Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Changing Gears

I have officially switched gears and arrived in Santa Cruz, California for some on the bike training.  I was supposed to cap off my Vermont winter training block with the Lake Placid Loppet, and I was minorly devastated to find out that they had postponed the race because of lack of snow. It hasn't been the best winter in Vermont.  I had been training for the 50k for about a month, but I substituted the Eastern Cup 10k Skate race at Trapps instead.  I have never done a 10k before and it was quite the experience.  It was a time trial start and I went off second to last.  The last skier to start fifteen seconds behind me was an Olympic gold medalist in nordic skiing and had won the World Cup overall the first year they started a sprint world cup for women. She was coaching a local program and decided to hop in the race and dominate. I was thrilled to be starting fifteen seconds ahead and I just tried to hang on as long as possible.  I learned so much skiing behind her for one five kilometer lap.  She was incredibly smooth with a relaxed technique.  It really helped pacing off of her as well since I'm used to an hour and a half effort as opposed to a half an hour effort on skis. On the second lap, she put the hammer down and dropped me.  She skied to twelfth place and I skied a top forty finish.  I'm completely thrilled with my finish.  I've been feeling fit and strong. I already am excited to ski next year.  

I'm also thrilled to be in Santa Cruz training for the next month.  The first week here was a fun and eventful one.  Jojo and I traveled a bit and visited the Jelly Belly Factory.  The exact place where all of the delicious jelly beans are made.  Have you ever heard of the Harry Potter jelly beans?  It's become my new favorite past time to give people these jelly beans and have them guess what flavor they are eating.  To give a sampling, some of the flavors are grass, soap, dirt, sausage, and booger.  They throw in some blueberry and toasted marshmallow to fool you into thinking these are delicious beans.  The dirt really does taste like dirt.  My friend actually likes the grass flavor and my favorite guess so far has been 'leather'.

The local Saturday farmer's market is the best market I have ever been too.  There are endless stands of beautiful produce.  I'm so excited to be in the land of fresh fruit for the next couple of weeks.  Oh, and by the way, the riding is amazing here as well.  Climb after climb through the big redwood trees.  I am loving life.

 Here's a Year of the Dragon mosaic made out of jelly beans at the Jelly Belly Factory

There's a tent at the farmer's market dedicated solely to sauerkraut.  Love it!

More market goods.  The fresh pasta lady. 

 We picked up an old beautiful English cruiser for getting around town. You can ALWAYS use another bike.

Thanks for reading!