I literally can’t remember the last time I took a real vacation…from work, training, racing, life (at the same time)…I’ve never exactly had a job that offered “vacation” days and I feel as though I’ve been on the go non-stop for years! However, I enjoy my non-traditional lifestyle even though I have to remind myself to relax sometimes…
I just finished a short break from structured training and I suppose I’ve taken a nice vacation from blogging as well. It’s given me some time to reflect on my mountain bike season and get excited for what’s to come.
Otherwise, my final race campaign to the World Cups was about the closest I get to “vacation” and it was quite an adventure, though anything but relaxing!
Over three weeks, on one car trip, I was in sixteen states and two provinces: North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia.
Even though I was working from the road (and technically, on the bike), I was lucky to explore some pretty amazing trails and make the most of my trip…
After the Subaru Cup Dave and I got a chance to visit some of our dear friends in Madison, where we both spent the vast majority of our “adult” lives..it hasn’t even been a year since we’ve moved, but for better or worse, a lot has changed! One of the positive changes was the addition of a B-Cycle bike sharing system:
This station is located right near the shop we used to work at. If you are ever in town check out Machinery Row Bicycles!
Something that hasn’t changed is the plethora of amazing local food and our friends’ affinity for fireworks! Fun times.
I wish we could have stayed for days instead of hours but it was time to hit the road. After a great ride at our old stomping grounds, the Kettles (these trails are where I learned to mountain bike and what informed Dave’s decision to go to school in Wisconsin), followed by a quick visit with our families near Chicago, we pointed the car east.
We stopped in Ann Arbor (cool city–neither of us had been before), found the nicest, cleanest, cheapest hotel ever and stocked up at Trader Joe’s…
In the morning we crossed the border into Canada to begin what was to be our longest leg of the drive to Quebec.
It was smooth sailing except for mega traffic in Toronto, which held us up for hours. We learned that Canadians have much better methods of transporting mattresses on cars..we actually saw a failed attempt in Michigan (warning: your hand is not going to keep a mattress on the roof while driving!).
My impeccable skill for finding extremely affordable yet nice lodging did not fail me and we stayed on the shore of the Long Sault Parkway:
Passing into Quebec I got a chance to brush up on my French..we switched the car’s settings and pretended we were Quebecois:
Then it was more traffic delays and onward to Quebec City and Beaupre. We stayed at a wonderful hotel complete with a fireplace and jacuzzi tub. It even advertised being welcoming to cyclists! Somehow the first night was only $10!?!
and I had a chance to heal up from Mont Sainte Anne:
We then headed to East Burke, VT to explore the Kingdom Trails. They were so much fun! Vermont was awesome…it seemed to be the perfect love-child of Wisconsin and Western North Carolina: two of my favorite places!
Dave flew home from Albany on the 4th of July and I headed back to Vermont to check out Mount Snow while I had some free time. I basically started riding when it stopped being a race venue and it was a course I’ve always wanted to check out.
Unfortunately the mountain bike trails seemed lonely and forgotten. I could barely see where they had been but at the same time I could tell that racing there would have been awesome and challenging! I really hope Mount Snow returns to the circuit someday!
The next few days were spent between Albany and Windham, racing and checking out Adidas Eyewear’s headquarters.
My final, solo push home stopped briefly in Harrisonburg, VA where the nice people at Shenandoah Bicycle Company set me up with an awesome mountain bike route in the Shenandoah mountains.
They claimed the Massanutten side had all of the rocks…I’ll definitely have to return to find out!
I was thankful to return to Asheville for a few days before traveling to Georgia for work. Being home and out of the car was a treat!
Thank you, thank you, thank you SO much to everyone who offered housing and financial support to make this trip possible. It was an eye-opening experience and it helped tremendously in my development as a rider and racer. I am really only getting started in my cycling career and I’ve gained more than enough UCI points to qualify for the World Cups in 2012!
It’s incredible to be able to travel through my racing as I can’t afford that luxury otherwise.
This season was challenging and definitely one for building experience…it left me slightly hungry for more but I am very satisfied in meeting my goals. Ready to switch gears for cross!
Thanks for following along my adventures!