Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hi !!

Lets see, I've been riding my bike, running, lifting weights, taking care of me, carting kids off to activities, carting myself off to activities, eating, sleeping when I can, being a mom, being a wife, being me.

So, that in all has left little time to blogging.  I will be on the beach of mallorca in two weeks, and it will be a nice break from the busy-ness of this life.  We have had so much going on, and we paid for this trip months ago, so it will be something to look forward to.  There has been craziness too in life, but nothing that we cant handle, just have to be postive through everything.  It really does make a difference on your whole outlook on life.

I went through, and actually told people how I was never going to race again, and that it's just not for me anymore.  As I was running Sunday morning on the hills around our village, I realized what a stupid thing to say.  I dont even know how Im going to feel next week, how would I know if I would ever race again??...silly girl..I was just kinda bummed out over the winter, but bike love has hit me again.  I've been racing for 10 years, and it was a part of my life, training was, all through winter, rain or snow, well not this year, the truth is, well, I loooove riding my bike and that is the simplest part of the whole deal.  So Im just gonna keep it simple this season and see what happens....

Spring has come early to our region of Germany, so I have been taking advantage, because you never know if the next week is going to be snow.  Anyway, I've been having so much fun.  There are endless road routes, but there is fun singletrack not far and in the Pflatz.  So I have a lot of exploring to do.  Im really excited for my my husband, he has been training hard for his xterra's and an ironman this summer, he's integrated the biking, swimming and running into his lifestyle, and my lifestyle and the fact that we dont have to compete for training time/family/sanity time has been a plus.  Maybe next year I will race again, who knows, maybe I will get the itch this summer, but for now, I am just enjoying flying around on two wheels, pulling the 4yr old when she's not at school, which is at least 50lbs including the bike trailer, hanging with the G man (my 9yr old) and running.  I really love running!!  I try to get up early before everyone is awake, its the best!!  and the views here where I live are simply stunning!,,,,need to grab that camera sometime : )

Anyway, that's my life in a very condensed, unchaotic version, but it's pretty close to the heart of it : ))

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beautiful Strasbourg

My husband decided to suprise me with a weekend trip to Strasbourg, France for our 10th anniversary weekend.  He had booked hotel and planned the trip all himself.  It was the sweetest thing.  He also bought me an addition the my platinum wedding ring, an anniversary band and it was all the much sweeter that he thought enough to do such a grand and sweet thing.

I have been so happy in the years I've been with him and I cant believe we have been married for 10, been together 12.  It seems like yesterday that we met, in San Diego, our beach trips, our rockclimbing trips all over California, seeing Chris LeDoux, lots of times spent on the bike, at races together, planned a family, now parents to some pretty neat kids.  We've had a good run of it, havent we senor!!  We have had so many adventures, and it seems like the fun never stops, but we've had our share of craziness, and he has stuck with me through it.  I've sadly to say put him through some hell at times, but thankyou, that is all I can say.
Anyway...back to Strasbourg.  It is not far, we decided to drive over from Saarbrucken and drive the toll road through France.  We could've driven down through Germany, but decided to see the French Alsace countryside.  It was a relaxing drive, no probs, then headed into the city of Strasbourg.  Our hotel was right in the old part of the city.  Very romantic place.  We headed to the main square, found a cute cafe and had lunch, flammkuchen, fries for the kids, and of course some wine and beer.  Walked a lot that weekend, was nice at night to walk through the cobblestreets of the old city.  Enjoyed a nice night of reminicing over a bottle of french red and just enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my favorite guy and two little monkeys.
The old french part of Strasbourg, little France I think it is called was so nice to walk on Sunday morning.  It was so quiet and the river running through the city was calm and made for nice scenery along with the very old quarters.
I would love to go back in the summer time.  It was cold , but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
The church is beautiful.  I have been through so many cathedrals living here in Europe, but I was most impressed with the cathedral here.  It is magnificent as you walk through the square and it just is like Bam!  Magnificent is a good word.  The cathedral was beautiful inside, we were there after dark, so the candles lit all throughout sent out a beautiful ambiance.

Great city!  Au Revoir, Angie

I'm still alive

It has been awhile, but yes, Im not dead.  We were lucky to spend the holidays back in the States and took some day trips and weekend trips into France and around here.  Things are kinda slowing down, but in a week or so, it will be craziness for most of the month of Feb, and March hopefully being calm, April travels in order to a warm destination and then then making it towards the finish line for school to end (all in one breath!) Pheww!!
In my last post I was unsure as to what my future prospects in the cycling world would be and I still pretty much feel that way, except that I at least know for sure I want to ride my bike ALOT!!  Not just for training but for fun.  This is the first time I have really taken a long break from the bike, well more from training, and I have to say that maybe it was a good thing because it only made me miss it more (i miss racing, but racing back home).

It has been a really cold and snowy winter here in Germany.  After we got back from the States, we came back to a lot of snow, but then miraculously, the clouds parted, the sun came out and melted all the snow, it was "warm" out, 50's is warm, trust me, but it was wonderful.  Of course a good thing like that cant last too long, so now we are back to frigid temps and the occasional snow shower.  Oh, Spring, how I cant wait for you to come back again!!
snowman makin' time:

My husband has ventured into the world of XTERRA and triathlons and so I think this summer I will be his groupie and just cheer him on from the sidelines and offer support.  I think maybe I need a good season off.  I might do a race or two, but not training hardcore for anything at the current moment.  Who knows, maybe I will be inspired by my husband to tri a tri (ha!).  I've done a few in college, but no ironman distances and I enjoy 'tagging' along with him on his runs or to the pool, with me poorly swimming along or running along, but its fun.  Man, he's gotten strong, especially with the swim.  What a difference a year and consistent swimming will do for someone that was not the best swimmer (sorry honey) and with zero percent body fat, he just sorta sunk in the water.  The boy is buoyant now!!  And he has an amazing body from all the swimming, those arms and shoulders are in true Micheal Phelps fashion!!  Except my guy is waaaay cuter.  Anyway, enough of the gushing, seriously though, have you watched someone train for an Ironman?!  Its a part time freaking job unto itself, so I am going to sit back and enjoy the view for now.

 Also, I miss singletrack so, so, so bad.  It could be the reason for my lack of motivation.  I love being here, but there is little to no real long singletrack and when you race its 90% jeep road.  I did find a cool place to ride around this castle area, but as far as my intense love for the mountain bike, a lot of that love is based on what Im riding.  Singletrack, sketch, gnar, all that, i miss.  I miss the excitement of cleaning shit that I was scared to attempt or just the feeling of being out on the trails and being excited about the trail.  It sorta sux in that way, but life is what you make it, so gonna try and be more positive on that front...

Im still very much amateur'd out and excited about photography.  About what little I know.  I have been looking at software and stuff.  I have some wonderful ideas and hope to get some great sport shots, hope to see some of the spring classics, maybe le tour as well.  I also love taking pics of my kids and just the area around here and our travels.  We have some traveling coming up in the future, but I wont give it away until we go or come back.  In this day and age, one should be a little less flamboyant with what she's doing and where and when she is going somewhere....

Anyway, I appreciate anyone for taking the time to read, hope somewhere in the world someone is enjoying the sunshine..


Thursday, November 18, 2010

what am i doing????

Lately, I've been wandering, just being a wanderer, no plans, just aimless and getting pretty good at it..which freaks me out because I usually have a plan.  Im not overly organized or ocd (i dont think) or anything, Im just usually trying to have some kind of baseline plan and goals going into the next season.  But this year, I dont have any.  I dont know if its boredom, or what.  I really am starting to miss "home", wherever "home" shall be.  But mainly, Im missing living in the states.  I love living in Europe and the travel opportunities, but I miss having a crapload of riding buddies, be it gals, guys, and excellent, unlimited singletrack, people who speak "bike", people that understand the sacrifice, and share it with me.  Im really missing that whole lot.  I miss being so excited to ride, I miss lusting over bike parts, I miss the chamois, I miss the hours of training, the drain, only to be uplifted at a race and see the hours pay off.  I miss it all!  I miss the occasional wreck, that lets me know Im alive, and to not get too cocky.  I love the clowns in the sport, the funny people, you know the ones--the playaz-- they make a ride in a torrential deathly desert/lightning storm the best, scariest and fun all at the same time, ride of your life, people you can have a beer (or 3) with after a great ride, people that know you, that really see you, that make me laugh until I pee my pants, and dont care if you belch, fart or puke on a ride(or if you pee your pants)--the socially incorrect, the politically incorrect or uncorrect, whatever...I've had the joy of calling many "friend", even "best friend".

I had that life.  Then I moved here.

That sounds awful, but I really feel lonely.  I guess I am finding I am a person that needs friends that share the same hobbies hobby.  I dont get into the stuff here, which is basically, oh, lets go hang out at my house and watch football and stuff our faces full of crap food and drink cokes, or lets just all get drunk.  I mean, I dont care about the drunk part, just at least lets go ride first!!!  I mean COMEon Man!!!  am i asking too much??

I used to be funny, I used to laugh at life, now Im just annoyed most of the time.  I dont even wear pink anymore, and thats a BIG deal.  I've become a monotonic/monochromatic moron, trying to ride my bike on foggy, wet, PAVED paths, that run for miles, but little dirt ever reaches the tread.  I dont even dream about that next tattoo, most of my clothes are black, gray, or navy blue.  BORING!!!!!!!!!

I am whining, and Im sorry.

But then, I DO remember who I am, and I come back, even though I dont like the non-endless amount of singletrack in Germany or the endless rain, and fog.  Eventhough my friends consist of me, myself and I and my kids and husband, at least thats 6!  Im not depressed, just homesick and dont think for one second that I dont love Europe.  I think I was just spoiled before...and lucky.
My husband, he's def adaptable.  He doesn't need a social network.  He doesn't care either way, Im sure, but he is fine training alone, and he still pushes himself whether with a group or not.  And he does it everyday, he NEVER complains, he is always happy to be out on his bike, so it makes me feel even MORE like a whiny little puke.  Its pretty awesome he can do that, and I look up to him and hope one day I will be that great, not just as a cyclist, but as a human being.  I guess that's what separates the champions from the weekend warriors, haha, and Im not even that anymore, I used to be a champion, but I've resorted to sorta ride my bike, if its not too cold, but I guess I just need to take a chill pill and be thankful for what I have, the people I get to see everyday, my family, because they are what makes me happiest, I just cant wait to move back in a few years. Hopefully its somewhere I can hop back on the train and catchup with my mates....

p.s. thanks for reading this if you actually could stand to read it : )

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Paris, the lens perspective

A few weeks back, I took a trip to Paris (4hrs away) to explore the darker side of the 'city of lights'.  It was around Halloween, so I thought it most appropriate to get a glimpse of some things I have wanted to see for a long time.  Mostly, I wanted to take the opportunity to use my awesome camera and also, my husband wasnt interested in going and I wasnt interested in taking my kids down under Paris into the catacombs, so it was a perfect solo adventure for me (I did have a guide). 

First, a quick jaunt to the Eiffel tower, 

Looking up towards the gargoyles of Notre Dame:
 then off to another great sight for my lens-- the gargoyles of Notre Dame.  You walk up a gazillion never ending little stairs that spiral up to the bell towers, where the beautiful, yet mysterious creatures greet you, as they guard their ledges.  They have been there for hundreds of years, watching over Paris.  If I could have only seen all the things they have witnessed perched on those ledges over many lifetimes..

It was a rainy, and rather gloomy weekend, with intermittent moments of sunshine, which was perfect and set the tone for my sightseeing adventures.  

After a little shopping, some hot mulled french wine, a nutella crepe and a quick stop to the Arc de Triomphe, I headed to the hotel for a rest and then to a nice eatery in an old wine cellar within the super cool Latin quarter, where I dined on french onion soup, beef burgundy, chocolate mousse (just a taste) and about a gallon of red wine.  After that it was time for a night cruise on the Seine.  It was a beautiful sight at night.  Seeing Paris at night from the river was a real treat, the little lights, dancing like stars on the waterfront was wonderful!  The highlight was that the Eiffel tower would light up ever so often and the lights would start to sparkle and blink, her toast to me for coming to this great city.

The next day was the highlight for me, the catacombs.  I have always wanted to go, but not because Im fascinated with death, but because I am fascinated with history, and a respect for those that have departed, and there are over 6 million Parisians buried beneath Paris.  What also fascinates me, is the tunnel system itself.  There is a complete history and if you research it on the internet, it is quite fascinating, but Im too lazy to type the whole spill here right now...

The entrance to the catacombs, nothing scary in this very normal french neighborhood, but what lies beyond this simple door? p.s. if you go, get there early, a long line formed, glad I got there first:

*short background story here*
When I was a kid, probably like 13, there was a tunnel system under our town.  Every day one summer, we would always go into these tunnels, with no flashlights or anything.  It would take us at least an hour to get from one side to the other.  In the pitch dark.  Many times we experienced strange people in there, druggies and transients.  Always in a group it was fun and scary at the same time to go and try to freak each other out, I might of even had my first cigarette down there, but it was a moment of liberation down there for us young kids, having fun, being rebels...anyway, I now know, being the adult I am, the dangerousness of the situation and even cringe at all the possible terrible things that could have happened to us, but nothing did, so its the memory of those times as well, that makes me fascinated with underground tunnels systems,,,,end of background story

After a long walk down below the city of Paris, you come to the entry which reads : Stop!  This is the empire of death: (yes, kinda gave me goosebumps) 
Anyway, as I was one of the first people down there that morning, I enjoyed the silence of it all and absorbed the workmanship and the labor that went into creating final resting place for so many.  Temp-wise, it was cool, and moist.  Ever so often my boots would hit a small puddle of water on the dirt floor, or a drop or two would hit me from the ceiling, reminding me I was hundred of feet below the surface of civilization.  The feeling I had once I was walking for awhile, was one of curiosity and one of awe.  It is only a small portion of the actual catacombs that the public is allowed to see.  There are so many stories that we will never know, so much history and of course the awe of it is how they brought so many down there and the arrangements that were made, in a way as a memorial to those that had passed.  Overall the experience was a somber one.  Afterall, it was a graveyard and one should always be respectful of the dead.

random pics:

graffiti stained walls in one area of the catacombs:
Immediately after the catacombs experience, this girl (me) was happy to be back amongst the land of the living! (my expression sucks):
 Inside St. Sulpice:
After that, a quick stop to St. Sulpice, a quick look at the rose line, featured in the book the Da Vinci Code, lunch then finally to Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Chopins grave has the white statue on it:
What an amazing sight, visually, not to mention the size.  It is huge, you could easily get lost within the walls.  Which wouldnt be a terrible thing.  There is a beauty within this place that lures you to seek out those very famous people that had some impact on the French, if not the world, at one time or another.  I first wanted to see Jim Morrison though, whom I have wanted to see all my life (although he died before I was born).  

 At the gravesite, there is still an air of presence, if not him, through his fans.  Thousands visit his grave and because of this, it is cordoned off with barriers.  A tree close to the grave is littered with "grafitti", writings of those wanting to pay their respects and show how much they adore this man, even after so many years.  I was truly touched by that spirit that continues to linger.  If you could say Goodbye to the lizard king, what would you say?
This one is my favorite, "Thanks Jim Find Peace":

So many notable people are buried in this cemetery, its definitely worth a visit on your trip to Paris.

 After all of this, I was feeling a bit drained, and missing my family, it was time to head back home.  

I cant wait to go to Paris again soon, but next time with company.
And so I say Au Revoir and leave you with this last little bit, complements of Mr. Morrison:
This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need...of some...stranger's hand
In a...desperate land....
 All photographs are the sole property of Angela Koppa and cannot be reproduced or copied without her permission.