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Whitney, 2011
Loving and living. Vilcabamba, Ecuador.
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Whitney, 2016
Bazaruto Island, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik kayaking near Krabi, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Whitney and friends floating down the Tiputini, a tributary of the Amazon.

Eclipse!!

The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.


Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.

And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give. I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.

Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017

(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Here now, below, are some highlights from past posts.)

IRONMAN Texas: Everything's Bigger in Texas (except the Ironman bike course)



Ironman Texas gave me a lot to look forward to. I was excited to be out there fighting the good fight with people like my new coach, a handful of QT2 teammates (including last year's defending champion, Jodie Robertson), some of my heroes from Boulder, and one of my athletes from Madison.

IMTX has a reputation for being a fast course (AKA "short" course), it takes place early in the season when training feels fresh, and it's located in The Woodlands, an aptly named, beautiful suburb of Houston.

It is also designated as the North American Championships, meaning some of the top dogs would be out there, but my goals had more to do with personal execution than competition, so I was undeterred by the presence of greatness. In fact, it was unsettling how extraordinarily calm I was on race morning. There is an appropriate level of pre-race anxiety that underscores how deeply invested you are in the challenge. It should fall somewhere between "I hope to do alright today," and "I'm on my way to the Hunger Games." I had a nagging feeling that maybe my arrows should've been a bit sharper.

The race day water temperature was 74 degrees, which is much too warm for flopping around in a neoprene cocoon, in my opinion. On one hand, I was relieved that this made it a non-wetsuit swim for the pros (the cutoff is 71.6). However, since the age group cut-off is 76 degrees, this meant that the age groupers would be posting faster swim splits with their wetsuit advantage. Pro women had a ten minute head start, but by the end of the swim, age group men were coming in hot (in more ways than one, I'm sure). The swim exit was nearly in view when we were overcome by a tsunami of men, mercilessly barreling right over the handful of us who weren't fortunate enough to make it out of the water in sixty minutes or less.

The bike course wasn't as quiet as I'm used to, with such a large participant field (more than 2,500) and so many fast age group men already out ahead. My first discovery on the bike was that my power meter wasn't reading. Since power is my preferred metric for controlling my effort over a very long day, and also what I had planned to use as my measure of the day's success, this was more than a minor disappointment. But the number one rule of Ironman is: Things will go wrong.

So after wallowing in despair for a mile or so, I allowed myself to indulge in forty more seconds of pouting, then it was time to suck it up and move on. Once I got out to the main section of the course on the Hardy Tollway, I found I was keeping an even pace with two of the other pro women. Ironman abides by USAT regulations which prohibit drafting, defined as riding less than twelve meters behind a given athlete. Keeping the other two in view helped me set a good pace, and the focus on staying exactly twelve meters back gave me something positive and productive to think about. (You can measure using the lane markings in the road - the space of two painted lines is approximately how far away you need to be from the bike in front). We rode 30 or 40 miles this way, occasionally trading positions, but always staying just far enough - but not too far - from each other. By the second lap, though, I had to laugh at how deeply concerned I had been about adhering to non-drafting protocol. Around mile 60, we were swarmed by a pod of several dozen age group men shamelessly riding wheel to wheel. So much for rules.



Posted by Kimberly 05/01/2018

Bankok    :-(
Chiang Mai    :-|
Pai    :-)

Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai was fun. We stayed for four days. It is much better than Bangkok.


Pai:
We travelled to Pai on the recommendation of fellow travellers, hearing only good things from people who we had reason to trust. We were not disappointed. Pai is a small town nestled in the northern hills of Thailand, very close to the borders of Burma and Laos.

The hills around Pai


Posted by nik 10/31/2008, revised 11/05/2008

Waterfalls, cliffs, and caves of beautiful Laos

We've been in Laos for about a week and a half now, and we have seen some amazing works of nature! Laos truly is a gem of a country, land-locked between the more-traveled Thailand and Vietnam. It is a country of dramatic limestone mountains and cliffs, gorgeous green valleys, and beautiful, simple villages of happy people.


Dramatic limestone mountains and gorgeous green valleys... didn't I tell you?

While the country of Laos is a bit further off the beaten trail, the backpacker trail that does exist through Laos has very deep ruts - fewer people travel here, but the ones that do generally follow a very similar route at a very similar pace. It sort of feels like getting caught in a swift current of a narrow river. If you just let the flow take you, you will keep seeing the same people that were on the boat with you for 2 days from the border crossing, and you'll see them in every single town every single day the whole way through Laos. So you have to work a bit to get out of the current, but once you do, it's a gorgeous country to travel!

Nik and I have managed to do and see some amazing stuff in the time we've been here! In the otherwise-uninteresting tourist city of Luang Prabang, we met up with some friends and went out to the impressive Kuang Si waterfall, where we got to do a bit of hiking and swimming. In the next uninteresting-tourist city of Vang Vieng, we were able to rent some climbing gear and head out on our own to a nearby mountain to do some phenomenal rock-climbing! After a quick visit to the capital city of Vientiene (and a celebration for the future of our country!), we finally broke out of the swift tourist current to a lighter flow... that carried us straight onto a river through a 7-km cave!!


Kuang Si waterfall outside of Luang Prabang

It's been a rich experience thus far, and we're only just beginning our "off the beaten track" part of Laos!


Heading off the beaten track, through rice paddies, to the mountain for some rock climbing!

Posted by Whitney 11/09/2008, revised 11/09/2008