It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

Two weeks ago, I spent the morning on a raft along the Na Pali coast. I lounged away my afternoon on the beach and watched surfers catch waves as the sun set. I ended my day sharing good food and wine with a couple I had met the previous day while hiking. It was one of ten incredible days I spent in Hawaii, five days each on Maui and Kauai.

I haven’t had a real vacation in a long time. When I close my eyes and imagine myself somewhere, I picture the beach. I see the sand. The ocean. The sun. Bikinis and bare feet. When I realized that I would have the opportunity to take a true vacation, I immediately knew I would head somewhere warm. I started talking about destinations and fairly quickly landed on Hawaii.

A little bit of research led me to choose to divide my time between Maui and Kauai. When Linda told me the dates she planned to schedule TIBCO camp, I knew that I would come home from Worlds, spend two days at home, head to camp in California and then go straight to Hawaii. A plan was born. Tickets booked. Bed and breakfasts reserved. This was really happening — the countdown to Hawaii was on.

It’s not often that I really want to go on trips by myself. I’m a naturally social person, and I enjoy company. This was something a little bit different. It’s the first time in a long time that I had ten uninterrupted days of doing exactly what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I set my own schedule — or no schedule at all — each and every day. This trip gave me freedom and alone time. It gave me a chance to talk to (or not) the people I met along the way. It allowed me to turn off, shut down, relax and breathe.

It’s also one of the few times that I have been able to enjoy getting to know a place at my own pace and in my own way. I’ve traveled to a lot of extraordinary places, and I’m usually seeing them out of car window or from my bike saddle. This is the first time that I’ve gone somewhere and I didn’t have to think about my bike.

By far, the highlight of my trip was a helicopter tour of Kauai. The rafting trip I mentioned earlier was pretty sweet, too. I got to see the Na Pali coast by land, sea and air — which was a pretty cool experience. Of the two islands, Kauai is probably a bit more my style. Maui is incredibly relaxing and beautiful, too, but I really enjoyed the more adventurous side of Hawaii that I experienced in Kauai.

I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to return home. As much as I truly love Colorado, I wasn’t quite ready to give up the beach and sunshine for the unpredictable late winter and early spring weather for which Colorado is known. Luckily, my coach, Kurt Perham, allowed me to ease back into things a bit — which made the wind and cold that greeted me a personal but not professional annoyance.

During my first week home, Kurt gave me the freedom to ride when I wanted. I had no set schedule, so I was able to pick and choose the days that I wanted to ride. I arrived home from Hawaii to a new Specialized Fate carbon 29’er eagerly awaiting its maiden voyage, so while I might not have been especially motivated to ride, otherwise, I was eager to break in my new bike. I found myself heading out for 1-2 hour mountain bike rides here and there in the windy, cold but dry weather.

Because I’m not officially planning to start my season with TIBCO until mid-April, I have time to ramp up the volume in training — and because I have been riding my bike for so many years at this point, it’s not as important for me to get in the serious base miles that most people need to put in their legs at this point in the year. My season kicks off with shorter races, so that also gives me more time to build my base. I don’t have to rush to get in the miles or intensity quite yet that I’ll need for the stage racing to come.

Gradually each subsequent week, I’ll spend more time on the bike. I’m starting off low-key and adding hours and intensity each week. I don’t want to jinx things by saying it looks like spring has arrived in Boulder, so I’ll just say that the sunny weather in the forecast makes me look forward to the additional hours added to my schedule from this past week to the next.

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  1. Rod A
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    So true the power of being able to do what you want, when you want to do it w/ no schedule to adhere too. Found that out last summer. So rejuvenating!

  2. Joe V
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Good to be able to take the time, you have to nourish the soul too. thnx jv

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