A very merry Christmas

Santa was good to me this year.  Not just with presents (and I should mention here that the insane pile of presents you see behind us was at my mother-in-law's.  Jeff has 3 sisters and a total of 10 nieces/nephews plus the 5 of us and assorted spouses and "chosen" family, all of whom were there), but with presence.

My oldest son, who moved out in September, is staying with us for a few days.  Between the holiday and N's sprained ankle, I haven't spent half of my days in St. Louis at volleyball practice.  My brother and niece are home from Wisconsin until Wednesday.  We had three family Christmas gatherings so far with one more tomorrow.  Sometimes the holiday shuffle is exhausting, but this year I've just been able to enjoy the chance to spend time with the people I love.

Of course, Santa delivered some awesome stuff too.  The highlights for me were finally getting (well, ordering) a Garmin, some cold-weather bike gloves so I don't have to risk frostbite when hitting the trails this winter, a shock-proof/water-proof camera so I can get the shot next time Jim and I get hung up on a tree in the river, climbing gear for the adventure camp that next year I am most definitely attending (schedule conflict this year), and the perfect pair of riding boots.

Santa did not bring snow, but after a 50 degree Christmas afternoon where we could play football in the yard in just sweatshirts, this morning brought temperatures cold enough to keep the singletrack frozen.  I had made plans to ride with my brother, sister-in-law, and a friend, but when I woke up this morning I would have been just as happy to roll right back under the covers.  Sense of duty prevailed (I organized it; I had to go) and I was actually the first one at the trailhead.

Most of my clothing choice (tights/shorts, base layer, tech shirt, long-sleeved jersey, vest) was right on, but despite having shoe covers with me in the car, I opted not to wear them.  My toes were really cold and sore by the end of our hour and a half on the trails.  Definitely need to start wearing the shoe covers and doubling up on socks.  The new gloves would have come in pretty handy, too, but they're just a bit too small and need to be exchanged.

Regardless of the frozen toes and fingers, the ride was pretty great.  The trails were in good shape, the frosty morning was beautiful, the dead deer was finally gone, and I only fell once (riding uphill over a good-sized log).  One of these days I'm going to go out there and just ride switchbacks and other spots that give me trouble, but for today it was wonderful just to be outside.  Well worth a couple yawns later in the day.

Jim: "Yes, I know you have a blog, but I have places to be..."
Supposed to show how pretty the icy branches were glistening in the sun, which I totally failed to capture.
By the way, if you're up for a challenge, check out Karen's 70.3 Birthday Challenge.  Basically, it's a half-iron distance virtual race where you can do the distances in increments...but in order.  I signed on thinking hey, I'll be on vacation, I can get to the gym to swim, not remembering that my vacation is over Jan 3, this starts Jan. 1, and the gym will be closed that day.  Oh, well.  If I can get in my swim on the second (and I now know I can swim 1.2 miles at a stretch), then I can do the rest of the miles for sure.  I can even use my new Garmin to keep track. :)

Anybody have a great holiday memory or fantastic gift from this year to share?  (You know, share as in tell us about, not share share.  Although, feel free to share. :D)


  1. enjoy your garmin. i have one from two christmases ago - never used. should've sent you mine.

    those pix look brrrr .....

    the entire was a gift!! seriously it was. :)

  2. Laughing about the dead deer being gone......

    My best gift....hmmmm....honestly? The NAP I took yesterday, uninterrupted, before our Christmas dinner cooking and guests.

  3. You had a great Christmas from the sounds of it! And you are hardcore to go for a ride in those temps..running is one thing but riding is another when it's cold. You go!

  4. I'm impressed at your swimming distance!

    And I love the picture of your family. Sounds like you had a great Christmas. You amaze me with your continued biking no matter the weather.

    Enjoy your vacation. I looked at that virtual race and didn't think it would work either. i think we have the same vacation or at least the same ending. I am going to go look again though.

    Have a great week.

  5. Merry belated Christmas to you and your family, looks like it was a good one! one trick I use to keep toes toasty (I don't have those shoe covers) is to put on a pair of socks, then pull a plastic baggie over my foot and pull another pair of socks over that. Poke some holes in the bag so that your feet don't sweat too much. It works like magic!

  6. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. That's a nice family photo!

    Regarding cold feet, I read somewhere that silk hiking boot liners under socks help a lot too.

    Enjoy your week off!

  7. I love that you're still out biking in those temps--very Studly indeed!
    My best Christmas gift was us blowing off my MIL after 2 days of nastiness and booking an oceanfront room at the Westin Key West. Aaaahhhhh!

  8. oh the trails look fun..though I won't lie i was thoroughly enjoying our 80 degree temps.

    haven't seen this crazy 70.3 birthday challenge, gotta check it out!

  9. I'm definitely a warm-weather rider, loving my trainer! But maybe if I had more winter cyling gear?.....:)

  10. I love that family picture!
    look at your sons!!! so lucky to have a young beautiful fearless mom like you...boys do you read this...listen to me you are lucky guys!!!

    Garmin!!!! my favorite gift ever...I got it last year!
    to me it meant that Bill got it, he knew I was serious about running!

  11. Merry Christmas!! I have to say, I WAS like WOW how the heck did she manage all of those presents??! Glad you explained - I was feeling a little lame for a minute.
    Hope you enjoy your time off!

  12. So long as there are a couple good climbs to warm me up, I'll take frozen single track over roads any time :)

    We haven't had Christmas yet (that comes over the weekend with Brent's family), but ice skating in the snow in picture-perfect Quebec City will definitely make this year's holiday highlights reel.

  13. That's a huge pile of presents!

    Kovas bought me a Garmin for my birthday - I used it a couple of times, then had to shelf it due to my knee injury. Can't wait to use it again - next week!!

    Happy New Year!

  14. Thanks for the shout out! *OF COURSE* you can get it done :) So excited you got a garmin - I don't know what I did before I got mine. :)


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