Another semester underway

The trip back to NC started like this...dark and foggy

But no worries I made it safely!

Some very kind friends in Asheville let me crash at their place for a week and check out the area! THANKS LIZ & NATE!!!

This is little miss Willow who really enjoyed this bag I brought home at Liz & Nate's!

While in Asheville I dropped into this little coffee shop where I meet up with an old friend!

Then we checked out some of the local shops!

Check out these specs!...it was tempting but I didn't get them

Once back in Banner Elk I started school back up. My friend Don from MI came to visit and a group of us went out for a beautiful hike before school hit too hard.

Ally and I out on the hike

Can't argue with that view

Now school is back in full swing and I have come down with some sort of little bug. Seems to be working its way through, but not quick enough! For some reason I have gotten sick more this year than I can remember being sick for the past several years. Guess I gotta let it run its course, which I'm not too happy about.

To end on a positive note their was an amazing view of the Moon the other night at the clouds blew across the sky. This picture doesn't even begin to do it justice but you'll just have to imagine how great it was!



Coming back

What I'm getting to is that I finally got back on the bike and the first few days where just easy on the rollers to readjust my legs. Then I headed back south to school and to visit Asheville. I've been in Asheville and loading on the riding hours. However, the weather has been so nice it doesn't even feel like work, or training in the sense that is is something that must be done. It has been tons of fun and really like a vacation, which it pretty much is without school. I'm just realizing that I did have one cold rainy day last week but I went Mountain Biking and because that is a little out of my element it doesn't seem to count.

Today I started to feel like I was coming back! Coming back to the life I love, of riding my bike no matter what. The forecast was cloudy sky's and PM showers. I left the house mid day to meet with some folks I had meet on the sunny ride yesterday. We road some beautiful roads and had a great time. As we were coming into town we could see the dark clouds moving in. I had offered to buy cookies and muffins at a bakery if they wanted to stop as a sort of thanks. Who would turn that down? So we decided to duck inside real quick, get something, and hit the road. As we came out the bakery door it began, rain. The temperatures were probably in the high 40's to low 50's, so not too cold, but with rain it can get a bit chilly. It didn't come down too hard and things were going well. My new friends broke off to head home and offered a ride but I declined and said I didn't have much farther to go I would just continue on. So as my 3.5hr ride comes to an end I'm alone, the sky is darkening, the streets are wet, it rains harder. I descend and the drops cut into the skin on my face and pierce my lips. The drops soak my leggings so the wind is able to chill the surface, but not the core, not where the muscles are still working to get me home(in the sense of my temporary stay). I look down the road as droplets of water swing back and forth across the brim of my cycling cap and one by one fall off in their own direction. I feel the chill in my feet, yes they are very cold. I think they were cold before but the wet is amplifying the chill. The grips on my gloves feel slimy against my bar tape when they are wet, but they still wipe my glasses clean pretty well. I'm taking it all in, all my surrounding's, all the feelings! It is great to be back. Only a very strange person likes the feeling of being chilled to the bone, and it is not often that I enjoy it but now it just feels good. I laugh to myself as I take my shoes off because all I can think of is palatapus feet or duck feet I suppose. My little feet are so cold I don't feel where I have put them until the heal directs the rest of the object. I feel as if I have no toes but rather just a slab of frozen meet attached to my ankle, it is a strange feeling really, I guess you have to experience it to understand. I've had i happen before of course but never really analyzed it in such a way I suppose.

That warm shower felt awfully good!


SNOW day!!!

Traditionally at my house we judge how much snow we have gotten by the collection on the deck railing out the back door. My sister and I used to check numerous times a night when a storm was predicted...hoping to find tons of snow, well just enough to warrant a snow day really! I knew if the phone rang at 5AM (my dad is a teacher) we were off the hook. Jess never usually found out till she woke up late because she's a sleeper and didn't hear the phone. Occasionally her big sister would bust in and jump on her though, I mean she had a right to know we didn't have school.

It's been a long time sense we've seen anything like this

I had come home New Year's Eve from my fun adventures up north and I was a bit depressed to be leaving the snow, skiing, dogs, etc. But then I woke up New Year's Day to a beautiful Winter Wonderland!!!

This is Moca's biggest snow day ever!

Mom starts the morning by taking her out on the leash...Mom has a worry about Moca taking off.

Daddy brings out the frisbee!!! Moca is ecstatic!

That's got to be a good workout!

Moca guarding her frisbee

Common, stop pointing that thing at me and play!

I think she can still see me...haha

Umm...how do you move 15 inches of snow off of our rather large driveway and private road? Well you see we have a plow! Great right? MAYBE...

This is part of the private road

And this my friends will be a project to start and get moving...I think my Dad doesn't buy new things because he enjoys the challenge of playing with old rigged items more! Any maybe because he has two daughters in college too.

She's having a good day!!! Yeah!

I'll be happy if she makes it a couple of sweeps across the driveway as it results in much less shoveling for me.

But today the Jeep is in an overachieving mood. I guess I should note that this "truck" was once a Jeep but converted to what you see in the pictures by a guy up north. My parents bought the Jeep about 16 years ago when we moved to Davisburg. The Jeep is no longer insured and has numerous issues: improvised gas tank, rusting out bottom, no windshield whippers(that work), an overheating issue, a staling out issue, and a passion for pushing large amounts of snow apparently.

Now the bottom of the drive is done and we head for the climb up to the road

Mom is loving the snow!

The jeep was running well so we did a swipe on the road...oh boy...she's not happy, hurry get down the drive, do the breaks still work? I sure hope so. Get her into position so we can just push back into barn if need be and get the heck out.

Daddy help...

Ahh, perfect. Now all my liquids can boil over freely

Dad said the Jeep just needed to cool down a bit and she would be ready for a second run. True to his word he went back out and touched up the road a bit later. We were all pretty happy the Jeep decided to work that morning!

Mommy and I went off for some adventure!!!

Moca & I ready to go snowshoeing!!

Off we go...

I'm currently in Asheville, NC visiting some friends and checking out the area as a possible location to live! It has been beautiful the past few day and I've gotten in some really good riding. I will try to take some more pictures, but as noted above I won't be posting much of anything until I get the cord to transfer pictures.

Speaking of finding places to live...anyone have any good suggestions? Someplace where I can pretty much train year round. Near a velodrome of some sort. Enough flat terrain to motopace. Good people. If you've got any suggestions just let me know?


Life is too short...

My dear mother sent me a forward recently and the last line read like this:

Life is too short for drama & petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, Love truly and forgive quickly

I can't think of a better way of putting it! Just a little note to remind us all that life is uncertain and it is ok to be uncertain, so long as within your uncertainty you have Love and Joy in your life!!!

My love to all! My forgiveness to all! And my crazy obnoxious laughter to all as well!


5...4...3..2..1. HUT. HUT. HUT!!!

There comes a time when the urge to head up north can no longer be caged and must be acted upon. I finally broke Saturday morning when word on the street was that more snow had fallen up north. I loaded the car, called a buddy to tell him I was headed out and would meet him there later and hit the road!

I hit the trials at Cross Country Ski Headquarters

Check out those sweet specs & hat!!!

Cullen gave me the hat a while back and the awesome new glasses for Christmas this year. He shouldn't have gotten me anything, but he does a good job of spoiling me! Cullen you're the greatest! Thanks for Everything!!!

Now my trip gets interesting. My buddy doesn't end up making it north so I grab a cheap hotel the first night. Then the next day I randomly run into Duane and Mary from the Wolverine Sports Club while they are swinging by to pick up extra clothing. Come to find out they are headed just a bit farther north to Four Bush and Scott Aimone is there with his dogs!!! They invite me to come meet up with them and give me a place to stay...yahoo!!! Duane and Mary are both awesome and very fun people by the way!

I finish my skiing at Headquarters, pack up, and head north. I was so excited. The excitement was due to the fact that Scott's dogs were trained for skijoring and he would allow people to try it! Oh...I could hardly wait to get there. I think I was on the phone the whole drive running my mouth about what I was going to do!

So here is my picture story!

1st afternoon Scott hooks me up to Heidi, who earned a silver medal at Worlds!!!

Scott followed me with Daehlie

Heid's & I after our run of the afternoon! Happy Campers!

Duane and Mary take me in

They give me a beautiful place to stay

whole loft to myself

and Duane even treated me to dinner....THANK YOU so much!!! Not only was the food good but we had a great time and laughed a lot, which I of course love to do!

After a good night of rest and recovery...

Scott offered to treat me to two dogs and I was all over it!

Hooking the girls up!

Better be ready

5...4...3..2..1. HUT. HUT. HUT. (command to get them going FASTER!)


Scott said it was great to see the girls run for someone else so well! For some reason people don't usually ever volunteer to be hooked to two energetic, fast four pawed, wicked fast sprinters! They are so much fun!!! I love the girls already...all four of them! Samantha, who I somehow didn't get any pictures off, is the veteran and very collected. Ruger is the little runt with a huge heart, Scott says she starts harder than any of them. Daehlie is the largest, still has her full tale because she comes from Norway, and is very strong but still learning. Heidi is the lead racer right now, and when she is on the line she is all business and knows exactly what to do. Their personallities were amazing and I already told Scott I have to come visit so I can help work em out again!

Anyhow this is Scott leaving with Ruger after I and the other girls have taken off

I ran the girls pretty good and this is Daehlie & Heidi recovering

Daehlie being silly

totally characteristic of how they pull too. Daehlie is a bit more all over the place and Heidi just gives her the common we are working look and keeps her in line

Daehlie sting ray pose

Scott & I with Daehlie

I had a great time at Four Bush and would recommend it to all. Dave, the owner, is a really nice guy and has some great trails up there in MI!

A big thanks goes out to Duane and Mary for taking me in so last minute!

Also a big thanks to Scott for letting me go play in the snow with him and his amazing girls! It was so refreshing physically (how could it not be, you are being pulled by pure bread muscle) and mentally and it just absolutely made me very happy!

I can't wait to do it again!


Finally Home!

We made it! Finally time just to kick back and relax a little. Lucky for me and my family, Ally had come home to MI with me and was staying about a week before I had to take her to the airport and send her to California.

Day one breakfast made by Ally! Eggs with spinach, topped with cowboy caviar, OJ, coffee, and a piece of toast with nutella and sprinkled almond slices! Yummy!!!

Our breakfast every morning was something just as delicious! Then when Ally left I had to start making my own...it was a sad morning.

We took a few days completely of and just lounged around. I think it was the most I've slept in a long time. One morning I even slept till 9AM and for those of you who know me well I'm sure your jaws are hanging open!...I was pretty excited! I also started some work on Moose Mitts (made to keep hands warm when riding a bike in the winter), because Cullen has been selling them like crazy...Thank You Cullen!!!

Soon we were chomping at the bit to do something physical with ourselves and decided to start running. Given our extreme wisdom and intelligence we thought it a good idea to do a double work out on our first day back. Running about 3 miles in the morning and then again in the afternoon...it felt sooo good, then we got up the next morning and we felt sooo much! We continued to run/jog everyday and one day this is what Ally came back to after she decided to run a bit longer than I, while I headed back to play frisbee with Moca:

Somehow Moca got a frisbee stuck way up in the tree...I still can't figure how she managed to do it...

I wasn't too far away!

I did get the frisbee down with a little help from Ally who had to throw a big softball up to me a few times so I could knock it down from where I was. I wasn't too sure I wanted to go all the way to the frisbee, given that my cycling and athletic career could be over very quickly if the branch were to decide I was too heavy. I mean I would probably just tuck do a few flips and land on my feet perfectly, but ya know just in case I wanted to play it safe. Ally even got a video clip, which I will try to get on here soon. My favorite part of the clip is when she says when I fall she will make millions on youtube and THEN call the ambulance...thanks Ally!

Moving right along we were running out of time. I called a friend from high school, who knows the Detroit area much better than myself and luckily she had some free time so we took Ally downtown just briefly to get a glimpse.

My friend Samantha and I

Ally & I...yes I know she towers over me

Waterfall in Compuare center

Security informing Ally & I that we can't stand on the marble ledge...opps!

Big Christmas Tree...

Skipping down the sidewalk in Detroit!

After the short little trip to and around Detroit we headed back north a bit to Royal Oak to enjoy some time at a Comedy Club. It was a good show and Ally even got herself personally involved after calling the Comedian a "smart ass" because he said wireca(sp?) was in CA. Here is Ally laughing hysterically and embarrassed at the same time while the guys started ripping into her...it was pretty funny!

Ally also got to meet some of my best friends back here at home! Of course we spent some time at the bike shop and she got to meet Cullen and his son Taylor along with a few others. Then we took a trip out to the private school I used to go to and showed her the old dirt field I spent most of my time on along with many other things. We stopped by the Hudson household and got to see all the girls! Unfortunately I didn't get a picture with Lauren, but her new job, well not so new anymore, is going great and she is loving it! So proud of you Laur!!! Then it was off to Nick's, my adventure buddy. We used to be the only ones out west who were up before the sun and out the door with all our gear headed for the mountain so we could be the first on that beautiful fresh powder and we would go at it all day! Nick's brother and sister were home and even his Dad Gary was around. It was great to see all of them and Gary showed us all his toys, which he and Nick enjoy so much!

Nick and I

The boys toy shop

Just a little bit of power...

Nick when is it you are taking me out in one of these?

Eventually the last night of Ally's stay came and we went to a cafe in Fenton called the French Laundry! I also got a bit crazy with the camera so enjoy the photos!

Ally and I!

Gazing, as usual

Ok, ok...I'll carry you

Silly girl

Aww...how cute are we!

AAhhhh...must have been a mouse...

Just imagine living with those two weirdos for a week! My parents loved it and they loved their increased grocery bill even more! We are pretty pathetic sometimes...but mostly just out of control. Mom said we weren't allowed to wrestle on the couch; "someones going to get hurt" in the nagging mother voice...but we did it anyway...hehe! Mom didn't even stop us...I think she was more concerned about getting struck with a flying limb (remember Ally's are actually long) than with actually stopping us. We did stop after hassling mom a bit!

Off to the French Laundry...

Kissing Karlee

Waiting for dinner...

Ally talking with hands...does she think I'm deaf?

Now she thinks she's sophisticated!

The girls

Karlee & Mom

Daddy & I

The cousins

Kacey, Daddy & Ally!

Ally & I with Mom & Dad

Karlee & I

funny faces...

Ta ta for now...more soon!