Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - The Year in Review

I was all set to write about my kick-ass goal for 2017 when I realized I haven’t wrapped 2016 yet.  So, here is a little reflection about this crazy year and the adventures that came with it.  

On January 18th, I created the 2016 Cyclo-Runner-Husband Challenge.  The declared goals were to run 1,000 miles, ride 4,500 miles and spend lots of time with Sherry eating great food and drinking vintage wine.  In the end, I only made 2 of the 3 goals but I'm fine with that.

It was the cycling goal that fell by the wayside.  I’ve ridden further that that in a year before so it didn’t feel new.  I did have some great adventures such as climbing Mont Ventoux in France for the third time.  However, as I started the final marathon training I really enjoyed focusing on running and taking a break from the bike.  So, that’s what I did.  My last ride was on September 24th.  I did managed to ride 2,500 miles for the year, which I feel is respectable number.

I can proudly say I conquered the running goal in a big way that included running my first marathon.  A lot of people thought the marathon was the goal but that’s not the case.  The original goal was just to run 1,000 miles.  It wasn’t until March that I decided if I was running that far in a year I might as well try my first marathon.  Perhaps the coolest part was that I went over 1,000 miles for the year during the marathon.  For some reason that just felt appropriate.

How does one go about running a 1,000 miles in a year.  To begin with, that’s less than 20 miles a week so it’s pretty manageable.  I tried to keep things fresh by discovering new routes in the process I discovered numerous trails along the creeks in Santa Rosa where I live.  I also took my running shoes on all my business trips and vacations this year.  In addition to local runs, I also logged runs in Southern California, Las Vegas, Boston, San Francisco, Paris and in numerous villages in the south of France.

To help with motivation, I participated in quite a few events.  Including the marathon, I finished two separate runs in front of the California state capitol building.  I also ran in the Sonoma vineyards, along the Pacific Ocean, and in the Marin Headlands with its gorgeous views of San Francisco.

The other motivation was to run the year with a friend.  We had signed up for the run the year challenge, which is a combined total of 2,016 miles in 366 days (thank you Leap Year).  We absolutely nailed it with a combined total of just under 2,050 miles.  This morning we celebrated by doing the final run of 2016 together.

How did I do on the husband front?  For the real answer you would probably need to ask Sherry.  However, if it is based on fun adventures with food and wine, I can safely say mission accomplished.  The biggest part of this adventure were the 15 days we spent in France as we ate and drank our way through the towns of Avignon, Uzès, Cassis, Aix-en-Provence, Roussillion, Arles, and Paris.

That was my 2016.  All-in-all, it was a pretty damn good year.   It was refreshing to take a break from cycling and focus on running.  I will continue to run and I have my eyes on a couple of half marathons.  However, I can tell you now that in 2017, Lee Alderman - the Cyclist, will be back in full force.  I can’t wait to see where it leads.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My First Marathon

Early on Sunday morning, December 4th, I was at the start line of my first marathon.  The California International Marathon (CIM) to be exact.  There were a lot of circumstances and miles that led me to this point but I will save that for a future post.  This story is about the experience.

I was running with my brother-in-law, Mike.  Well, in reality I was only starting with him since he would finish an hour faster than me.  We decided to make it a weekend get away so both families headed to Folsom on Friday. 

Mike and I at the Expo
On Saturday, we went down to the Expo in Sacramento.  We checked in, picked up our race packets, and then spent time exploring the booths and getting answers to our questions.  We then walked over the finish line to check it out.  Then it was back to Folsom for family time and to relax before the big day.

On race day, the weather was perfect with sunshine and cool temperatures!  I chose to wear my  long-sleeve Let’s Run Paris shirt.  I’ve had so much fun running with this group when I’m in Paris and I knew their spirit would help me succeed.  

At 5:10 a.m. we walked across to street to catch the bus to the start.  Once our bus was full we were off and you could hear the excited chatter of people on their way to a big adventure.  There was a coffee shop at the start so we grabbed a coffee and waited.  At 6:40 a.m., we took off everything that was keeping us warm, shoved it in a bag, and headed for the official start line.

Since my goal was 4:15, I lined up between the 4:08 and 4:23 pace groups.  However, since this was my first marathon I had decided not to join any pace group.  I wanted to run at my own pace based on how I was feeling at the moment.

Mile 23 (thanks Jasin!)
As start time got closer, we started to edge forward and I found myself in front of the 3:58 pace group.  At exactly 7:00 a.m. we were off.  The road was very wide and I reached the official start and was running within 2-minutes.  I quickly found my pace as I settled in for over 4-hours of running.  At the 1 mile mark, the 3:58 pace group went by and I simply let them go.  At 2.5 miles, the 4:00 pace group also passed me. While I let the 4:00 group go by I noticed they weren’t getting too far ahead of me.  In fact, at the 8 mile mark, they were still in sight.  Finally, around 9 miles I saw them for the last time.  

The course was beautiful with gentle rolling hills and thousands of spectators cheering us along.  I got high fives and touched homemade signs saying they would give me power.  I managed to stay at a relaxed pace that allowed me to enjoy the trip.  All-in-all, I was having a great time and was enjoying the experience.

With my medal!!!
At mile 16, my right leg really tightened up, which never happened in training.  Nothing too serious but it did force me to slow down. Still, I wasn’t caught by the 4:08 pace group until just pass mile 21.  I thought about trying to stay with them to the end but decided against it.  Instead I maintained my relaxed pace and crossed the finish line at 4:12:47.  I was thrilled as I happily received my medal telling the world I had completed a marathon.

Overall, it was a great experience and I may do another marathon in the future.  However, not in 2017.  I miss my bikes so next year will be rededicated to cycling and I can’t wait to see what new adventures will come my way.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Who Needs Motivation

What is it about motivation?  Why do we give it so much power?  For many of us, motivation is everything.  But why do we have to feel motivated to accomplish, or at least start, doing something.  And, how can we break the cycle when we’re not motivated?

I’ve been thinking about motivation a lot lately.  It’s been a long, long time since my last post way back on April 11th and the reason for this long absence is motivation.  Or, should I say a lack of motivation.  Creating a post should be very simple.  Get off Facebook, write story, upload story to blog.  What could be easier?

Unlike other authors who sometimes go long periods without writing, I can’t blame writer’s block.  I tend to “write” when I am running or riding so I have developed a ton of stories in my mind.  I’ve written stories in my mind about training to cycle up Mont Ventoux, vacation miles versus hell-bent miles, and a mid-year goal update to name a few.  This issue is not limited to the blog either.  I have ideas to add to my cycling book.  I’m developing a new book on lunch conversations.  I started creating a short story on climbing Mount Evans (in Colorado).  I’m even contemplating a business book on management.

Still, as I finish each run or ride with a mind full of fresh ideas, I cannot seem to find the motivation to sit down and type them into the computer.  Instead, I’m too busy uploading the data from my Garmin, goofing off on Facebook, or reading yet another depressing article about our upcoming presidential election.  So, there’s the issue.  I have the time to write and the story is crafted in my mind.  I’m already on the computer but I’m still not writing because I don’t feel motivated to get started.

A few months ago I was struggling with motivation in a different way.  I set some pretty lofty goals for running and cycling miles this year and I was struggling to find the right balance between them.  Of course, this began to impact my motivation to do either and if I didn’t take action I would miss them both.

Then, a friend posted this image on Facebook.  It was both an epiphany and swift kick in the ass all rolled into one simple message.  It was perfect and the more I read it the more I believed it.  This simple message - fuck motivation - was all I needed to head out the door.  In an ironic twist, this message gave me the motivation to get out and run or ride.  And, on the days I wasn’t motivated, I went anyway.

Could this same simple message help my writing?  Can I develop the habit of sitting down to write even if I don’t feel like it?  I mean, I’ve told myself a thousand times that I need to write more often.  I’ve negotiated, offered incentives and even threatened myself all to no avail.

I know what I need to do.  I need to create a structure and stick with it.  I need to identify times when I should be writing.  If I’m not motivated during those times that’s just too bad.  If I can do that, then maybe, just maybe, I will spend less time goofing off on the computer and more time finishing all these stories that are floating around in my mind.

Now, I’ve told myself I would do this is the past so what makes me think this time will be different.  Well for starters, I put it in writing.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Some Time to Reflect

Since I was a little under the weather this Saturday both literally (it was raining) and figuratively (I was dealing with a nasty cold), it seem like the perfect time reflect on the year of the Cyclo-Runner.  With the first quarter of 2016 “done and dusted” as the British might say, I can say it’s been an interesting three months.  And by interesting, I mean it’s been a blast.

A good day for reflection.
What are the numbers?  Well, how about 301 miles of running and 653 miles on the bike.  While the running miles are great, the cycling miles are a little below what I was hoping for at this point in the year.  To be honest, it’s the weather that’s been the issue and not the additional time spent running.  We’ve had a very wet winter and that always means fewer miles on the bike.

While 653 miles of cycling is not child’s play, it’s not enough to meet my goal of 4,000 miles (I adjusted this down from the original goal of 4,500) this year. In doing the math you could see that I’m on pace to reach just 2,612 miles.  Knowing I'm behind is where my goals have been mentally tough.  I know I’m behind my goal in cycling miles because every time I go into my Strava account it tells me so and it makes want to hit the road.  In fact, thanks to Strava, I know that I am 371 miles behind my goal, which is a little concerning at times.

However, I knew that there would more running and less riding for the first three months.  I knew in advance I would be behind my goal in cycling.  That was the plan.  And, while I would prefer to have a few more cycling miles on the books, I also know that there will be many, many miles of cycling to come now that the days are longer and warmer.  What I need to do now is to not panic and stick with the plan.

The other half of the Cyclo-Runner equation is doing just fine.  At 301 miles I am 46 miles ahead of my goals and on track for 1,204 miles for the year.  I’m pretty sure that won’t happen.  Once again, the plan was to run long in the first part of the year, cycle more through the summer, and finish the year running strong in autumn. 

My growing collection from runs.
In theory that’s how it was going to work.  The reality is I’m enjoying my runs so much that I’m not sure I want to back off any time soon.  I’ve gone for long solo runs on the trails of our local state parks.  I’ve run with friends both old and new.  I set a personal record with my first sub 2-hour half marathon.  My last run was a 10.2-mile race in Sacramento where I turned in a time of 1:26:22 with an average of 8:28 minute miles, which was my fastest long distance run by far.

Another reason the running may stay higher is that I’ve signed up for my first marathon, the California International Marathon on December 4th.  In an effort to stick to my plan, I purposely select one later in the year.  This means I can keep up the cycling miles all summer and still have plenty of time to train.  

There you have it.  As expected, I am ahead of my running goals but behind on cycling.  Still, it’s been a great start to the year and I can’t wait to see what adventures the next three months will bring.  If it’s anything like the first three months this is going to be a great year.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Marin Ultra Challenge 25k

Last Saturday was the finale of yet another adventure created by the Ragnar Relay last October.   Basically, in training for Ragnar I was doing more running than cycling and some friends took advantage of this to call me out to join them in the Marin Ultra Challenge.  This is a tough trail race with 25k (15.5 miles), 50k, and 50 mile distances.

It started when Pat decided to run the 50k.  Jennifer, who also ran Ragnar, decided to run the 25k.  She’s the one who called me out, on Facebook no less, so the next thing I know I’m registered for the 25k.  Lastly, my brother-in-law Mike decided to join Pat in the 50k run.

Race profile!!!
This was definitely going to be a challenge.  Not only had I never tried a 25k before but this race also included 3,000 feet of climbing over three monster hills.  Fortunately, I like running hills so this wasn’t as intimidating for me as others but I would still need to train if I was going to have a good day.  And by good day, I mean simply finishing.

A week before the race Mother Nature provided a surprise.  After a beautiful February, March started with the formation of an atmospheric river.  Put simply, an atmospheric river means lots and lots of rain.  We received 6.5 inches of rain in the seven days leading up to the race and the weather for race day called for strong winds and heavy rain.

We started at the beach below.
On race day, Mike, Jennifer, and I got to the start around 7:30 a.m.  Mike wasn’t feeling it that week so he decided to “only” run the 25k.  Pat was already on the course since he started at 6:00.  At 8:00 it began to rain and the wind increased.  As we all donned rain gear I was thinking this was going to be interesting.

Then something strange happened.  Just before we started running, the rain stopped.  One mile into the run I was starting to get too hot so I took off the rain jacket and tied it around my waist.  That’s where it stayed until the end since it didn’t rain on us once the whole race.  The wind however was fierce averaging 20 mph with gust over 30 mph while we were on the course.

Ran up these steps, twice!!!
I had decided to stay with Jennifer so we settled in and continued the first climb.  While it started out gently enough it finished with some very steep sections including two sections of stairs.  Then, it was down the back side, over some rollers, and then a long descent back to the start.  We then got to go up the same hill again although we approached the bottom half from a different direction.

After getting over the hill for the second time we are both feeling ok as we make our way to the second aid station, which was at the 10 mile point.  As we were coming in, Pat was heading out so we stayed with him as we made our way up the third, and hardest climb of the day.  Once over the top, where the wind was at its worse, Pat took off while Jennifer and I continued our steady pace to the end.
Finishing with "wind" hair :)

We crossed the finish line at 3:11.  Although I was tired, I felt pretty good overall.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t the climbs that got to me as much as the descents, which were just as steep.  Mike finished 1-hour ahead of us and was third in his age group, which was very cool.  After a bit of hanging around, Mike and I headed home with a stop for lunch at a brew pub along the way.  

Overall, it was a great event made even better by great friends.  And that’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

My Half Marathon PR Training Run

As promised, here’s the story about my recent half marathon.  To be honest, I was having trouble coming up with the angle for this story.  I wanted it to be more than just I felt good at mile 2, felt like shit at mile 11, and barely survived to the end.  Fortunately, as is usually the case, the answer came to me on this morning’s run.

Before the start.
This post is a continuation of Yes Will (& Lee) CanWill is on an around the world running adventure and I was joining him on the San Francisco leg of his journey.  We had the pleasure of hosting Will in our home the night before the run and we spent the evening eating, drinking wine (just a little), chatting, and relaxing as we learned more about Will’s adventures.  

At 5:30 the next morning, we were off to The City.  We had reservations at the Beach Chalet, which was near the finish, for a post-run brunch so that’s where we parked.  It was very cool getting ready with sound of Pacific Ocean waves crashing in the background.  After a quick pre-run selfie, Will and I ran over to catch our school bus to the start.

As the official start time approached I was getting a little anxious since I had set a goal of finishing within 2-hours, which would be my fastest time ever (a personal record or PR).  Will is a faster runner than me so my plan was to hang with him for a few fast miles then settle into a rhythm that would carry me to the end within my 2-hour goal.

Around mile 10.
Right at 8:00 we are off.  Will and started to weave our way though the people and within the first mile we are running our pace.  It felt fast but not deadly.  Then, I look at my watch and see that we are running an 8:16 mile pace.  This is much faster than my normal 9:20 and I begin to wonder how much longer I can hold on.

We continued the pace through miles 2 and 3.  Just as we approached mile 4 I looked again and now we were running a 7:47 pace.  At that point it was time to let Will go.  I immediately told myself to slow down however at mile 7 I was still pushing a sub 9:00 pace.

I turned out of Golden Gate Park and onto the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean.  This is where I started to struggle.  It felt like I was never going to reach the turnaround to start heading back.  Once I reached the turning point I was hoping the motivation of heading home would kick in but it did not.  Miles 10 - 12 were a real struggle as I fought to hold on.

At the finish!!!
The good news was I was still on track.  As I ran, I was constantly doing math in my head to ensure I met my goal.  At 12 miles, the motivation did kick in and I was able to lift the pace to the  end.  And this included dealing with a small climb to the finish and the fact my watch said it was 13.35 and not 13.1 miles.  My time - 1:55:49.

While I met my goal I could hardly walk.  Monday was even worse as my legs were very fatigued.  My solution?  Go on a 40-mile recovery bike ride.  That’s because of the “training” part of the title of this post.  While many people were taking time off after finishing the half marathon, I needed to keep training since that was not the goal.

My running goal is a 25k (15.5 miles) run with over 3,000 feet of climbing on March 12th.  I wonder how the legs will feel after that run?


Monday, February 22, 2016

The First Real Test of 2016

This weekend was the first really big test of the Cyclo-Runner-Husband Challenge.  What was going to make this weekend different?  In a word - hills!!!  This weekend I was adding hills to both the ride and the run.  When you add that this was just one week after my PR-setting half marathon, which I promise to write about next, you have all the necessary ingredients for a big test.

Plus, it wasn’t like I had been sitting around all week.  After Sunday’s half marathon, I did a 42 mile recovery ride on Monday.  That was followed by two days of rest. Then, on Thursday I was back at it with a 3.5 mile run followed by another 5.0 miles on Friday.

When Saturday arrived I was excited to ride.  While I have been riding, I have not spent much time on hills yet this year.  That’s primarily because I spent most of my Saturday rides trying to save my legs for my Sunday run.  However, I have an event in late April that includes big climbs so I couldn’t hesitate any more.  It was time to start some serious climbing, which I actually enjoy.

However, at this point I don’t need one big monster climb. What I really need is a ride that goes up and over multiple climbs.  Fortunately, I have several routes that corse through the west county hills.  The goal is to complete hill intervals while enjoying the beautiful day.  As you can see from the profile, the plan called for a lot of up and down.

All-in-all the ride was fun but uneventful.  I approached each hill with simple mindset of making it to the top without over doing it.  Then, I would cruise down the descent as I got ready for the next climb.  It was the perfect route on a beautiful day and in the end I felt great.  But, how would I feel on the run the next day.

Sunday was even more gorgeous and I was really looking forward to the run for two reasons.  To begin wth, I was running the trails of Annadel.  Plus, my new Let’s Run Paris shirt had arrived and it was my first chance to wear it.  Still, even though I have run some hills this year, this was a big run with two big climbs, so I was a little nervous.

To spare you from all the details, let’s just say the run went fine overall but it had its moments when I was wondering what the hell was I doing.  I made a last minute decision to tackle the steeper climb versus the longest climb first.  Half way up it seemed like the wrong decision but I finally settled into a good pace.  The fact that it was truly a beautiful, spring-like day really helped. 

Once again, the profile shows that I did some really good climbing.  Of course, this is nothing compared to the over 3,000 feet of climbing in my next running event which is on March 12th.  It is a trail run in Marin County and I am relying on the fact that I also love running on hills to get me through it.  I’ll also have a running partner with me that day and that will be a big help.

While I must admit I am feeling the efforts today, I’d say the Cyclo-Runner-Husband Challenge is off to a great start.  I managed to climb and run hills in the same weekend without feeling completely wiped out.  I even had the energy left over to perform a few chores around the house, which made Sherry quite happy.

I wonder how I’ll do on next weekend’s test?


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yes Will (& Lee) Can

Last Sunday was the pinnacle of the one of my coolest running adventures ever.  You might say this adventure started last summer with my Ragnar Relay training.  However, this adventure really begin on the Place de la Bastille in Paris on the morning of Christmas Eve.  You see, that’s when I met Will.

As I’ve mentioned, I joined the Let’s Run Paris running group on our recent vacation.  In addition to regular runs, group members will also post other runs to join.  In this case, Noelle invited people to join her on her 6:00 am run.  I really love running early in the morning so this was the perfect time for me.  Will was one of the brave souls that showed up and at the appointed time we were off. 

Will and I post run.
As we are running along one of my fellow runners asked me where I was from.  Although Sherry and I actually live in Santa Rosa we have discovered that’s easier to say we live in San Francisco since most Europeans are familiar with it.  What happened next was the perfect example of the chaos theory in physics (small changes lead to big consequences).  

Someone mentioned that Will was running a half marathon in SF in February.  So, Will and I started running together and chatting.  During this chat I discovered that Will wasn’t just running a half marathon in San Francisco.  No, Will was on a much larger adventure.  He was running 52 half marathons (one each week of the year) in 52 cities on 5 different continents.

Yes Will Can!!!
The more he talked about his adventure the more I knew I had to be part of it in some way.  So, I immediately tell him that I will join him.  After the run we became Facebook “friends” and later he sent me the link to the Kaiser Permanente half marathon on Valentine’s Day in San Francisco.  After a few simple clicks I was registered for my first official half marathon since May of 2011.

As Will and I continued to stay in contact, I learned more about his adventure, which he named Yes Will Can 2016 (hence the title of this post).  In addition to exploring the world, Will is working to raise funds and awareness for respiratory disease and he is working with Foundation du Souffle.  I think this is truly amazing and I needed to support it in any I could.

Will arrived in San Francisco from Los Cabos, Mexico.  After a few quick exchanges, it was decided that he would be our guest Saturday night.  At 5:30 am on Valentine’s Day, we all headed to The City for our run, which went very well (it will be a separate post).  Afterwards, we had a great breakfast on the Beach Chalet before dropping Will off at his hotel.  He was planning to spend a few more days in The City before heading off to Kingston, Havana, and then Australia.  You can bet Sherry and I will follow his adventures every step of the way.  You can also follow along on his Facebook page.

Showing off our medals.
I want to say a little more about Will’s cause.  Chances are if you follow my blog you are active and know the importance of breathing.  So, I would like to make a call to action to everyone reading.  Unfortunately, Will’s fund raising site it close but you can still make a donation directly to the Foundation du Souffle.  Or, if you are in the U. S. and would like tax credit for you contribution you can give to the American Lung Association.  If you decide to donate, add a comment either here or on the FB page so I can thank you.

Hopefully, through the adventures of people like Will and donations from generous folks like you, people around the world with respiratory problems will get the help they need to go on adventures of their own.


Monday, January 18, 2016

The 2016 Cyclo-Runner-Husband Challenge

As I have mentioned in previous posts, probably a little too much, I am really enjoying my return to running.  So, it makes sense that as 2015 was winding down running would be a big part of my goals for 2016.  However, I also want to spend more time on the bikes.  Of course, I love hanging out with Sherry even more than running or cycling so I need plenty of time for that as well.

My real task is to figure out how to meet my running and cycling goals while also spending lots of time with Sherry.  This may be the biggest challenge of all.

Runners love medals!!!
After building a great base while training for the Ragnar Relay last year, I have decided I want to keep running.  Of course, for me this means setting goals, And by setting goals, I mean registering for events. I’m already registered for a half marathon (13.1 miles), a 25k (15.5 miles) and a 10-mile run all before the second week of April.  I am also anxiously awaiting for the dates for the 2016 Napa Valley Ragnar Relay.

One day, while goofing off on Facebook, I discovered the 1,000 mile challenge from, which I had to join.  Next, I was chatting with a friend at work who wanted to tackle the Run the Year 2016 challenge.  We are now a “Dynamic Duo” who are trying to run 2016 miles before December 31st.

All of these running challenges would be fairly easy to accomplish if I didn’t also love to cycle.  I’m already registered for the Bottega Gran Fondo in April and my good friend Tim and I are planning on a cyclo-cross ride later this month.  We are also planning a trip to Provence in August where I will climb Mont Ventoux once again.  When thinking of 2016, I tentatively set a goal of 4,500 miles for the year.  That’s a good year for me without all the extra time and energy used up with running.

Bottega Gran Fondo 2015
While the running and cycling goals are great, I won’t be too disappointed if I miss them.  No one really cares about them except me.  They are fun to set and even more fun to try and accomplish but it won’t be the end of the world if I fall short.

The one goal that is not flexible is spending time with Sherry.  Now, before you get the wrong idea, allow me to clarify.   Sherry is incredibly supportive of all my craziness to the point where you might start to think of her as my co-dependent.  I think she likes telling her co-workers on Monday about her husband’s crazy weekend activities (or maybe it’s me that likes that).  However, I will admit that she’s not a fan of looking across the table at a very nice restaurant and seeing me half asleep because I’m exhausted so it’s all about striking the right balance.

Fortunately, I like to leave early in the morning and we like late lunches.  I’m not afraid to run in the dark or start a bike ride at first light.  This means on long summer days, I may be starting my ride at 6:00 am so I can get in 75 miles or more and still be home in time for a leisurely lunch at one of our fabulous restaurants in Wine Country.

It’s going to be an interesting year and only time will tell if actually accomplish it all.  Even if I don’t, you can bet I’m going to have a lot of fun trying.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go for a run.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Paris Photo Shoot

While most of my posts involve cycling or running or some other crazy outdoor activity, these are not the only things in life that might be considered an adventure.  There are lots of other adventurous activities.  Like a photo shoot for example.  Especially if it was your first photo shoot.  And, even more so, if that first photo shoot was in Paris.

Sherry and I are very fortunate in that we have the opportunity to travel and have been to Paris many times. A few years ago, Sherry suggested we have professional photos taken in the city that was beginning to feel like a second home.  Since this would be the first time we were in Paris for Christmas, it seemed like the perfect time.

Gonçalo in Paris for Flytographer 
With a little research Sherry found a company call Flytographer.  Their approach is a more candid versus posed style that appealed to us.  Plus, selecting one of their photographers meant we didn’t have to spend months on Craig’s List.  The more we saw the more we knew this was the right move for us.  A few clicks later, we had signed up and selected to work with Gonçalo (his style really spoke to us).

Tedi, our Concierge, could not have made the process easier.   She helped with everything from sending tips on selecting our clothes to selecting our date and time and finally connecting us with Gonçalo.  She also asked a lot of questions to truly understand our goals and did a great job of passing them along to Gonçalo.

Gonçalo in Paris for Flytographer
Finally, after months of planning and multiple discussions on what to wear, the day arrived.  We met Gonçalo at 9:15 am at the Café Des Beaux Arts to finalize our game plan over coffee.  Our goal was simple.  We wanted to capture our love for each other while also capturing the essence of Paris.  Gonçalo “got it” right away and began to develop the plan.

With the game plan and coffees finished it was time to get started.  Our first spot was the Pont des Arts.  This is were we learned to “walk” in a way that allowed Gonçalo to shoot.   As we walked we would hear his voice from the behind the camera offering suggestions but mostly he wanted us to walk the way we did if he wasn’t there taking photos.  Often, we would walk the same small section multiple times to get just the right shot.  It really did feel like a professional photo shoot.

Gonçalo in Paris for Flytographer
From there it was on to the Pont du Carrousel where we could get Sherry’s favorite tower in the background.  Then, we started heading towards Saint Germain des Prés taking photos along the way.  We shot on Rue Visconti, which is where we rented our first apartment.  We shot as we strolled along Rue  Bonaparte like we have done a hundred times before.  We stopped at Ladurée and look at the lovely macaroons as Gonçalo snapped away.  We shot along the very busy Boulevard Saint-Germain.  Finally, we finished by shooting some café scenes at the Le Bonaparte café.

Gonçalo, our photographer
As we sat and chatted with Gonçalo after the shoot, we realized that this was our Paris and we were very excited to see the final results.  A few days later we received a link from Tedi to our online gallery of 63 photos.  They were amazing!!!  The best thing I can say about them is that Gonçalo captured exactly what we were looking for.  In the end, we could not be happier with the process or the results.

From the concept created by Flytographer, to the support from Tedi, to the photo shoot with Gonçalo, and finally to the finished photos, we simply cannot say enough positive things about our experience.  I would encourage everyone who wants to capture special memories from your vacation to contact Flytographer and starting planning your own adventure.