Monday, October 20, 2014

Beating the Post-Travel Blues by Bicycling

My husband, John and I just returned from vacationing in The Keys. While in Key West we rode the bikes we rented EVERY DAY and went every where across the island! To Duval Street, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Southermost Point, Smathers Beach and even to the Key West International Airport to hop on a seaplane to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas!!

Girl on bike in Key West
Bicycling in Key West
Bikes were everywhere and people on bikes were EVERYWHERE! Can you imagine? I was TRULY IN PARADISE!!
Bicycling in Key West, Bikes in Key West
In front of Kelly's Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery in Key West.

I cannot wait to share more with you so please check back for the Cuter Commuter's Guide to a Bike-Friendly Vacation in Key West.

Bicycling in Key West
Bicycling in Key West
When we returned home I realized I had the post-travel blues. That's to be expected, right? But it wasn't because I was returning the office. We had a GREAT trip and I was happy to be home! I was eager to see our kitties and get back to work!

So why did I have the case of the doldrums? I realized that it was because the last part of our trip was spent in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, FL. But unlike in Key West, we did not ride bikes. Instead we drove from place to place on miles and miles of freeway and toll roads. And when I am off the bike, for even just ONE day, it makes me a very sad bicycle commuter. o_O Watch out!!

Fortunately, since we've been back in town our life once again started to revolve around bicycles. This past Friday evening, John's cycling team had a social gathering with food and drinks so the team can try on cycling kits. I met his teammates and it's always fun to chat with others about our shared interest in cycling.

Saturday was the Cuter Commuter Women's Bicycling Bar Crawl that I had organized on It didn't take long for that big goofy smile to return to my face after riding bikes all over town with girlfriends. Be sure to join us for the next one this Sunday, October 26th!

Cuter Commuter Women's Bicycling Meetup

Then Sunday afternoon, we rode from home to my colleague's house for dinner. It was a wonderful evening filled with great company and the most amazing food!
Bike to Dinner
All I have to do is ride my bike to beat the post-travel blues. What do you do when you get in the doldrums after returning from a vacation?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Crazy Summer Weather

The weather for the past few weeks have been hot and humid with thunderstorms later in the day. Somehow I managed to dodge the rain while riding my bike home from work. Yesterday the weather was perfect and I went for a long ride on my commuter to meet John in south Reno for pastries and coffee. I posted about that on Cuter Commuter (my bicycling blog).

Afterwards I worked in the yard and sat on the patio downstairs for a while. It is much cooler in the shade than in the direct sun.
Then, as soon as I went inside a storm came and I had to wrangle all of the outdoor furniture from all over the yard.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Celebrating John's Birthday at the National Automobile Museum

John is not very big into celebrating his birthday but of course, I can never let his special day go by without a celebration. A couple years ago we went sailing on Lake Tahoe.

Last year we went to Cancun.

This year we stayed in town and kept it low-key.

Over the weekend we rode our bikes to brunch at the Stonehouse Cafe in Reno. The outdoor patio is a lush green haven for having a relaxed meal.

Then we went to Grimaldi's Pizzeria for dinner. We like the coal brick oven makes the thin crust pizzas crispy.
I think the highlight of his birthday was our Happy Hour at Brasserie Saint James and boy did we have a spread of really decadent food!

 And I surprised him with a trip to the National Automobile Museum located in downtown Reno right along the beautiful Truckee Meadows River.  We became members so that we could attend the special event showcasing of three unique cars.
 One of them was a 1981 DeLorean plated with 19.5 ounces of 24-karat gold.  I later won a raffle to ride in it!!
 The other was a car previously Frank Sinatra’s 1961 Ghia.
 There was a good truck anda  beer garden. Members were given a FULL glass of beer tasting brewed by Under the Rose. The wheat beer was our favorite. If you live in town, go visit them on 4th street next to the Reno Bike Project.

 And an all original 1927 Lincoln.
After we got home, we had cake and John opened his gift from me--a Bike to Work short. He really enjoyed his birthday. All of the wishes and cards from friends and family and our time together.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our Fine Feathered Friend - a Little Finch

This morning I was in the backyard pulling weeds when John noticed a bird hopping along on the ground. It obviously injured and I didn't have much of a choice but to pick him up and bring him inside. In my hands it laid calmly on its back as if to surrender. It was so small and weighed no more than a whole clove of garlic. Perhaps an adult male House Finch. By the torn and raggedy wings, I could see something was terribly wrong but it was not bleeding anywhere. From the state of the bird, it must have been in this condition for days. Some how it found its way to our back yard.

I put water in a beer cap and laid down some seeds. When I put the little bird down, it plopped on its belly with its beak in the beer cap of water. And did nothing and lied still. I don't blame it. I am sure it thinks that this is surely the end of the road.

Then it started to drink water. It's little tongue lapped up the liquid. It kept drinking and drinking.

When its thirst was quenched it picked up a sunflower seed but wasn't able to crack the shell since its feet were bound. So I pulled it away and John remembered we had shelled sunflower seeds and offered it to the finch. After some hesitation the bird started to eat the seeds. It fed itself like the starving little bird it was. It seemed the bird was doing so much better!!

And so we decided to take it to our veterinarian. But they don't work with birds. Long story short, we went to two other animal hospitals and none of them can help the bird. They cannot help wild birds because they may carry diseases (but what about domesticated animals with diseases). Finally we were referred to the Washoe County Animal Control. The whole time the finch ate and drank...and even tried to take a nap. I am sure it was exhausted from hopping around for days looking for food and water! It let me pet its soft little head to comfort it. By now it must know that John and I are not going to hurt him and trusted us.

The office was not open yet but a guy allowed us in and looked at the bird. He suggested the best thing to do was put the bird back where we found it. But we knew the bird couldn't survive on its own and would die of starvation or hunger if it didn't get eaten by a prey. So the guy offered to take a look. He didn't seem to have a lot of patience and it was understandable. I bet he sees this so often, he's desensitized to hurt wild animals being dropped off at the shelter. Finally he shook his head and said he would have to euthanized the little finch.

John and I had our hopes up that the little bird would be okay and would be able to return to the wild. We were willing to take care of it until it regained independence. We weren't really prepared to part with it at that moment and we were stunned speechless. I started tearing ... but I knew it was probably for the best. Not knowing what else to say we gave in and walked away.

Only until after we came home did the impact of the little finch hit me. I felt the sadness of losing a pet who had been part of the family. I know you would say, it is nature and animals in the wild die all of the time. But it didn't die. Against all odds the bird found its way to our back yard. It was doing so well after water and food. All it needed was a chance to get better. Since its life was in our hands we felt responsible for its survival...and we feel terrible for not having fought for him. And sad for having saved him only for him to be euthanized.

So may he rest in peace. At least it was able to drink the water and eat seeds it. It didn't die of dehydration or starvation before it went to bird heaven. And it some ways it was able to fly again...if only in a car. I will bet most finches can never say they have ridden in a car in their lifetime.

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!!