Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Italy updates

Just a note: I'm posting any Italy updates that I can manage to type on my Blue Skies blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Training Rides

Not quite as sexy as my race bike but this has been my ride for the last few weeks. We're almost ready to head to Italy with the kids and our bikes, and we've been out rolling through the local hills with the kids on the tandems (only resorting to pushing them up a hill once so far). Those of you athletes with young children... there is hope! It all started with a Burley trailer, then a tag-a-long bike, then we got them their own little two-wheelers, the training wheels came off and away they went. They've biked around town with me for years, replacing car trips to dance classes or homeschooling events. They've both competed in fun kids triathlons. Now they're ready for the ride of their lives.

We've got directions, books, maps, and a brand-new GPS. We've got spare tubes, tires, chain links, and brake pads. I've had Italian lessons loaded on my iPod for every run, walk, or quiet moment hanging out the laundry for the last two months. We're as prepared as we're going to be. And on Saturday we roll out of here for three and a half weeks in Italia. Wow!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Annual Adventures at Waldo

This will most likely be one of the few blog posts I manage to scribble before we leave for Italy next Saturday (OMG!) The number of details rattling in my brain is mind-boggling, but we managed to still throw our camping gear in the van and make it up to our favorite lake for Mackenzie's 12th (simply not possible...he's twelve???) birthday. The thing he most wanted to do was to camp at a lake and go kayaking. So we met my mom and a bunch of friends up at Waldo Lake and broke out some s'mores to celebrate. At 4:14 in the afternoon, he became a 12 year old on the shore of the lake.

As soon as we got settled in at camp and tromped down to the water's edge, I could feel the water pulling at me like some kind of crazy addiction. I couldn't just NOT get in. Good thing I brought my wetsuit, Waldo Lake is cold and clear as glass. Last year when we camped here I went for a short swim, but without a wetsuit I couldn't go very far out past the shallows where it's (relatively) warmer. This year Mackenzie kayaked with me while I swam out and around an island over much deeper water. What a trip, it was like hovering over a canyon as the water got deeper, yet was still almost as clear as the air, and the bottom fell farther and farther beneath us. The only thing I've ever felt like that before was wall diving on coral reefs in some extremely good visibility, where you just sort of float out over the abyss.

One advantage to the wetsuit that I've recently discovered is that if I just keep it on, I can stay in such freezing water and play with the kids (who are seemingly immune to the cold). So I kept my wetsuit on for about three hours and alternately swam with the kids and did laps around the island with either Mackenzie or my mom in the kayak with me. As is the case every time I end up at Waldo Lake, I feel supremely blessed to be in one of the world's most beautiful places. Here's a pic of my mom in her kayak. You can see the wonderful clarity of the water, and her adventurous spirit. She's such a great pal!

While at Waldo, a friend of mine took me mountain biking. I hadn't been in a very long time and honestly, I'm a total scaredy cat when it comes to stuff like that. So I was Very Very Brave and went out on this rooty rocky trail with her that goes around the lake (I'm sure to a dedicated single-tracker this trail would be child's play, but it intimidated me). I think it's a good idea to jump out of our personal comfort zones every so often, at least that's what I tried to tell myself as I bumped and ground over the obstacles. But I have to admit that after about an hour I really relaxed into it and was enjoying myself, not to mention shouting "wheeeee!" when I managed to make it over a particularly challenging (to me) rocky bit.

I'm also pushing my comfort zone in a completely different way these days. Mackenzie is growing up, becoming independent, doing things like paddling away from me into the lake by himself. It gives me new appreciation for my mom and her fussing over me whenever she sees me swimming in open water. It's hard to let your kids go, even when it's something you know they love to do. And truthfully, there were times when I never thought I'd see the day where my son was so independent in this way. I mean, this is the kid who was so freaked out he wouldn't get on the Storybook Boats at Disneyland. They were "too tippy" and he totally wigged out and we left that ride when he was little. And now he jumps in a kayak and paddles out into this deep deep lake? Parenthood freaks me the heck out sometimes. But at the same time I'm totally thrilled for him, this amazing creature that I get to call my son.

In any case, it was a lovely weekend, followed by a more traditional birthday party once we returned to town. My sis and brother-in-law came down for a few days and we all had a great time. I was glad that we squeezed in those couple of lovely days at the lake though, a fall tradition that I wouldn't have wanted to miss.