28 December, 2008

Twelve Years Ago Today...

...melissa and i got married in denver, co; same chapel inside saint johns where my in-laws got hitched. to celebrate our anniversary, we spent it last night at a hip, boutique hotel in lodo (lower downtown) called the oxford hotel. here's their lobby...

here's their christmas tree in the lobby...

our room wasn't art deco or anything just very elegant and luxurious (tiny!) where we could dock our ipod to a bose stereo and watch tv a la a flat screen lcd (we don't watch a whole lot of t.v.). i love the way the sheets on our king size bed smell. not too fragrant but with a slight, non-chlorine, scent diffusing old-school clean. the crazy tungsten-powered light fixtures cast a funky, yellow glow in our room (no flash for shot)...

our goal was to chill. no laptops, but listening to jazz from the ipod while reading our books and newspapers. they did have a really cool fitness center where i rode their stationary bike, lifted some free weights, and core strengthening exercises while melissa ran the ellipticals. we had to calorically earn our 4 star dinner...
...which was at a 5280 recommended place-across from the oxford-called the venice ristorante & wine bar (if they can't spell restaurant r-e-s-t-a-u-r-a-n-t, you know it's going to be pricey). they had an amazing wine collection in their centrally-located-for-spectator's-glee area. melissa had the gnocchi al pesto and i, the dinner special atlantic salmon (because thems pacific salmon are bad, bad, bad!) with asparagus drizzled with some tangy lemon sauce. oh man, the portions were huge and the intoxicating vino were imbibed via multiple glassfuls.

to sober up, we walked over to the market on larimer square. we shared a chocolate oblivion cake (3 layers of gelatinous chocolate sandwiched between very dense fudge-like chocolate bread, with a chocolate, cream cheese icing packed with semi-sweet chocolate chips. can you say insulin shock (i knew you could)? melissa washed that down with some very potent looking decaf latte, where i settled for a much creamier, frothier triple shot cappuccino. served in large cups, not mugs or glasses. it was a great way to wind down an already wound down day.

to reinforce my dedicated love to melissa she now wears the universal symbol of our partnership-an anniversary platinum band, encrusted with wee diamonds complimentary to her wedding band (it's the one closest her knuckle). purty aint it?
in the morning we had room-service breakfast washed down with a latte and a cappuccino from a tasty coffee joint across the hotel called common grounds. we requested a late, 1330 check-out time. in the meantime we worked out (again), showered, and read some more whilst lounging in our scrumptious, oxford hotel bathrobes. it felt like we just got through a swimming workout: relaxed, skin taught, clean, decompressed, and lazy (deservedly so).

ahhhhhhhhh. well, it was fun while it lasted; time to pick up our chilluns from grandma's.

note to selves: we're doing this again, hopefully more soon than later...

25 December, 2008

Merry Christmas Y'all!

hey y'all. here's the note maricel wrote for santa last night. it's readable, the only thing you might not recognize is cheedoses. she meant cheetos® (it's good for santa to try new things-and he even replied!).

here they are looking over the banister at the loot santa deposited in our living room.

Merry Christmas y'all; or, if you'd prefer-Happy Holidays.

20 December, 2008

I'm Back in Texas

Saturday: well kids, i'm back at my parent's house in plano. a super close friend of the family passed away last monday. that monday was also the last monday before the week i begin break. so my cousin's (god rest his soul) wife-grace-and i are at my mom and dad's. i finished my grading and entering for the district so i can do this without the sword of damocles over-head (i.e. work). i left a frigid colorado for a semi-cold texas. what makes it seem colder than what it really is in texas is the nutty humidity.
after a nice vegetarian dinner of artisan bread, mixed-greens salad, and linguini noodles with vegan "chicken" strips, with individual saucers filled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, washed down with my father's stash of maredsous 10 (triple ale, 4-pack action, he knew i was coming, what a great dad huh?),
we started a fire and began the chill session. it seems later than what it really is and i'm also kind of buzzing from two goblets full of this unearthly nectar so mr sandman's trying to make an appearance. in the meantime, grace is giving me suggestions of where to go for the family trip in the canadian rockies this summer. i'm stoked just listening to her and the fire's going just toasty too. i can't hold off mr sandman so i head off to nighty-night. tomorrow we're heading off to killeen, texas for my aunt's (it's a filipino sign of respect to call super close, non-blood relatives gender specific terms of relationship) memorial service. my older bro lem's meeting us out there too so it'll be sweet hanging with him when we arrive.

Sunday: we hauled-ass out of dallas after attending mom and dad's church. while there, the music was pretty amazing. the orchestra and the choir were both busting out some pretty sacred tunes in a chicken-skin producing sort of way. met up with an old high school buddy when-back in the day-we used to sing together in the choir. yup. i was a pretty good tenor back then. now, i just sing real loud in the car. it was nice talking to him. we briefly talked about our kids and reminisced about our days involved with the youth fellowship. now i'm an agnostic dude with a slight proclivity towards the spiritual and empathy to about one-half of the population. i absolutely hate: fire ants, racists, ignorance, cyclists who talk with their mouths instead of their legs, cheap beer (although i like pbr and mgd) and non-tolerant people who drive slow in the left-hand lane...
in killeen we meet up with my mom's university classmate to talk about the itinerary tomorrow for the memorial service.

i was humbled being in the presence of my elders and the historical and cultural lessons i heard as they were talking about growing up in the philippines and the mores and customs about the passing of family members. very cool. also, as with all filipino get togethers it's all about the food. and it ain't even being close to being vegetarian friendly. i swear i was about to break my vow of non-meat ingestion looking at the goodies. they had chicken adobo, curry chicken, and egg rolls. as usual i was relegated to eating rice with vegetable broth, salad, and deviled eggs. my tummy's kinda upset as we're settling down into our hotel room. my brother's flight's late (as usual) so my dad and i channel surfing. nothing good. in fact my brother just called and he's still on the tarmac back in dallas and it's 2200h local. the flight should be just under an hour though...
here's a close call. today, an airplane from my home airport in denver veered off the runway sharply during take-off and miraculously no-one was killed. i don't like close calls; just a wee bit too close for comfort. shoot, that could've been my brother's plane today...
Monday: today was the day of my aunt tina's memorial service given by andy fowler, a pastor who also married my mom's university classmate. it was a touching service. her filipino friends and relatives-we all-sang in her dialogue from her province. the dialect was called ibanag. it was a song about remembrance. her surviving husband took it very well (although he holds his emotions in pretty good). after the service we had a lunch in the fellowship hall. as with texas dietary customs, it includes meat, meat, and (did i mention?) more meat. it wasn't quite as bad as the night before because this round of eats was pretty high in fat. after the lunch we reconvened at chuck's and kinda decompressed looking at old photos and chit-chatting. i changed out of my suit (a black, flat front, three button suit, with white shirt and tie with diagonally running stripes, alternating black and dark purple) and into my blue jeans and nevada cycling t-shirt. my cousin gerry came up from austin and like always we started cracking up and talking foolishness. throw my brother into the mix and it just compliments the current situation. he's older than me by two years but every body thinks he's my younger bro (he holds up pretty good, by bro). together the situation's always light, slightly serious, but really just mutually thankful to have all these people-who used to hang out as kids and enjoy each others' company-now adults who still like each others' company (including the parents!). it was very gratifying and humbling. the weather still sucked though...

i talked to melissa this evening and she's having a tough go watching the three kids. she said it was like playing that gopher game at the state fair when you have a mallet and when a gopher head pops up you whack it back down into it's hole. the goal is to keep no more than one head up at a time but as the game continues the frequency of random, multiple heads popping up increase so it's like your playing flight of the bumblebees on the vibraphone/marimbas/glockenspiel with only one mallet. funny analogy huh? the icing on the cake was when she told me started her car in below freezing temps and she figured out a mouse was in my cold weather mukluk. she did a mighty fierce version of "riverdance" out in the snow, next to her car, and threw the offending mukluk like a shotputter in the special olympics (sorry that might've sounded insensitive) thereby releasing the indoor vole.

Tuesday: i'm back. i miss my family dearly and when they were watching a chick-flick show on the dvd, i build up the air-hockey table we're getting for christmas. i can't wait till we go skiing as a family for the first time this season (while the kids have all day lessons, melissa and i reconnect on two planks)!

14 December, 2008

The Cold Front's Here

the high was 16° f today, even with the sun out
here's our perspective from our backyard.

on another note, melissa and i celebrated chris' graduation in style last night/this morning. we spent it like two adults in a modern metropolitan city would and ate at the denver historical site: pete's (kenny's suggestion). we even drank at a pub that only served trappiste ales. it was like christmas although kenny and i were the designated drivers. it didn't stop us from a beer flight or two. yummy kids. st. bernardus-mmmm; there's a keeper y'all. we got home 'round 4:30 this morning after a night of hedonism. what goes on in denver, stays in denver...

13 December, 2008

Cold Front's Coming...

another cold front's moving in today. so what i'm faced with are headwinds with gusts high as 20 mph, a nice frigid north wind, and sand on the road from cdot's (colorado department of transportation) ice melting campaigns. saw a dude biff it on a particularly sandy switchback last year. his compatriots had to call the state po-po where they immediately contacted an ambulance. either way he still got a ride down the mountain. i'll ride my training bike today instead of my race bike just in case the rubber side ain't down (know what i mean?).

oh yeah. off-season, winter riding in colorado. don't think it'll be a long ride.

but what's bad is that i got up early this morning--0630--to think about it (after 10hours of sleep!). what that does is that it plants seeds of doubt of suiting up in my kit including all the winter gear that i own. we're talking about a guy-me!-who can be completely dressed to go ride then, at the last minute, concoct some mental obstacle (be it real or perceived) and get undressed, back in boxers with remote control firmly ensconced in dominant hand, riding the couch instead.

some people call it laziness, i call it a gift.

depending on the following text you will either see (read about) a road weary boy on the road to racing this season; or, a road weary boy on the road to entering his first sumo wrestling event (i mean really, how cool would it be to run around town in man-diapers throwing rice over your shoulder every now and again?). currently, i'm dancing with my son in the living room--me dressed in my beater leather jacket and boxers, and he in his lightning mcqueen fleece jammy-jams because it's 55° f inside, time to start a fire y'all--because he's an early riser like me. we're dancing hand-in-hand to ryan adam's cd demolition. a fine cd it is...

ite den. so these were the conditions i was dealing with per noaa's forecast:
This Afternoon: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. Breezy, with a west southwest wind between 22 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.

the ride was fine because i knew i only had to tolerate an hour and change of this foolishness (as well as the north facing sides of the roadway-yikes!). i make it back in time before the temps dip and i feel good. the last two miles back to my truck the temperature probably dropped a good 10°. i feel good enough to change the oil in my truck right now because i can see the clouds rolling over the mountains next to us. wore four layers up top. a short-sleeve base, a heavy-weight jersey, a summer-weight jersey to fly my sponsor's colors, and a wind vest. no helmet but a windproof beanie and my widest sunglasses (to even make bono proud!). the windchill on the descent was not nice; but here's the crazy part, there were others out too. colorado man.

remember my boy and teammate chris? well he finally graduated with his masters in mechanical engineering and we're (as well as a whole boat load of people he e-vited) celebrating his monumental achievement this evening (including my friend kenny and his wife tracey). i'm sparing no expense for his gift which is an ultra-lightweight, 700c, presta valve inner-tube. didn't say i was going to get it today neither. yup. what're friends for y'all.

here's a non sequitur for y'all to enjoy (regardless of gender): the wunder boner

07 December, 2008

Rode With The Team Today

finally rode out to boulder today to ride with the natural grocers cat III/IV team who used to be called vitamin cottage (kinda still is, but the icon is alot smaller on the jerseys). met at my future teammate's apartment with kenny. my boy's thinking he's going to bust a move on the race scene. i hope so, but he needs to straighten up and fly right. he used to be a stud back in the 90s but it's a hard climb to be a pack finisher here in the category IIIs. he was supposed to ride today but his nutty dog got loose and he couldn't make the start time. since i'm advancing in years, i think this is the year i'm going to race 35+. met another teammate today rob, he's another 35+ too. so, if you count up all the old-timers, we could have numbers in the pack: me, kenny, chris (although he still thinks he's a 20-something), rob, and chip. basically, the 35+ races are all the bad ass pros from the 90s that i have to race against. strong and agile bike handlers; unlike the regular cat IIIs who are strong but can't round a corner at speed to save their lives. okay, the ride, so we meet at amante's-a boutique coffee joint-at 10 and we head out towards a hill town called lyons. boulder's kind of a mecca for world-class athletes, especially cyclists. as we're rolling towards lyons, tyler hamilton and bunch of pros from the newly defunct toyota-united team pass us and we all exchange pleasantries as they turn off to do some hills.
as we're climbing up past lyons towards estes park, we're going tempo. it's my turn up front and nobody's passing except 'til the turn around and the three hammeroids on my team fly past me. i didn't want to apply any more watts because i need to save my energy -and my legs-for the remainder of the ride. then a former teammate cruises past me and for a split second i thought of gluing up to his wheel; but then thought better...
at the turn around we blast it downhill and meet up with another former teammate at another coffee shop. he's with some hammeroids of his own and we take a circuitous route back to bolder and they're going pretty hard. we have dual, rolling paceline and i'm pedaling like madman to take my pull on the rotation. finally i have to echelon off the rear where the draft is but there's also people behind me doing the same thing. i see kenny up there pulling during his rotations and i'm impressed by his strength. this is about 3.5 hours into the ride and i blow like a zit on a teenage boy's face. i see the pack ahead in the distance and i see where they turn and i follow them. kenny being the good friend that he is, waits for me at an intersection and lets me draft of off him to avoid the sidewinds that's ripping my legs off (as if the torrid pace didn't already do so). i popped with another teammate by the way, but i couldn't match his pace after my medial collateral ligaments felt like it was getting the mother of all pinches whenever my legs upstroked.
kenny and i eat at one of Kenny's fave burrito joints: big city burrito. tasty is how i describe this place. one of the cool things too is that they have a whole slew of hot sauces to choose from. one of these hot sauces is called great white shark predator hot sauce. kenny drops two drops onto this burrito; i only drop one on my plate, dip my pinky in it, and tap the tip of my tongue. oh my god, it felt like someone took box cutter and sliced the tip of my tongue. i was in pain; but thank god it was only temporary-and kenny dropped two! long live big city burrito!
today was four hours of riding. it seems like my core training with the exercise ball is helping (along with riding in the hills near my house). no cramps (although it came close) and my legs were fine afterwards (albeit they felt like lead). i've been doing these exercises (along with crunches) where you really blast the glutes and hamstrings. i have to get up to boulder more often to get this type of intensity more frequently.