Friday, February 29, 2008

Managing Fear

A small excerpt taken from "Thinking Body, Dancing Mind" written by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch:

We often feel fear when we are overwhelmed by the enormity of a task we have undertaken. Whether climbing a rock, skiing a steep mountain, running a marathon, or performing in a triathlon, we fear we just might not make it all the way. Rather than looking ahead, try dividing the task into small, manageable segments. Can you climb another two feet up? Can you ski just to that tree? An Olympic marathoner once told me how frightened he was that he'd blow his lead and possibly not finish. Rather than dwell on that, he focused on running relaxed to the next mile while holding the lead. He did this for each of the last four miles, and to his surprise, he finished with energy to spare. Looking at the whole picture can be a frightening experience. Taking one step at a time reduces your fear as you relax into the shortened task.

Well said, well said.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fumble Fingers

Decided to cook up "the world's best lasagna" tonight for dinner. After browning the meat I drained the fat from the bottom of the skillet into a precariously perched glass jar. One wrong move sent boiling fat all over the stove, dripping down onto the floor and much to Makiah's delight, saturating my just cleaned kitchen floor. She's still licking the stove as we speak - I need to do a little better clean job.

Apparently my little TT bike jaunt took a little more out of me than I had anticipated. Speaking of which - I ran into a rare occurrence - 8 Byrne ladies in full kit strutting their stuff through the UW area. According to inside sources they've been training together a lot this year - which means great competition in the peloton!

I was gently reminded today it's been since ... October?! Since I've been in the aero position and put some time in the Adamo saddle. Thank goodness I gave it a dry run today versus Sunday. I love to TT though - getting in the zone and pushing your body to the limits produces an amazing natural high. It hurts so good. :)


We just had a tenant come into the office warning us that one of their employees had been attacked by a man who flew out from New Jersey and has been stalking her for the past three years. Apparently he has no fear and found her at the rep theater - and accosted her in front of hundreds of people on Sunday. Right now he sits in jail but their office is super spooked because he could post bail and then harass her again.

Never a dull moment at the office. Just when I thought we were done with the drama with the bankrupt tenant, the gold painted office and the massive Craig's list issues - along comes this.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Olympic Nightmare

I remember as a little girl, watching my dad run in the Olympic torch lighting ceremony as it made its way through Eugene down to LA for the 84 summer Olympics. I watched on our huge wood paneled TV as athletes competed for the ultimate prize - to be crowned an Olympic champion. Mary Lou Retton stands out in my mind - Connie Carpenter and Rebecca Twigg as well. It sparked a notion in my mind that that was my ultimate goal - I wanted to be a part of something so extraordinary and meaningful.

Maybe it's from growing up in America and having a certain view on the world - but up until recently I always believed if you worked hard enough, were talented enough, played your cards just right - then you could possibly be a part of the Olympics. In a way mass media is to blame - creating a HUGE hype around the games and idolizing athletes like gods. But in my mind, I always looked up to those athletes as super stars who through some fate were able to demonstrate their amazing ability for the world to see.

However, as I have gotten older and wiser, this Olympic dream and taking part of a very selective team of uber-athletes seems somewhat jaded. Knowing several people who have tried desperately hard to make the selection process, and even giving the talent pool selection process a go myself - I have burst the illusionary bubble that surrounds the games. I'm not taking anything away from the athletes who are blessed enough to actually make it there - they have actually made the impossible a reality. But I'm questioning the selection process to get there and think the planets have to be impossibly aligned for one person, out of nation of millions of people to show they have what it takes to compete.

What sparked this recent outlook? A nice little article on cycling news regarding the recent World Cup champ Katheryn Curi Mattis who scored a win in Australia.

This is long - but really worth the read.

Katheryn Curi Mattis (Webcor Builders) took the biggest win of her career on Sunday in Geelong, Australia, when she became only the second American women to ever win a round of the UCI World Cup since Dede Berry first won ten years ago in the World Cup's inaugural round in Sydney. But even with that win, Mattis' chances of representing her country at the Olympic Games have not improved.

Mattis is one of the top female riders in the United States of America, but was not one of the top five American riders in the UCI rankings at the end of 2007, and therefore was not named to the "long team", which is USA Cycling's pre-requisite for Olympic selection.

"I had a really good year last year and finished it off with a third place at the Tour of Ardèche in France and then raced hard at the world championships," she said of the build up to her biggest victory to date. "That gave me a lot of confidence going into the off season. I did a lot of great training; we had a lot of good weather in California."

Clearly, Mattis is on form and heading for a strong season, but even if she had been part of the long team, the win in Geelong would not have given her an edge over the other five women on the long team list – Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, Tina Mayolo-Pic, Mara Abbott and Christine Thorburn. Mattis was reluctant to speak about the selection procedures, saying "I am not currently on the long team, let's just leave it at that".

USA Cycling changed the selection procedures for the Olympic Games this year, introducing the "long team" concept as a way to allow riders to tailor their season leading into the Games rather than fighting all season to make the team and then going into the Games fatigued.

Andy Lee, spokesman for USA Cycling, explained to Cyclingnews: "The long team allows riders to pre-qualify for the Games, based on the UCI rankings as of December 31, 2007. The top five riders in the UCI rankings were named to the women's long team". Lee was impressed by Mattis' results, but explained the situation in regards to selection for Beijing.

"It's a phenomenal win, it's a great result for her, and probably the best result of her career," he said. "She's had plenty of good results – in Ardèche, Redlands – and clearly is a strong rider, but as it relates to Olympic selection, it won't do anything for her due to the long team aspect of the rules."

Even if Mattis had accumulated enough points to make the long team, her World Cup win wouldn't have gained automatic selection, as the criteria state that only European World Cups qualify riders for the Olympic team. "It's based on European World Cups because typically the fields are weaker in the non-European races," explained Lee. "The European World Cups are more indicative of the talent you'd see at the Olympic Games."

Selection through the World Cups is not the only way the women compete for the final three spots which will take them to Beijing. They can also have placed top three at the 2007 world championships in either the road race or time trial, or win a 2.9.1 category race prior to June 2, 2008.

The procedure is a labyrinth of clauses and exceptions, but ultimately the positions on the squad will be at the discretion of the selection panel. The panel includes some high-profile ex-Olympians such as Jim Ochowitz and Alison Dunlap, who have the power to either choose or drop an athlete.

Even former World Champion Kirstin Armstrong, who fulfilled one of the automatic qualification criteria with her second place in the 2007 World Time Trial Championship, could still be dropped from the squad should the panel decide that her form is not up to scratch as the event draws near.

Lee admitted that no selection process is perfect, but said he felt that this year's procedure was working well, and that most of the ahtletes were satisfied with it. In regards to Mattis' position, he said that it's more a factor of the small number of spaces available to women at the Olympic Games. "The strength of our women's road team is phenomenal, and when you've only got three spaces to fill, it's hard," he said. "Three is the maximum number of spots we could have gotten [for the Games], and if we could have more spots to fill it would only increase our chances of winning."

I think I may have shifted my focus a bit - the world cup circuit is suddenly way more appealing. The selection process seems more about the battle of the fittest, not who made it through an elaborate network of guidelines and notions.

Monday, February 25, 2008

That's a hilly chilly!

Participated in the 36th Annual Chilly Hilly ride yesterday, along with 4,000 other biking enthusiasts. I woke up early - 6:30 (on a Sunday!) to make the early ferry, along with 1,550 other bikers. Half way up Dexter, I realized I forgot my bib number. I got in a little TT practice and huffed it back home, then back up Dexter cruising right on the ferry. Phew! It was packed!

I met up with my friends Emily and Kristin and we ventured along Bainbridge Island with weaving and unpredictable spandex clad crowds. It was fun being part of such a huge event. I met some man who flew all the way from San Diego to be a part of Chilly Hilly. Even some dude from Europe showed up.

You'd be riding along, turn a corner and see a sea of neon with weaving cyclists trying every way to get up the hill. Some people would be whistling as they cruised up in their granny gear, others huffing and puffing and some just giving up and walking.
On every hill - I saw at least 4 pulled chains, 2 women walking their bikes, and a slow moving tandem moving slow and steady up steep gradients. Children lined the route selling baked goods and bottled water to the thousands of bikers cruising the streets. I stopped at one - at the crest of Baker Hill and chatted with them for a little while as I waited for my friends to join me.

The sun even popped out at the end of the ride - making it less Chilly.

I got home in time to take my nephew Coleman on a walk into Fremont and cruise by tons of early spring flowers.

It took us a while to get to Fremont not only because we stopped to smell the flowers along the way, but also because little Coleman doesn't like to hurry at all. It was great spending time with him.

We even stood under the rocket.

And then Uncle Ryan joined us and we walked the rest of the way home - tuckering out not only Coleman but Makiah too. Makiah is probably still fast asleep on the couch as we speak. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Slippers?! In February?!!

Today was one of those picture perfect early spring/late winter days with warmer temps and cloudless blue skies. But does 50 degrees really warrant shorts and flip flops? Not one, not two, but three people walking at dusk with bare feet? Brrr!

But I would trade freezing my tootsies off any time for another day like today! Everyone and their mother were out enjoying the sunshine today. I met the girls down at Leschi for a late morning ride and we pedaled until the mid-afternoon. Amazing!

Ryan headed up to Index and did 7 pitches with some friends. Hopefully you were able to get outside and at least soak up a little bit of sunshine today!

Tomorrow I brave Chilly Hilly - and as long as it doesn't rain - I'll be snapping some sweet photos of the various enthusiasts I meet along the way. :0

Friday, February 22, 2008

I think I just vibrated my arms off from power washing all afternoon.

I know, I know. I just increased my global foot print. Does it help that I only did a half -ass job?

Amazing weather today - hopefully it will last throughout the weekend. Funny - the weather people called for scattered showers all day today and I've barely seen any clouds in the sky. I love when they are absolutely wrong!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Back to the routine

I uploaded a ton of photos to my facebook today and noticed every single one of them had to do with snow. What an amazing winter it's been! Luckily I got to share some of the most beautiful vistas with Ryan - and we share memories to last a lifetime.

I woke up early and headed to the gym this morning. It feels like it's been a while since I've been in a regular routine with weekly workouts and then weekend hammerfests. But I'm sure I'll get my fill in the next couple of weeks.

My bro and his nuclear family is in town for the weekend. Coleman got all riled up last night with uncle Ryan. It's fun to get a 4 year old all hyped up and then leave him to his parents. :) I'm sure they'll repay the favor a little later in life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Absolute BEST granola, EVER!

I think I have perfected my homemade granola - so I thought I'd share it with you. Since you can spend up to $5.69/lb on tasty handmade granola at the grocery store - I thought it was high time to create my own. And for a few bucks - you can have the best granola in the world and know what you put into it.

So without further delay....

3 c rolled oats
1 c walnuts, chopped coarse
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c veggie oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c honey
1 -2 c dried fruit (the best combo in my opinion is TJ's dried white peaches, apricots, and blueberries.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325. Mix oats, walnuts, coconut, almonds, and seeds together. Heat the oil, maple syrup, and honey in a small saucepan until warm, pour over nut mixture and toss to coat. Spread the granola evenly over a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until the granola is light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the dried fruit. Let the granola cool to room temp. Loosen the dried granola with a spatula and store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Yield - 7 cups.

There you have it - my gift to you. Hopefully it will inspire the hippie in you!

Getting wound up....

Every year it seems like the race season can't start soon enough. The lucky Californians start their short sleeve and short action long before us PNW can even think about shedding all of our layers. Early season races show who's on form and did their homework and extra credit over the winter. Take Brooke Miller for example. She moved to Ohio, the land of the frozen, trained her ass off despite the sub freezing temps and shipped off to Cali only to start sweeping some sweet winter wins. An inspiration for sure - but is making me anxious to test my winter dedication. But for me it's only a test - I look forward to the warmer spring and summer temps to really demonstrate my ability. That competitive side sure rears its head when you start viewing pics and seeing the passion that lives on cyclists faces - they're already enjoying what I love!

With my last downhill adventure unfortunately out of the way - I'm ready to take on the cycling season with gusto. I feel amazing - physically and more so mentally than I have since I started racing. Last year's injury taught me so much and I'm ready to apply my honed skills to reality. Good times, good times.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tired legs, fatigue sets in - yep, we're headed home

Wow - what a weekend. Yesterday topped it off with blue skies and still some powder to be found on Vail's back bowls. I tallied 4 face plants but Ryan took the cake with a two flip end-o as he attempted to jump a cliff for the 4th time that day. Camille and I had gone the super speedy groomer route - waiting for the boys down at the lift. Only to see Ryan come around the corner disheveled and covered in snow. Hopefully Josh caught it all on camera - we'll find out after a quick download. ;)

We also treated ourselves to a nice dinner last night at Golden Eagle in Beaver Creek. Yummy game and tantalizing sides - I had the duck and Ryan had an Elk loin. Topped off with a nice bottle of wine - good company and great service. What a perfect day.

Tomorrow is back to reality - with race season starting in a few short weeks. I had a crazy dream last night. I imagined I was at a race and not even close to being ready. My tires still needed to be pumped, my water bottles needed to be filled - but miraculously I pulled it off and was at the start line without a hick up. Maybe I'm questioning if I'll be ready for the season? One thing's for sure though - I'm not injured and ready to give it my all.

Ryan's calling for me to help pack the skis - more soon...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day Two...

Sitting cozily by the fire, listening to Ryan and Josh banter back and forth about disgusting things that bring you back to grade school - ah, the life. And they weren't kidding when they said at Beaver Creek you're not exactly roughing it.

But today we attempted and succeeded at roughing it. We thought two days of lift serve would be too taxing for the legs - pumping too much lactic acid through them and making us suffer. Instead we decided skinning up from 8,000 feet to 11,050 feet would be fine. Um - did someone forget we came from ski, I mean sea level? So at about 10,000 feet, us Washingtonians were suffering as Walker, Mr. Durago-I'm-a-pro-24-hour-mountain-bike-rider-genetic-fanatic skinned up the mountain and broke trail for the rest of us. You could climb about 10 feet before feeling like you would pass out of exhaustion. We eventually made it to the top - huffing and puffing praying with each step up hill we'd ski down some killer powder. And that's when we started roughing it - the snow was crusty and icy underneath - which was very conductive to side slipping down the hill. Not to mention it was windy and about 12 degrees. Chilly! And I'm not talking about the gourmet cuisine in the Spruce Saddle Lodge.

We were very stoked to run into the cat track the runs by Beano's cabin between Grouse Mountain and Strawberry Hill. And you bet we hit up the Dusty Boot for beers and a burger for $6 - the best deal in the Creek.

Tomorrow we venture to Vail to check out the fur coats and trendy side of Eagle County. Not too many double blacks to be had - but with over 5,000 acres of ski-able terrain - we should be able to find something to challenge us.

"No, no! I don't want the Beaver Creek map on my balls!" Josh shrikes to Camille. You can bet there's more stories to be had and pictures to follow...

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Creek

Four pairs of skis - check.
Four pairs of boots - check, check, check and check.
Four pairs of poles - check.

Downhill jacket - check.
Nordic jacket - check.
Ski socks - check.
Advil for the morning after and the ski hangover - check.

Ready to have a good time laying fresh tracks and getting the heart rate going - check.

Good material for the blog later - check.

Jealous? Check.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Can't wait to spend an evening with my sweetie and then whisk away to Colorado for a nice long weekend of snow play with friends.

Hitting the gym later today for some iron pumping and then following it up with a roller spin. It's super nice out today though - I think I'll opt for the outdoor experience.

I'm on chocolate overload right now thanks to Valentine's day! Where's my will power when I need it?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Early Season BURN

Even as I sit here, my legs are slightly throbbing and I can't drink enough liquids to adequately recover.

I had forgotten this portion of the season. Where the anticipation for the rapidly approaching racing begins and every interval seems to count toward gaining as much fitness as humanly possible. Fatigue from pushing your limits starts to settle into the muscles and you begin eating like a horse. Gone are the days of lazily getting on the bike and just putting time in the saddle. Now days are filled with meaningful purpose and missions to accomplish with each stroke!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mr. Firm Handshake

Today I encountered a bone breaking, hand splintering hand shake from Mr. Craig's-list-I'll-take-your-ugly-cabinet man. The mail man called it when he saw me helping Mr. Handy man load up the putrid cabinet into his truck, "another case of Craig's list, eh?" Yeah, except this one nearly broke my hand.

My question is this - when someone has a death grip - are you supposed to squeeze back? Or do you play lame dead duck and give a limp shake? I tried squeezing back too and he squeezed harder. My hand still hurts.

Maybe it was his way of saying, "thanks for the piece of junk to pile my junk in."

And in that case, you're welcome. Very, very welcome.

I opened the flood gates....

I had a few odds and ends remaining to get rid of from the abandoned suite at work and decided to list them on Craigs list for free. I've found it's the best way to get a complete stranger to come and haul away your junk. I posted about 4 adds yesterday at noon and by 3pm had about 50 responses. A quick check this morning and I have over 70. Wild.

Forget ever having a garage sale again.

One guy took a presentation board for his 13 year old son in attempt to continue to connect with him.

Another lady from Redmond drove over after work and picked up the heavy press board book cases. She had just moved from Ashland and ditched all of her furniture down south.

Maybe I should see who the freakiest responder is and give the free stuff to them. At least it'll make for some entertaining stories.

I was WRECKED yesterday from the weekend. It's been a while since I've put in close to 10 hours of riding on the weekend. I need to up the stamina I think. Today - more hill intervals. Sweet!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pooped with a capital P

What happens when you put 5 hours in the saddle with tempo and interval work thrown in the mix? One tired puppy, I tell you what.

As of this morning I was indecisive about what ride to do. I contemplated heading up
North to meet with the Broadmark fellas for their fixie ride, meeting up with my friend Peter, or heading south to Leschi to meet up with the Avanti ladies. I left the house bright and early at 8 and made my decision on the trail - ladies it is!

Only 4 of us showed - Linda, the ever faithful weekend ride leader, Annette, trekking from the east side and Liz, Mrs.-I-wore-too-much-clothing-today. I should talk - I walked out of the house this morning donning full on STP Fred clothing (sorry Fred) and installed my aero bars last night to really pull off the act. At least my holey booties matched! We headed south into the head wind and eagerly trailed onto the Garage fellas rear wheels as they strolled by. Funny how the guys are in zone 2 but my heart rate is in tempo sitting on the back and being whisked along. (It can't be all that skiing - it can't!!!)

The gravy train stopped at Coulon Park where we refueled, dumped and picked our route - up toward Tiger Mountain via the McDonald's Hill and May Valley. Let the pain begin! I just wish long hills and low traffic wasn't as much of a journey to get to. It would be awesome, in theory, to live on the east side and access all of those rides instead of having to slog out a good hour one way to get there. But I stayed home from skiing this weekend for a reason - to re-enter the biking pain cave.

And re-enter I did - time and time again. It's been a while since I've thought, "I could just stop doing this right now." Especially when climbing! The hills in Spain were just as long - if not longer. Is it the lack of sun? Does Vitamin D somehow make the pain and suffering that much better? But right when I start thinking, I can't do it - I remember, other people feel the same way and you have to be stronger and physically and mentally push beyond it. The stronger the mind - the stronger the rider. Why hello old doubtful friend - I missed you and am going to kick you right back into the cave you came from! And suddenly, I got into my rhythm and finished the climb with a smile, not a grimace, on my face.

It's funny how the simple act of riding your bike allows you to visit a range of emotions you don't run into in many other sports. The endurance factor is huge - how long can you stand pushing beyond your limits, or what you think are your limits, and pull your body inside out to complete a ride? Can you stand it 2 more minutes, now 5 more minutes, now 30 more minutes, etc.? I know your crotch hurts, your legs feel like lead, your back is sore, you feel like your tongue is hanging on the ground. But just think how good it will feel when you stop in 4 hours! Congratulations, pat yourself on the back. You have just reached what I call quality training.

And the best part? It repeats itself tomorrow. :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cactus time!

Have you ever participated in your local caucus? Interested in being more of a part in this years election?

Well you'll get your chance this Saturday if you live in Washington. Check it!

One man's junk=another man's treasure

Friday mornings rule. Not only are they my off day from the bike, but I usually wake up a little earlier to bake something to share at work. I love the quiet alone time I get in the mornings - with the only stress being which type of tea to drink today. Today's treat - tasty Bran Raisin Muffins.

I'm still working on getting rid of the stuff a tenant abandoned in a suite from the office - and it's working out pretty good. Piece by piece I've sold each thing on Craig's list - the best invention since sliced bread, btw. The new tenant is moving in a few weeks - so the pressure is on. I've made multiple trips to the reuse computer store - dumping off several monitors, computers and parts. We know each other by name now.

This weekend I'm biking! Yes, you heard it here first. I'm actually letting my skis sit in the corner of the living room to collect dust and dusting off my TT bike. Good times!

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I had an earthquake dream last night. Strange. I remember reading about some tremors detected in May Valley area a couple days ago - maybe that sparked things?

Anyways, in my dream I thought it was strange how windy and stormy things were until I realized I was in somewhat serious danger and decided to hit the deck in my kitchen. It wasn't until a few minutes later I realized we had a 6.7 magnitude quake.

Maybe I should stop watching the news - they had a crazy tornado hit the southern states and destroy everything in its path.

Other than that, I slept like a baby.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Picture UPdate

Sorry for the delay - here's some photos of the travels we've had the past couple weeks.

Makiah snuggled up in the -11 degree temps at our cabin in Mazama a few weeks ago.

Goat Wall that we skinned up to get a killer run in before skate skiing. Makiah made the trek too!

The view from Goat Wall looking West up the Methow Valley.

Our cabin buried under a shit load of snow.

We had to dig out a spot to park the golf - they only plow the road. Tight squeeze!

The best run Heavenly had to offer - the Fire Break Run which dropped about 2,000 vertical feet.

And last, but certainly not least, Mr. Mullet Man with cool jeans and Mrs. Camel Toe. Unfortunately we were already on the bus before we realized we just had to take their picture. :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Tonight kicked off the first true intervals of the season. I think it's now safe to say I have entered into the realm of pain for the season - although tonight was a cake walk compared to the months to come. I say that because I'm new and fresh to the pain of interval work - after a nice long oasis from them. As I spun higher and higher rpm's, I reveled at the fact I can and have pushed so much harder to go so much faster in the peak of the season. And I just need to remind myself, I'm slowly approaching that glorious time of gut wrenching pursuit work and putting it all out there - something I feel passionate about.

To reward myself - I'm spending time in the kitchen, slowly cooking one of my favorite treats - caramelized onions. For some reason, I've been keeping it secret from my blog readers that I've spent more and more off time in the kitchen - delicately preparing savory foods and enjoying every blissful moment on my feet in the kitchen. Ryan calls me domestic - but I don't take offense. Home baked granola, fresh pasta, slow marinated tomato sauces, soups, slow cooked pulled pork, the list goes on. I'm starting to find it harder and harder to settle for anything less then the best when it comes to food - especially dining out. Thankfully we both exercise our brains out and we're rewarded by performance - you are what you eat, right? I'm sure as soon as race season settles in, I'll find less time to spend in the kitchen, but hopefully won't compromise the goods and whole foods I'm putting in.

Anyways - sorry to get off subject. All I really meant to say was intervals started tonight and felt good.:)

A friend of mine is starting a new site - and I'll be posting to it shortly.... more to come on that later.

Powder Days

Headed South to Lake Tahoe area over the weekend with my sweetie. We had some old airline tickets we had to use up from last year. Unfortunately United has few direct flights from Seattle - other than Denver and San Fran... so through the myriad of schedules and destinations - we settled on Tahoe for only a $11.97 charge after all the change fees.

We asked around to find out if anyone had been to Tahoe before and got a bunch of blank stares. (Warning number one.) But we heard they were getting hammered with snow and Heavenly boasts the "highest snowfall in the US". (Warning number two.) Traveling there took awhile - from Seattle to San Fran, hop on a puddle jumper to Reno, then ride the bus up to the mountains. We arrived late Friday night and took advantage of the $2 beers in our hotel casino. Bad idea - the next morning this so called light weight had a screaming head ache and we were going skiing? Luckily the hotel boasts free breakfast - or pay the $2.99 (warning number three)... let's just say the food combined with the hangover didn't sit well in the old tummy tum tum.

Nevertheless we headed up to the mountain - unsure of the best spots to ski but ready to explore. Tahoe sits at 7,000 feet or so and the top of the mountain is 10,000. We whisked up the mountain to be quickly greeted by alpine/hurricane force winds. The blues were really greens and we immediately discovered how low angle and easy the runs were (not to mention we didn't see the lake once!). The snow was good - and we quickly found the double blacks and did laps - narrowly missing a collision with one skier and having a good time. I'm starting to get really aggressive on my tele skis and it feels good to go fast!

Around 3:30 we called it a day and headed down to the lodge to drink a $8 beer (that's worse than the Sonics!). We watched as a huge line formed for the free shuttle - which took about 2 hours to dissipate. Apparently the gondola, which is how the majority of the people off load down the mountain, was closed due to the winds and everyone was funneled to where we were hanging. Once the line died down, we hoped on the bus - only to be sardined with skis, poles and smelly people down the mountain to a transit center. Fun times! We made it back in time to walk through the blizzard like conditions across the street to some of the best food Tahoe has to offer.

That night it snowed 3 feet. POWDER!!! But the kicker? They didn't open the gondola until noon the next day due to avalanche control. On that low angle? Seriously? Wow - we were not impressed. :) Once we did get up the hill powder was abound and we skied our brains out. We made a wise decision to head back to the Mott Canyon area - where it was actually steep and had some of the best runs of the day.

The previous day, near the lift, the bottom was nice and flat. I approached it on day two with the same speed - FAST and quickly met 7-8 moguls. Next thing I know, my knees are nearly pumping into my chin and I some how pulled it off - with two tele turns at the bottom showing some style. Ryan and some other guy watched as I came in hauling ass - with a terrified look on my face of failure. Talk about an adrenaline rush! I doubt I could repeat it!

The end of the day came quickly and we headed for the final run out the Fire Break, an off piste run through the trees with endless powder. You basically get one of the most enjoyable and long runs of the day - going from 9,000 to 7,000 at the base of the gondola. It was great and we even got to see the lake!

We then watched part of the Superbowl in a bar across the street, walked back to the transit center, narrowly catching the last bus to our casino. Trucking skis, boots and poles back to the hotel would have been rough! Maybe we should have gambled that night? All bets on black!

After watching one of the best upsets ever - we always root for the underdog so we were stoked! we headed to the hot tub and were quickly met by some New Orleaners. They were sipping Wild Turkey - smoking cigars and cigarettes right in the tub. No worries though - right before they got out there, Ryan was reaching for this beer and accidentally dropped it in the tub. :)

The next morning we opted not to spend another $140 on lift tickets and walked into town. All of the sidewalks were still buried in snow but we managed to make it the mile into town without getting hit on the interstate. As we boarded our 1:30 bus back down to Reno, we saw the greatest Tahoe couple ever. Decked out in frayed designer pocket jeans, neon jacket and sweet mullet hair, complimented by his blond hair, leopard print wearing, camel toe sporting lady - you bet we took some photos! I'll upload some soon....

Hope you had a good weekend too. In two weeks we head out to Colorado for another fun adventure!