The holiday weekend was great, as I got my night riding fix and consequently spent all three daytimes at home. Saturday and Sunday were spent on yard- and housework in preparation for a small backyard grilling get-together to celebrate the Fourth. The big rides those evenings capped off a solid month of training -- probably my most challenging block ever, and certainly one of the best quality!
Where to begin?
First, maybe by explaining this photo -- this is my backyard! It's been pointed out to me that I'm living my dad's dream: While I was growing up, he always talked about owning a wooded yard, and even transplanted massive pine trees from New Mexico in an attempt to spruce up (ha, ha) our lot. It went well -- until I ran over a couple of them with the lawnmower.
Anyway, when we started looking for a house, I realized that I shared his dream -- and so when we found this backyard -- and the accompanying basement! -- I knew we found home. It didn't take long before I started scheming -- after all, doesn't our little girl need a fun place to play in? And don't I need a test track for my bike builds? What's the answer? Singletrack!
I attended an IMBA trail building class last autumn, but it's taken until now to get this project started. I spent all day Saturday marking trail, and Sunday building -- so far, it's only about 65 feet long or so, but when complete will be upwards of a tenth of a mile or more. Not much on the grand scale, but it will provide Little K and Squirt with a nice place to run and ride their bikes, and me a fun place to play trailbuilder. And that first night ride at 700 lumens will probably frighten my neighbors just a bit :-)
(Our yard is on a slope, probably in the 5+ degree range, steeper toward the back. Without the trail, there is really no flat ground for them to ride their bikes, other than our driveway -- which isn't as fun, is it? I'm adhering to IMBA trailbuilding best-practices, so this little piece of heaven will eventually be fairly narrow, hardpacked singletrack with fantastic drainage -- and will even include at least one log skinny with alternate lines and up to seven switchbacks!)
The riding has been going well -- really well, actually. There's a bit of hitch in my giddy-up after my seatpost slipped so dramatically at Tsali, but from a fitness standpoint, I'm not sure I've ever been better. Good thing, too, with this, this, this and this coming up ... yeah, that last week of July is going to be rather insane.
Big K is good, healthy and doing well, though it's hard to believe we're past halfway and -- holy moly! -- about to enter the third trimester. Wait, what?! I'm not ready for that yet! The second one is just getting good!
Seriously, though, everything looks to be all-systems-go. It's a little weird to experience the difference in care between Evanston and here -- it's not an understatement to say we were blessed with a fantastic birthing experience thanks to ENH. Not that here is bad -- it's just -- "normal." The standard of care is high, the folks involved are pretty good, but the expectations are just ... normal. Not exceptional. That's taken some getting used to.
And as for Little K ... geez. Wow. I look back at photos from Christmastime, and I can't believe the changes. We're carrying on conversations now, we're using the potty (last night AND this morning! YEAH!), we're exploring everything, blonde locks flowing out behind her. It's awesome, and so much fun. And funny -- especially when she gets moody and doesn't want daddy to torment her ...
Last but not least, I'll leave you with this. Kim's aunt is a master at finding just the perfect gift that will drive you insane ... from the "Horny" Rhino, to the dancing Elmo, to the sqwaking duck, Kathy knows just what you need. In celebration of the Fourth, we got these little gems in the mail ...