Vacation: Long (Not) Lazy Days of Summer

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I finally had a vacation this past week, after a crazed summer of work,work, and more work. OK, the first half was a working vacation. But since work often equals play when you work for Cyclocross Magazine, I don’t think I can complain too too much. I was at el casa de Keough (the ubiquitous cycling family of five brothers from New England) to film some How To videos and spend some time with the Keough clan. After that, it was on to the Cycle-Smart Cyclocross Clinic for two days, then a 12 hour drive to Virginia Beach for family vacation combined with intensity training and (much to my coach’s dismay) some serious beach running.

I met Luke Keough back in May when Team Mountain Khakis set up camp in my basement while they raced Tour of Somerville, and I was stoked to meet the rest of the legendary crew. I wasn’t disappointed, and the “work day” quickly became an exercise in how much fun/practice we could cram in. I got tips on remounts, dismounts, barriers, sand riding (this came in handy at the beach later!) and of course, since we were in Cape Cod, there was plenty of swimming. Turns out even if I can’t pedal as fast as a Keough, I can swim faster, thanks to my triathlete days. And man, I had missed swimming!

Showing off some cornering skills... then they made me try. There's a no brake rule!
Even the pros have their slipups. This sand was tough to ride in!
Cooling off after "practice" in one of the nicest lakes I have ever been in.
Yeah, I'm psyched. I just out-swam a Keough!
Luke. Fishing. In bib shorts. It's exactly what it looks like.
Blurry, but that's what happens when you have to set a timer.

After 2 days with the Keoughs, I was fully invested in “the bike life” (as my new Embrocation Cycling Journal column is aptly named!) and had a list of “lifestyle” notes I made after observing them.

1. Eat well, enjoy cooking. All of the brothers are super good cooks, and meals are a big deal there. Good ingredients, healthy meals, and milk with dinner. They also just enjoy cooking together and chatting at mealtime. It was really, really nice. And honestly, I felt great after eating like that for a couple days!

2. Bike maintenance is almost as important as riding! These guys essentially have a bike shop in the garage. And they spend time maintaining their bikes, keeping their stuff organized and clean, and keeping everything race-ready. As someone who doesn’t know much about bike repair, I realized I have a lot to learn.

3. Ride, ride, ride. Obviously.

4. Talk it out! The guys were constantly talking about cycling, racing and training with each other, bouncing ideas back and forth and making plans.

5. Practice technique. They gave me some awesome tips on drills to do, like practicing barriers without a bike at first to get the steps right. (Harder than it sounds!)

Also, they had an outdoor open air shower. I was pretty much in heaven.

More on the Cycle-Smart Clinic and the rest of vacation later. Now, back to work!

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