Apr 222012

Lovely spring weather finally arrived this weekend! My weekend ended up being a mixed bag of fun, work, some sad news and a feeling of wanting the nice weekend to last a little longer.

Friday I had a fantastic swim after more than a week off from the pool. It was relaxing and energizing. Then I got word that my Great Aunt Margie passed away from stomach cancer. While I wasn’t close to her, I remember her and her husband fondly and I felt really sad for her family and for my Grandma (her sister). It was nice to hear that she was surrounded by her whole family at home when it happened. The whole thing touched me deeper than I was expecting (even though we’d known it was coming since February). I think the whole thing brought up old feelings and memories about when my Grandpa died when I was 17. I think that was the last time I saw Margie, and her son Tommy sang at my Grandpa’s funeral, so all of those things were kind of intertwined in my brain on Friday night. It also brought up memories of the tough times last summer. Stuff like this really does remind you that the important things in life are family and friends.

On Saturday I worked out in the gym and hit the weights hard. It felt awesome. I woke up Sunday and could barely move! I even increased the weight on the free weights to two 20 pounders. I think I’m ready to take some progress pictures soon.

After lunch, Michael and I went shopping for the first items for our vegetable garden. We got lettuce, spinach, kale and sweet yellow onions. I helped Michael plant as much as I could before I had to jet to meet a friend.

Saturday afternoon, I met my friend for pedicures and dinner together. The pedicure was long overdue and felt fantastic. After the pedicures we went out to dinner at Old Wives’ Tale on Burnside. I’d driven by it for years but never went inside. There were so many things on the menu that looked fantastic. I almost ordered waffles…I’ve been craving waffles or pancakes for weeks now.

I ended up ordering the salmon cakes. It came with a cup of soup on the side and I chose minestrone and it also came with a sesame yam puree. The yams were really interesting in flavor. I loved the salmon cakes! They came with a lemon mayo sauce that was fantastic. My friend got the Indian Burrito. It was interesting–like a bean burrito with curry and an apple chutney on top.

After a lovely dinner I went home and finally relaxed.  When I woke up Sunday morning, everything hurt! In a good way. Now for the giveaway winner of a copy of The Swing! Randomly chosen from random.org:

#9 – Barb Mitchell!

Yay! Email me asap with your mailing information and I will pass it on to the publicist. Thanks!

QUESTION: Are you planting a garden this year? What have you planted so far?

Aug 142011

Friday night after I got home from the pool, Michael took one look at me and gave me a hug. I needed it. After a few minutes of hugs we headed downtown to see the Portland Twilight Criterium. What is the CriteriumCri*te*ri*um (krI’-tir-E-&m), noun [Latin]: A bicycle street race. Competitors must complete the most laps in a set period of time. Very fast. Very exciting.

And it was very fast. And very exciting! When we first got downtown to the Park Blocks the amateur cyclists were on the course first.

The cool thing about the course is that you can get really really close to the action! Plus there were food carts and a beer garden set up. We planned on heading to the beer garden but never made it there.

The amateurs were pretty fun to watch–there was even a girl participating, which I thought was fantastic. The bikers were going pretty fast but nothing compared to the professional cyclists we were about to see!

We hung out watching the amateurs for awhile, walking around the Park Blocks course to see everything.

After the amateur riders there were the Roller Derby girls that did a few laps around the course. The Roller Derby girls are pretty popular in Portland but I’ve never been to a show before.

Michael and I were hungry (I was famished after barely eating all day and then swimming) so we walked down to the food carts to find some dinner. At 7pm on a Friday most of the food carts were closed. There were two Mexican stands, a Korean BBQ and a fish cart open. I really wanted a burrito.

So Mr. Taco it was!

I got the bean, cheese and rice burrito. Michael got the bean and cheese burrito. We walked back to the Park Blocks to sit down and eat dinner while we watched the race. My burrito was freakin’ awesome! It was big and delicious.

(Man do I look awful. That’s what crying all day looks like.) The professional cyclists were about to start! After we were done eating we walked around a bit more and I ran into one of the professional riders who was stretching and getting ready for the race. I asked if I could take his picture and he agreed. We chatted for a few and then I wished him luck. This is Joe:

Good luck Joe! The professional riders were amazing to watch! They were remarkably faster than the amateurs and it was so awesome to see them up close. These are the guys that will someday make it to the big races like maybe the Tour de France!

These cyclists were so fast that most of the pictures were blurry–even using Sport Mode on the camera!

If you want to see some amazing professional photos of these races, you can see the review of the race here. There was one crash near us. It was right around a corner from where we were standing. We heard it but didn’t see it. We heard from someone else that one cyclist crashed coming out of the corner, another cyclist hit him and the bike jumped over the downed cyclist! Luckily everyone got back up and continued on the race.

I’m not sure how many laps they had to do. I didn’t see that there was a lap counter until about half way through the race I think.

Another example of how fast these guys were going–they created a tremendous amount of wind as they rode by. So much wind that sometimes it was cold and people’s hair would spin wildly.

There was a front runner of the race for most of it. I’m not sure names but we recognized the leader and the crowd would go NUTS whenever he went by. He had a decent lead on the peloton. Michael was counting the time when the pack leader went by us and when the peloton passed us. At one point it was 14 seconds, then 11 seconds, then 7 seconds. Then the peloton caught up to the leader and passed him. The next time he came around he was in the middle of the pack! :(

The race came to an end and they all did one last victory lap. The winner looked really stoked. It was such a fun event to go to, and it was free! We’ll definitely be going next year.

The bikes the racers had were impressive and expensive. Everyone biked their heart out and it was cool to experience. It definitely got me excited about The Portland Century! The race was over and we walked down to Voodoo Donuts (Michael wanted a donut) but the line was so long we decided to head home instead. That’s when we stopped at Krispie Kreme. ;)

QUESTION: Have you ever been to a professional race before?