Wednesday, September 16, 2009


So it turns out I'm going to nationals after all. Dave Mann called USACycling and vouched for me. And now my name is on the qualified riders list. My favorite lines of his: "As the first place American team at the FSA Grand Prix women’s Madison and the first place Madison team in the Easton Triple Crown Madison Championship, you should be competing. If not, it is a clear sign that the USA Cycling 'qualifier' program is very broken." You GO Dave! This guy ROCKS.

In any case, now I have approximately 2 weeks to hit some sort of "peak" after I planned for my season to be DONE. I found out that I had officially qualified yesterday. So I dug deep, got my motivation back, and am working hard at maintaining it until October 4th.

Tonight I got on my bike while it was raining out. It had just started to drizzle as I was driving home from work. But I went and I smiled and I did my intervals with gusto.

In my head: Points race and Madison. Here I come, L.A.

Friday, August 07, 2009


On Thursday, we toured Carolina's grandfather's store/warehouse. He runs a company that imports machinery from Germany for farming - and the place is huge. He's obviously very proud of it, and rightly so. There are about 100 people who work there in different capacities, and the building is spacious and highly functional.

The building has lots of art, produced by Caro's aunt. Most of it is a blend of photography and painting and photoshop. Pretty neat stuff.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Santa Fe de Antioquia

Santa Fe de Antioquia is a small colonial town, nestled in the mountains north of Medellin. We hired a small tour bus to pick us up in the morning. Here's Elisa with the bus:

As the bus tried to exit our driveway loaded down with all of us, the rear bumper bottomed out. Carolina's little 7-year-old cousin proudly exclaimed, "We're STUCK! One-hundred percent STUCK!!" As we waited for the driver to examine our situation, we caught this onlooker, standing on the street, maximizing his time by flossing simultaneously.

On the way, we stopped for breakfast at a roadside restaurant. We were treated to FRESH arepas, made right before our eyes, and an amazing view.

Lesley and Dasia at breakfast. And my finger in the corner.

After nourishment, we continued on to Punta de Occidente, with a pretty awesome suspension bridge high over a river.

Then we were on our way to Antioquia. Our first stop in the town was the hotel run by a friend of Carolina's father. It was extremely hot that day, so we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful swimming pool and refreshing drinks while the cooks made us lunch.

After lunch, we ventured out into the village, where we shopped at the street vendors and explored some of the churches.

The streets were so narrow that 2 cars could definitely not fit down them, and our tour bus had quite the time trying to navigate around.

We were wandering the streets when school was let out for the afternoon, and it was funny to see the ice cream vendor park himself right outside the front door of one of the schools for maximum profit. I was able to catch a glimpse inside one of the classrooms, too.
The banner says, "Integrity is doing what is right, even when no one is watching."

I like it.

Flowers, Fruit and Food in Colombia




Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Day at Maribel

Carolina's grandfather named the estate "Maribel" after his sisters Maria and Isabel. It began as a farm, surrounded by many other farms, but now there are only factories and apartments surrounding the land.

Each day we begin by waking up and rolling out of our beds.

We then walk to the kitchen and ask Luz to make us breakfast.

Breakfast consists of arepas (thick tortilla-like pancakes made from corn, yucca, or other similar things) on which we put butter and fresh mozzerella, and eggs with tomatoes, onions, and seasonings. Accompanying this is hot chocolate!

Then we change and head out to the pool,

or to lounge in the hammocks for a bit.



There's also a huge yard for walking around in

and seeing the animals.

Then we eat lunch, and head out on some sort of afternoon adventure. Today, we took the metro

to the Botero museum

with its fat statues. "Gato":

Then we took the cable cars up the eastern mountains

where we saw the beautiful new library

and caught a great view of the mountainside. You can see the side of the cable car station on the far right, and just to the left of that you can see the cables (like a gondola at a ski resort!), and then the houses upon houses. Tia Viki told us that it used to be an even poorer part of the city. But when they built the cable car system, it really improved because it took people minutes, instead of hours, to get to jobs in the city. The houses began as stacks of cartons, then people started building walls, and then building on top. Not very safe. And now they finally even have electricity and plumbing.

Then it was time to head home with the little cousins, Martin and Susie,

spend some time reading on the veranda,

and have dinner. Tonight was a fresh salad, fresh watermelon, arepas of all kinds, a baked plantain-meat dish that was super-tasty, and lentil soup over rice. It got decimated by all 18 (yes EIGHTEEN) of us before I thought to take a photo.

After dinner, we sit at our homemade "internet cafe"

or relax in the hot tub downstairs.

Now it's time for me to get ready for the hot tub...