I’m going to Disneyland!

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Last week, I got an email from Heidi asking me about Sunday’s schedule. When I replied that it was pretty open, she asked if I wanted to go to Disneyland. For FREE. Um, yes please! So, my last morning at camp was a casual one. I had some breakfast, packed my bags and said good-bye.

8669060163_6b576cab7c_hThen it was time to hit the road back to civilization. I made it back to Burbank with time to spare and got to say hi to Tom and the girls. Naturally, we weren’t telling them our destination because they’d have been crushed, so we tried to keep our exit casual. We were meeting some of Heidi’s mom friends, one of whom was the wife of an employee and was able to get us in for free if we were all there at the same time. Heidi and I grabbed a quick lunch and then met them at the entrance. Everyone was really nice and we headed into the park.

I’d never had a chance to ride Splash Mountain, so I was happy that it was open. We’d initially planned to just grab a FastPass, but the time to come back was between 4:30 and 5:30 and that seemed a little late for a ride where we might get wet (caution: foreshadowing). So, we opted to wait in the hour-long line:

SMThe time passed quickly and it gave me a chance to chat with Heidi’s friends. The ride was fun, but we ended up getting SOAKED. Heidi and I were in the front of the car and got hit by two different waves. I think we’re screaming in this picture more in fear of the drenching we were about to receive:

SM1Poor Heidi’s purse was dripping water for a good solid hour and I don’t think her sweatshirt ever dried out. You can’t tell from the picture, but every part of my pants were soaking wet.

SM2But it was fun. A couple of girls grabbed a snack afterward, this adorable Mickey-shaped pretzel:

Pretzels

We then rode the Matterhorn which is one of my favorite rides and hit a few other favorites. It’s strange to go to the park and not be trying to maximize our time and hit as many things as possible. But that’s the difference of getting in for free vs. paying a lot of money for a ticket. Then it started to get to be dinner time and we headed over to California Adventure, which serves alcohol (the Mouse does not.) These moms don’t mess around…

I’d also never been to California Adventure:

CA1It was pretty nice:

CA2We had dinner at a Napa-themed italian restaurant. The food was good, the wine delicious and we got to eat outdoors. Such a treat.

CA3Afterward, we grabbed some ice cream for dessert at Ghiradelli. The park is just as lovely at dusk:

CA4We went to check out the recently opened Cars Land and ride the new racing ride:

CA7The line was long and slow, and I’ll admit that I was skeptical that the ride could possibly worth it when it looked like a glorified Autopia:

CA5But it was an amazing ride. I can easily see it becoming a classic like Pirates or the Haunted Mansion. Highly recommend it:

RacingWe also did another fun ride that I can’t remember the name of:

CA6We finished the ride as the firework show was starting and all of us were getting pretty tired. Heidi and I bid the other ladies farewell and hit up the Disney store on the way out. We had a good time trying on silly hats and looking at souvenirs:

HatsBut then it was time to head home. I had an early flight in the morning. Guess it’s time to return to reality. So many thanks to Heidi for inviting me along. It was the perfect end to a wonderful vacation.

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Dayum, that was a good ride!

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For the last full day of camp, I really wanted to get a long ride in. Luckily, I had a couple of lovely ladies who had the same thing on their agenda. Before heading out, we had a quick visit from Nelson who is quite the ladies man. I tried to take a picture of the two of us and got accosted:

NelsonKissWe set off on our ride. There were three of us wanting to ride long and we had Meg and Carol joining us for the initial part of the ride, so it was a nice group. We helped Meg adjust her bike fit and had a nice chatty pace going. It’s such a treat for me to have company on these long rides, especially other women riders. As much as I like riding with the boys, the following scenario would never occur with them. We ride our planned route and come to an intersection. In front of us is a crazy climb into the foothills. To the right is the town of Palmdale with more traffic and wind. And to the left is a road with a sign for a dam. With the boys, I’d be dragging my butt up that steep climb nine times out of ten. With the ladies, we went to check out the dam. And then took pictures. Of the dam:

DamRideOf me climbing the stupid steep hill leading up to it:

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8669131587_e7220dc946_h(Coach Cane would be so disappointed in my “backstroke elbows”) But I NEVER have pictures of me riding, so that was a treat. Gail even captured sensible Kristi’s decision to walk up that damn hill (See what I did there?)

8669130575_fc58c8b390_kWe stopped to chat at a little overlook and then rode a bit further to the restrooms. (Score for not having to squat by the side of the road!) There were little stops to chat here and there throughout the ride. Gail was  our official photographer of hill climbs, as she was a much better climber than Kristi or I:

8669109697_3ef497310c_hToward the end of the ride, we were getting low on water and a bit hungry, so we headed down to the highway to find a convenience store. We spied a dodgy gas station across the highway and decided to go for it. Jerry’s Gas Station may have been shifty looking, but they had junk food and plenty of it. I’d love to know what the locals were thinking when three crazy tri girls descended on their store, bought a bunch of food and then devoured it outside on the sidewalk. I made a collage of our adventures for Instagram:

DamRideMontageSnickers bars never taste so good as they do after a long hot ride:

8669121051_8fdf120761_hWe, of course had to commemorate our trip to Jerry’s Gas Station:

8670220264_d2a00719c8_hThen it was time to head home. The last big climb to the house wasn’t fun, but we made it. The ride was a perfect combination of work and play and I’m so glad I had such fun company.

After a lovely shower and some food, it was time to move on to the second event of the evening, the gear exchange:

GiftExchangeThis is rapidly becoming one of my favorite traditions. Not only do I get to clean out my closet, I always score some sweet gear. This year was no exception, there was tons of awesome stuff. And to make things even more fun, there were margaritas:

MargaritasWhich leads to photos like this:

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8670181304_342371274d_hBut everyone scored some awesome stuff, and a good time was had by all:

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8669077447_2f676af05c_hAfter another round of margaritas and some dinner, somehow Sally got us up and moving for the second annual Margarita Mile:

MargaritaMileCanCanThere were only two actual racers this year. Beth took the victory in impressive fashion (drunk and in flip-flops), with Sally coming in for so-so silver behind her:

8670186414_a7e80de890_hAnd ironically, the only injury was the only one not to be drinking margaritas:

8670189840_6451a2e2bb_hMost of us comprised the cheering/walking/silly running section. And the stopping to take cute pictures section:

MM-CathyKristiIt was a lovely last night. We chatted as late as our tired bodies would allow and shared a very nice bottle of wine. Camp was particularly awesome this year and I feel like I’ve kicked off my training cycle in strong fashion. Hopefully, I can keep this momentum rolling back at home where I don’t have all of these awesome ladies for company.

 

 

 

 

 

Putting the tri in tri-camp

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Today was our only day to swim at the local pool, so a number of us were committed to that at noon. So, many of that group opted to run/hike out at Devils Punchbowl beforehand. (The nice thing about training camp is that I turn into an early bird and was up at 6:30.) It was a small, intrepid group:

PunchbowlRunLadiesI love running out at this park, even though the first mile looks like this:

8670333854_7c59bf3cf1_hSo, I walked up the initial hill (which was the equivalent effort of my typical runs.) Between my huffing and puffing, I enjoyed the surrounding scenery:

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DPOnce I reached the top of the hill, I could actually start running. It’s still pretty rolling, but fun:

8669227405_296df527fa_hJenSW and I ran together for a while and marveled at how unSeattle-like it all was. We ran for about half an hour and I took a picture of the view at the turnaround:

DP3We somehow managed to get lost on the way back and had to off-road it a bit to get back on trail. When we made it back to the parking lot, we learned that the local visitor center had these rescued owls. It was incredible to see them so close up. I can’t remember the name they’d given the barn owl, but she was afraid of dogs and dust mops:

DP-BarnOwlThis is the first time I’ve ever seen a Great Horned Owl in person:

8670320006_539c24e239_hThere was also a female Great Horned Owl, named Squinty. She was right up in front of her cage and so beautiful!

SquintyWe all posed for a post-run photo with Squinty:

PunchbowlOwlLadiesWe then headed back to the house for a quick snack/second breakfast and it was off to the pool. It was just as crowded and crappy as the other one:

PalmdalePoolWe all had a lane to ourselves and a lovely swim. After some swimming, there were of course some hijinks:

SwimLadiesWe ran a few errands in town and realized we were hungry. Someone mentioned Mexican, so we consulted Yelp to find the most generically named place nearby (Tacos Baja Mex):

8670291606_0d8462e2f7_hAll it needs is Señor in front of it and a Sombrero and they will have hit all of the highlights. But the food was delicious and we could eat outside:

MexicanFoodI won’t lie, I wasn’t sure the last workout of the day, a bike ride, was going to happen. But after a little digesting time, a small group of us headed out. We did the same loop as yesterday, but in the other (easier) direction. I was surprised to find that my legs actually felt better than they had yesterday. It was a good, solid day of training followed by a ton of food and wine.

Dinner was lively, but afterward everyone was pretty wiped out and the room was pretty quiet. Interspersed with all of the days activities was the crazy news from Boston, so there was a little catching up on current events and then an early, well-deserved bed time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to play with the big girls

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I spent the morning with Heidi and the girls, including a little time at their Mommy & Me class. It was fun to see the girls with their friends, plus meet some of the moms that Heidi is friends with. It was too bad that I had to bid them farewell during an ill-timed fire drill. But it was time to head off to training camp, with a quick side trip to the Santa Clarita pool. As you can see it was super crowded:

SCpoolAfter our gross gym pool, it was heaven to swim in such a beautiful outdoor pool. I am so jealous of the locals who get to swim here. They have no idea how lucky they are. Then a quick stop at In & Out and I was off to camp. As I parked my car, I noticed that Monty had added a fitness equipment graveyard since last year:

FitnessGraveyardI timed my arrival perfectly. Ladies were just getting back from their workouts and ate lunch while I assembled my bike. I added it to the stable out front:

XantusiaThere was a casual ride planned for the afternoon, which was perfect. We stopped to take photos, so I actually had some pictures of me for a change:

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Me-rideThere was a cool old stone house that I had never noticed before.

OldStoneHouseIt was a nice ride, nothing too crazy. The climb back to the house wasn’t nearly as tough as it’s been in years past (though still not what I’d call easy.) On our walk back up to the house, we said hi to the horses:

8670256836_2d1c17dcd1_hThen it was time for some good quality social time.

sunnyLadiesAnd of course dinner with plenty of wine:

SallyWineThere are about nine of us this year and it seems to be an awesome group thus far. I think it’s going to be a really great camp.

 

 

 

Girls day out

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It’s that time of year again, the annual trip to California for training camp. I look forward to these trips every year and this one was no exception. I’ve actually been riding my bike for a change, so I was hoping the desert hills weren’t going to kill me like they usually do.

But first, I got to spend a whole day with my favorite LA trio. After a frustrating transaction with Budget, (WORST RENTAL CAR COMPANY EVER!!!!) I headed over to Heidi’s for a little chat before we needed to pick the girls up from their Tiny Tots class. The girls had made me a welcome gift:

BannerWe went to lunch at Portos, a local Cuban bakery that had an amazing array of pastries along with some yummy-sounding sandwiches. Not to mention, I got to enjoy the company of these two silly girls:

Portos

After lunch, we headed over to Pasadena to go to Kidspace. It’s a super cool kids museum that made me very sad it wasn’t around when I was a kid. There were all sorts of fun activities and the girls were in heaven:

KidspaceMontageKamrynKS

KenleyKS

There was this huge outdoor section with a creek that the girls just loved. Heidi & I sat on a bench and enjoyed watching them play in the water:

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KS1It was so much fun to spend the day hanging out with them and watching how they interact with the world. Afterward, we hung out in the backyard and the girls played some more. Then Tom came home and took over parenting duties so that Heidi & I could go out for dinner and have a little one on one time. We went to this great local pub and shared some yummy appetizers and had some really delicious cider. So far, this vacation is off to a great start!