin on my face every time I rode that part of the course.
Race day itself was long, but my friends had great races (especially for the tough bike course).
I also managed to have Timmy Horton’s (the Canadian donut shop) every day. We also had poutine and beaver claws (fried flat donut with cinnamon, sugar and lemon) as a treat.
In the end, I only had 12 hours in Montreal, but I managed to get a nice run up Mont Royal from my hotel. I did a nice jaunt up the stairs, but hurried down as it was getting dark. I’ll definitely need another visit to Montreal to get a feel of the town.