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.