After Oktoberfest, it was back to things as usual. Since the weather started to turn, I shifted gears to run more (about 25 miles a week) and bike less, though weather permitting I do still get bike rides in on the weekends, and random weekdays. UN-wide, we had last Thursday off, so I decided to head out to the Saléve to ride the face up to Croisette which I haven't done in a few weeks. It was a beautiful day with a high of about 40 (which lasts for about 5 minutes on its way back to 30). Still, riding up was a good bit of work, since I hadn’t been climbing much lately and this is a mildly step ascent. (I did try to climb a new hill last weekend, La Dôle in the Jura mountains above the town of Divonne les Bains – on the other side of the lake, but about 1/3 of the way up was met with unplowed roads). Hill work means elevated heart rate and body heat, so despite the cold, it was time to unzip the jacket and shed the helmet. It was surreal. Finding myself in thick fog right from the base of the climb, it only got thicker as I climbed with the sun poking through to create very limited visibility of about 100 meters. It was cold in the fog, the grass and trees were coated with ice, like an eerily quiet forest of pristine ice statutes (which happened in
Back in the beginning of November, I went hiking again with some
Following that, I had not one, but two Thanksgiving dinners. One with folks from Crossroads, the other with Jason and Kelly’s friends, mostly Alcoa expats. It was so nice to have a little slice of home. At the dinner with Crossroads folks, a Mexican fellow asked me if this was typical: the hosts Jay and Libby (P&G folks who did a brief stint in Cincinnati) had a satellite with college football which was a magnet for some of the guys, kids running around the kid table, people telling you how full they were right before they got up for seconds, 10 different side dishes, yes, I told him, it was the scene you’d expect to see if you were to drop in just about any house in the States on Thanksgiving, and it was great.
I also was able to call home and talk to Samuel who hit quite a rough patch with a throat infection. He was amazingly upbeat despite being in the hospital for a week (he made the most of it, and had his own car / iv rack to ride around in). After he got home, we spoke again and he was so excited to tell me that he got bunk beds for his room – and he even offered to let Brad and I stay in them when we come to town. Brad, Mike, my Mom and I sent him the Lightning Storm McQueen for his birthday which coincided roughly with his going home. As expected, he remembered it from one quick visit to Target – I told him at the time that it was too expensive, and he was so happy he wrote us all an email with a picture of him and Lightning.
In other news, Jason (with whom I went to Amsterdam city of bike highways, Van Gogh, leaning houses, canals, the closed Heineken factory, red lights, coffee shops, and Wii two weeks ago – to visit his friend, and I.T. guy from Tennessee who had just returned from a stint in Baghdad) is going to bring my mountain bike back to Geneva for me. I am super excited, we found a huge huge mountain bike park on the other side of the lake in the Champery / Valais region (serviced by lifts from the Portes du Soleil ski area). It was featured in a magazine recently. We are also training for a 121km+ mountain bike race this fall – which would require my staying here post-WIPO (and also plan to do Alp D'Huez among other road rides). With mountains on both sides of us, there have to be lots of MTB trails; I never thought I’d mountain bike in