Sunday, January 24, 2016

Little Bellas L.L Bean Registration Event




 My game station partner in crime, Maddie

Maddie and I had a lot of fun today
Last year, on February 1st, our Vermont Little Bellas registration opened and all of our programs filled within ten minutes.  It was a similar experience to scoring concert tickets except, if you don't get concert tickets, you probably don't have a crying daughter to content with.  Maybe there's a Taylor Swift exception in there.  So, one of the Little Bellas goals in 2016 was to eliminate the stress and tears and create opportunities for every Little Bella that wanted to be a part of the program.  We simply couldn't stand turning away girls who wanted to ride mountain bikes anymore.  We created a whole new system that allowed parents to prioritize and rank our program offerings and various dates.  We were able to give families their first priority, we held a spot for their daughters, and the families had to show up at our registration event to claim their spot.  Our Little Bellas sponsor, L.L Bean, provided a great space for us to host our first registration event.  Sabe, Mary Tracy, our Vermont program lead, and Tracy, our new program support poistion, were on registration.  Maddie, who will be running all of our Vermont summer camps, and I were on games.  The Little Bellas had a choice of two games, Charades or a L.L Bean in store scavenger hunt.  Everyone, even parents, needed to complete one to get a prize, Little Bellas temporary tattoos or a L.L Bean poster of me and In the Arena alum, Torin Koos.  Most of the Charades, Maddie and I acted out.  They were L.L Bean adventure themed, and, it's official, crust cruising and camping are not easy to act out.  I had to lay on the floor of L.L Bean several times to pretend I was setting up my sleeping bag for the night.  Some of the parents and even little bellas took turns acting out charades.  With the scavenger hunt, the girls found a photo of U.S ski teamer, Kikkan Randall, in the store, and told us their favorite color down coat.  They also discovered the warmest coat that L.L Bean makes.  The last stop on the scavenger hunt was taking a goofy photo with me.  It was so much fun.  We were so psyched to be able to bring a sliver of our program into the L.L Bean store.  We are lucky to have such a great support network surrounding Little Bellas enabling us to get the next generation on mountain bikes.



Here's to more silly faces in 2016.



Lea


 Little Bellas free form drawing on the back of the scavenger hunt sheet
 Sabe making registration happen



 Scavenger hunt time!






Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Winter Wonderland





My family was all together for the holidays which was a first in about four years.  Unfortunately, most of the right coast didn't get a white Christmas.  It was sixty five degrees when Santa came into town, and Sabe and I went for a muddy bike ride.  As much as I love cycling, it's really important for me mentally and physically to get off my bike and onto my cross country skis.  It gets my body moving side to side instead of the constant linear motion of the bike.  And, it's really fun to switch it up.  So, that's why in the days following Christmas, we booked a ticket to the winter wonderland of Tahoe, California.  In Vermont, it was thirty five degrees and raining all day long, and my sister and I had felt like we hadn't seen the sun since October.  This is honestly not that much of an exaggeration.  This pushed us over the edge and we were able to find two great mileage tickets, and we were graciously offered some places to stay from all of our good friends in the area.


After some slight hiccups, an overnight in the Chicago airport along with the rest of the world, three different final destination airport changes, about fifteen different rental car bookings, a five hour drive and two days later, we finally landed in Truckee, CA.  It was glorious.  We finally entered the snow globe land that we were craving, and we skied our brains out.  Every day in Tahoe served up the best day of skiing of our lives.  Simply put, it was incredible and such a great way to kick off 2016 with a great group of west coast friends and skiing that I've only dreamed of.  There are endless kilometers of perfectly groomed trails, most of which climb onto ridges with grand lookouts.  The nordic skiing in this area granted my sister and I access to the mountains that I only thought was possible with downhill or backcountry skiing.  The only challenge is that most of the skiing is at 6,000 feet altitude and above so my lungs felt like they were going to fall out before my cyclist arms felt like they were going to fall off.  This is unusual.  Sabe and I skied each other into the ground with a little help from our cycling friend, Katerina Nash, and our skiing friend, Kara.  I've been racing against Katerina for years, and I've always wanted to ski with her.  She's been to four Olympic games for the Czech Republic; two for cross country skiing and two for mountain biking.  It was so cool to be able to finally switch up the wheels for the skinny skis with her.

After a lot of debating if we should ever return back to Vermont, we decided that we seriously needed the rest and some more oxygen.  My sister and I made it back home just in time for our favorite Little Bellas mentor gathering of the year, the Yankee Swap.  This gift exchange is notorious for ridiculous presents, and it was truly hard to top this year.  A light up winter truck painting made it back into the fold after my mom barely escaped ownership last year.  Another gift appeared that I think is going to become an annual swap tradition, a Taylor Swift prayer candle.  In other words, Taylor Swift's face on Jesus' body.  I nearly lost it when that gift was opened.  It was incredible.  I lucked out and walked away with a big plastic bowl with little containers that attach to the edge of it.  In my mind, this is the ultimate snack center, and I love it.  I love snacks.

The skiing at Craftsbury has been better than expected the last two days, but we are getting unfortunately slammed with some warmer temperatures and rain today.  Keep the fingers crossed that winter survives okay, but, more importantly, THINK SNOW so Vermont can rebound quickly from this thaw.  Our Tahoe trip was so much fun and the best way to kick off the 2016 season.  It is really good to be back at home and breathing a bit more air.


THINK SNOW.

Lea

 This is one of the best trail maps I have ever seen at a nordic area.  Royal Gorge

 This burrito saved my life after a three hour ski

 Skiing with Katerina
 Skiing with Kara and the Sybens
 Downhill skiing with Sabe's CA family


 Classic skiing with Camille up to a view of Lake Tahoe


 The infamous light up truck painting has found a new owner for the year

Schreib and Maddie ended up with the same scarf and hat combo at the swap