Welcome to Levi's Grand Adventure! A first post means there's a lot to catch up on. Let's recap with pictures. 

I came back from a semester in Spain (studying Spanish, naturally) at the beginning of the year to start my first semester as a senior at FLC. (¡No puedo creer que ese está terminado! Aparece que era una ilusión.) 

Turns out studying abroad has more emphasis on the "aboard" and less on the "study." That's ok. I took advantage of some cheap train tickets and climbed some mountains in Italy. I also did my best to absorb some Moroccan culture - turns out drinking tea in Morocco should be a bucket-list item, and they have pretty decent Saharan sunrises too... 

 I'll be adding climbing sand dunes to my strength training regimen for the season. 

I'll be adding climbing sand dunes to my strength training regimen for the season. 

 Pioneering in the Alps on the boarder of Italy and Switzerland. If was drizzly and foggy all morning but the clouds cleared for a view from the top! 

Pioneering in the Alps on the boarder of Italy and Switzerland. If was drizzly and foggy all morning but the clouds cleared for a view from the top! 

Emily came with my parents to see me in Europe for Christmas and New Years, and we had the classic European adventure experience - christmas in Austria, New Years in Spain, and some of Italy and Germany in between. 

Eating Austrian fried donut tubes at the Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg. Watching what you eat is for roadies. 

This is what the off season is about, really - going somewhere cool, eating as much of anything and everything that you please, and plenty walking. No need to hire a car in Europe, but do bring some comfortable shoes. 

You can’t get fat in one day, but I promise we’re trying
— Emily

Back home in D-Town after New Years, and I can tell you that riding in shorts and short sleeves year round in España is something that I will miss. It was time to strap on some skis and embrace the off-season, Colorado style. 

 El Niño didn't come without its benefits this year. We sent it into the backcountry to make the most of the fresh snow.

El Niño didn't come without its benefits this year. We sent it into the backcountry to make the most of the fresh snow.

Luckily the wintery wrath of El Niño only lasted a short while, and soon there was enough sun peeking through the clouds to start putting some base training back in the legs. Getting back into big miles is always hard, especially after so much snow and travel. We went slow at first, and bonked often. 

 Mini-Pies, wheelies, and flying kept us rolling on the icy roads. 

Mini-Pies, wheelies, and flying kept us rolling on the icy roads. 

The legs started to come around slowly though, just in time for RideBiker team camp in California, where much fun was had meeting sponsors and teammates. We spent the weekend learning about how we can best create a positive, sustainable and productive environment in our sport. Pretty lucky to be a part of what will certainly be the future of mountain bike racing. We took lots of pictures in the hot California sunshine, put in some trainings chasing Larissa around the local trails, and rewarded ourselves with gourmet s-mores at Colt's house.  

 S-mores around the fire with the team. Like I said, watching what you eat is for roadies. 

S-mores around the fire with the team. Like I said, watching what you eat is for roadies. 

Then we hung out on the beach to test out our new fly shades before heading back to the airport to make it back to class on Monday. 

 Team  Julbo  on fleek for a sunset on the beach! 

Team Julbo on fleek for a sunset on the beach! 

The next weeks were filled up with schoolwork and more hours on the bike. The first half of the semester flew by, and soon enough Spring Break arrived and I made the pilgrimage up to Boulder to put my climbing legs on. There aren't many places better in the world for heading out the front door and throwing down 8000 feet of vertical gain, so I tried my best to take advantage of it. With the first Collegiate road race of the season coming up just around the corner, I also started upping the intensity a bit with some practice TT's and intervals. I love that feeling you get after a block of great training when the fitness is really starting to come around. Restocking my supply of frozen goods from Trader Joes also a priority.

 Sometimes the best advice comes from unexpected places - be feisty. It was a long day of climbing towards the end of the week, and the legs were feeling fatigue building up, but that's always just the best time to attack! 

Sometimes the best advice comes from unexpected places - be feisty. It was a long day of climbing towards the end of the week, and the legs were feeling fatigue building up, but that's always just the best time to attack! 

Now it's time to hit the books and put in a few more days of training before the first real test of the legs in Golden next weekend. The hill climb TT should go splendidly! 

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