I love you a LATTE!

I used to be a complete badass and only drink black coffee (with 1-2 ice cubes, clearly to get it to optimum temperature); then I converted to lattes - my bank account didn't appreciate this. So, we met half way, and did coffee with almond milk and lattes on Friday only…especially when Brian is/was on coffee duty.
Similar to the under $10 a bottle wine game that my dad introduced to me, I now might just consider myself the Dora the Explorer of lattes - constantly hunting for the best latte when my diet and bank account allow it. So, far Orange County has been fairly limited when it comes to the latte scene (in my opinion), however, travel North for an hour and you can be in coffee heaven! Coffee is my muse…take  notes boys...

Portola Coffee Lab is a trek, however one could compare it to the Willy Wonk's Chocolate Factory of Caffeine. Haven't been there? Worth the trip, trust me, there is so much to get hung up on in The Mix aside for coffee. The Lab offers every type of coffee you can dream of, they even have classes at The Theorem where you can learn about classic brews to espresso to lattes. The roast their beans there, a smell that reminds me of my hometown coffee shop in Crested Butte. The service is kind and friendly - the coffee is quick, but, filled with love - the latte art is always great, to the point where I hate putting the lid on my paper cup. You can sit at a plain jane table, cozy up on a couch, sit out in the sun under some lattice, or belly-up to the roasting bar - yes, seating is plentiful! 

If you are willing to combat the lines outside Sidecar you can get some killer coffee. This place has none other than Stumptown on tap, and by tap I mean carefully crafted caffein beverages. Drinking Stumptown, makes me feel all fancy and stuff - heeeyyyyy! Okay, so a donut to accompany your scrumptious drink doesn't hurt…it generally just requires a few more extra miles on the bike. Hit this place on a weekday, right when they open, and you're stoked! 

This is my weekend norm, my goodness Pie Not can whip up a killer flat white. The people that work there are always so friendly and welcoming - the pies are my demise because they are so delicious. I have YET to turn down one. My one complaint? The lids on the to-go cups, oy vey! Last time I went there I ended up with flat-white all over my kitchen counter, before I could even have a sip…I almost cried! All of their baristas must have a magic wand, literally, every latte tastes like I am drinking gold. Perhaps it is the Bun Coffee from Australia? Heck, I know that visually I am captivated enough by the easter egg colored pound bags that line Pie Not's shelves. So, who is buying me a latte tomorrow?

Pandor provides the BEST people watching in Orange County - you get a little bit of everything…from the Maserati's to the mom wrangling six-childen trying to get in the sliding doors to Ralphs. This place is very overly busy - and has outside seating. They always have a great assortment of baked goods (last weekend I tried a Dornut - yes, dor-nut!). They have killer breakfast plates, like the Newporter…and their lattes - YUM!!! There is something about the latte art that always makes me smile - I love seeing a heart awaiting me. 

Obviously, there are a million great coffee places all over Southern California - I really look forward to exploring them all…one seaside town at a time! 

Sending Love from SoCal! 



The Calling: Come Together

I have re-written this entry three times now. You know when you experience something so amazing trying to find the right words is close to impossible, well, I am suffering from an extreme case of whatever you want to call that…

I guess this story starts way before The Calling, and way before the congratulatory e-mail that came in January announcing that I was a part of the Rapha Ambassador Project - matter of fact the journey really started back on the 9th of November 2013 during the Rapha Gentlemen's Race. That day I saw a group of 6 smiling girls there to tackle the 14,000 feet of climbing together - without even talking to them I immediately knew I liked them - I was also relieved to know I wouldn't be the only lady riding this grueling course. I wanted to meet them at the finish, but, being the majestic creatures they were all 6 of them disappeared after crossing the line…little did I know 5 months later I would be calling some of these girls my teammates, my inspiration and more importantly my friends.

I had heard a rumor floating around about a Rapha women's team forming, I held-strong for 4 months waiting for more information - finally the day came. I was invited to The Calling and after that I was given the chance to advance ride the Amgen Tour of California, was I dreaming? Well, unfortunately…plans change sometimes allowing us not to execute things that we have our hearts set on - I regretfully had to pass up riding the 700 miles - although, I was SO happy that someone else was going to be given this opportunity…hopefully next year I'll be there pushing 160 km a day with the girls.
2014 Rapha Women's Ambassadors

The Rapha Souplesse Jersey paired with the Women's base layer  tank is next level! 
Rolling in this group was such an empowering feeling. 

So, what was The Calling? It was like a giant slumber party, but instead of gossiping over boys we were all head over heels in-love with bikes, the one thing that really unites all of us. The amount of energy in the house was indescribable - every morning I woke up, I would sneak down into the kitchen groggy eyed for the first cup of coffee and then run back up to my room - when I would return down for food the kitchen was always buzzing with excitement. Did I mention, the food we ate the entire time was amazing? Biju, actually had me eating oatmeal by the end of the trip - He is one hell ova' chef!

Biju & Allen (and Jeff, hiding) taught us a thing or two about cooking.

Best ride snack ever, besides waffles of course :) 
I don't even know how to express the gratuity...

Our first ride was up Latigo canyon, well…at least half way up - due to our busy schedules we had huge time constraints - It was so neat to be a part of a stellar group rolling North on the PCH, with non-other than the great SAGmonkey! leading the way on his scooter.
Nick is one of the most amazingly helpful and passionate people I have ever met. The weekend would not have been possible without SAGmonkey! 
The second day we pedaled with the Santa Monica based bike shop Bike Effect. Since I have moved to Southern California I had yet to find a bike shop that I liked…until I walked into this one. Allison and Co. were more than welcoming. The group we rolled with seemed pretty excited to pedal out with Rapha folk. I talked to the Fireflies who do a ride from LA to SF in the fall, sign me up! After a quick 40 miles, we had to head back to the house…but…the ride wouldn't be complete without conquering the 26% grade hill outside our digs. Let's just say, I was rearing to take that climb on…
Boardwalk Babes. 
We did yoga, we learned about the apparel and shared our opinions, we even met Simon! Nick, from SAGmonkey! took the time to teach me the secrets of cleaning wheels, we learned the correct way to wrap portables…the Allen Lim way, we drank wine, and learned about each other - we had heart to hearts, we shared our goals. You see why I have to keep re-writing this -  there was so much good it is impossible to convey it all. 

The weekend flew by, I wish this would have been a week! These women are also electric - they are people you want to be around. It is such an honor to be a part of a program like the Rapha Women's Ambassador project - I cannot thank everyone enough for the support that they have given me during this entire process, thank you! 

Our partners are absolutely amazing, they are making this entire team experience seem like a dream - a HUGE shout out to: Trek Bikes, I love my Domane 5.2, I have dubbed her Delilah. Oakley, but more importantly Steve Blick. He has played a pinnacle role in my cycling for a little less than a decade. Skratch Labs, I love everything about this company - the people, the food, the energy & support, etc. SAGmonkey!, again Nick is one of the most amazing and humble human-beings - The Calling wouldn't have been complete without him. Giro, I will never ride in another helmet - the Amare has kept my brain safe for the last few years. And, most importantly Rapha. This team wouldn't be possible without you (Tim, David, Hillary, Paige and everyone else there that contributed to this experience), thank you for bring thirteen passion, inspiring and amazing women together - thank you for believing in us - thank you for all of the support.

I am so excited to share the adventures that I have over the next year with everyone who takes the time to visit my inter web page. Over the next month, I plan on rolling out a blog specifically dedicated to 48-Hours to Live, so stay tuned.

Sending Love from SoCal,