Saturday, July 19, 2014

Seattle to Portland - 204 Miles in 2 Days!

Last Saturday, Joel and I rode our bikes for 204 miles in two days. I still can't believe we paid for this thrill, but we did. We participated in our first Seattle to Portland ride, which is when over 10,000 biking fans get up really early in the morning and ride their bikes from the city of Seattle in Washington to the city of Portland in Oregon.

At the Starting line, ready to get going!

Some people are crazy enough to do the whole ride in one day, but Joel and I know better than that. We decided to ride 150 miles the first day and 54 miles the second day. With so many miles to go, we started at 5:15am.

We pretty much rode all day, stopping now and then at the various sponsored pit stops, which were just crawling with people in spandex and funny little velcro shoes. It was interesting to see what kind of equipment and clothing people decided to bring with them for the big ride. I mostly just stuffed my face and used the restrooms as these stops.

Jackie and Chris came along as our pit crew and they really helped us out! They got food for us, cheered us on, filled up our water bottles and kept us going strong. As the morning turned into the afternoon, the temperature grew. We spent most of the day riding through temperatures in the mid 90's, which is pretty darn hot when you have no shade to hide out in! We just kept peddling and counting down the miles.

How Joel managed to take a selfie while climbing the hill all the riders call "the hill from hell", I just don't know.
What a stud.

Honestly, I thought I would take more pictures along the ride, but it rarely crossed my mind. I was thinking more about shifting gears, drinking water, eating more food or energy blocks, and keeping my pace. By the late afternoon, Joel and I had slowed way down. I think the heat and the long day just got to us. We were tired and worn out, but still had another 50 miles to go before the end of the day. We could have just called it and had our pit crew drive us to our hotel. But we didn't. Because Jackie saved the day. She jumped on a third bike we had brought along and rode the last 50 miles with us. I don't know what it was about having her along, but we perked right up and clocked in speeds up to 25 miles an hour - which is pretty darn good for us. Chris drove the car and meet us every five miles to allow for water bottle refiles and quick bites to eat, keeping our energy and spirits high. With such amazing support, we rode the rest of our 150 mile goal and made it to our hotel in Longview. 16 hours after leaving the starting line, we called it a day.

We were back on the route the next morning by 9:00am and were really excited to finish this thing! We crossed into Oregon on the Lewis and Clark Bridge and started the last leg of the trip. I am not sure what was tougher, sitting on my bike seat with my sore buns or feeling that first drop of rain. That's right, day one was spent in hot, hot heat and day two was spent in rain. We took it five miles at a time and rested when we needed to. Before we knew it, we were just outside of Portland, about to cross the St. Johns Bridge.

Once we crossed over the bridge, we had just ten miles go to the finish line. I started to let myself feel the excitement of finishing. I was going to make it! I was going to finish! Riding through the middle of downtown Portland and watching for cars, traffic lights, turns and other bikers kept me distracted from all the pain my body was feeling. Before I knew it, there it was. The finish line!

We did it! It was over! I am a bit embarrassed to say it, but I just cried. I was proud of myself and my husband for accomplishing such a big goal. I was thrilled it was over. I was so happy to get off my bike. The emotions just kind of hit me and I cried. We were Finishers of the 35th Annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.  

I know that I said it over and over on Facebook and Instagram, but seriously - THANK YOU to everyone who sent kind words of encouragement and support. A giant THANK YOU to Chris and Jackie for your unconditional and tireless support. Joel and I would have never finished without you!!

STP Conquered.


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Blogmopolitan Quiz: Round 1

It is finally Friday friends!! I am exhausted and ready for the weekend! I shouldn't really be this tired, because I haven't done much this week. I've been taking things easy outside of the office, but that is because I rode my bike for 204 miles last weekend. Yep, Joel and I participated in our first Seattle to Portland ride. More on that later, but for now I am taking the easy way and linking up with Erin @ Two Thirds Hazel for the Blogmopolitan Quiz! So, do like me, and take it easy!

This weekend I will be floating down the river as I continue on my binge of relaxation and fun-in-the-sun!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Humpday Confessions

I love, love, love four day work weeks. Today feels like Thursday, but that doesn't mean it isn't time for some Humpday confessions!

I confess...

...I apparently feel the need to grip the handlebars of my bike as though I am hanging on for dear life. After about 90 miles ridden over the weekend, my hands are useless. I can't grip anything, I can't hold anything, and if the fly is down on my pants, it's because I don't have the strength to zip it up. It's that bad!
yep, pretty much how I feel right now...

...biking has pretty much taken over my life. The laundry room is filled with biking clothes, delivery boxes are filled with biking gear to try out, and all our free time is spent peddling. Training for events is such a time-suck!

...I dress like a 90 year old woman. I looked around the bus the other day and it hit me, I look like I'm headed to bingo, not to work. I am working on changing this. Not cool.

...I really enjoy fireworks, but hate waiting for it to get dark. I also like duct taping a bunch of firecrackers to something and seeing if I can blow stuff up. Did you know that Barbie doesn't melt evenly?

...My yard was that house. You know, the one with weeds taller than your knees and grass that is starting to look like a hay field. At least, that was the case until last night, when Joel decided we should do something about that. Honestly, we just didn't want a rouge firecracker to land in our dried out, over-grown yard and burn down our house. We are no longer that house. You're welcome neighborhood.

Well, that is about all I have for today! We are offically more than halfway done with this week - bring on the holiday weekend!!


Vodka and Soda

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's a Good Day When...

You  know those days when everything clicks and life is so good? That is the feeling I get whenever one, or even better, a bunch of these things happen.

It's a good day when...

...I wake up feeling ready to get up, rather than calculating how many more times I can hit snooze.

...I remember to shave my legs in the shower.

...I give myself enough time to make coffee before I leave the house. No delay in the caffine is always a good thing!

...there isn't a single crazy person or a single annoyingly-chipper-person-who-is-trying-to-make-new-friends on the bus ride to or from work. I wish there was a bus for quiet, keep-to-themselves-commuters-only! boss asks me to make a Starbucks run. It usually means I get one too! Best boss ever award goes to...

...I don't spill anything on my self.

...I make it through the entire eight hours of work without being annoyed or irritated by either a co-worker or a project. This is the definition of an amazing day...

...I have a plan for a healthy home cooked dinner and the energy to make it.

...I remember to fill the gas tank in my car before the light comes on.

...I actually want to work out after work, instead of having to force myself to keep with the routine.

...I get random text messages from friends. Those are the best.

...the sun is shinning and I am not at work. What is it about the sun only shinning during 8-5?

...I find myself in the middle of a really good book. I mean the kind of book that you can't stop thinking about.

...I get kitty-of-the-month texts from my brother-in-law.

...when I play kickball with my family.

...I can check a lingering "to-do" item off my ever growing list.

...I am floating in any body of water in my floaty.

...I am relaxing or adventuring on a vacation.

...I manage to get a blog post published.

Join the link up with Brittany and Lisa!
Or just check out all the great lists of good day triggers!

=It's A Good Day Linkup

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Listed Tuesday :: Where Have I Been?

Hello... Is anyone still there... Just left for a second to get some more coffee...  Hello...

Hi. My name is Jessica Odell and I am was an absent blogger. My last post was on April 17. I am here to come clean and confess my activities that clearly have not included blogging over the last 68 days. And what better way to do so, than to link up with Erica Jacquline for a Listed Tuesday post.

So while I wasn't here blogging, I...

... went down to Portland, OR to see my first NBA game. While there I also rode a Segway for the first time and ate the best biscuit breakfast sandwich of my life.

... spent the last open weekend of the ski season in Leavenworth. I didn't ski since I had recently sprained my neck. Instead I sat in the lodge and drafted up a million blog posts which are still sitting in my drafts folder.
... volunteered for Rebuilding Together Seattle.

... got to go out on the roof my office building and check out the views. I work in the second tallest building in Seattle, so the views from the roof are amazing!

...played tourist in my own city by riding segways around downtown, went on the Ride the Ducks of Seattle tour, and visited the Fremont Troll.

... went to Vegas to celebrate my brother-in-law's 40th birthday party.

... skydived in Las Vegas!

... hiked up the Lime Kiln Trail with family. It was a good first hike of the season.

... my husband turned 34 and we celebrated by running our first marathon! I'm a terrible wife.

... ate pierogis with friends.

... saw Giselle at the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

... had lunch with Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl and several other good books. I learned so much about the world of writing and publishing books.

... made a lot of progress on big projects at the office. That last sentence should read: Worked a lot of late nights. And yes. that stack of files is high enough that I can use it as a headrest.

... celebrated Father's Day with my dad and family.

... went on a 40 mile bike ride with my hubby. It was my first long ride of the season and the weather was perfect!

... hiked up to Monte Cristo. An abandoned mining town in the middle of no where.

I have lots of plans to elaborate on a few of my activities, because I am just dying to share with you all the details of my recent adventures, big and small. Not to mention all those drafted posts just itching to be published. So be sure to come back soon for more pictures of my first skydive, the dirty truth of running a marathon, and playing tourist in my home town.

Welcome back! Good to be back!


Erica Jacquline

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Live & Learn Thursday :: Things You Shouldn't Do When Buying A Car

You all know what time it is! Time for another Live & Learn Thursday link up! This week I will be sharing the lessons I learned when I tried to buy a new car.

Life As Always

This lesson begins about a year ago when we decided it was time to replace my car. There was nothing really wrong with my car, it was just old and our needs were changing. Joel and I needed something that would work well for our outdoor, adventure filled lifestyle, but could also be a good family car, should we make that decision in the future. So we did our research, saved our pennies, and last January we made the big purchase.

The bad news was that we would have to wait almost three months before the car was ready for us to drive it home. There wasn't a single vehicle in the entire country in the color I wanted, in the trim level I wanted, or with towing already installed. I was determined to get my car just the way I wanted it, so we didn't settle, we placed our order and waited for it to be built in a factory and shipped to our dealership.

Months went by and at times I had forgotten that we had even bought a new car. But then, one day, when Joel and I were out buying him a new pair of shoes, we got the call! The car had arrived and was ready for us to take it home! I told Joel to buy whatever shoes he wanted, get them all, who bleeping cares, we are out of here! We immediately got in the car and drove 90 minutes north of Seattle to the dealership where we bought the car. Hooray for neighboring counties with lower sales tax rates!

As we were driving north, Joel told me to get the paperwork we needed for the purchase of the car out of the glove box. I couldn't find it. I looked everywhere in the car, EVERYWHERE. Joel was trying to help me look, which caused him to drift lanes a bit, which made me yell at him. "Can you please try not to kill us! You are in enough trouble right now, don't make it worse!" After looking in every possible nook and cranny, I had to give into the reality that our paperwork was not in the car. I wasn't very happy.

It was about this time that Joel shared with me that we might not have enough money in our account to cover the check we were about to write. WHAT? We are 45 minutes from the dealership, and you are just now sharing this with me? Needless to say, I flipped out. Joel had a feeling the car might arrive soon, so that morning he had moved the money from one account and into another account. Sometimes it can take a day or two for the bank to move the funds and make them available to you, especially when funds are moved over a weekend. Are you kidding me? We have to walk into that dealership and tell them that not only are we missing paperwork but our check might bounce! I wasn't very happy at all.

Lucky for us, we have the most amazing brother-in-law ever. Chris drove from his house to our house, about a 40 minute drive for him, to look for our paperwork. Chris found it, took a picture of it, emailed it to us, we printed it out at the dealership and voilà - we had our paperwork. Phew! That was one bullet dodged.

Just when I thought things were looking up and I might actually drive this car home tonight, Joel did it again. We were filling out the mountains of additional paper work and I got to a question that I didn't know the answer to. And Joel didn't either. We panicked again.

So we tried everything to find the information we needed, discreetly of course. I didn't want to have to admit to the dealer that we had another problem. We tried everything to locate the information, websites and emails; nothing. Finally I remembered that Joel's paystubs were emailed to him, so he looked one up and we had the information! Bingo! Another bullet dodged!

Now all we had to do was explain to the dealer, he might not be able to cash our check for a few days. Super embarrassing. The dealer said not to worry, this happens all the time and he assured me that I was driving my new car home that night.

And I did.

I love my husband, dearly, but he will not be living this misadventure down for a long time.


So, please, take it from me and don't learn this lesson the hard and stressful way. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you arrive at the dealership when buying a car. You will look less like the mess known as Joel and Jess Odell!
Be sure to stop by Life As Always and see what other lessons are being shared today!
P.S. Chris, we are still thinking of a way to repay you! You are the best!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Live & Learn Thursday :: Who Am I?

You all know what time it is! Time for another Live & Learn Thursday link up! This week I will be sharing about the time I learned who I really am.

Life As Always

So the other afternoon as I was waiting for Joel to finish up something so we could go do something, I forget what exactly, I was entertaining myself by taking several of those silly quizzes online. You know the ones, which character are you from Saved By the Bell, which Ryan Gosling character should be your boyfriend, which TV workplace is right for you... oh the list goes on and on. Who makes these things up, anyway? And how does picking which picture of a tree do I like best determine which Disney character is my true love? But from time to time, something about my matched results kind of clicks and I think, hey that is me! Must be magic!

So, today I am sharing with you what I have learned about myself from these quizzes.

Up first, is Which Disney Sidekick Am I?

Well, I do agree with the first statement, I don't always have the best of luck, but I do try to stay positive about things. I don't really like hugs, so that second statement can be crossed out. I have been told numerous times how special I am, but it is usually said with strong sarcastic undertones. I do wish I had been paired with a sidekick that had more teeth. How can I be taken seriously as the part two of a dynamic duo if I just have one giant tooth in my mouth? It does seem fitting that my sidekick character has stick arms - family members will get that joke.

Up next, is What County Do I Belong In?

What! Chocolate skis?? Is that even a thing?? If it is, then I say the Swiss have things figured out and I am on my way! I do agree with most of these statements, I am highly organized, I try to be on time, I don't enjoy conflict, and like to ski. I guess this one makes sense, since I should be a snowman. I guess I can just use my snowman-stick-arms as poles when I am out skiing on my chocolate skis. I am going to look like a cup of hot chocolate, with my round marshmallow like snowman body and chocolate skis.

And finally, Which Disney Prince is my True Love?

This one is actually pretty close. Joel does have dark hair and brown eyes, but not that much hair. He also does not wear tiny purple hats, thank goodness. I will agree that Joel loves adventures and he must have a magic genie because when I want something, I usually get it. So far, he has only taken me on planes, but I can't wait for him to take me on a magic carpet ride, that will be fun! I am not really sure where he is keeping his pet monkey, but I sure hope he is cleaning up after it.

So there you have it, I should be a snowman living in Switzerland with my Arabian prince charming and his pet monkey. Without these quizzes I would have never learned that I am living life all wrong.

Be sure to stop by Life As Always and see what other lessons are being shared today!