Blog Archives

Goodbye to a good summer

Since our last update, Dallas and I have ridden in the MS bike tour (Ride the Rhode) and raised nearly $2000 for the cause, thanks to our wonderful friends and family who supported us.  We’re not sure where we’re going to be for next year’s tour, but registration is already open if anyone wants to sign up and get an early start on fundraising!  This year, we opted to ride a full century (which ended up being 105 miles) the first day and 75 miles the second day.  We lucked out with perfect weather and no incidents on the road.  The terrain was not too challenging, but not too flat and certainly not boring.

What Cheer? Brigade's 2014 west coast tour poster

What Cheer? Brigade’s 2014 west coast tour poster

Immediately after the bike tour, I set off for the west coast to meet the band on tour, where we continued down from Portland, Oregon all the way to Tijuana and back up to finish at a beautiful wedding in the redwoods outside of the bay area.  After playing every day for two weeks, I couldn’t help but improve my mediocre trumpet-playing skills.  I’m afraid that after not playing for two weeks (on our most recent vacation to Costa Rica), I am probably worse off that I was before tour.

Dallas and I ran together for the entirety of the LOCO marathon in Newmarket, NH this October

Dallas and I ran together for the entirety of the LOCO marathon in Newmarket, NH this October

While not bike touring this year, we have been able to do a few races together, including the 10 mile Blessing of the Fleet race in Narragansett, a half marathon in Worcester, MA and two marathons in Erie, PA and in Newmarket, NH.  I also participated in several cycling events, including a few Women Bike RI group rides, the Woony River Ride, and the Gran Fondo New England.

The summer in Rhode Island was one of the better ones that I can remember, with almost no rain and not too much heat.  As always, it ended too soon.  We have been incredibly fortunate to have barely any excuses not to be outside every day, but I still feel like I didn’t get my fill of outdoor activities before it turned cold.

My first (unofficial) cyclocross race

My first (unofficial) cyclocross race

Still in Providence, Dallas and I are buckling down here for the winter, but in an attempt to combat the depression that comes with this season I bought myself a cyclocross bike.  I’m not very good at it yet, and so far every time I start riding on a cross course I find myself thinking that maybe I’m not cut out for this sport.  That feeling usually subsides after 2 minutes or so, as my mind is consumed with staying on my bike and not crashing into anyone else.  By signing up for races this winter, I hope to motivate myself to get outside during the dark months to practice (and hopefully get better).

Dallas and me on a boat outside of Quepos, Costa Rica

Dallas and I on a boat outside of Quepos, Costa Rica

Speaking of trying things outside of our comfort zone, Dallas and I went to Costa Rica for the first two weeks of November.  While traveling comes naturally to us both, we did get to try some new things while we were there.  Dallas let me practice my Spanish (which is worse than my trumpet playing) on some of the locals whenever we went out.  Dallas also went surfing – I could not, because of a knee injury from my cyclocross bike, but I watched.  It was apparent that he was having enough fun to abandon his usual apprehensive feelings about being in the ocean.  This trip was our first time traveling together internationally, so while we were concerned at first about how we would do, we came out of it only wanting to go back out and experience more new places together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I’m taking this day off from work at the cave in order to write and bake lots of desserts for tomorrow’s gathering with family.  On Friday, while all the crazy people are out battling each other to buy stuff, Dallas and I will be celebrating Buy Nothing Day by bringing our coats to a coat swap (just when we need them most)!

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Turkey Trot Recap and Thanskgiving in Durango

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Today was Thanksgiving.  While most people spend the holiday with their family, the best Dallas and I could do was talk with family and friends on our phones.  Traveling does cause us to miss our family and friends, and it is especially apparent during the holidays, but Dallas and I are thankful to have each other.

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I started my morning off with a 5 mile running race, the Durango Turkey Trot.  This was my first race since the Klondike Road Relay in September, first 5-mile race since August of 2012, and first ever race at high altitude.  I didn’t do that badly, for having lived my whole life at sea level until last week, but I did feel noticeably out of breath earlier than I would have liked.  Dallas couldn’t run today, but he did bring the chocolate lab, Charlie, and both of them stood around to cheered me through the race.

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After the race, we cleaned ourselves up and walked over to a community Thanksgiving dinner at the Plata County Fairgrounds, where we were given a full Thanskgiving meal for free!  Hundreds of people sat at long tables inside a large room, with volunteers serving food, buffet-style, from the tables along the side by the entrance.  Dallas and I found two empty seats on the other side of the room, between the table with all the pies and the band (but much closer to the pies).  The average age of attendees was much higher than our ages, but the people were all very friendly.

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We walked back and spent the rest of the day lounging around the house, making food (including pumpkin waffles and pumpkin egg nog!), napping, playing with the pets, and studying languages on Duolingo.  The house where we’re pet sitting has a trampoline in the back yard, and today the sun had finally finished melting off the last of the snow that was covering it since the first snowfall.  I hope everyone else had a nice holiday, if you celebrate it – and have a great weekend!

Thank you to Skora, our first sponsor!

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a photo of my baklava, the way Grandma taught me to make it 🙂

I’ve been feeling inspired to write lately, but haven’t had much time since I finally started working.  Now, I would first like to say that I hope all of our followers had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it.  I made a broccoli/carrot salad with bacon, cashews, red onion and dried cranberries, Dallas made cranberry sauce, and I made baklava and pumpkin bread to add to the delicious food that the rest of our roommate and guests shared with us.

Meet Tara, the newest member of the household.

I was never a fan of Thanksgiving meals because I never liked turkey and wasn’t too fond of vegetables as a kid – I also think that it can’t be a good thing, environmentally, that every American household has to have a turkey one that one day of the year.  I’m sure lots of turkey ends up going to waste…and the poor (or lucky?) birds are forgotten about for the rest of the year.  However, I do enjoy the time this holiday gives us to spend with family and friends.  While this year I am unfortunately missing my family, I feel incredibly lucky to have good friends and an amazing boyfriend.  I certainly wasn’t expecting to find love when I set out on my bicycle last year, but I couldn’t be happier with Dallas and am so thankful that I get to share my life with him!

Gerrit, Alyssa, Michaelangelo, Dallas, Travis and me at the Skora office with our new gear!

Anyway, the biggest news in our lives since I last updated this site is that we now have a sponsor!  It’s not specifically for our bike tour (although, maybe it could be one day), but it does fit our lifestyle perfectly in that they are a running shoe company.  Skora is a new company based in Portland who came out with their first line of running shoes last year.  Dallas, Gerrit and I came across their booth at the Portland Marathon expo in October, and all of us ended up buying shoes from them.  After further communication with them, Skora agreed to sponsor six of us for the XTerra Trail Run World Championship that we plan to run in December this year.  So last Tuesday, Dallas, Gerrit, Alyssa, Travis, Michaelangelo and I all met up with the guys at Skora, where they fitted each of us to a new pair of shoes and t-shirts.  We’re all very excited to represent Skora at the race, which will be in Hawaii on December 2nd – we also look forward to extending our relationship with them into the future!  They are great shoes – very light and minimalist, and we think they’d be perfect for taking with us on our bike tour.