Sausalito day trip & Mazda 6 saves the day

Mazda-HeaderWho needs a reason to go out and explore, especially when you’re living in California? The minute I get a vehicle delivered, I pop back into the house for a quick minute, leash Alfie up and we’re on our way.

Alfie-in-windowAnd because I can’t say no to this cute face! Usually I do this first so I can take photos while the car is spic-n-span and free of dust, but also — hello sport mode fun! I just discovered this over the weekend, that when you put cars in sport-mode… it’s automatically jumped up from being: okay this is fun, to: whoa this is awesome.

Mazda6Also, I’ve noticed lately a lot of review cars are red. I wonder if there’s a reason for that? 

I got the Mazda 6 last Thursday for review, so that’s when I took Alfie on a jaunt around town, exploring neighbourhoods. Since my husband was working on Friday, I decided to venture out to the climbing gym and meet my internet climbing buddies, turned into real life climbing buddies. You might know Esther and Jacob from their blog Local AdventurerEsther-and-Jacob

BoulderingWe bouldered for about an hour, then left the gym to meet up with Lauren, and Jessica for lunch at the new Eureka restaurant in Cupertino. No photos taken, only Snapchat videos that are forever deleted (ahem, unless you follow me). But wow, what a gorgeous little area to hang out in! We were there for a couple of hours, and since it’s a new build that I haven’t checked out for a while, they also added a Phil’s Coffee (which is so picturesque it’s insane).

I only took photos of the palm trees, because I still feel like a newbie tourist here. I love it.Palm-tree

Saturday was pretty low-key and we didn’t do too much. Yawn! OH WAIT. CHANGED MY MIND. Except for the morning when my husband called me mentioning he got a flat tire on his bicycle and it was unrepairable due to the tube busting out of it.

Mazda to the rescue!Mazda6-to-rescue

Alfie and I hopped in the car and drove 30 minutes north on the highway (he wasn’t on the highway, I obviously had to exit lol) to bring him gear to fix the tire. He didn’t want a ride home! So we hung around with him as he fixed his tire, and we watched all the other cyclists pass by (a lot of them stopped and asked if we needed help), it’s a hotspot area for cyclists for sure! Wow. Mazda-to-Rescue

Sunday, we ended up checking out a new-to-us pizza place called 1000 Degrees Pizza since we had a free coupon to go try it out. We ended up doing a build-your-own 10″ pizza to split between the two of us and we added SO much stuff.1000-pizza

The regular cost would’ve been $8.95 which is a decent deal for a nice wood-fired thin crust pizza — my ultimate favourite kind of pizza. It was cooked super fast (assuming because it’s in a 1000 degree oven) and by the time we finished paying (for our drink) it was cooked and plated.pizza-up-close My husband really liked it, and I liked it too but I think I added too many toppings and I wish the center of the pizza wasn’t gooey/watery.

Eat-the-pizzaMaybe too much sauce? I’m not sure. I did enjoy the rest of the delicious pizza, since we polished off 3 slices each. Hee hee!

I told my husband I wanted to take him to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and check out the views of the city and the bridge from that side. Precisely what we did — and hundreds of other tourists. I guess I forget what it’s like in the city on weekends, especially long weekends! I usually take our visitors (or even myself) up to the city on weekdays. Definitely not as crowded.Alfie-smilesAlfie’s “I’m ready to go!” excited face.

Mazda-insideHere I am snappin’ photos of me turnin’ on the tunes and adjusting the power seats in the Mazda6 before the ‘long trek’. A lot fancier than my own Mazda!

Our first stop was to a vista point along the highway, we rarely do this – so I pulled in and checked out these gorgeous views of the hills. views

vista-point

Then we made it across the Golden Gate bridge and down to this spot. One view I will never tire of:Golden-Gate

Alfie-Me-Golden-GateOnce we hung out at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge for a while, I drove us up to Sausalito, which is a small city in Marin County north of the Golden Gate.

sausalitooLittle history lesson here for ya, but back in World War 2, Sausalito was a shipbuilding center.

Sausalito-maiIt’s a gorgeous little spot with tons of character, tons of rich people (just bein’ honest!) and a lot of beautiful and huge sail boats.

Palm-trees-dog-walk

SausalitoWe walked around the main street and had a bit of a snacky-picnic right along the water. It was such a beautiful day!

I was so tired yesterday from our walking around, and me driving all along the coast, but we ended up finishing up our weekend by going for a 6km run with just the two of us. Usually Alfie comes with, but since he was out with us in the sun the entire day and we didn’t want him to get too overheated. I am pooped!

Not only that, this week is going to be a scorcher here in San Jose. On one of the days this week, it’s reading it’s going to get upwards to 39°C (which is 102°F), I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a pool/beach to swim in on that day. Wowzers!

How was your Memorial Day Weekend?

Mazda-wheelThanks to Mazda for loaning me the vehicle for the week, and for allowing these adventures to happen! And thanks to you guys, reading my blog – because this wouldn’t have happened without your help!

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Throwback Thursday: Climbing edition

If it wasn’t for my brother and Leo, his high school buddy, I would have never become a climber. 19 years ago, Leo and his family opened the climbing gym back home in Newfoundland Canada. From the beginning, when they recruited their friends to help build Wallnuts, I watched. I don’t recall much of it, but I do remember the warehouse transforming into the unknown. I didn’t have any interest in it back then, but I went to scope it out a few times.

My brother didn’t bother to climb much, but I went in for their daily kids camp and climbed til my hearts content. While I was visiting Newfoundland for five weeks this summer, I looked back on a few old photo albums I had as a kid and came across this oldie.

Wallnuts1995Shoes, chalk bag, and a harness — all rentals. This was me at the kids camp in 1995, the first year the climbing gym was opened. Umbro shorts and all, I am about to top out on my favourite wall in the gym: the roof. Wallnuts has since renovated their walls, including eliminating my favourite roof and looking at expanding to another location, all signs of growth.

My first pair of climbing shoes were the 5.10 MoccAsym’s. But the one’s to write home about were my second pair of climbing shoes, the La Sportiva (now men’s) Miura lace-up’s. An aggressive shoe with the perfect heel cup, amazing for heel hooking, and having fun at comp’s ;)RockFall05

highball-bouldering

orange-hair-bouldering

frontpageThroughout the years I had a few one-on-one coaching sessions with the guys, where I began to climb harder routes, how to climb quietly, when to chalk up on a route, and make the routes more efficient on my body to not tire myself out too much. Years later, I got the guts to get my lead climbing course done. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to lock out the figure 8 belay devices, and ATC’s. I got used to it, I did the course and from there I started climbing lead confidently.

After 19 years of climbing, can you believe I am still afraid of heights? I suppose, that’s a good thing. I don’t want to be too daring or bold—it’s not in my personality. I like to play it safe. When I boulder at my new climbing gym here in California, I often down climb the boulder problems because falling is simply too spooky for me. The bonus side of that is that I’m perfecting my technique each down climb, gaining more endurance with the static moves I do.

I have a many awesome memories of climbing at Wallnuts, and I’m so happy for the experiences I had while I lived in Newfoundland.

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How I became a rock climber

When I do the math, it’s almost impossible to believe myself when I remember that I’ve been climbing for nineteen years.

dyno at wallnutsDynoing. Circa 2002-2003.

I first heard about Wallnuts Climbing gym through my Brother, when it was being built in 1994-1995. My brother and Leo (now, the owner) were close friends all throughout High School. The roles were reversed. I thought my Brother would be more into the climbing than myself. But I was the one who kept at it. I didn’t think I’d be hooked on climbing after my first few times. I remember my Father having to hold my hips into the wall as I was terrified of moving upwards.

Fast forward a few more years and I had no fear. Dynoing high up in the air during competitions. The perfect spotters, and all the strength. I feel as if I was at my “peak” during this time. Then again, now that I’m climbing regularly — I’m stronger than I have ever been.

boulder comp wallnutsBouldering comp circa 2004.

Wallnuts back home in St. John’s Newfoundland was my home gym for many years. It’s the place where I spent 5-6 days a week at during high school. All of my friends back home are climbers. They’re my best friends, that I’ve created long term friendships with, that I cherish to this day, even though I don’t see as much of them now that we’ve all spread across the globe.

Climbing in Newfoundland left me with some amazing memories. One of which, I like to say I’m in a climbing film. In 2004, we drove across the province to boulder in a couple of places along the west coast to get filmed in various places. It was super cool.

trev archesHere’s one of my best buddies, Trev and I climbing in The Arches, Newfoundland. I felt like a bad ass, getting filmed.

Nancy archesBut to be honest with you I was definitely the worst climber there. I’m not used to climbing outdoors at all, and was falling off easy problems. Still a memorable experience, though.

From there, I climbed regularly until I moved out of the province in 2006, to Southern Ontario. The climbing gym had just closed and shut down their facility a few months upon my arrival. I didn’t climb at all for the first few years living in Ontario. I brought my gear back home with me the 3-4 times I flew to Newfoundland for visits. I missed it, but I had picked up other hobbies (soccer and CrossFit mainly) to keep me occupied.

GRR August 2011A few years later in August 2011, Grand River Rocks in Kitchener opened a gym. A 5 minute drive from my old work place, I joined immediately. I volunteered at that gym for kids birthday parties and a few boulder competitions. I wasn’t climbing as often as I originally was, due to the fact that I’ve been spending the majority of my time playing soccer, and doing CrossFit. boulder comp at grrI participated in a few competitions there, and made a couple of good friends along the way, but wasn’t a regular any more.

IFSC Bouldering World Cup 2013Last year, I watched the IFSC Bouldering World Cup at the Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario with a few climbing buds. I was stoked to finally see world class boulderers in person, for the first time in my life. It was an incredible — climbers came from all across the globe: Japan, USA, Russia, and China to name a few.

I’ve never taken climbing seriously enough to actually train on my weaknesses. I still like to avoid slopers at all costs, I’m working on pinchy holds and stemming moves. But I never go into the climbing gym to work on a campus board, or do multiple chinups for practice. I hop on the wall, find a climb that I can’t seem to top out on, and work on that for the afternoon. It’s what I like, keeps me in shape and doesn’t feel like exercise to me.

When I tell people I climb, they think I’m super strong, or powerful. I’m the opposite. I’m a thinker, I have great balance and technique, which I believe makes me a smart climber. Nothing bugs me more than climbers scrambling up the wall, ruining the rubber on their shoes and grasping for holds. You don’t need to do that to accomplish the route. Sit back, think about it and be sure about the holds you’re grabbing. There isn’t any need to readjust your hands on the holds, you’re wasting time and energy doing so.

This brings me to 2014.

climbing shoe selfieWhen we moved to California a few months into living here a blog reader now turned friend, e-mailed me asking to head into Planet Granite for a climb.

Planet Granite BoulderingI’m hooked all over again, and climbing on the regular — going 3-4 days a week. Right now it’s my primary source of exercise with a yoga class thrown in before I hit up the bouldering wall.

There you have it, that’s my history on how I became a rock climber: 19 years and counting.

I’m thinking of incorporating more climbing blog posts if you’re interested in reading about it? Let me know.

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