Spring in Spain

Time to back-track again. Here’s some highlights from the last few months:

February: I was able to go to a race WITH Caleb! It was a blast. We rented a car and drove to southern France together, and then I was able to follow and watch the race the next day. It was so fun and unusual being able to have that experience with him.

March: A couple of my amazing friends ran the Barcelona marathon, and several more of us went with them as the “support crew” and cheer squad. It was absolutely amazing watching 22,000 people run the event. We had a fun, crazy day ourselves riding the metro and sprinting from spot to spot trying to get the ladies their food!

April: Had a nice break in the US. Got to enjoy time with family and friends, and Caleb did some altitude training in the mountains.

May: Was able to be home for my niece’s 1 year old birthday party. I love my family, and already can’t imagine our lives without her sweet little self!!

June: Back to Europe again, Caleb completed the Tour de Suiss, one of the biggest races in the world! His parents came over to watch, and I met up with them to see the last stage. Then we drove to a beautiful mountain town and had an incredible time enjoying what I think is the most beautiful place on earth. I’m now trying to convince Caleb to move to Switzerland 😉 and am continually thankful for my wonderful in laws.

July: We’re in the US, and Caleb is doing some serious, long term altitude training to prepare for the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (or tour of CO). I’ll be at tour of CO, and I can’t WAIT to cheer him on!

At the marathon with Kate, in front of the Sagrada Familia, waiting for our runners to come by!

They did it!!

picnic at the beach with the Busches 🙂

Happy 1st birthday Shannon!

beautiful switzerland

my favorite picture from switzerland!

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Cold Snap

It has been unbelievably cold here! At least, it’s unbelievably cold for Girona.  At night for the last ten days or so it has been in the 20s, and the days have been in the 30’s and windy. It even snowed a couple of days!  I’m realizing I didn’t bring warm enough clothes. When you don’t have a car and walk everywhere, this is REALLY cold! (When packing I was thinking it’s not like living in Colorado, but I neglected to take into account the whole walking thing.) The other problem is our heat has not been working since we got back! The realty company that is supposed to take care of these things has not done anything for 5 weeks. We have a space heater to move from room to room with us, but it’s starting to get ridiculous even by Spanish standards that we haven’t heard anything back. At this point it’s probably my fault for not walking over there and wreaking some havoc till they fix it…but I hate doing stuff like that. Ugh.

In other news I started pretty serious Spanish class! It’s two hours a day, four days a week. My class has fifteen people in it, and almost every person is a different nationality (and I’m the only American!) It’s quite the cultural experience! I’ve met some really nice people. It’s an immersion-type class, so only Spanish is spoken. It was pretty daunting at first, but I’m starting to get more comfortable and feel like my comprehension is already getting much better. I have several friends taking a different level class at the same time, so we walk to and from together. So far I am absolutely loving it, and it’s giving me something to focus on and keep busy with. Image

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2012

Hello and Happy New Year!!!

It’s definitely time or a catch up and an intro to the new year. Last year ended with the rather unexpected folding of Caleb’s team HTC highroad. This was a huge disappointment, not only because HTC was such an incredible cycling team, but also because Caleb was in the middle of his 2 year contract with them. (Neo pros are always given 2 year contracts because the first year of racing in Europe is such a difficult transition, and a second year gives the riders a chance to get results and sign another contract.) After only one year, it’s very hard to sign a new contract. However, we’re very excited that Caleb was able to sign with team SpiderTech powered by C10, a Canadian pro-continental team. We will still be living in Girona, and were able to keep our same apartment. Probably the most exciting thing is that Caleb will be able to race more for himself on this team, and he feels really driven and confident going into this season with pro tour experience.

A highlight for me this year was my brother Matt coming to visit me in Girona while Caleb was racing the Tour of Beijing. Matt had a business trip to Paris, and added a three day visit to Spain at the beginning. We had a blast doing all the “touristy” things I’ve been waiting to do with someone, and eating a ton of good food. Then I spent a couple days in Paris with him before his work schedule got crazy. We were even able to meet up with some old friends there, David and Jozie! I looooved Paris…can’t wait to go there some day with Caleb, and I know Matt was pining for his wife too 😉

We had a really wonderful off season, catching up with both of our families in Texas and Colorado. We were able to spend Thanksgiving in Loveland with my family, and even had Matthew and Lisa Busche drive up from New Mexico! It was really fun having our friends “from Spain” there. We then spent Christmas in Breckenridge with the Fairlys, and spent a week enjoying family time, the incredible scenery and some great skiing.

It’s been especially good getting a few months of almost completely uninterrupted time together…last year we spent over 200 days apart, so it was really good to get that quality time. I think we both feel refreshed and ready for another year of adventures! 🙂 We’re also excited to get back to Spain because our apartment is there, and it’s nice to have a home after living out of our suitcases for so long. This morning I dropped Caleb off at the airport, and I’ll be joining him on the 12th. I can’t wait to see my Girona friends and for a new season of racing!

enjoying the view from the Eiffel Tower with Matt, David and Jozie

at the world series!!!

skiing with my sis Cait!

with my niece Shannon at "2nd Christmas"

The Orphaned Blog

So my brother Matt has repeatedly told me that I have orphaned my blog. He’s right, it’s really terrible. I haven’t even had it that long! I’ll try and do better Matt! I will!!

Coming back to Girona was so much less stressful this time around. We have an apartment, a bank account, we know where the grocery stores are, and most importantly, we had friends to come home to! What a difference from the first time I arrived, and couldn’t remember two words in Spanish or find a grocery store to save my life.

It’s been a great few weeks catching up with friends and enjoying summer in Spain. Girona is near the Costa Brava, one of the most beautiful coastlines in Spain. I’ve been able to go to the beach several times and enjoy the nice weather and the stunningly beautiful Mediterranean.

Caleb’s cycling has been going really well. If you followed the Tour of Austria, you probably saw he had several days where he was top 20 or 30. He’s definitely been feeling more comfortable with the European racing, with his team, and has been feeling great in training. It’ll be exciting to see how he does in his upcoming races: Tour of Utah Aug. 9-14th and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (Tour of Colorado) Aug. 22-28. I’ll be at both races (YES!) so I’ll try and give good updates about them. Also, if you’re ever wondering what races Caleb is doing you can check out his website http://www.calebfairly.com. He also has the occasional blog update on there.

While the guys were riding through the alps at Tour of Austria, Lisa and I went on a little adventure of our own! Our earlier ambitious ideas of Paris or Venice had to be ratcheted down to someplace in Spain haha, but that ended up being just fine. We took a quick train and bus rides to the coast and spent the night in Roses. The first day we went hiking along the coast into the Cap de Creus nature reserve. It was so beautiful…I’ve never seen anything like it, the water was actually turquoise. We even climbed down the rocks and went swimming in our own little Mediterranean cove! That was amazing…at least until Lisa cut her foot on a shell and I got a sea urchin sticker in my foot…but we survived.
The rest of our mini vacation was spent eating great seafood and enjoying the beach. It was so fun experiencing a new part of Spain and getting to know Lisa even better. We found we were pretty good travel buddies, and we’re hoping to do some race following together in the future!

In other news, Caleb’s brother Chase and sister Caitlin came to visit! We had so much fun taking them to all our favorite restaurants, eating gelato, and exploring the old town. Cait is a photographer, and Girona is pretty much a photographer’s dream so we had fun looking for good photo ops. They both did awesome communicating in Spanish and being willing to try anything. One day we rented a car, drove to the beach, and met Caleb for lunch. Then he drove us along the coast on one of his favorite rides. It was beautiful, and so fun to finally see where he goes every day! It was also a victory for me, because I have been irrationally scared of driving here. It wasn’t that bad, glad to get another hurdle out of the way!

We also had some mishaps while the fam was visiting…mainly involving Barcelona. I thought I had figured out the train system well enough, but I was seriously wrong. (I don’t necessarily feel like it was my fault though, I mean, Barcelona didn’t do us any favors when they gave three different stops the same name haha.) Basically we spent a couple hours wandering from metro station to metro station, asking for directions, and getting locked (literally locked) into two different train stations. Our poor guests were troopers…I just kept telling them they were the guinea pigs for all future visitors!

Here’s some photos of the trip to Roses, and I’ll put up some of Cait and Chase’s visit soon after I get pictures from Cait (there’s really no point in putting up any of my photos, you’ll want to see Cait’s! :))

Photo Catch-Up

At long last, here is the promised picture update! We are loving being at home and getting to spend time with family and friends. Here are the photos from Liege Bastogne Liege and Can Roca. And the final picture: the very best part of being at home…getting to meet our brand new niece! Congratulations to my brother Matt and his wife Catherine!

Belgium and Stuff

Last weekend I went to Liege, Belgium to watch Caleb race in the historic Liege-Bastogne-Liege. It was a great race to go to not only because it is an incredibly famous, classic race but also because I was able to meet up with Caleb’s father Alex and his friend Mark. It’s always great to watch a race with people who know more than you do about cycling! And of course spending time with Alex is always great. I have fantastic in-laws…just sayin.

I need to spend a moment describing my travel experience because it was kind of epic for a one-night trip. I got up before it was light and made the 20 min walk to the train station in the dark, boarded the train for Barcelona, switched trains to go the airport, took a flight to Charleroi, Brussels, took a bus to the train station, took a train to Liege. I didn’t know which stop to get off at in Liege, so I asked the guy next to me for help. He ended up walking me to the taxi pool (unluckily further away than I was hoping, but thank goodness for kind, not-creepy strangers) and I took a taxi to the hotel. LONG day, and I had to ask for help and directions at almost every stop. I was really relieved to meet up with Alex and Mark, who had a rental car, and just tag along and not make any decisions for the rest of the time.

Watching the race was really cool, it was just such a big, exciting event to be at. It was definitely the biggest race I’ve been to so far. We watched the start of the race in the city center, drove through the beautiful Ardennes and watched the race go by on a climb, and then went to the finish and watched the rest of the race on a megatron. It was a great ending, I hope you were able to catch it on verses (if you like cycling) because it was super exciting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good day for Caleb because he was really exhausted from a hard schedule. But it was still so cool to be there to support him at his first time at the Ardenne Classics. He’ll be back 😉

After the race we all made late flights back to Spain. We spent Monday and Tuesday showing Alex and Mark around. It felt like we spent most of our time eating (a good choice in girona!) but the guys got some good rides in as well. Alex even took us all to Can Roca, the 2nd best restaurant in the world right now. It was an incredible experience, albeit a bit over our heads haha! But we had an awesome time together with lots of laughing. Can’t wait to show pictures of that crazy food.

Caleb has been recovering the rest of this week, so we haven’t done a whole lot. And now we’re actually getting ready to head back to the US on Monday! I can’t believe how fast this first stint in Spain has gone by. It wasn’t even long enough to get properly homesick. But we’re really excited to see family and friends, and eat Chipotle…oh yeah. I have great pictures of all of this, but I took them on my real camera (instead of my phone) and the camera cord happens to be in CO. I’ll post them soon!

Agua

Realization of the week: I have not valued running water enough in my life. I really thought I did, but I was wrong. A couple years ago I spent three months in Mozambique and our water would go out for 1-3 days at a time, at pretty regular intervals. Even at the best of times, we only flushed our toilets once a day to try and save water so that it wouldn’t run out so often! I was ok with this situation, and had a renewed appreciation for running water when I got home. But there’s something very different about being in Africa, where you sort of constantly expect to be inconvenienced and have planned ahead to have a good attitude, and being at “home” and having the same problem.  Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the water went out a couple days ago. A workman rang our doorbell (we have yet to figure out why he rang our door and not anyone else in the building) and Caleb went downstairs to talk to him. When Caleb came back up, he said the only word he understood was “agua.”  So we tried the water, and it was a trickle. No big deal, I figured they would work on it and turn it on later that day, but we waited (both of us nice and sweaty after working out) and waited, and nothing happened. I talked to neighbors and the shop owners below us, and no knew what was going on. (This is when we realized the only person the workman had spoken with was Caleb! great!) Not only that, everyone was supremely unconcerned about the whole thing. Oh Spain!

(As a side note, that shop owner asked me if I was “la mujer del ciclista.” The cyclist’s woman? Really? Maybe it’s not as weird in Spanish.)

The next day Caleb left again, and our house was pretty ripe smelling. I was not a happy camper. “What if the water never comes on? What am I supposed to do? Who am I supposed to talk to??” I said to him while I freaked out a little, picturing a bathroom overflowing with sewage and me wandering around the city government buildings plaintively crying “no hay agua! ayudame!” I’m just kidding, but really what do you do? I still don’t know. Luckily that workman came back and of course, rang my doorbell. I went down, hopefully asked him if he was turning on the water, and he said yes! I rushed back upstairs, flushed the toilet a million times and started washing the dishes. Then he rang the doorbell AGAIN. This time I got a complicated description of why he had to turn the water off again! He knew I wasn’t getting all of it, (my Spanish classes never covered plumbing, my bad) so finally he just said “if I leave this water on the whole world will flood!” Evidently the solution to dealing with a stupid American is extreme exaggeration. He then asked if I would explain the situation to the rest of the building and I said absolutely not. I told him the owner lived above me and got out of there to finish washing my dishes before the “world flooded.”

In conclusion! I have no idea what really happened. The water was off for the rest of the day, but came on again at night. And that is all I know. There has been no flooding, so far. But if there ever is, I doubt anyone but the stupid American on the third floor will be concerned.