Monday, March 24, 2014

My Birthday Weekend at the Chico Stage Race

It has been nearly a year since John raced bicycles and it was time to break the streak with the 2014 Chico Stage Race. In fact, the same race in 2013 was his last race of the previous season. After that, life got in the way. We purchased a new home and moved last April, he fell down a flight of stairs at a casino and hurt his knees, then fractured a rib after he slipped and fell at our hotel while we were on vacation in Cancun celebrating his 40th birthday. He was ready to race again after such a long break.

So John and I took Friday off to drive to Corning, CA where the first of the four stage races began. Along the way, we stopped in Auburn at the Big Salad Shop to eat lunch. The salads looked amazing but we both ordered deli sandwiches.
Thunderhill Twilight Circuit Race was the first stage of John's race, held at the Thunderhill Raceway Park. When we arrived Friday afternoon, there were people driving their Porches on the course. It was really neat to watch them whizzing by like airplanes. I had a chance to go for a ride if I would rent a helmet but I wanted to be around for John in case he needed my help prepping for the start of his race. Finally the guys were done driving and the course was open for the bicycle race.

Since I knew that the auto racing track was a three-mile course, I wanted to be able to get around from point to point to watch John's race and take photos. So we brought my touring bike since it had a rack on which I could hang my pannier bag and carry items I would need while out in the field. Bringing my bike was the best idea because it would have been A LOT of walking otherwise.
Stay tuned for the photo slideshow from the Thunderhill Twilight Circuit Race.

John finished in 11th place of the circuit race (you can kind of see him in this photo in red shoes with tattoos on his arm in the photo below).
This is a better pic taken by another spectator where you can see John in the mostly black kit behind the guy who was about to raise his hand as he crossed the finish line.
Thunderhill Circuit Race Finish

After the race finished we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Ramos near our hotel. I had mahi mahi fish tacos and John had the beef fajitas. We were very pleased with how good the food was and the staff were all very nice! With our hotel discount, our meal and my grande margarita our bill came to like $27. What a deal!!
John looks pretty good for being dirty after a rigorous race.
The next day was the Paskenta Hills Road Race. A 45-mile loop with a famous 4-mile stretch of loose gravel and dirt. John's group rode two loops for a total of 90-miles. Once again my bike came in handy because it was quite a walk from the parking area to the start of the race and then about a mile walk in the opposite direction to the finish line of the race. In addition, the feed zone (the area where support for the riders (such as family, friends and teams) are permitted to hand off water and food to the riders as they pass by was 3 miles away from the finish line. With my bike, getting around was easy.
I was able to cruise the quiet back country roads on my bike while others had to drive their cars out there. I would have had to drive too, if we didn't bring my bike along. I am glad we did because I used the heck out of it. Paskenta was so peaceful and beautiful!! It seemed like I had the whole place to myself besides a few passing cars (locals and race visitors).

I had so much fun riding my bike along the rural roads!!

This is a photo slideshow of the road race that I was able to see.
John finished 10th in the road race out of I believe 56 guys who signed up in his category. Other than the Pro 1/2/3, I think the next competitive category is his which is the Men 35+ 1/2/3 category.

That evening we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant called the Rice Bowl in Chico, CA. It was really cute inside and massive (you wouldn't think so from the outside that the restaurant would have so many rooms with seating spaces). I had a sakitini and we ordered fried crab and cream cheese wontons, combination chow fun, szechuan scallops and something else and they were all delicious. Again the food was GREAT! And the waitress brought me a strawberry mochi ball as a "birthday cake".

Sunday was a big day because John had two races in the same day. A time trial followed by the criterium downtown.

The time trial is each rider racing against time down a 10 mile course (or something like that) and each rider takes off about 30 seconds after the previous. So that stage moves very fast.

While I enjoy watching (and taking photos) all of the races, the criterium is the best for spectators because they can get a close up view of the racers as they ride by in a repeating loop, zig zagging through the streets of downtown Chico.

I had my bike so it made it easy to ride to different street corners to take photos. John crossed the line in 6th place of the sprint finish and placed 9th overall (time average of all four races).
Chico Downtown Criterium
I am really proud of him and his accomplishments. His perseverance to sit on the bike for hours in the garage day after day...and after working 8 to 9 hour-work days throughout winter. I think this will be a great season for him. I think he was satisfied with how he did too, because he was all smiles when the all of the races were done.
As for me, I had a really nice birthday weekend...and month actually. It all started when I was in Vegas for a work-related conference a couple weeks ago when I spent the day at the nail salon, shopping and having lunch at Bahama Breeze with my mom-in-law.

My parents-in-law have to be the coolest parents. Not only did they take me to a fabulous lunch dining in the sun I miss so dearly, they gave me these really neat nippers and a new set of bikinis for my birthday!! I saw my mom-in-law once again for lunch and we did some more shopping before heading to the airport.

Polka Dot Bikini

Along the way home from the Chico Stage Race, we stopped in Grass Valley and ate dinner at Cirino's. There was a parking spot right in front of the restaurant, as if it was saved for me. And so we sat right inside the window to the right so we could keep an eye on our bikes on the roof of our car.

Outside Cirino's in Auburn

I couldn't have asked for a better birthday because I spent it with those that I love. And my family who lived in other states called me or mailed cards to wish me a happy birthday. So many friends posted birthday wishes on my Facebook. My sweet dad left me a voicemail before I woke up and turned on my phone, a happy birthday song he played over the wire. I take it that he was too shy to sing LOL. I am so, so blessed and so thankful!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Office

I love my office because it has a lot of sunlight which is good for someone who is solar powered like me. Through the two big windows on each side of my desk, I can always see the weather outside to gauge my bicycle or scooter commute home. 

Although there are two other desks in the same room as mine, they are currently unoccupied so I have had the space to myself for a long time. 

Now that we will have more people (who were recently hired) moving into our office building and since they don't have a place to sit in their group suite, I will need to move to an office of my own. There are no windows to the outside world in exchange for privacy. Still, I am bummed. 

I suppose this will be all the more reasons to appreciate the time I have pedaling to and from work underneath the sun!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Promise of Spring Season

Our drip system is still off and so I spent some time in the backyard watering the plants by hand. Our plum tree has little buds already and one of the tulip bulbs I planted is coming up.

I also watered the plants in the front yard. It was a beautiful and sunny day (it usually is, even in the winter) and so I let one of our cats outside to accompany me. She is an indoor cat but the only one I trust to be outside--under close supervision of course. Now I will surely have to give her a bath, LOL.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nokia Treasure Tag helps find lost items

I could have used this Nokia Treasure Tag last week when I retrieved my bike from my bike locker and left my bag on top of the locker as I pedaled off campus to meet a friend for lunch. The person who found my bag had no intentions of turning it in to Lost and Found. Instead they walked off campus with it, to where they probably live. When they realized that I was tracking the phone that was inside my bag, they threw my phone and keys out. My co-workers joined the search and found my house and mailbox keys on the street and then they tracked my phone to another location nearby where they found it inside a garbage bin. But my bag (which had been a Christmas gift from John) and its contents never recovered.

On the bright side, the thief did not get a chance to use my payment cards before I could call the bank. They did use my Starbucks card before I remembered to report that card lost/stolen. Meanwhile, our campus police has all the information for their investigation. There are three security cameras in the back of our building where my bike locker sits that may have captured the person who walked off with my bag. Although the thief may never be pinned for this incident, their character (being a dishonest person) will lead them down the road to pay for this. I have faith that they will definitely get what they deserve :-).

Nokia Treasure Tag helps find lost items
Since I love gadgets, this little thingamajig piqued my interest. Of course I would have had the Treasure Tag on my purse and my phone inside my bag so it would not have been of use to me that day. But once I found my phone, I would have been able to track where my bag was and the officers who responded would have gone right to their doorstep.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Topless Bathing Suit

Back in the 1960s I could have worn the "monokini" when going topless at the pool or the beach. Such a contrast isn't it? To be nude from the waist up but then modestly covered from the waste down. Shrink the bottom by 90% fifty years later and that is what I wear today.