Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Santa Cruz

Seabright Beach.  A short walk from the cottage we are staying in
I feel incredibly lucky to be a professional athlete and get to do what I love every single day.  The training has been absolutely incredible in Santa Cruz, and I haven't even scratched the surface of the road riding here.  I've explored new roads every single day I've been here and there's endless thirty minute climbs that you can link together. The roads wind through the big redwood trees and all over the mountains.  The mountain biking is equally spectacular.  The soil is perfectly loamy and the trails are plentiful.  I've also been able to squeeze in two different surf sessions on the glassy waves here.  It's been fun to say the least.  The last surfing session a little sea otter was dining about five feet away from us.  This otter was hanging out on his back while a live crab crawled around on his stomach, and then he ate and topped it off with some kelp. I also live a ten minute walk away from the Santa Cruz boardwalk.  I can hear the screams from the rollercoaster on the weekend.  So, last weekend we rode the wooden rollercoaster at sunset.  It's longer and way more exciting than at first glance.  It was well worth the five dollars. 
 Santa Cruz Boardwalk's finest
Another view of the wooden roller coaster

I'm ramping up for the season opener next weekend in Austin, Texas.  The competition will be stacked and it will be the first showdown for project Olympics.  Most are using it as a warm up for the first world cup in South Africa.  I leave for the first world cup three days after I get home from Austin so the season is kicking off with a bang and a lot of airline miles.  I spent this past weekend racing to prep for the beginning of the season.  On Saturday, I did the Snelling Road Race which was five rolling laps through blooming cherry trees and fierce winds.  The cross winds were blowing so hard that a tumbleweed blew through the peloton.  Because of the conditions, it was a race of attrition.  If a gap developed to the next rider, it took extra effort to close it.  Going into the last lap, I was able to close gaps and stay with the ten girls that were left in the lead group of the race.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see how I stacked up at the finish line because my water bottle cage rattled loose.  Regardless, it was a great effort and I'm excited with how I strong I felt.  
We made the necessary roadside fruit stand stop on our road trip to the mountain bike race

The next day, Jojo and I road tripped it down to Bakersfield, CA for the Foothills Classic Mountain Bike Race.  I was very impressed with the race organization here for a local race.  My race entry included a free ticket to the bbq and there was a vendor selling authentic stroop waffles.  These culinary perks always get me excited.  The lemon filled waffles were great fuel for the race.  The course was a dry, rolling loop with an amazingly fun descent through a mini chute with banked corners.  I dubbed this descent pump track canyon and was looking forward to it each lap.  The pro women started with the Cat 2 men and it was excellent to battle it with the guys and get a cross country race in.  It made me very excited for the upcoming races.  

 A little Sunday morning treat at Verve, the coffee shop down the road
It's amazing a little gnome can eat so much fish tacos! Homemade tortillas, salsa, and slaw make for a delicious meal
 Don't even think about skateboarding with your roller blades in hand on the boardwalk
Think fast thoughts for me this weekend!