Santa Barbara – San Diego Road Trip

One night while watching TV, Stewart told me that he was going to need to go down to San Diego for work. Typically this meant a few days apart but with my new employment situation (thank you Strava) I could join him! We decided to make a week vacation out of it and make some stops along the way. We brought our road bikes, despite a rather pessimistic weather report and hit the road.

 

Santa Barbara

We both received our undergraduate degrees from UCSB, but no we did not meet there. Our first stop was campus as we traveled down 101. I missed the sound of the waves.

 

 

We stayed the night in downtown Santa Barbara, near the coast, at a little B&B. Although, I don’t think you can really consider it a B&B. Sure it has some ‘wine’ and cheese in the evening and bagels with coffee in the morning but I think calling it a B&B was a bit of a stretch. Regardless it fit our needs for two nights. The rain started moving in that evening so we called it an early day after hitting the store for some quick dinner options.

 

 

We woke up pretty early to the sound of a crazy downpour. We started to think that maybe the weather report wasn’t lying….that didn’t stop us though. Always up for an adventure, we ate a quick breakfast and realized that biking was out of the question so we laced up our shoes and headed out the door.

 

 

The wind alone was powerful enough to make our ‘0.7 mile run’ difficult. The rain hit us like pebbles so we had a change of heart and decided our day was going to be a bit different than scheduled. We headed down to State Street. The streets were already flooded. As prior UCSB’ers, we knew how to dress for the weather….shorts and flipflops. We waded our way across the streets and made our way into Peets where we enjoyed some warm coffee and played cards for an hour or so. We then walked in and out of some of the shops that were still open before taking a drive through the hills. I decided I had enough driving after seeing a couple of mudslides so we headed back to home base.

 

2017-02-17 14.06.22

 

That evening we enjoyed a very nice dinner with one of Stewart’s co-workers and his wife. The company was great and the food was very good as well. We called it a night and headed back to the ‘B&B’. The rain finally started to let up after nearly 24 hours of straight rain. The next day it was dry enough to put on the kits and venture up to campus. I am always amazed how quickly a place can change….

 

That afternoon we packed our bags and headed down famous Highway 1 to Los Angeles where we stopped at my grandparents for the night. That morning we played tourist via bikes. We made our way to Griffth Park, saw the Hollywood sign and road up on Mulholland Dr. No Celebrity Sightings.

 

 

The weather stayed calm, making for dramatic skies and cooler temperatures. I wasn’t a big fan of the ride down through Hollywood on Ventura Boulevard but we survived so I guess it wasn’t too bad…

 

 

We both agreed that the only way to see Griffth Park is by bike, for future reference. Next task is to hike to the Hollywood sign 🙂

 

That night we had dinner with my grandparents and Aunt & Uncle. We said our goodbyes and continued our journey south. San Diego. We got in late but that didn’t stop us from wake up early to tour around. We headed to the coast with Stewart’s grandfather and had a late lunch. That evening we drove around San Diego and ended up on Coronado Island. Immediately we both said we wanted to move there….then we stupidly looked up the house prices, never mind.

 

 

We grabbed some ice cream and went up to Point Loma to visit Stewart’s really good friend. The visit was another short one before we found ourselves back on the road to grandpa’s. That morning we visited the US Campy office. secrets secrets. The riding was spectacular. The weather was a much-needed improvement from what we were seeing on the news for our hometown so we took as much of an advantage of it as possible.

 

That night Stew headed off on his business trip while I held down the fort at Grandpas. I made dinner and worked a bit. We watched some TV but it was off to bed quickly for me. The next morning I enjoyed a peaceful walk around before we headed to dinner with Stewart’s extended family. Stew eventually made his way back as we celebrated our last day of our trip. Visiting family was great and it was hard to leave.

 

 

4am came quickly as we packed the car, loaded the bikes, and looked up the nearest Peets. We got on the road and tried to get ahead of the LA morning commute. Yeah, didn’t go exactly according to plan but it could have taken a lot longer to get out of the Valley. It is always hard coming home from an amazing trip and getting to spend so much time together, but it always makes me look forward to the next vacation!

South Bay Duathlon – Race Recap 3/12/2017

I’ve competed in only 2 triathlons up to this point. Repeated wildflower two years in a row. So today marked my first ever duathlon and the description seems like a better match (in other words no drowning) unless you want to count the fog this morning we have to shlep through.

The race started earlier than usual thanks to daylight savings time and losing an hour of sleep so the roads were still dark with the light glow from the stadium lights reflecting off the thick morning fog. I picked up my packet and got situated in the transition area. What a difference it is not having to sort through all your gear when it’s just a run bike repeat!

7:04 came quickly as we lined up. The group wasn’t big but I could tell there was some strong competition that showed up. The nerves set in as we began the 10K, turning out of the parking lot onto the main road. Daylight was just starting to break. I kept a steady pace, which is saying a lot because typically I push it too hard at first but this time I slowed it down. This paid off in the end as I didn’t allow too many people to get away from me and I managed to sneak in a PB (Strava) 10K time. The course consisted of two loops around Live Oak Highschool, the backside had a slight incline before making the turn down a gradual hill before coming across the finish. The last two miles started to take a toll on my ankle, seriously? Another injury? My motivation was that my bike was waiting for me and I would get to spend some quality time doing 5 laps very shortly.

The fog started getting thicker in the transition/finish area, which made our range of sight a bit difficult. This may have actually been a blessing for me because it meant I had no idea who was in front or behind me as I turned into quickly change shoes and get moving. This was one of my slowest transitions. I had a hard time deciding if I should shed a layer. While running I noticed that the sun was peaking through on the other half of the course and that I would be pushing it harder on the bike than the run…2 minutes. Yes, this decision took me a total of 2 minutes before I was back on the course, embarrassing!

The bike is where I feel the most at home. I had minimal hip pain so I pushed it hard, but knowing that I was going to have to give my ankle one more 5K I pulled back on the slight climb on the back side. 40K of smooth sailing. I was in my zone and I did my best to stay as consistent as possible. I did pretty well, each lap was about 15 minutes on the dot averaging roughly 19.3mph. Not bad for a first race post injury.

I was focused and determined but I had no idea how many people in my age group were in front of me. I was pretty certain I was at least in the top 5, but thought this was maybe my imagination. I knew I had a good lead on the women behind me that I had passed on my bike but wasn’t sure if it would be enough once we got back to running. I worked my ankle out on the final descent behind coming to the last transition. I quickly ran, in cleats its more of a hobble, to my station and changed shoes. I grabbed my sunglasses because the beautiful (is it spring yet) sun made its morning appearance. Only 3.1 miles let. Or 3.10686 to be exact. I ran that distance with Christy on Wednesday, I could do this. My pace really slowed down, my ankle was throbbing. I told myself I couldn’t stop, it was the Ragnar all over again. If I stopped I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep going.

My Garmin chirped. 1 mile down. 2 miles down. Only one more ‘mile-a-day’ left. Easy. I tried picking the pace up a little bit and the slight downhill helped with the motivation. I crossed the finish line. Medal. Banana. Done. I grabbed my stuff and found Stew. After a few, I went to go check results so we could head home. I turned around and motioned to Stewart that somehow I placed 3rd. Sweet! Typically I’m a 4th place kind of person and last year I was definitely stuck in that rut. I’ll take it 🙂

 

 

Overall my first Duathlon was a success. My legs held up. There was no swimming portion to lead to drowning and the course was really fun, especially because you basically do 8 loops so it’s great for spectators. It showed me that while my biking is quickly getting back to its race shape, my legs in running have really taken a hit. However, I think I have spent enough time in recovery mode that it is time to start hitting the track and gym again. Full speed ahead!

 

 

 

 

[Review] Shoes are a Girls Bestfriend

As a cyclist and a runner, my collection of shoes may be a bit different from the average female stereotype. In fact, looking in my closet, I don’t even own a pair of stilettos…

 

Instead, the majority of my shoes have mud, scratches, and hundreds of miles under their laces (or Boas). Of course, it shouldn’t come as much as a surprise that all of my cycling shoes are under the Specialized brand. Today I have three shoes that I want to highlight as my favorites that meet three genres of cycling: Road, Mountain, and the occasional Jump Track.

 

Road

Men’s Blue S-Works – Product Link
Why men’s? Call me picky. I don’t like shiny and I don’t like white. Especially when it comes to my shoes. At the time, there wasn’t anything solid black on the market for women and the men’s shoes that I really wanted (matte black throughout) did not come in my size. Initially, I was a bit skeptic of the color choice, as it had some shine. However, that went away as soon as I put these sleek ‘slippers’ on. They are by far the lightest road shoes I have ever owned and by far have the best fit. They don’t sell this version anymore so if they were to have a tragic accident tomorrow I would go out and get the all black or black/pink men’s S-Works as a replacement. That’s right, they still haven’t improved the women’s S-Work shoe choices it’s still just white.

 

Boa Closure System – Product Link
I will never go back to only velcro shoes. Boas not only allow me to quickly reach down for the minor adjustment without wasting any time or energy chasing my husband on the flats. But they also allow me to adjust with shoe covers on. For someone that is known to have cold feet and hides her beautiful shoes under shoe covers, this is a must. I probably adjust my shoes an average of 3 times every bike ride, I am just that picky. I’ve had these shoes for over a year and have had no trouble with my Boa closures.

 

 

The ‘Soul’ of the Shoe – Product Link
Inside the belly of my S-Works I have replaced the standard inserts with Specialized’s Body Geometry SL Footbeds. “Body Geometry Footbeds are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to increase power, endurance, and comfort by optimizing hip, knee, and foot alignment.” Which is 100% what I need, doctor’s orders actually. My doctor recommended new inserts in all my sports shoes (cycling & running) that would optimize my hip and knee alignment to help correct my IT Band Syndrom. Unfortunately, it is taking a while to see the true results but I do feel and see that my left knee rotates straighter with these inserts than without.

 

The first time I road with the Body Geometry SL Footbeds it hurt. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it took 35 miles in a headwind to finally start getting used to them. The elevated arch felt like there was a wad of paper stuck under my foot and every pedal stroke was painful. A few months later and it feels natural. They help keep my posture and will hopefully help my performance in the long run. I probably should have started with the slightly lower *red* footbed and worked my way up to *green* but too late for that.

 

 

Look – Product Link
I’ve been rocking the Look cleats since before my first road bike. I ride with the Grey KÉO Grip cleats as it provides a good balance of float (4,5°). I’ve never had a problem with my Look pedals and cleats, only when I was wearing shoes that were just a bit too big and it was difficult to unclip. There were a few emergency rollovers but nothing too bad. They have been reliable and they don’t make as much noise as previous cleats I’ve tried out, yay for no squeakiness!

 

 

Mountain

 

Women’s 2FOs ClipLite Mountain Bike Shoes – Product Link
I started out mountain biking with your standard XC shoe. After about two years on the dirt, I made the switch over to 2FOs. While I would prefer XC shoes for racing or riding my hardtail, for the casual riding I do on weekends the 2FOs are a better choice. [of course this really just means I need another pair of shoes soon]. These shoes have a lot of dirt miles under their belt and a lot of those miles have included running up hills, walking in streams, and sliding down a hillside that I swear is just too steep to go down…they have held up great and still feel as comfortable as the day I got them.

 

 

They’ve got some great ventilation throughout the shoe design, which is great for hot summer days in Tahoe or on Coe but does result in some pretty dusty toeies by the end of a ride. They kind of appear to be a magnet for dirt. Despite this, the hard toe and platform design bring comfort and protection. Even with the few minor crashes my feet never take any of the force. I’ve kicked my fair share of rocks and branches and my feet continued on. This protection and sturdy build helped give me the confidence to ride over features I never thought I could before.

 

 

Boa Closure System – Product Link
Just as the same for road, I will never go back to velcro. These flashy pink Boas were my first pair! Of course, they did not come with my shoes but switching them over was extremely easy. I get a lot of compliments on them.

 

 

The 2FOs do a good job of keeping me going, even when I can’t seem to find the pedal to clip in right away. They’ve got plenty of grip for walking over rocks, up steep terrain, or just casually standing around with the crew after a ride.

 

 

Mountain/Jump Track & Flats

 

Women’s 2FOs Flat  Mountain Bike Shoes – Product Link
These had to be included in the line-up, because they photograph so incredibly well. They mimic the design of the ClipLite shoes with the only difference being designed as lace ups and designed as flats. They are great if you are not comfortable exploring the trails clipped into your bike but rather experiencing the ride on a platform pedal without the weight or comfort being jeopardized. They also over the same grip and protection as the ClipLites.

Plus they just look really cool! They are great for riding on the jump trails as I continue to build my confidence. Did I mention how awesome these things look?

 

Coming Soon: Review Commuting via Bike

Part-Time Paleo

Besides reaching for the occasional glass of underpriced wine or gorging myself on sweetheart candies, I tend to keep to a Paleo diet. So yes, I’m what you would call ‘part-time paleo’ and proud of it. During the week I keep to about 90% of a Paleo meal plan, sometimes I throw in some rice or rice pasta, sprinkle on some shredded cheese, or have dessert consisting of greek yogurt. Weekends are a bit harder with traveling and meals out but I don’t worry myself too much because of it, plus hubby’s pancakes are totally worth the cheat days. Someday I may hop on the full Paleo wagon but for now, eating smart with less sugar and whole foods is good enough for me.

 

Going part-time Paleo just made sense. It wasn’t a diet choice or to be part of a Pinterest fad, but rather to lead a healthy lifestyle, feel better, and it just worked with being Celiac. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease the summer of 2009. Nearly 8 years later, I’m finally figuring out what works and I’m actually getting creative with it. I still may not know which spices go well together but I’ll get there.

 

The hardest meal moving forward was breakfast. For 20 years breakfast consisted of oatmeal with a very generous side of brown sugar. In 2009, gluten free oats were hard to come by and quite frankly did not do the Quaker Oat justice. In fact, to this day I still have not been able to find an equal to my Quaker Oats. So breakfast took a hit. Throughout college, I started skipping the most important meal of the day because nothing sounded good. While teaching it was even worse, where I wouldn’t eat until lunch most days. Now, breakfast is one of my favorites. There are so many options as soon as you get past a typical ‘American’ breakfast of the quick, sugary, with a bowl and spoon standard.

 

Here is my favorite breakfast thus far:

 

Pork Sausage
Sweet Potatoes
Eggs
Coconut Oil

Easy and quick. While the sausages start browning on the stove, I pop the cut sweet potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes. From there they join the party in the pan and soak up the juices and coconut oil. I break two eggs on top and cover the pan for 3 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked just right. I slide it onto a plate and eat it up with my hot mug of lemon water 🙂

 

I am continuing to explore and experiment with food to find the perfect recipes.

 

Meet Us

Erikaceae. Strava Employee, cyclist, runner, and teacher.

Stew. Specialized Employee, amazing husband, and cyclist.

And welcome to our crazy little world. Follow us as we juggle married life with our careers, starting a family, crazy adventures, experiences, and a little of everything in between. It’s our life just maybe a little edited.

 

 

 

 

 

The N+1 Complex

A Brief History

I was born into a family of cyclist. Both my parents casually road in college and my dad has commuted to work via bike for 35+ years, every single day. I grew up knowing that just 1 bike was never enough and to see the world you would do it on two wheels. Summers meant cheering in front of the television for three weeks watching the Tour de France, trips with bikes strapped onto the back of the VW, and many conversations centered around the topic of bikes. And if you asked your parents to drive you somewhere, chances were the response would be ‘ride your bike’.

3 months old on my first ‘grand tour’ in Lake Tahoe, CA. You can’t tell but I’m hooked on cycling already!

My First Bike

For my 5th Christmas, I not only asked Santa for a new bike but a bike for Mr. Bear as well. While I was thoroughly disappointed to see no miniature bike under the tree, my new pink bike did have a pretty sweet basket. This was the bike I would learn to ride with no training wheels, I would experience my first real crash going downhill, and I would roll over my first curb and successfully land (pretty sure there was no air but you better believe I told all my friends about it). It was the bike I learned how to ride with one hand, brake by pedaling backward and utilize its full potential as a makeshift scooter.

Learning how to ride a bike is like opening the doors to a child’s world of freedom. And I felt limitless.

The Shift

Cycling started defining more of who I was around middle school. It wasn’t just a fun activity in the neighborhood or to bring on camping trips, but more of who I was becoming. When my mom and sister were camping with their girl scout troop about 30 miles south of home, dad and I decided to spend the weekend riding down for a surprise visit. My first real long ride (if only Strava was around back then). I was hooked. Of course, at the time I did not have the most appropriate riding gear.

After the 60+ miles (thanks to getting a bit lost in the hills) I ate my first quad (yes 4×4), 2 things of fries, and a milkshake at In N out, needless to say, my body was not used to this yet….

Look at those awesome cycling clothes….how in the world did I do that in jean shorts? Uh, ouch? But I mean come on, see who my cycling style model was? I think my vest is definitely aero.

High School

Cycling was also now becoming a mode of transportation. When I quit ‘traditional’ high school, my new school was just over 6 miles. I also worked about 8 miles up the road. Occasionally I would take the bike as an alternative to driving. Looking back I’m surprised I made it….now those routes aren’t even a warm-up but at the time they were impressive. I’m not even sure if my bike had a water bottle cage…

College

Freshman year I made a promise, if I biked at least 3 times a week (excluding the mile ride to and from campus) and saved enough money, I would buy myself my first road bike. A couple of months ago I found my old notebook which included my ‘recorded rides’. I laugh looking back at it. A 10-mile ride was pretty much the record. In early 09 I bought my first real road bike. Boy did I love that thing. I started riding more and not just because it was easier on a bike that actually worked, oh that’s what shifting is for? In the fall I joined the UCSB bike team and things started getting real.

Racing around Specialized Headquarters. Who would have guessed that just a few years later I would be living in Morgan Hill and basically married to this company…

Not only did my entire appreciation for college shift but I made some amazing memories and great friends. My sister started getting into cycling at home, my mom got back on the bike, and my dad was loving the fact that he was continuing to share his passion with his entire family on a stronger level. It wasn’t just a fun activity for trips or around town anymore, it was now 100% our life.

Taking it to the Next Level

After I graduated from UCSB I took a year off before heading to Sac State. I worked in San Francisco and commuted to Bart on my old racing bike. By this point, I had purchased a CAAD 9 and raced an additional season. I knew what a kit was, and had a closet full of them. I had real road shoes, was contemplating purchasing a mountain bike, and now had a car that could carry my little pod of two wheels.

Three of my road bikes (from right to left: Novaro 1st bike, CAAD 9 2nd, Amira 3rd) Not pictured – Venge 4th.

In 2012 I started the next educational chapter at Sac State. I was living on my own in my own little apartment now with three bikes. I was now the Western Collegiate Cycling Conference Director and I was looking forward to my first ever season racing mountain bikes by welcoming a Scott MTB into my family.

Now is when my collection started to change. Before Stewwie (B.S.S.T. – before the Stewart specialized takeover) I thought my bike collection was pretty impressive. I had my pride and joy, a bright red CAAD 9, my eBay purchased commuter a very old gray and pink accented Cannondale, and a Scott MTB. I’ll admit, the Scott hard tail was not a very wise BSST purchase but I was just getting into mountain biking and I wasn’t going to spend a fortune, plus ‘poor grad student’.

I met Stewart shortly after starting at Sac State. That Fall he helped me purchase my first cyclocross bike, a simple white crux that I got to watch him build. I still had so much to learn but I loved that bike. Although, I never really got used to the braking.

Now I was four bikes in.

That summer Stewart officially started working for Specialized as an intern. Which meant my road bike quickly was becoming out of the question. We said goodbye to my beautiful CAAD 9 (keeping it the family) and Stewart surprised me with my Amira.

Later in the Summer, the Scott was finally getting replaced. Somehow I managed to race an entire collegiate MTB season in the bike and not die. I was slow so that was probably what helped. I was also extremely uncomfortable with descending or going fast. I was like a snail on two wheels. Here I held the record for many descents in the area but could barely keep two feet on the pedals on a mountain bike.

Alas, the Scott was traded in for a full suspension stump jumper FSR. Let’s just say I’m having a very difficult time upgrading this still, I’m still in love with this bike. This bike followed me to Collegiate MTB Nationals (albeit close to last place) and taught me that descending on dirt is possibly some of the most fun you can have on a bike.

Front to back – Stump Jumper FSR, Specialized Crux, Amira, Cannondale

So there it was. My road bike had been replaced with an Amira, my Mountain with a Stump Jumper, a new crux was added to the family and my commuter was still an old clunky Cannondale where if you weren’t paying attention the headset would wiggle free….I think I only slid out twice.

Married to Specialized

Stewart and I were married in 2014, which meant another bike needed to be added to the family It also meant I officially joined the Specialized family. Stewart’s Hard Tail Stump Jumper quickly became mine as I refused to give it back after riding it a couple of times. Its speed and agility made the trails back home seem like speed pumps and with the FRS’s support in giving me the confidence in descending the Hard Tail was a breeze.

N+1

Yes, our garage is filled with the big S but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am in love with each and every one of my bikes. They fit well and get the job done. And I have quiet a lot of fun in the process. The bikes in the garage continue to come and go as our little bike family will always be in the process of growing.

To date:

*Venge Disc

*Stump Jumper FRS

*Stump Jumper HT

*Awol (single speed commuter)

*Amira (in the process of selling)

*Crux (coming soon)

*Stump Jumper (coming soon)

Now yes, perhaps I am a bit bias. My husband works for the company and I’m back working in a similar industry. Plus, I’m married to one of the best mechanics in the world (and not that is not being biased, that is a straight up fact).

it’s life on two wheels….

 

 

Coming Soon: Review Shoes Are a Girls Bestfriend