Today made me really happy. At the end of the day, driving back to the host, I was just elated. For no reason other than that I had a really good day with really good people. Here are some pictures:
This morning I woke up and had Fruit Loops for breakfast. Aww yesss! Fruit Loops. Then I ate an Oreo dipped in the Fruit Loop milk. Apparently I’m an adult now and I can eat whatever I want. So after that I ate two bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burritos and a banana at the Livestrong headquarters! It was a fantastic experience! Touring the headquarters I mean. Not the breakfast burritos. Although they were really tasty. Here’s my team at HQ:
We were given the tour by a woman from Washington DC who, I believe, interned at the 4k offices. I’m about 90% sure that’s right. In fact, Doug Ulman, the founder of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (the place all of 4k’s fundraised money is going), is the president and CEO of Livestrong! Such a small world! We didn’t get to meet him, but we did get to sign the wall! We made a tribute to Jamie Roberts and each wrote a little something:
It was really nice to see messages and names from last years 4k San Diego team! Our experience there was amazing and their offices are really cool! We even got to watch a little bit of the Tour de France while we were there. How fitting! I also saw this pretty amusing brochure for testicular cancer:
Man up and check ’em boys! It could save your life. We left Livestrong and made our way back to the host. I then ate some brunch and wrote the blog post for yesterday. We were all pretty tired from staying out late last night so I promptly laid down and took a nap! I was woken up some time later only to move upstairs and nap some more. I slept really well and it felt GREAT! We finally decided to go out exploring in the afternoon. One van went to go find a swimming hole and the other van went to the bike shop and then to a swimming hole. There are lots of incredible places to swim here in Austin! But I’ll get to that later. First the bike shop.
I arrived there with about 10 others and we had a slew of things that needed to be bought and fixed. Kirk broke his shoe, Kenny took apart his hub on accident, Simon needed a new chain, Aaron needed bar tape, etc. The list goes on. While we were shopping and waiting on repairs I got to talking to one of the bike shop employees and asked for donations or a discount. She asked her manager and he wasn’t able to give us any sort of donation or discount, but said if we bought a lot of tubes we could get 20% off. Thanks to all of your donations, we respectfully declined and kept shopping (we actually have a solid stash of tubes now!). That same employee stuck with our group and helped us with everything we needed (she even secretly gave Kirk 50% off on his shoes). Then, a couple of minutes later, she approached me and handed me a $97 gift card to the shop and said it was donated by an “anonymous customer” who overheard us talking. I don’t know whether to believe her or not, but we all thanked her profusely and proceeded to check out. To make things fair, we decided that everyone who needed something could use $10 dollars on the gift card and then pay the rest out of pocket. With the extra money leftover, we were able to buy 5 tubes for the team! All in all, I thought it was a really successful trip!
We then proceeded to find a place to swim. Our original thought was to see if we could rent kayaks or canoes or paddleboards because there were a ton of people on the river with them. We ended up at a place called Barton Creek and it was beautiful!
This is the spot where we found a rope swing! Everyone was holding on for dear life and launching themselves in the water. Of course we had to try it! A lot of people were successful, and some others (including myself) weren’t so successful. Here is me getting ready to swing:
And here is me splashing into the water before I could even swing upwards on the rope:
Fail. Oh well. I guess rope swinging isn’t my thing… We kept walking down the creek and found a great little spot where a lot of people were gathered. It was a little beach on the low side of a dam in the creek. There were people with their dogs, people swimming, floating, and playing music, and in true Austin style, we even saw a topless woman! On the other side of the dam was a more family friendly part of the creek that had lifeguards in their chairs and a nice grass hill to lay your towels down. It had a community pool feel to it, but it was still the same Barton creek! I think they put the dam in for the sole reason of creating a pool that they could make people pay to get into. We stayed on the creek until we got hungry and decided to depart. We had to wait for some other people to get back to the van, but then we were off! Danny recommended we go to Torchy’s Tacos so there we went:
True to their motto, their food is “Damn Good”. Their tacos are in the 3-5 dollar range, but they were food network quality. They had one with blackened salmon (The Orange), and another with seared ahi tuna (The Pink). I got one with grilled chicken, mangoes, jalapenos, and a super spicy sauce (Brushfire) and one with fried shrimp, onions, coleslaw, and jalepenos (Baja Shrimp). Then I split one with Allison that had fried chicken, pineapple cole slaw, bacon, jack cheese, and a chipotle ranch sauce (The American). They also had soft drinks that I had never heard of that are made in Texas called Maine Root:
Again, a fantastic experience! I wish I could try the whole menu! If you ever happen to find yourself in Texas, make sure to go get some Torchy’s Tacos. If you want to see some pictures of their food, go to their website.
After dinner we went to go get ice cream at the same place Taylor’s dad took us last night. This time I didn’t get anything, but I did snap a picture:
It’s an interesting place. Actually Austin is a really interesting place. I really like the city. I don’t know if it’s because I happened to have such a good time here or if it’s because Austin is always a good time, but I definitely want to come back! The city has a lot of character and so do all of it’s stores and restaurants! It’s also really bike friendly and fun to drive through. I drove the van for the entirety of the day today and had a great time! On the way home, the we were dancing and jamming to an awesome playlist of some older songs. We had Mambo No. 5, the Macarena, and the Fresh Prince theme just to name a few.
When we got back to the host, we did bike maintenance. I fixed a spoke nipple on Kirsten’s bike, helped Kenny fix some of his spokes and true his wheels, and spent a lot of time on Heather’s bike. She had a little bit of an unplanned meeting with the pavement due to some road debris on our way into Austin a couple of days ago. She’s okay, but her bike needed some new handlebar tape, some things adjusted, and a new tube in her front tire. That took me a while, but I didn’t mind and I was out there with other people who also had questions about stuff on their own bikes.
Tomorrow I have another rest day! I’m in the food van with Kirk. It’s a short day tomorrow, only 56 miles, and we’re leaving at sunrise. That means we will have very little time to get food donations since most places don’t open until well after sunrise. If they make good time, the riders will probably arrive at the host around noon, so hopefully we can have a bunch of food for them by then. Funny story: When Michelle was making the van schedule during our stay in Houston, I thought to myself, “Who would be a good van buddy?” Kirk came to my mind because of the music he likes and because we share the same disposition on a lot of different subjects. Not three seconds later, Kirk speaks up and says, “You know who I want a van day with? Put me with Tooler.” So I’m pretty happy about it.
In summary, today made me really happy. We went to Livestrong, I napped, napped again, ate a lot, got free stuff at the bike shop, rope swung and swam in the river, ate “Damn Good” tacos, had awesome ice cream, drove the van, jammed to great music, then fixed some bikes. It was a day packed full of awesome stuff, and awesome people, and the weather was amazing! And to top it all off, tomorrow my legs and butt get a little more rest!
Until then, remember to comment and tell me things or ask me questions! I happened to look at my blog stats, and saw that I have quite a few views from Mexico, Germany, and Australia! I don’t think I know anyone there… which is a little weird. So definitely comment if you’re the one in those countries reading this! I’d love to know who you are!