Thursday, July 30, 2009

Races, Ranches, and the Best Birthday EVER! :)

So I got a bit behind on my blogging (I've actual had to do work at work lately...what's up with that?) so the blog I posted a few days ago was from my vacation about a month ago and this blog is catching up on the fun events for the rest of JULY, my favorite month of the year!:) There are several reasons it's my favorite: #1 I love love love summer and July is smack dab in the middle. #2 I have always loved the 4th and the 24th of July...I still love fireworks as much as I did when I was just little! #3 During K-12 it was the only month where you did not have to go to school even one day, in college June is like that too, so June has moved up on my list of favorites! And last but not least #4 My Birthday!:) This year I had one of the greatest birthdays I have ever had thanks to Coach Matt, his incredible family and friends, and my incredible family and friends!:) But before I can chat about that I gotta recap on the last few races!:)

Porcupine Hill Climb: Hill climb? What hill climb?? As hard as I have tried to shove that one from my memory bank and forget it ever really did happen. All I can really say is I felt like I was riding up a mountain with a 500 lb backpack on. I was pooped right from the get go, no joke, first three pedal strokes and I knew it was going to be a long energy, terrible finish. I think I ate a little too much on vacation and definitely did not ride/climb enough. Like I said...Hill climb? What Hill climb?

Capitol Reef Stage Race: Here is where the fun starts! The stage race was over Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th with the time trial and circuit race on Friday and the road race Saturday.
Matt and I had planned to do the race and then head to his brothers ranch (just 1 hour or so from where we were racing) to stay for a few days with his Fam! When I registered for the
race I noticed there were only 3 other Pro 1-2-3 women...not exactly the best field so I was crossing my fingers that more girls would this point I was still needing my Cat 2 upgrade points so I could go to U23 Nationals (turns out I got my upgrade but couldn't afford the trip :( I'm still pretty bummed). We planned to head out Thursday afternoon but by the time we got all our errands done it was midnight and we still had a 3 hour drive. We were both exhausted so most of the drive is a blur for me, but I was so terrified Matt would fall asleep at the wheel (killing us and our 6 bikes on top of the car!) that I just stayed up randomly talking (even singing at one point...I figured that'd keep him up for sure!) and just bugging Matt to death, all in the attempt to keep us both awake! We finally got to Torrey Utah around 3:00 am, unpacked the car, and were sleeping by 3:30, and up again to TT at 6:30...not the best race strategy ever, but we ended up okay!:) Our field size stayed at a whopping 4 girls...and then actually dropped to 3 when one of the girls decided to race with the Cat 3 men...bummer for us! When we got to the TT I saw the girls in my field and was even more excited when I noticed that one of them was a pro on the Specialized womens team. So our field was 3 in size including one pro. My upgrade points were looking slim to none but I was still pretty excited to race because I love stage races and it was beautiful there! My TT didn't start off so well, I did what I think every cyclist does at least once and MISSED my start time! Not by enough for them to completely skip me but just enough for me to have an extra 10 seconds added to my time. I was happy to at least keep the pro in my sights the whole time, and even happier that she beat me by only 13 seconds (if I hadn't missed my start it would have only been 3 seconds hah I'm a dummy!) The rest of the race went pretty much the same (they ended up mixing us with the Cat 4 and Masters women so we weren't so lonely), she sprinted early on the circuit race and beat me by a couple seconds, and in the road race I sticked with her in the sprint but she beat me by half a wheel at the line! Three 2nd place finishes and a 2nd place overall GC in a field of 3 doesn't feel all that great but I still had fun!:)

Matt and Seth look thrilled huh! :)

Dinner at "The Patio"...8 or so kids, 6 hungry cyclist, and two very patient wives...Our waitress pretty much hated us!

Then it was time to head to Triggers ranch! :) (I may have stolen some pics from The Tease's blog...Thanks Tease, I'll repay you somehow...maybe I'll even let you taunt me up another mountain bike trail sometime!;) )

Courtesy of The Tease's blog...Trigger and Regi don't have many neighbors!:)

We headed to the ranch late Saturday afternoon with Seth, Megan, and their cute kids and stayed until Tuesday. As Matt says, in those few days I had a whole lot of FIRSTS!!

First #1: I met Matt's brother Adam (aka Trigger) for the first time. This was also the first time I have ever met a true working cowboy!:) Him and his wife Angie (aka Regi) are hilarious, they were so much fun! Like the rest of the Bradley family they have two of the most adorable little kids EVER! (I'm not sure what the Bradley secret is but all of the kids in that family are ridiculous cute...if you need proof visit The Tease's blog...or any of his other brother's families blogs for that matter!) Cassman is a little cowboy (well when I asked him if he was a little cowboy he said NO I'm a BIG cowboy!!:) So cute!!) and he spends the majority of his time running around in nothing but his cowboy boots or cowboying it up with his Dad! Their daughter Remmy is about 1 years old and she is adorable! Her and baby Georgia had a few battles over the weekend...not sure the world is big enough for two babies that cute!

Trigger the next country music star...seriously he's good!

Regi with Seth and Megan's kidlets

Cassman, the BIG cowboy! :)

First #2: Learned to drive a stick shift for the first time...and drove the 3.5 hour drive home in it...with 6 bikes on top of pressure at all really!

My terror face!

Driving the Sa-UU-ve mobile for the first time...with my entire life on top!

First #3: Witnessed my first "Bug Battle Royale!" Red ants are MEAN!!

On the other side of that fence is a giant red ant hill that Trigger was intentionally stirring up (to make the ants even more mad of course!) and dumping other innocent bugs into the death chamber! No matter the size of the bug, the red ants always won (with Trigger on their team ripping the legs off of the competitors of course!;) )

Yep, even scorpions have a hard time defending themselves against the red ants!

First #4: Rode a horse for the first time! I'm not gonna lie I was terrified at first, but loved it!!

Cowboy Matt and I :)
7 hours in the saddle with Trigger, cowboy Matt, Daly the dog, and a hole bunch of cows...Good times! :)

First #5: Herded cattle for the first time! With the help of Trigger, Cowboy Matt (don't let Matt's city vibes fool you, he is a damn good cowboy!:) ), and Daly the dog! That dog is amazing!

"Go cows, go....ummm that way" Gotta work on my cowboy lingo!

First #6: Castrated a calf...yep you heard right, I cut the balls right out of it! Again with the help of Trigger and Cowboy Matt!;)

This scene is very similar to my calf castrating experience, however add me kneeling on the calfs neck...then getting scared by the Mom and running away, leaving Trigger and Cowboy Matt to deal with the squirming calf...then coming back to "fray the balls off" as Trigger said. The rubber band method is for sissies!

First #7: Ate Kipper snacks...kind of! ;) I had the brilliant technique of draining the water slash accidently dumping them on the ground...Tee HeHe!:)

Whoops! :)

You know they're nasty when a dog wont even eat them!

Till Trigger made her...then she actually liked them!

And had lots of other fun adventures!:)

I'd like to see you make the simple act of eating a chip that dang cute!!

Kiddies on the horses!

The drive from the Baker ranch to their home was gorgeous!

So I have to say that I have the very best friends and family I could ever ask for. My birthday this year was really great and I can't say thank you enough for everything everyone did for me. My birthday surprises actually started on Thursday when Matt pulled up to the house to pick me up with a shinny new mountain bike on his car! I thought he must be taking it somewhere to someone on one of his errands so I said, "Hey Matt, what's that on top of the car?" he responded with, "What? I don't know what you are talking about?" I continued to question him and he continued to act silly until he finally said, "bike, plus birthday, equals...." then he just looked at me and smiled!! I was in a little bit of shock, HE GOT ME A BIKE! For my Birthday!!!! That was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me and I still don't feel like I've thanked him enough!! I love it!! We named her Flossie (Well my Mom did with the help of my aunt Sue! hehe) So she joins the family of Ruby, Stella, Pinky, and recently named CX bike Roxy!:) Yes, I now have 5 bikes (one of which is for sell...sorry pinky!) and I'm loving every minute of it!!:)

Meet Flossie!:)

Like I stated in previous Adventures...Me on a mountain bike usually turns into this...Me walking the mountain bike! Me and Flossie have a lot of work to do! :)

My actual birthday was on Monday, which was also the day that I rode a horse, herded cattle, castrated a calf, and kinda ate kipper snacks for the very first time!! Who wouldn't want to be a cowgirl for a day on their birthday?!?! I spent 7 hours riding around with Trigger and Cowboy Matt, herding cattle and just loving it!! Best birthday ever!! Trigger and Regi even made me a pineapple upside down birthday cake!:) I own the Bradley family a huge THANK YOU for a great birthday!:)

Mmmmm....cake! :)

A few days after we got back Cait invited Matt, Leti, and I over to her cute new house for dinner. She made some delicious ravioli and the best salad I have ever eaten! We even had artichokes (or art-tee-chokes as Cait says :) ) for an appetizer! So yummy!! Leti brought a cake for my birthday and they got me some really thoughtful presents (one of which was a pile of different chocolate bars, what girl doesn't want pounds of chocolate for their birthday!!:) ). They are the two sweetest girls I have ever met, I'm not sure I even deserve such great friends but I am sure glad to have them in my life now!! Thanks Cait and Leti, you guys are amazing!! :)

Getting fooled by a trick candle!! :)

Then it was time for the family fun!! First we had a little BBQ with my Dad's side of the fam. My sister made this ridiculously delicious raspberry cheesecake!! She is quite the little chef (totally makes up for my complete lack of cooking abilities!:) ) Thanks for the cake sister, you're the best!!

Tasted even better than it looked!

Then we had a little party by my sisters pool with my Mom's side of the fam! My Mom and sister worked away in the kitchen chefing up some delicious shish-kabobs! Good work on the grill Ernie, they were DANG good!! And again my sister made a delicious red velvet cake, which I ate a giant piece of...and then ate half the ice cream carton myself!;) My step brother Cody, step sister Megan, and her boyfriend CJ came, along with my Grampy and Granny! It was good times! know you are getting old when you cake looks like a small bon fire!!

Thanks for everything everyone, I love you all times ten!!:)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good times in McCall! :)

When you tell someone you are going on vacation, the obvious question that follows is, "where to?" Responding with an enthusiastic, "McCall Idaho!" tends to get the response of a puzzled and somewhat confused, "ohhh," first of all because many people have never heard of McCall and second because most people envision sandy ocean beaches, private islands, and hott scuba instructors (okay maybe that's just me;) ) when they hear the word vacation, none of which come to mind when hearing your destination is Idaho. However, McCall Idaho blows all those stereotypes and assumptions to pieces, it is a BLAST!! What could be better than having a cabin right on a beautiful lake with your entire family, boating/wake boarding/tubing/and just relaxing in the sun for a week straight, eating great food, and riding your bike in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen! Its hard to really explain how much fun it is, so I'll use pictures! :) (Sorry this is gonna be a bit of a long post...what am I saying all my post are long!:)

The Cabin! :) We stayed at a different cabin this year than we have in the past (this was our 4th or 5th family McCall trip :) ) and it was good times! :)

Our compound...justtttt kiddding these were the GIANT cabins next to us!

This was our super cute cabin!:) Slept all 20 or so of us!

Payette Lake!:)

The McCall Family Olympics 2009! :)

Category #1 the high jump!

Category #2 The Dive! (My Mom got extra points for her graceful preparatory pose!:) )

But who needs extra points with a dive like that!! WINNER!! :)

Category #3 Chair diving!! A McCall Classic!! :)

Cody's technique was more of a tip-over than a dive!

Category #4 Tricky Tricks! Ernie won with this beautiful cartwheel into the water!

Category #5 Cannonball contest!

He may way a lot less then his Dad but DANG that boy can make a huge splash!!

Father-Son synchronized front flips!!

Wake Boarding!! :) On none other than the pink force!!

Yep...the water was pretty dang cold!!

Ernie's got his game face on!

Cody has a pretty dang fast learning curve, passed me up in just a matter of days...and on my pink board!! ;)

Ouch!! We both had our fair share of whip-outs...I may have hit the water so hard one time that I revisited breakfast!

Tubin it up!! :)

Cody showin off his skilllz!!

These two are the dare devils of the family! ;)

Ouch, Rylee looks a bit dazed and confused!;)

Believe it or not that is my Mom and Steve out there on that tube...I was so proud!!!! My Mom NEVER gets in the water but she was livin it up this trip!! :)

Steve got dumped after getting a little over confidant with a "no hands look at me" maneuver!

Yep just like that!! Easily done when the boat isn't moving!;)

I love this picture, My Mom is just lovin it...Steve looks a bit nervous!

Kayak time!!

Ernie and Cody back from their ride

Me and Mom showing the boys how it is really done! :)

Yep, we are just that good!

Game time! :)

Every other year I have been the poker champ...this year not so much! ;)

Pictionary with the fam was hilarious!

Grandma: "I'm going to draw a little...rock."
My cute little granny had trouble not talking about what she was drawing, when she said she was going to draw a little rock, she literally meant that her card said LITTLE ROCK on it! I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard! In this picture she is drawing a UFO, something she was very nervous about drawing, and as you can see, she couldn't help but tell us about it!:) Haha I love her!

Girlies a Golfin!! :) The guys were there too but we made sure to steer clear of men in golf mode! Since the men in my family tend to like golfing, and like men of all families get a little bit too into it, us girlies knew that going in our own silly/goofy/playing just for the laughs of it group would be the best idea!:)

Mel and Sue in the Mom turned out to be a much more aggressive driver than Mel! ;)

My Mom Teeing what form! :)

Sports involving hand-eye coordination always make it shockingly clear why I stick to pedaling a bike!

Nice drive Mel!

Sue showing us how it is done! :)

"Where'd it go, did you see where it went....Found it!" Not a common theme at all, we're pro!

Here is where the aggressive driver part comes in! My Mom loved to drive the cart full speed (a whopping ten miles an hour if you're lucky!) up to the next tees and slam on the breaks! Haha it made a fabulous sound and even left some skid marks!! The aggression got a little out of hand on the last hole when we were driving around picking up our stray golf balls (we played Best Ball so we used the best shot and picked up the others) I was leaning out of the cart grabbing the balls off the ground, but I missed the very last one. Without consultation of any kind my Mom cranked the wheel of the cart throwing me out of the cart and into a very defensive tuck and role!! I have the grass stain on my shorts to prove it!! This just so happened to be on the hole right next to the club house where people sit out side and eat...we were spreading the laughter I'm sure. Most people probably thought we were intoxicated, I mean golfing is a serious sport right, who intentionally throws their own daughter out of a moving golf cart during such a solemn event...Sher Swensen sure does!! We laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants!!

Bike Rides!! :) The thing I love almost the very most about this vacation is the fact that I get to bring my bike along with me! There is no such thing as a bad route anywhere around there, I went on a few different routes, even ended up on dirt once, and still every ride was amazingly beautiful!! I was loving it!

How could you not love riding right next to a beautiful lake!!

Yeah so I'm not so good at the whole self portrait slash get the pretty background in technique of picture taking, this was my best effort! haha

Miscellaneous Family fun!:)

My Grampy's signature pose! Illustrates why we call him Big Dan!:)

Ernie Face!! :)

Camstar the fish!! :)

Camstar was the first one in the lake the night we got there, I was loving it!! He made the trip ten times more fun!

The famous McCall ice cream spot, it was delicious!! :)

Heck yeah we invited John Lennon!

Sue, Mom, and my silly sister!:)

Uncle Steve never goes anywhere without his "first aid kit" Natty Light in a zip lock is the cure all, haven't you heard?

My proudest Mommy daughter moment EVER!! This was the first time in my 20 years of life that I had ever seen my Mom JUMP into cold water!! I was in shock, and very proud!! :)

Family Photo-shoot Gehrke style!! ;) Our family is not big on formal group shots, so we mix it up a bit! No make up necessary, wear whatever you want, and pose however you want! Although we did attempt to do one good one for Granny...attempt being the key word!

The Attempt! Don't we look happy! ;)

My Fam Damily! Yep posing normal and smiling normal was not an option! :)

My Cute Mom and Cute Aunties!

Granny and Grampy! Love them!

Our final Hoorah on the 4th of July!

How sweet is that...BBQ right to you on the lake!

Cruising around on the pontoon!

Watching my grampy dance to the oldies on the radio! He gets a little nervous on our regular boats (I think Ernie scared the you-know-what right out of him last time we were up in McCall by cranking it up to a whopping 30 or 35 mph!;) Tee hehe) so cruising around on a pontoon that creeps along at about the speed Big Dan drives is a highlight for him!!

This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, riding out on the boat at night to watch the fireworks go off over the lake!! So much fun!:)

Good times at McCall always come to an end WAY too fast! I'm crossing my fingers that we get to go again!:)