Life is a highway

by Jennie

After my last few races of the season in Sun Valley Idaho, I decided to take a little road trip. The season is long, and I have learned that many athletes take this time as a once a year chance to go on a vacation that doesn’t include your training plan, any ski equipment,  or any resemblance at all to a ski resort destination. I had to get back eventually to the Midwest, so I decided to take a slight detour…….to the west coast.

Here’s the story in highlights from the past month:

–         “You in jail or pregnant yet? Cause I’m not bailin’ ya out!” chuckles my dad in a semi-sarcastic/semi-serious tone over the phone an hour after my plane lands in Las Vegas.

I am meeting my boyfriend there who just drove from his winter residence in Telluride CO, which of course makes the parents even more nervous. Apparently I am a wild card.

“Not yet Dad, but the night is still young!” I joke. They are all the way in Vermont, I have to keep them stressed out somehow.

–         Vegas = Disney land for adults with no rules….wait there is one…..never mind I cant think of it. If you have money, imagination, and a wild streak, I can definitely see how you could re-live the Hangover. Unfortunately (luckily) we were lacking on the money part, so my dad didn’t have the opportunity to call me a dumb a** over the phone from a hospital/jail cell/club security/McDonalds payphone/one room church house/ back of a black van, or plane taking off to an unknown location.

 

–         One night is really all you need there. Then you realize it’s a lot of weird people in a fake world with no where to workout.

–         Have I mentioned this trip is going to included A LOT of driving? On to Los Angeles to stay with my friend Hannah Polow from High school who I haven’t seen in awhile. We were pretty amped to see flowers when we drove in, only to be overwhelmed with summer in full bloom. Since Lee and I have been living in full-blown winter until a few days ago, this concept is revitalizing in itself. After checking out China town, Hollywood blvd, walk of fame, and getting pleasantly lost in some exotic and expensive neighbor hoods, we devoured some Thai food and called it a night. We were told that to run in LA, you had to go really early in the morning or late at night due to the pollution and its affects on your lungs. Ick. Just might cross this place off of cities I’d like to spend time in. (No offense Han).

–         I now understand the commercials about California Happy Cows. They looked dang happy to me. Bright sunshine, huge green pastures close to the ocean; if I could hang out with them right about now I’d be pretty happy too.  The fruit fields, oh my gosh the fruit fields. I saw miles of vineyards, lemon tress, and strawberry fields. Two out of those three were ripe and being picked no less! (The vineyards had a bit longer to grow.) There were many other miles of different growing plants that I couldn’t quite distinguish.

–         We got lost and stopped at a large fruit/nuts/canned veggies stand in the middle of nowhere (or so it felt) along the Cali coast. If you haven’t been there, it’s actually quite spread out with large sections of forests, especially on the gorgeous and scenic rt 1. The woman at the stand reminded me of the squirrel lady in Rat Race, and I wasn’t sure if we should trust her directions. Especially after I almost bought everything, then didn’t buy anything after I asked her which fruits were from around here. Ironically barely any of them were. *Sign right before we drive off a cliff “You should have bought some foreign fruit!!”

–         Surf town Santa Cruz. Bike riding. Fancy coffee. Back porch BBQ. Learning to long board. First time hot tubing surrounded by grass. Showing up at UVM Cycling Jessie Chebot’s front door out of the blue and hiding racy flyers from Vegas in his stuff before we left = priceless.

Lots of Redwoods

–         My favorite part of the whole adventure was San Francisco. I would live here, at least for a summer. My beloved high school running coach Mark, his speedy wife, and adorable daughter live across the Golden gate bridge in Sausalito. Their apartment is partially suspended in air on the side of a hill, looking across the bay to the city and Alcatraz. The single track trails for mtn biking and running around the area are beautiful and seem to go on forever. Running or biking from their place involves a steep tour de france hill climb no matter which direction you go. Mary (Marks wife, mother of Maddie) can kick our butts running up them pushing a malfunctioning baby stroller, but she goes for an “easy” hour with us because she just ran a 50 miler yesterday.

–         After San Fran, our trip started to fast forward. No more lollygagging (where did that term come from anyway?) We drove Donner pass, I ran/hiked up Snow Bowl while waiting for Lee to finish intervals (he’s training for road bike season.), and crashed with the badass of the west coast Chelsea Holmes for our final night in winter.

Trukee CA

–         Day 1 towards MN, 9 hrs of driving, Salt Lake City, big snow storm, basement mattress of another UVM cycling alumni.

Salt Flats - Lots of speed records here

–         Day 2 towards MN, 9 hrs of driving, weirdest day so far. Rapid City, stayed with a friend of Lees cousin who lives above a funeral home. To get in and out of the apartment, we had to go through the funeral home…..and past an open casket….with an actual dead body in it prepped for a service……just chilling there alone for 24 hrs……not creepy at all.

–         Day 3 towards MN, the final stretch, 12 hrs of driving, partially in a snow storm with semis passing us then sliding off the road. On the other side of the road, there was a large boat in the middle of the highway, off its trailer also in the middle of the highway, with no one else around. * Imagining what the sequence was when whoever was driving it wasn’t anymore*….but then again been there done that with a trailer full of bikes in college.

When we left in the morning, (before we hit  the storm) we figured might as well  see Mt Rushmore since we were 30min drive away. Saw it, said “yup that’s it, sweet”, took a picture, and drove back. I guess a rock statue is a rock statue in the end.

–         AND HERE I AM! Moved in to my new place in Maple Plains MN, (20min from the city), and trying to figure out my summer plans. I’m all in for round two with CXC and the Midwest, and am working part time at The Fix Studio (www.thefixstudio.com). Until next time…

Color swap- Technology is awesome

2 Comments

  1. Mary
    03 May 11, 7:07am

    You are welcome to come and live at our place any summer in San Francisco. We loved having you and it was so great to finally meet Lee. I can not wait to follow your adventures and training on your blog. I wish I could have shown you more trails and more sights. It is always awesome to see you and I am truly impressed with your training, racing, and balancing act of getting sponsors, holding down various jobs, and making it all work! I have your blog bookmarked! Enjoy the start of your summer training!

  2. Hannah Polow
    04 May 11, 1:11am

    This is fantastic!! I am planning on crossing LA off my list, too. I will be in San Francisco this summer working at the transportation agency there–with bikes!! 🙂 Very, very excited to get out of this weird place. It was so great to see you and meet Lee. Keep in touch, crazy!!!

    xoxo

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