Monday, December 31, 2007

Race Report

I did something yesterday that I thought I'd never do again. I competed in a running race. It was the Stuttgart New Years Eve race. I've done this race at least four other times and its always fun. The last time was in 2004, before I bacame cyclist and stopped running. This year, due to our lack of running fitness, Angi and I opted for the 5.555km race instead of the 11.1111km race. I played domestique for Angi, trying to keep her out of the wind and keep the pace just right for her to stay ahead of the other ladies. I think it helped a little but much less effective than in cycling. After about 4.5 km with Angi's lead secure she gave me permission to go ahead. I ran the last km hard and passed a few guys on the way to 9th place in 20:17. Angi finished a very strong race in 20:39 and was the first women finisher.

After the race, Angi's dad took us for a drive around the course that was used for the cycling World Championships this year. The course would be so much fun to race. Its almost always going up or down hill. I wouldn't want to do 267km though. Thats how long the mens elite race was this year. Ouch! We could still see alot of the names and messages painted on the road at the significant climbs. I found this massage painted near the flag of Norway. It must be Norwegian. I don't speak Norwegian but maybe you can figure out what it means.

No comment.

Tomorrow will be 2008. Wow! What a year it has been. Angi and I will celebrate New Year's with her parents, watching fireworks, lighting fireworks and toasting to a eventful and successful 2008. We'll be at the Schloss Solitude (Solitude Castle) to bring in the new year. I'll try and get some good pics.

On the 3rd I'm heading to Bergamo, Italy to train with my teammate Alessandro for a few days. I'm looking forward to seeing his stomping grounds and a bit of Italy. I hear the wine, coffee and pasta are good in Italy. I'm a big fan of all three. Several other pro cyclist also live in Bergamo and the area. Never know who we might run in to on the our rides.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thermal Baths and Beer

Two of Germany's popular attractions. I was lucky enough to enjoy both in one evening. Last night Angi's brother, Sven took us to the Bad Liebenzeller Thermalbad for three hours of soaking. Not swimming, or diving, or playing around in the water....all forbidden in a thermalbad. Like most German activities, there is a very specific process that must be orderly completed. We started with a 32 degree C pool with a circuit of different massage jets. The pool tunneled outside where it was 2 degree C. The pool was steaming and our heads were freezing as we got our massages. Station one was a foot massage, two - lower leg, and so on up to the neck. Each station was about a minute. There was actually a light on the wall that flashed green to signal when to move on the next jet. After a massage and a good soak we moved on to the Steam Room. Here we stood for 15 minutes in complete silence (talking is Verboten) and breathed scented steam into our lungs. After 15 minutes, straight to a really cold shower (it suppose to be good for you, BRRR!) Then we jumped in the 30 degree pool for a quick session of water aerobics. After water aerobics comes a 10 min soak in the 34 degree pool and then start all over again. We went through the process twice but some people spend the whole day there soaking, massaging and steaming. They take a break to relax on a lawn chair and have a bite to eat. Then back to soaking, massaging and steaming.

After the Thermalbad Sven treated us to an old fashion German Brewery. We drank some good german microbrew and ate spaetzle, putenschnitzel and salat. Perfect recovery food for a hard day at the Thermalbad.

Training has not been going so good. It snowed the other day and since then I've been restricted to running and riding on the stationary trainer. I've been getting fairly good at running again since the trainer is in the basement and not much fun to ride.

Christmas was good. Angi and I spent the days with Angi's family eating, playing cards and going for walks. It was a relaxing holiday. The way it should be.

I should probably mention that Angi is now fully educated. She graduated from NAU earlier this month. Here is a pic of her outside the dome on the NAU campus.

Congrats Angi!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Today was a good day. It started with a small run in the forest with Angi. Then back home for lunch and right on the bike for a ride. Today I rode to Waldenbuch where Angi and her parents met me with a change of cloths. The Ritter Sport chocolate factory is in Waldenbuch. What a cool place. We went in and took a tour of the museum and picked up some supplies...about 7 kilos of chocolate. See below.

On the way out of town I stopped by Chris Schmitt's place (ehhem...Major Schmitt), my friend and last company commander, to pick up a stationary trainer. So far I've been toughing it out in the cold (25-30 degrees F). I'm not sure how long I'll last though. Now if I have a moment of weakness I can go in the basement and get the job done. Lucky for me Chris answered my distress email and hooked me up with the trainer.

For dinner we had my favorite.....spinach lasagne with red wine. Here we are.

Life is good.

Glühwein on day 3

Angi and I made our way to the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) yesterday. We took some pics but due to some technical difficulties we won't be showing them in this post. Maybe later. Here is a pic I pulled off the internet. Ours look very similar i.e. no snow.

So, I have to admit that I was tricked by Angi and her mother. They said we were going to the weihnachtsmarkt to drink gluhwein (a hot spiced wine) and eat lunch. After two hours of shopping we finally made our way there for a glass of gluhwein but then, right back to shopping. Before we went home, after I threw a bit of a fit, we swung by again and I got my roasted almonds (mmmmm).

Before this year it was just Stuttgart, my adopted home away from home. But now its the city that hosted the 2007 World Championships of cycling. Although there is no sign of the race being here, I thought it was cool to be there. I'll do my best to take a lap on the course. Angi's brother lives nearby which will be a good place to stage.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 1 in Deutschland

OK. I've read so many other blogs and it seems everyone I know has one. Angi told me to start one a year ago and I wouldn't. She started this one for me in hopes that I would take over. I didn't. At least until now. So, if anyone is interested in what Angi and I are up to, stay tuned.

Angi and I just made our way to Stuttgart, Germany for the Holidays. We're visiting her family and she is on cloud nine. She was in the kitchen all afternoon baking cookies with her mother. I thought it was a perfect time for me to slip out for a bike ride. I learned not to trust It was suppose to be 39 degrees F. The water froze in my bottles and the frost on fields never melted. I'm guessing it was colder than 39.

Here is my proof. Me leaving the driveway. I was still relatively warm at this point.

Here is Angi's proof. The yummy cookies in the oven. Of course I tried a few. When she saw me she decided to hide the rest so there'll be some left for Christmas. Busted!