Sunday, November 20, 2011

Northern Californial Part II

Tuesday morning we were off on our next adventure, a trip down the coast highway to Monterey and Carmel then a day visiting the Aquarium.  I was pretty excited as the Aquarium is something I have wanted to visit for a while, surprising eh?  all those fishies and stuff ;)

The drive was spectacular and California served up another georgeous day.  We ate sandwiches on the Santa Cruz pier and rolled into Monterey an hour or so later.  Travel guide (sister) Karen had mapped out the route and we expertly found our way to the 17-mile drive through Pepple Beach.  I am so moving there (if I win the lottery or find a really rich guy to marry me).  Amazing oceans views, sea lions, sea otters, what's not to love!!! 


Pepple Beach
Pepple Beach

We indulged Dad and stopped in at the Pepple Beach club house and strolled out to the 18th fairway.  I guess if you are a golfer you can appreciate the need to do this ;)

We arrived into Carmel and caught just the last little bit of the sunset before grabbing a great Japanese Seafood dinner in town. 

Jellies at the Monterey Aquarium
Up early Wednesday morning, we weren't quite the first ones in the door of the aquarium (but close).  I was a little nervous that I would be disappointed and expecting way too much, but I was very impressed.  We started with the feeding of the sea otters, very cute, then headed over to the open sea exhibit.  The walk through the jellyfish display was impressive and watching the schooling sardines in the giant tank, well I probably could have stayed there all day mesmorized.  We moved onto the kelp forest tank which housed one of my favourites, the leopard shark.  The penguins were a bit lazy and just hung out, but I guess that's what they do most of the day.  Had tons of fun at the splashponds where you could reach in an touch some of the creatures.  I convinced a young boy to reach in and pet the Bat Ray's.  Pretty sure a future in maring biology is in his future!!  Overall very, very impressive and well worth the trip.

Thursday saw us say goodbye to the parents after a great visit while I got to stay on for a couple more days.  The weather was starting to turn a bit ugly but thankfully cleared up perfectly for the Saturday morning Studio Velo/ Purple Patch ride.  The ride was the Alpine loop with an added drop down to the coast and back along hwy 1.  The ridge road, also know as the seven sisters served up some stunning  views to go along with the seven leg burning climbs. 

Seven Sisters - Mt. Tamalpais
We wanted to head out to watch the Single-Speed Cross Worlds in the city Sunday morning but just couldn't get motivated to brave the cold wet weather.  Instead we enjoyed a leisurely morning before I headed off to the airport. 

Back in Tucson and back to work.  Getting in lots of miles on the bike and loving it.  After two weeks back on the road I decided Thanksgiving was the appropriate day to take the mountain bike out for a spin.  A bit sketchy to start out with but so exciting to be back on the trails.  Good thing because I am signed up as part of a four man team for next weekends Dawn to Dusk mountain bike race in McDowell Mountain Park.  

Hope everyone enjoyed a great Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Northern California Part I

They say broken bones take about 6 weeks to heal but mine seems to be stubborn.  Still stiff and sore, six weeks from the crash I woke up on a Sunday morning and looked at my trainer upon which I was suppose to do a long ride and just couldn't do it, so out the door I went.  It is now coming up on almost 8 weeks and the healing process continues at a painfully slow rate.  I have been getting some good rides out on the road bike but the mountain bike will have to wait until next week.  Swimming is interesting... and running is still a bit painful as I think I irritated the bursa over my hip with the hard landing and I have just attempted one short one so far.  Not overly worried as long as the healing contines at a steady pace and just looking to use November and December to log some great bike base miles.  The one advantage of not going to Maui was that I traded my ticket into a flight to San Francisco and met up with the rest of the family for my sister Karen's best friend's wedding and a week hanging out in the Bay Area. 

Me and Dad :)
Got into SF Thursday evening, picked-up the parents, and spent the night in Sausalito chez 'little fish'.  Drove up to Sonoma Friday afternoon in the rain and got my sister to the rehearsal dinner while the rest of us enjoyed a lovely Italian restaurant in town.  Saturday, like a true triathlete, I got up early and headed out on the bike for a long ride through the vineyards over to Napa and back.  I neglected to look at the elevation profile of the route I chose and while incredibly lovely, my 3hr ride turned into almost 4hrs even after cutting out a section.  I can see why 27's and compact cranks are popular here!! 

Got cleaned up just in time to get to the wedding on time only to have my sister's bridesmaids dress zipper split open unexpectantly minutes before the start of the ceremony!! Mum's to the rescue, my sister was expectly sewn into her dress, and later cut back out of it:)))  Congrats to Jenny and Dave on their beautiful wedding and future life together!!

Benziger Winery - Sonoma
Sunday we jumped in the car and headed out to do some wine tasting.  We headed over to Gundlach Bundschu first, the oldest family run winery in Sonoma.  As it was Mum's birthday we treated her (and us) to a bottle of their Vintage Reserve Cab we enjoyed later with a great dinner.  Next, in search of a more fruity selection we stopped in at Benziger.  The estate there was beautiful and showcased their organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farming methods. The wine was pretty good as well.  Picked up a nice Sauvignon Blanc and surprisingly a Port before taking the scenic route back to Sausalito.

Monday morning it was back on the bikes.  This time my sister joined me for a great ride up Mt Tam over to Stinson Beach and back on Hwy 1.  Amazing views and lots of climbing!!! Perfect way to start the week.  After a short turnaround it was back to Muir Woods and Mt Tam with the parents for a four hour hike through the giant redwoods.  Pretty sure the legs were absolute done by the end. 

Muir Woods

Mt Tamalpais State Park
Mt Tamalpais State Park
Next up we headed south along the coast road to Monterey and Carmel....