03 June 2014

Where do I begin

May was the most marvelous month 

And I have never had jet-lag so bad in all my life. That's the thing about life, the ups are up and the downs are down. But I am home now and I seriously need to write something on this blog just to get the ball rolling again.

In the month of May I went to the Giro d'Italia, I saw my first Grand Tour team time trial, I visited Northern Ireland for the first time ever (and loved it!), I met all sorts of really cool people, I secured my taste for real draft Guinness beer, and then I came home to see Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish at the Tour of California. I really like Brad and Mark.

All this fun and I haven't written a word on my trusty blog. I could wax poetic and say some things are just too good to share or too hard to put to words, or I could be totally honest and explain - I'm just so tired. Yup, too tired from having so much fun. That's the truth!

Fun and darn jet-lag, which inhibited me from staying up until 2am (as I usually do at stage races) to write up posts, kept me from sharing my incredible journeys with you. I haven't even posted the amazing photos Willie Richenstein (my friend and co-photographer) took at the Amgen Tour of California! Gees.

I should note that I have also been 'speaking with' (via email) a number of individuals, helping them with vacation planning and other questions. I wouldn't trade these interactions for the world, meeting fellow cycling travelers brings me great joy but also takes away from my time posting out into the realms of the www.

I did post some photos on Twitter. Huge accomplishment on my part. Want to see those iphone photos of what I have been doing the past month?  (All photos below by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®)

New York City - Colorado - Utah - California - Ireland - California - Utah - Colorado

I started out in Manhattan for 6 days
Manhattan at night
Then I drove from Colorado to Utah to California
The middle of nowhere Utah
Then I got on a plane to Dublin and drove into Northern Ireland where I was blown away by the beauty.
Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland
I drove the route of Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia where I was so impressed with the community spirit on display.
Cushendall in pink
I visited some tourist sites including Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Giant's Causeway, and Bushmills Distillery.
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
Even the whiskey ran pink for the Giro. Rule #1 buy OLD whiskey - it's worth the money.

At Bushmills Distillery
I went for a super fun bike ride in Belfast city to tour the route of the Stage 1 Team Time Trial with Belfast City Bike Tours. I loved the guys who ran this tour, and Michael the owner of The Hudson Bar where we had a pint after our ride. Michael tried to spray paint me pink for the Giro.
Michael of The Hudson Bar, me and Gary of Belfast City Bike Tours
I went to the Team Presentation the night before the Giro started in downtown Belfast outside City Hall.
Team Garmin-Sharp enters
I had fun in the team area at the Titanic Quarter (which is a great tourist site btw) before Stage 1.
Cadel Evans arrives before the TTT
I was able to watch the warm-up in the morning near city hall, plus watch the teams start and take the first two corners of the real TTT of the Giro. Here team Garmin-Sharp took the start line shortly before Dan Martin would later crash and end his 2014 Giro.
Team Garmin-Sharp when hopes were still high
Attending the Giro d'Italia in Northern Ireland will stand as one of the all-time favorite races I have ever attended (next to the Tour of Flanders and the Amgen Tour of California in Solvang). Attending the Giro in Ireland was a blast, the people had more fun than I have ever witnessed at a race (a close tie with the Paris-Roubaix).
Everything was pink for the Giro in Northern Ireland!
For Stage 2, I walked 300 meters from my Bed & Breakfast to watch the race go by at a place called the Bla Hole.
Stage 2 of the 2014 Giro d'Italia passes the Bla Hole.
Then I drove down to the city of Armagh (my grandfather Peter is from nearby Newry) to watch the start of Stage 3 of the Giro.
St Patricks Cathedral in Armagh and the 2014 Giro d'Italia
My four days at the Giro Start in Ireland were truly incredible!
Driving on the other side of the road was exciting
But it was time to get serious about some good Irish beer and Irish music!
Gus O'Connors Pub in Doolin, County Clare
Appreciate a real draft Guinness and a good Irish Stew
pure deliciousness
Stay at a lovely Bed & Breakfast
Daly House in Doolin Ireland
And enjoy a relaxing long morning breakfast with fine Irish hospitality.
A peaceful start to the morning
And then a highly recommended 8km walk from Doolin to the Cliff of Moher with Pat Sweeney.
Local guide and farmer Pat Sweeney
A long flight back to San Francisco and LAX then found me once again in Laguna Beach, California waiting for the last three stages of the Amgen Tour of California.
The beautiful beaches of Orange County California
And this guy - Sir Bradley Wiggins. Cool!
Funny and honest
And Mark Cavendish. Did I mention, I like Mark.
This was a tough Stage 6 for him, but he won Stage 8!
And it looks like Bradley and Mark like each other as well.
Brad and Mark at Tour of California 2014
Bradley Wiggins won the 2014 Amgen Tour of California
Classification winners ATOC 2014
And thank goodness this squad of Garmin-Sharp teammates in California had reason to celebrate Best Team.
I enjoyed a few more days with family along the beautiful beaches of southern California.
Newport Beach, CA
And drove myself and my labradoodle dog Jack Denny back to Colorado through Utah once again.
Salt Flats, Utah
And that is it for iphone photos from May 2014. Someday I will download my real photos. But for now, what a variety of sights I saw in May 2014, and such beauty. And super great people! I am so very grateful. And so very tired.

Home in Colorado

Last Sunday I went to a local bike race and took even more photographs which I have yet to edit and post, and this weekend is the Colorado Master Criterium Championships which I plan to attend. I think I will just carry my camera and not take any photos because god knows when I will get around to posting those as well.

This was my favorite photo from last week. A superman by Michael Gibson.

Don't try this at home.   Photo by Karen Rakestraw
Send me some good vibes to get going again because now that I have returned to Colorado and it is fully summer, all I really want to do is ride my own bike outside in the sunshine.

Don't we all.