Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Strength Block

 Hello Philly!  Here to get sore!
NYC from the train
This past week marks the official beginning of training.  I traveled down to see my strength coach and hip rehab ninja, Bill Knowles, at HP Sports in Philadelphia.  For the past couple of years, Bill was based out of iSport in Killington, Vermont so I was lucky enough to just drive down there for the day.  This was the first time I traveled to see him and, thus, spent three days strength training with him.  It was completely awesome as usual, and his new space is unbelievable.  Half the area is rubber lifting mat and the other half is a bouncy gymnast floor.  It's divided straight down the middle with a long trampoline and gymnast mats. The potential to do fun strength training in that playground is endless.  I started prepping for this strength camp two weeks ago so I would not completely embarrass myself.  Because of this, I thought I wouldn't get too sore, but, man oh man, was I wrong.

The first day, we worked on a lot of legs and mid body with resistance cords of all shapes and sizes.  I felt great and left feeling confident.  I woke up the next morning to my quads and mid body starting to get a bit sore, but I still thought I had this.  Then, we hit the legs again hard with some explosive plyo work (which is new and I'm really excited to add this to the program).  We also did one of the hardest lifts I've done on my arms.  I half hobbled out of there the second day and returned the third day in full on hobble mode.  Every single muscle in my body was sore, and this is not an exaggeration.  Bill is so thorough that even my forearms were sore.  Muscles were sore I didn't even know I had.  I couldn't sit down because anything resembling a squat brought tears to my eyes, and I had a hard time picking up a resistance cord that I dropped on the ground.  It should be noted that we didn't even go through the full workout.  It was just one or two sets to get the technique down.  That being said, I'm really excited to get going with this new and inventive strength routine…as soon as I can walk properly.  I swear I'm an Olympian.  No really.  I am.

I'm a big fan of cheesesteaks so, when I was in Philly, the birthplace of the cheesesteak, I had to take full advantage.  I went on a mission to try and compare two of the fabled best cheesesteaks in town, Pat's and Gino's.  These two joints are literally across the street from each other.  When you order, you have to be prepared.  It was reminiscent of the soup nazi in Seinfeld.  I went to Gino's and ordered "one wit onion and american cheese" (proper ordering lingo).  It was pretty good, and I had to compare it to Pat's.  I ordered a Philly favorite, "one wit onions and wiz" which means with Cheese Whiz.  Yes, when in Rome…I had to get back to the hotel to beat the traffic so I didn't stick around to eat it.  It, luckily, fit perfectly in the side door console in the rental and I was off.  In my opinion, I liked Pat's better.  The second cheesesteak had a more generous offering of meat, and I had the option to get it with onions AND mushrooms.  They both were delicious but Pat's won the cheese steak off.
 My mom even got a great jacket from L.L Bean 
 L.L Bean Retail Therapy.  Oh yes. 
 These Bean Wellies should be perfect for the Kauai Mud.  Bring it. 
 One of my favorites from today.  L.L Bean flannel
This is my favorite from today.  This classy L.L Bean hoody is wicking and quick dry.  It's fashionable performance. 
I took the Vermonter train eleven hours back home on Saturday.  It was a long trip, but it was definitely more relaxing than driving for seven hours, and it provided a whole new perspective of that part of the country.  It was really cool, and I would definitely do it again.  Especially since Amtrak has wireless internet, I could get a lot done.  Today, my mom and I had some retail therapy to tackle my soreness.  Two weekends ago, L.L Bean opened a new store in Burlington which I am thrilled about.  It was packed opening weekend, and it was hard to really shop.  But, today, it was a bit more calm so my mom and I could thoroughly shop all the amazing offerings.  We went wild, and I completely gave my winter wardrobe a makeover.  I am so excited.  Thank you L.L Bean for making amazing pieces of clothing.  Their signature line is stylish and their active line is functional.  It seemed to do the trick because now I can walk smoothly, and I even bent down to pick up a couple of hangers today.  I wouldn't say it was pretty, but I could do it.  Retail therapy works every time.

I'm off to Kauai soon, and I'll be dispatching island adventures shortly.

Thanks for reading,

 Mission Cheesesteak: Gino's
 Mission Cheesesteak: Pat's

 Riding Trains
 View from the Train

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where do you live?

Lake Tahoe
I just barely wrapped up my month long California tour.  Sabe's host family in California (otherwise known as Sabe's California family) took both of us up to Downieville for the day.  That's right, I finally got to ride the legendary Downieville, and it was as fun, amazing, and epic as everyone talks about.  I had no idea, but it's just about an hour drive from Tahoe.  Downieville has been hosting an 'all mountain' race for years, and it was arguably one of the first 'Enduros' around in the states.  With all the talk, I've always pictured Downieville in my head as rocky, technical, wide open fire roads.  I was completely wrong in what I envisioned.  We climbed for about an hour and a half on a wide open fire road with amazing views of the surrounding peaks.  This was the only thing that was remotely close to what was in my head.  Then, we dove into the most gorgeous, redwood forest on some incredible singletrack and descended, and descended, and keep descending.  This was the longest descent of my entire cycling career and one of the best.  Once we descended down to the second half of the downhill, the trail is positioned perilously on the edge of a beautiful canyon.  This was exposed trail.  I can only imagine what it's like to race on that trail seeing as riding it was making me dizzy.  The ride totaled five hours of incredible mountain biking, and one of the best rides of my life.  

After the Downieville adventure, I headed down south to meet up with Jojo for a couple of days in Santa Cruz.  We were mostly focused on liquidating her storage unit.  Take notice, asking a professional cyclists or bike tour guide where home is one of the hardest questions to throw out there.  Most of these nomads can better answer the question, 'where do you have a storage unit?'  If jojo and I go by where our stuff is located, we have three lovely 'homes'; Vermont, Kauai, and Santa Cruz.  This 'living out of a bag, storage unit lifestyle is sometime logistically challenging or a bit chaotic. But, we are the luckiest to have the opportunity to experience all of these amazing places.  And nothing made me feel more grateful than to be able to sneak in two sunset surfing sessions in between the storage unit haul out.  It was awesome to spend some time in Santa Cruz, and now I'm back 'home' in Vermont.  At this home, I actually get to unpack my bag and put my clothes in a closet.  It's a luxury.

The other good thing about being home is the opportunity to cook.  I took the kitchen by storm tonight and made Korean Bibimbap.  It was delicious.  It pretty much an asian version of my tower of power recipe I frequently use.  I stir fried a bunch of veggies and steak, piled it on top of rice, and topped it off with a fried egg and a red pepper paste sauce.  Head on over to my friend, Tayler Wile's blog, for the recipe.  Thanks for the inspiration Tayler.

I'm decompressing a bit and ramping up for our time on Kauai.

Happy Off Season!


 The Downieville Crew
 Riding with Sabe's California Sister
 Back in VT and riding with Mom and Dad.  Mom is attacking us
 Gorgeous Vermont Twilight
 A Little Bella wanted to dress up as me for Halloween, so I dressed up as her.  And then I went trick or treating with my 11 year old crew
It's candy trading time! 
 Who honestly gives out pretzels at Halloween?  

This is my version of Bibimbap