Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Off Season!

 Andorra Mountain Sculptures
 Little Bellas first night ride

Can't get enough of Mediterrean water

The off season is here, and Sabe and I kicked it off in fashion with five days in Andorra and Spain.  Sabe came over to worlds to support me, and we started the 'off' season the day after the World Championships with one of the coolest climbs I've ever done.  Sabe had scoped out a climb that she only made it one third of the way up earlier in the week because it was forty degrees and raining.  One of the coldest days I've been on a bike in a long time.  So, when it was sunny, we climbed and climbed and climbed for about two hours snaking our way up a valley and to one of the most beautiful ski areas I've ever been to.  The Andorra mountains are rugged in their very own way, and they are stunning.  We rounded a switchback, and, around the corner was a massive 'O' metal sculpture framing the landscape.  I've never experienced anything like it.  We were hanging out around that and then, all of a sudden, five guys on three wheelers, what looked to be adult hot wheels came flying around the bend.  They were descending the whole pass.  It was incredibly random.

The next day we headed to a gem of a town on the coast of Spain, Cadaques.  We stopped over in a medieval village on the way called Besalu.  This town still had a castle bridge, gate, and a moat still intact.   And, it even had tiny little streets that were more narrow and cobbled than your average European town.  The whole thing was incredible.  But, Cadaques really stole our hearts.  For a town on the Mediterrean, it's relatively quiet.  It had trails etched into the side of a cliff going to an overlook (which was technical and I rode on my mountain bike and Sabe rode on a road bike).  It had a one lane paved road out to a lighthouse.  Gaudi had a home in Cadaques which inspired quite an amazing art scene there.  We spent hours wandering around the streets.  I also got to experience paella and sangria for the first time, and I was thrilled.  Sabe just kept say, 'you will never have paella like this again.  This is incredible'.  I guess we have to go back to Spain.

On our way out, we spent a day exploring Barcelona by bike.  We were lucky enough to see the Sagrada Familia, and this was the most incredible church I've ever experienced.  Gaudi set out to construct a natural experience, and he really succeeded.  I felt like I was right at home in the woods.  The church pillars branch off at the top to look like tree branches and the top of the church looks like different layers of a tree canopy.  This combined with the colors coming through the many stained glass windows is simple breathtaking.

I have continued the off season momentum at home.  I met one of my best friends at the Tunbridge Worlds Fair this week.  I've also been going on some great mountain bike rides with my sister and my coach and even got to a new Vermont swimming hole.  This was a momentous occasion.   Swimming holes are my favorite past time. Tonight, I joined the Little Bellas older ride group for their first ever night ride.  It was adventurous and a blast.  The quote of the night was, "I really didn't see that coming".  Tonight, failing to see a line or roots and rocks is actually a legitimate excuse.  We talked about our next adventure, and the girls came up with some phenomenal ideas that got me really excited.

The off season continues with a trip to California for a Clif Bar event this Thursday and Saturday in Marin county.  Let the good times roll.


 New Vermont Swimming Hole
 Hanging out with my bestie's kid at the fair was the best

 Cadaques, Catalonia Paddling
 This was one of the coolest and most exposed trails I've ever been on
 Even the door to Sagrada Familia was incredible
 That light is natural in Sagrada Familia
 Gaudi's other creations in Barcelona
 Sagrada Familia looks like a forest
 The best trail in Cadaques

 Sabe owning this trail on her road bike

 We actively had to lay down on the beach and try to rest


When you round a corner and see this!