Petty Harbour, Newfoundland

explore-petty-harbourFor the most part I kept my blog updated for the majority of the time I was home, minus the last 2 weeks. I’m probably stating the obvious here, but I clearly didn’t want people to realize our house in California was empty, even though a few of our neighbours were keeping a watchful eye. I mean, you never know. Especially due to me watching all these horror flicks on cable at my parents house. Definitely creepy thoughts have burrowed into my head of what could happen.

Meanwhile, let’s talk about some of the sights from my home town of St. John’s, Newfoundland (It’s in Canada for those who are geographically challenged like myself). Surrounding the city are multiple harbours, tiny towns, and quaint coves to explore.

My Mom and I took off on an afternoon one weekend to check out Cape Spear, and a few kilometres down the road from that is the smallest fishing town perfectly nestled away, called Petty Harbour. Known for its famous fish ‘n chips Chafe’s Landing, and home to musician Alan Doyle, lead singer of Great Big Sea, you can’t help but take in the exquisite views that east coast Canada has to offer.

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That time we came face to face with a bear

Thanks for all your comments in yesterday’s post about the Lake Tahoe Ironman being cancelled after my husband signed up for it, trained his heart out, and only to be disappointed by the outcome. Ironman rectified the situation, which I have to be honest about – am shocked, really. Ironman is known for never issuing refunds, but they sent out an e-mail yesterday giving athletes options for other races for a discounted price, or signing up for Ironman Lake Tahoe 2015 for free or nearly free.

Drive-to-TahoeDespite the unfortunate circumstances which lead to cancelling Ironman Lake Tahoe on Sunday, my husband and I still managed to have a decent trip before it was called off. Our drive up took a little longer than usual, mainly due to traffic – but once we got close to Tahoe, the road cleared out.

Inn-At-Truckee-CADuring our stay we rented a room at The Inn At Truckee. The hotel itself is a little outdated but overall we had a great stay. Our room was basic, but it was spacious, clean, had an updated bathroom and dog friendly. Even though the hotel is off the I-80 we didn’t hear any highway noise throughout the night.

Inn-At-TruckeeThe Queen Room we rented included a fridge, a fridge, microwave and bonus: cable tv and free wi-fi for guests. There wasn’t a hair dryer in the room, so I walked down to the front desk and they let me borrow one for the duration of our stay. It’s great going to Ironman events like this, because we get to explore new-to-us cities, since we are new to California and this is our first time out in North Lake Tahoe. My husband and I don’t have cable, so we both love indulging in a bit of television when we’re on vacation. The Inn At Truckee was in close proximity to many shops and restaurants, so we walked anywhere if we needed to pick something up. Continental breakfast is available in the morning from 6:30am – 9:30am in the front lobby. There isn’t too much of a selection, but the fact that it’s free to guests is a bonus which we really appreciated.

However on our second night, we had a bit of unexpected company when we went outside to hop in the car and grab a bit of supper. It was dusk when we left the hotel, and we exited the side door of the hotel. This is when we came face to face with a bear. I’m surprised that my natural instinct was not to scream, but simply boot it back into the hotel, I suppose fear silenced me. Luckily we were close to the door and got back inside quickly. We were no more than 8-10 feet from this black bear, hanging out on its four paws rifling through the garbage can. The bear was as scared as we were thankfully, so it took off when we ran. The Guy mentioned our bear sighting to the friendly woman at the Inn At Truckee front desk, and she said it’s common this time of year. Holy smokes, we definitely got a freight, that’s for sure.

Bear-SightingFor comparison, the bear was at this garbage, and we were were on the path that leads to the side door shown.

Taste-Of-Nature-barThe day before the race, The Guy needed to head back to Squaw Valley where the Ironman Village was, to pick up a few essential items and tour around the expo.. This is when I decided to finally dive into one of my Taste of Nature bars. These little bars were given to us as freebies at the BlogHer conference in July, but they contacted me shortly after to see if I wanted to receive more and possibly review them. They’re delicious, Canadian, and all natural (organic + gluten free too). So I brought a bunch with me to enjoy over the weekend. Since I gave up Paleo, the majority of my snacks still are clean, and mostly paleo friendly. So this was nice to bring with me, along with my unsweetened dried mango, and raw nuts. I’ve seen them both sold in stores in the USA and in Newfoundland, Canada when I went back home to visit. I can talk more about them if  you wanted, in another blog post.

The-Village-At-SquawAlfie was being a little villain, barking at everyone in sight. Luckily most people found him cute.

Of course he’s only quiet when he’s in my arms and lemme tell you, it’s kinda difficult taking these pictures from a BlackBerry, holding a ten pounder in your arms. I have skills. Here’s a look around the Ironman Village, and Transition areas:IMTahoe-2014-vendors

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No-Parking-AlfieAlfie the rule breaker.

Ironman-teesI’d like one of these two shirts. Preferably support crew.

Ironman-Bikes-in-T1The bikes all set up in transition, the day before the morning of the official race start, then cancellation.

Chair-at-Squaw-Valley-ResorAlfie and I hanging out in a massive ol’ chair in Squaw Valley Resort, where transition 2, and the finish line was.

Alfie-sitting-at-feetHe’s smiley, until you speak to him. Angry schnogg.

Athletes-MeetingAthletes meeting.

Redbull-truckI don’t think this truck has wings.

Paraglider-in-Squaw-ValleyWalking back to the car, we spotted a paraglider coming down off one of the ski hills at the Squaw Valley Resort. Not something you see everyday.

Smoke-in-Squaw-ValleyThis was also the time the smoke was at its heaviest, late afternoon in Squaw Valley – you couldn’t see too far ahead due to all of the smoke.

Bike-CourseWe had only arrived the night before, so The Guy decided to drive the Bike Course as it was known for a lot of twists and turns in the road. Shortly after I took this picture, The Guy ran over a squirrel. He was so upset, and I know this is morbid of me, but I couldn’t help but laugh when he said he’d have to pass it on his bike and knew that he was the one who killed it. I always seem to laugh at the most inappropriate times. I swear, I had to hide my face from him in the car because tears were streaming down my face from silently laughing. Poor little squirrel.

So what’s The Guy’s plan now that Ironman Lake Tahoe got cancelled? Find another race, ASAP. How about you? Did you get screwed with the Kings Fire at Lake Tahoe this weekend? Friggen’ arsonist.

Lake Tahoe Ironman

The second annual Lake Tahoe Ironman Triathlon drew thousands to our new home of NorCal. The Guy and I made our commute to Lake Tahoe at the crack of dawn Friday morning to get ready for his upcoming sixth Ironman only to receive heartbreaking news the morning of. IM-Tahoe-2014-T1If you don’t know much about Ironmans or triathlons in general, the Ironman is the longest triathlon race and they have many courses spread all around the world for athletes to compete in. The Ironman distance is 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run, with a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.

Family-portraitNot my idea of a challenge, but my husband is all over it. I mean, this is as “family portrait” as we get.

Smoke-fire-at-IMTahoe-2014Race day was an incredibly sad and disappointing morning. Our athletes were standing in the water suited up in their wetsuit minutes before gun-time, when they cancelled Ironman Lake Tahoe due to unsafe air quality conditions. All the money, all the training — the mental and physical preparations gone all because of one arsonist.

Ironman Lake Tahoe isn’t having much luck with their races as last year’s left a lasting impression on the athletes and spectators with the air temp being a brisk 0° C / 33° F and one of the highest DNF’s in Ironman history. This being the second year was devastating to all participants involved. Early Sunday morning all the racers, spectators, volunteers and staff got ready for the big day. People flew in from all over the world, and luckily we had an easy 4 hour drive (we brought our dog Alfie along too, loving these dog friendly hotels that are around).

IM-Tahoe-Squaw-ValleyMy husband was so dejected, as was everyone else — we checked out of our hotel early and drove back home. Now we can’t help but wonder what is happening to the 50 qualifying Kona spots. My husband wanted to compete at Ironman Lake Tahoe and try to qualify for his dream: to race at Kona.

Ironman-Tahoe-2014WTC/Ironman doesn’t give out refunds and definitely won’t be rescheduling the race. Athletes should not have to take the blow of the cost in something that should have been cancelled long before the morning of.

FB Ironman Lake Tahoe pic by Alex SheehanMany people are ticked off due to the poor communication from the WTC/Ironman officials because everyone including myself felt like the event should have been cancelled before they were lead to the start or simply days before since. What’s even crazier is that they gave out finisher’s medals. A medal that should be earned.

Swimming-IMTahoe-2014My husband was so disappointed as he (like everyone else) received news when he had his wetsuit already on. He ended up doing one loop of the swim regardless.

A quote from an athlete’s loved one that posted on Ironman’s Facebook page that were going to compete at Ironman Lake Tahoe yesterday:

Maria Rocio Reyes The question is not whether it was the right decision to cancel the race. of course it was the right decision to cancel it. As a physician specializing in respiratory diseases, I feel the race would have placed too many people at risk of respiratory events. Having said that, the question is how could Iron Man as an organization have handled this better. At the athlete’s meeting, the organization was unwilling to discuss their contingency plan. Now, the reason is clear–BECAUSE THERE WASNT ONE! Of course it was not in the control that a freak decided to set a fire in the promity of the event, that the fire would grow exponentially so quickly, that the winds shifted overnight to ruin the air quality around the event site. No, those were circumstances beyond the organizers’ control. But, they were in control of their planning. They were in control of the way the decision was announced. They were in control of the timing of the announcement. They were in control of leaving the athletes hanging, still not knowing about refunds, etc. It is mind baffling to me that there was no contingency plan for such a highly anticipated event. As a family we put our life on hold for a year to allow my husband to train for this event. And what we got was an MC making a cryptic announcement a few mins before the race start. Sure they wanted to wait until the last min in hopes that the air would miraculously shift. But why not be honest and say this earlier in the week? at the athlete’s meeting? Where are the higher level organizers? The dignified thing to do would be for one of them to have the courage to stand at the start line in front of all those athletes and their family members and say this was a grueling decision and we are just as disappointed as you are. Dont treat us like we are some expendable thing that you can just toss out the window, bc let me tell you, that’s how we feel right now. The credibility that you have lost by the way you made this announcement and your lack of foresight on how to handle the inevitable has lost you many, many supporters.

Ironman races never cancel. Ironman Canada in Penticton had a similar situation a few years back, where there was too much smoke around certain areas of the course and they decided to change it up and do a ton of bike and run laps around the down town area, definitely mentally difficult but the show went on. I believe athletes should’ve had the option to compete in the event. Locals have been living in this situation for weeks and haven’t been evacuated, so let racers decide for themselves if they wanted to compete in it or not. On the other hand I completely understand why it was cancelled due to hazardous conditions, I’m not angry, I simply disagree with the way it was handled by WTC.

Walking-Bike-to-T1My heart goes out to the athletes who had sacrificed and trained an ungodly amount for their Ironman race. I am deeply sorry.