Lauren Hall

Professional cyclist from the state of Mississippi

My heart is full

Sometimes I feel I start these blogs the same way....'I'm sitting in the airport in route yada, yada, yada'....well guess where I am - DIA.  I think the travel days are my opportunities to reflect on my experiences and a chance to look ahead to the new adventures waiting.  

This trip started with Springfield, MO - home of THE Brad Huff, my main squeeze. We spent time with family and meeting friends, we had a couple of great bike rides and hit all of Brad's favorite spots.  He has such a great group of people back home who support him and were so happy to see him and it was really great to see what makes up this man and it was WAY past time for me to visit.  He has been to Vicksburg twice now and I'm just making it to Springfield.  

Brad, Mr. Charles Huff and myself.  We were headed out for a ride, he had a function to go to. 

Askinosie chocolate in Springfield, it's THE BEST chocolate I've ever had.  We mail order it in bulk actually. 

Brad and Cody.  Cody has come out to Colorado, he is such a great guy and it was a lot of fun hanging out for the week. 

Springfield, MO is home of the original Bass Pro Shops, so we had to go and take a photo of course. 

Brad's sister, Emily and her little girl Avery.  

Mr. Charles, Brad, myself, Emily, Tyler and Avery. 

Onward from Springfield to St. Louis for The Gateway Cup, 4 days of criteriums over Labor Day weekend.  This was the last race with the team and we had a great weekend.  I was 1st, 3rd on two stages and we tried to set up one of our young riders for a win, she was second but it was a great celebration because it was her first time on the podium - congrats Janelle!

Does this look like trouble or what?!

Podium the first night -whoop whoop! And Brad pointed out the little girl to the left checking us out on the podium - cool.

This was the finishing photo and it's one of my favorites.  Diana is such a cool teammate and I'm pointing to say that we went 1,2! 

Then the road trip fun! I flew to Denver to meet up with my best friend, Janel Holcomb, to start our trip from Boulder to Mammoth Lakes, CA and then on to Yosemite and Talent, OR.  We had such a great trip, lots of laughs, some great food, great bike riding, hiking, photos and singing to music and this was all before we got out of Boulder.  I joke. 

We have lots of these:) I love Janel. 

Some pre dinner reading...ha!

In Mammoth Lakes the first day, enjoying the weather and the mountains. 

This is big Jeff Byers.  Jeff was in the NFL and has now taken to cycling via his company.  So what kind of dog does a former NFL lineman get? A Great Dane of course, her name is Friday and she is a sweetheart. The kids put glow bracelets around her feet. 

This is Bethany, Jeff's wife, she is a former professional volleyball player.  Friday is sitting down on the ground and was still that high over the table.  They are such a great family and I can't wait to see them again in a November. 

After our ride on the weekend, Janel and I went to the top of the mountain to check it out.  We were told that so much snow fell over the winter that the snow pack was actually above this pole behind us - wow! Elevation, 11,053ft, can't you tell by my expression?

Onward to Yosemite! Driving in, I was blown away by the views and the people.  It is stunning and something to see in person for SURE!

Our campground for the night - Half Dome Village. 

Our tent. Janel is standing in front of the bear box, a metal box to put all foods, toiletries and water in so bears aren't tempted to visit you in the night for snacks.  Can do, will do. 

The rules on the door, this is important stuff people.  I don't want to be mauled by a bear please. 

Half Dome.......pictures don't do it justice.  This place was overwhelming.  I WILL be back! 

Talent, OR was the icing on the cake.  Another one of our teammates/best buds, Jade Wilcoxson, was getting married and Janel and I weren't going to miss this gathering for anything.  Brad met us there after his last race and we had such a great week and weekend with Jade and her new man, Josh.  It's so great to see your friends, happy and healthy, living the lives they want and being a part of it all makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world.

Friends back together again!!!! Jade, Janel, Brad and myself.

Some of the best people in the world or at least in my world.  I love these two to the moon and back. 

Yep, a car full of ice - party on!!!

The bride getting her nails done. 

She was so beautiful and my picture was a quick one because I wanted to put the phone down and just enjoy the night.  We danced, laughed, drank and had a great time.  They were so happy and the night was perfect. 

Reading: Monkeyluv by Robert Sapolsky

Watching: cycling world championships in Bergen, Norway

Eating: all the good foods that comes with a road trip

Listening: My Mind is for Sale by Jack Johnson

Next up: mountain biking before the first snow, family vacation in Destin, FL

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