Monday, October 22, 2007


Highway US-287

Earlier this week Kyle told me about how one time he biked to Fort Collins to see his buddy Tony. Whenever my friends come up with something cool they can do, I always think to myself "Well if they can do it.... so can I".

I really love my bike and I really love riding it. It gets me places much faster than walking! Anthony taught me how to ride a bike when I was 19. Before then I'd always been too scared to do it because I fell when I was little and that left me traumatized. So I have 19 years of cycling to catch up on and I feel like I'm finally off to a good start.

Meet Betty Blue: She's loyal, she's light and she's FAST. She's my Giant OCR3 2006 18-speed road bike. Our goal: bike 20 miles from Boulder to Longmont, Colorado and back. Kyle had told me the ride was flat and easy, but having never lived in Illinois, he has a terrible misconception of the term "flat". What he really meant was that there is no altitude gain between Boulder and Fort Collins, but in between there are tons of rolling hills that you have to bike up and down. It was killing me. I took several breaks during my trip, sometimes I stopped when I got to the top of the hill to catch my breath and also to be able to look back at the landscape.

The ride between Boulder and Longmont was most enjoyable. I saw farms, horse ranches, snowy mountains, all in the ever changing shades of fall season. It was gorgeous. I took Arapahoe avenue and went east until I hit US-287, then north all the way. After 1 hour and 15 minutes we got to Longmont. Piece of cake for Betty, so when we got there we decided that Fort Collins could not be too far ahead, why turn back now? I already knew that if I survived the trip to Fort Collins, I probably would not be able to make it back. Luckily Kyle was going to go up there anyways to have lunch with his buddy Tony, and this time he was driving, so he agreed to give me a ride back home.

Longmont was a nice little city, it has a very cute downtown and for some reason there is a liquor store in every block. The next town after Longmont was Loveland, which wasn't very lovely at all. It gave me a general feeling of emptiness and unhappiness and I got yelled at by some dumb bitch in her car who told me to use the sidewalk instead of the street. My problem with that is that the sidewalks were terrible and my crotch was hurting bad enough already. So I took the sidewalk whenever it look like it was in good enough shape. The views between Longmont and Loveland weren't as pretty and I got bored at times, but that only made me pedal faster. After I got through that craphole, Loveland, I kept saying to myself "I'm almost there, just a few more miles" I was REALLY tired at this point and for some reason my left fingers and left toes were going numb and cramping up. My speed diminished significantly when I was going through Loveland, I knew I was pushing my body to the limit, I don't usually exercise like this. But low and behold, as I was barely making it up this last stupid hill when my legs were near giving out, I see the sign I've been dreaming of for hours: "Fort Collins City Limit". So of course I stopped to stretch, drink some water and take a picture of Betty next to the grand prize. I felt like Lance Armstrong, I had done it. I kept going a little longer after that because I was supposed to find a good place to get picked up by Kyle. Bikes weren't allowed on the street in Fort Collins so I had to take the sidewalk and that slowed me down a lot. I went passed a huge strip mall and several car dealerships, finally I found a gas station with a nice little bench were I could settle down and stretch properly. Kyle got there a little later and we went to lunch with Tony.

Total travel time: about 3 hours and 20 minutes (several short breaks included, and slowing down whenever going through city traffic).

- Giant OCR3 2006 road bike: $599.99

- Schwinn youth size helmet: $16.99 at Target

- Registration fee at CU's bike station that allows me to do regular maintenance on Betty: $10

- Granola bar and Camelbak: FREE, I stole them from Kyle

- Riding my bike for 45.9 miles: priceless

Here is my route. If you want to attempt this (and I can't think of anyone who couldn't, I mean I did it, and so can you) remember to bring lots of water, some energy bars in case your sugar goes low, put on sunscreen and always wear a helmet! safety first! And of course you should have your cell phone and some money in case you get a flat or get into an accident or something. Yay me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bridging the gap

Why is it that sometimes you have to move across the world from someone or something to finally appreciate them?

I don't really know why I do this, but in the end I am an optimist. When I leave a person or a place behind suddenly my mind destroys all the bad memories from that place, and lets the good ones hang out. I have moved a total of 6 times in my life, starting from the day I was born (My parents were living in a city called Maturin, but they drove to Caracas when my mom was due because that is where her gynecologist was, the same day we left the hospital we were driving back to Maturin).

If there is one thing I learned is that it really does get easier every time. Not only easier, but it gets better. When I know I am going somewhere new I actually start looking forward to missing the old place. I look forward to calling my friends so we can exchange stories and convince each other of visiting. As much as I hate moving, I also love starting things from scratch: a new bedroom, new routines, new friends.

My friends are such an important part of my life and so I want to dedicate this post to them. My friends make me who I am, in all aspects, they are the essence of my soul and my life would be far less meaningful if even one of them was missing. Somebody once told me that I used the term "best friend" too loosely, he obviously didn't know my friends. And just so that you can be really jealous, here is a list of names that make my life richer every day:

Rodri: My oldest friend, literally, I have known him since the day I was born. He is my older brother, life guru and accomplice. Probably one of the smartest, sweetest and most genuine kids I know. And one of the few people that really understands me because he knows exactly where I come from (duh, he was there with me). I am really looking forward to becoming old and bitter with him.

Meli: The sister I never had, a beautiful woman inside and out. Smart, charming and incredibly huggable. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. I love you :-*

Octa: She is my most inspiring friend. She is unstoppable and lives everyday with such passion, it is simply contagious. She is a brilliant aspiring doctor and I would trust her with my life any day.

Luis: You are my knight in shinning armor, a guardian angel if I ever had one. He also gives the best hugs. Please don't ever leave me.

Anthony: What can I say? I'll always be your little carrot, and you'll always be my little cabbage. This man is bigger than his dreams, and his dreams are huge. There is nothing he cannot do, and there is nothing I can do to stop him. I've learned so much by your side, nothing would be the same if it weren't for you.

Parisa: Intelligent, sexy and strong. She is everything I am looking for in a partner. The only problem is that we're not gay. I can talk to her about anything from World War I to Buddhism to pimples and cramps and everything in between. I love all your advice, I would be so lost without it. When I'm around you I feel awesome by association.

Steve: I wanted to make an honorary mention to you. This guy is a rockstar/superhero/genius/coffee addict/wine connoisseur . He gets as much pleasure from learning as anyone else would from chemical experimentation. His books are his crack, and his computer is his crack house.

Aubrey: French academic by day and French diva by night. I am so lucky to have met you, Colorado wouldn't be half as fun without you (and Happy Birthday!!!).

Last but not least I should also send out a big thanks to my parents because one happy day in September of 1984 they decided to give me a shot at the world. You guys are the best parents I could ask for and thanks for giving me such an awesome brother too.