Saturday, February 9, 2013

First Time to Oman

Hey everybody, I’m mid-flight on my way from Barcelona to Doha, Qatar. From Doha, I have another short flight to Muscat, Oman, where I’ll be racing the Tour of Oman from Monday to Saturday. It will be my first race of 2013. I’m excited to get back to racing and mixing things up again. Training can become repetitive after some time making it hard to find the motivation to get out the door. I have had good motivation for the start of the season though. I’ve been on a training program consisting of 2-day blocks (2 days hard, 1 day easy). It has been working well for me to keep my mental and physical tiredness at bay. I’m hoping I have trained well and will find I have some good fitness at this first race. I haven’t studied the stages in depth yet, but I know the key stage is four, where we finish on a decent climb. I would like to find myself in the mix of things there to give me a good chance at a stage result or even an overall result. We’ll see!

This flight is much longer than I anticipated. It is about 6 hours. I guess the Middle East is a good ways further east from even Spain. The world is so big! This will be my first time in this area of the world, so I’m excited (and a little nervous, too) to have a new experience. Getting to see so many interesting places is one of the real blessings of this profession. It isn’t the same as taking a real vacation, but I still will have the chance to see a new part of the world and experience a small part of the culture.

One of the things I enjoy about these longs flights is the fancy entertainment system to keep me occupied. I am currently watching a movie called “Here Comes The Boom”. It is pretty entertaining, and a good story about how a lazy teacher comes to see the good in working hard to help others, albeit through a very interesting means! I have plenty of other things to keep me going at the moment, too. One, I have a couple different books going. Second, I have some Spanish podcasts downloaded on my iPad that can easily occupy my brain for a good amount of time. Lisa and I are making a solid effort at learning Spanish now that she is finished with school and has more free time. I always say it is a blessing and a curse that we don’t HAVE to know Spanish to survive in Girona. The fact that we are together and have many English speaking friends means we not immersed in it. There is no doubt that we’ve learned quite a bit since being here, but have a long way to go and want to really work on becoming more conversational.

If neither of those occupies me enough, I have plenty of new things to learn, arrange, and set up on my computer. After several failed attempts with other computers, I finally got a Macbook Air. It is my first Mac, so it has been a learning experience. There are many nuances that I have come to appreciate, but there are also small navigational/daily use things that have made me frustrated. It might sound funny, but my computer and its functionality are part of my daily routine for keeping in touch with friends and family, tracking my training, staying attune to what’s happening in the world around me, being in contact with the team, etc., so changing that up throws a real wrench into the works! I’m getting to know it pretty well now though, so the routine is coming back into shape.

The rest of life in Girona has been fairly normal. I’ve been training hard, while Lisa is doing her best to keep things tidy on the home front while taking a few classes of her own. She is taking a Spanish class two days a week from a local woman, and she has also started a Catalan cooking class once a week. I’m excited for her new cooking! On my side, I went to see donkey for the first time this year on an easy day this past week. He was very excited to see me and get his carrots. He began “heehawing” as soon as I came around the corner and ran alongside me as I rode along the fence. We got to our usual corner (farthest away from the house!), and I gave him his carrots. Unfortunately though, the owners have put up a new fence just inside the old one, and it prevents donkey from sticking his nose through to get scratched or handfed his carrots. It is a bit sad, but I still enjoy seeing donkey and hearing him so happy! I think that’s all I have for now. I’ll do my best to post stage recaps as I go. Thanks for checking in again!

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