Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So What's it Like? Being Pro...

If you've met/ridden with/eaten dinner around a fire pit with me, you know I really just freaking love riding bikes. And you might also know that I've been playing bikes for almost 7 years now, first as a triathlete/roadie, then as a recreational mountain biker, and now as a professional athlete. Immediately preceding this phase of my love affair with the two wheeled machine though there was a 2 year period of what we'll call aspiring pro. I raced a lot of the big races in the US in the pro category, I traveled and sacrificed and trained, but I was not a pro. I knew I wasn't really pro yet because Phil Mooney told me so. He said that until I was earning a paycheck to race my bike (other than prize monies) I was just a glorified amature :) Now you need to know that Phil is maybe the nicest, and also most knowledgeable person I know in the cycling industry, and he wasn't telling me this to cut me down, but maybe more to inspire me. Phil's words put the fire in my belly to train harder and to leave every ounce of myself out there on the race course, hoping to one day be a real pro.
Racing as an aspiring pro in 2014.
Last month, thanks to Ridebiker Alliance and ShoAir Intl, I finally left the phase of aspiring pro behind and became, by Phil's definition a real professional mountain bike racer. (You know I'm smiling right now) BUT, it's so much more than the paycheck that differentiates the experience racing then from now. Here are a few things that have changed in my life since RideBiker came along and helped me put the final pieces together in this dream I have been cultivating for the past 2 years (well, kinda since college, but back then I thought I was going to be a pro roadie).

1) Having someone to hand me a cold/wet washcloth and a bottle of ice water when I cross the finish line after particularly dusty and hot races. This may seem like it's not a big deal, but I seriously feel so legit when Derek hands me that towel, and I can immediately wipe the dirt out of my eyes and face. It also helps prevent the dreaded post race unibrow in pictures and interviews (although I'm not always good at getting all the dirt out of there!)

2) Having an umbrella boy! Let's be honest, this is mostly because it makes me feel legit. Seriously though, Katerina Nash shared MY umbrella boy at the second Bonelli short track race, so you know I'm going places in life! Thanks again to Derek for being said umbrella boy! (yeah, same Derek who ended up with a fat stick impaling his leg when riding with me in Blackstar this winter.)

3) Not having to stress about housing at the biggest races. This one is huge. I used to spend a lot of time and energy finding a place to stay, be it a host house, hotel, camping, whatever. This year, for Sea Otter the team put me in A HOTEL! It was legit, and made the weekend so much less stressful than sleeping in a tent full of spiders in a field of allergies!

4) Having mechanic support from someone other than Hubs. Brendan is maybe the world's nicest husband, but there was a line with what he was willing to do for me, such as washing my bike. I still wash my own bike at home and stuff but this team is so legit in keeping equipment clean before every race, and making sure everything is dialed perfectly. Derek is even willing to swap my tires before a race if I want different rubber on there, seriously, how cool is that :)

5) Having the basic structure and organization that comes with racing under the same umbrella as a legit pro team, like someone to tell me when to be where, remind me to eat, tell me not to ride too much the day before a race (this is a hard one for me!), etc... It really helps to have someone else looking out for your best interest so you don't, say, miss your fat tire crit podium :)

6) Bikes. I can't even begin to express how much of a difference it makes to ride on the sweetest, lightest, most capable bikes around. I thought the bikes I rode last year were goo, but I have been blown away by how fun the Scalpel and F-si have been to ride and race. Being on such capable and well made steeds has made a huge difference in my training and racing.

7) Dollars. Having financial support has made a huge difference this year, Let's just say Brendan and I used to eat 90% expired food because it was cheap. Now I feel comfortable buying decent quality food, rather than bee lining right for the clearance aisle in Fresh N Easy, and I can eat well when I'm traveling as well. The days of eating just PB&J for race weekends are over :)

There are many other benefits to joining forces with 'The Alliance' :), but these are the ones which stick out in my mind as having the greatest impact on my racing experience, and or make me smile because I never thought I would get to this point in life! I am so grateful to ShoAir Intl, and Ridebiker Alliance for making a dream I have had since I was in college a reality. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Scalpel, One Girl and One Beer

Dear Prescott AZ, I'm pretty sure you are pure magic. Please never change.
Love, Larissa

Sitting in bed, on a Monday night after teaching and grocery shopping, yoga/core, recovery spin, dinner, dog walking, and unpacking, it's kinda hard to believe that this past weekend happened at all. Thank god there are pictures to prove that the whirlwind of agony and sheer joy that was the Whiskey 50 was not in fact a dream.
Photo Cred Johnny Muller
This race recap needs to start with the background info that I have been dying to do this race for the past 2 years, but never had the nerve to ask for the two necessary days off work to get out to Prescott for pre-riding, the crit and the race weekend. Our Silverado/Orange County friends would come back from racing the Whiskey and tell me that the race would have suited me well, with the hour long climb out of Skull valley and 50 mile distance. It killed me with jealousy to see pictures/read race write ups each year. Needless to say, I was pretty excited, it felt like I had been waiting my whole life to do this race.

The Whiskey 50 Off Road started with call-ups for the top 5 finishers of the Fat Tire Crit from Friday night, of which I was 5th. Standing on the line with the fastest women in the country (and some from other countries!) was pretty sweet. And suddenly a bunch of rifles were shot in the air and we were rolling through historic Prescott up the hill the trails.

The initial climb is paved, then fire-road, and eventually you turn left onto single track. I played mt cards well, drafted on most the climb, and hit the single track fourth wheel behind Katerina. Sadly though, the super slippery wet conditions and race day nerves threw me off my game, and I made a few decisive mistakes on rock problems that I had no trouble riding two days before when it was dry. This gave the lead group first a 10 second, then 20 second gap on me. I didn't panic, and tried to ride smooth. Eventually Rose Grant slipped past me before a long fast, ridiculously fun descent, and also gapped me a bit. I decided to stay calm and be patient, and enjoyed the descent on tacky dirt, hoping to reconnect with the group on the next climb.

photo cred Dave McElwaine
At the top of the next climb though I was 90 seconds back, and headed down the 9 mile fire road to Skull Valley, alone. Thankfully there was ample cheering at aid station #1 which lifted my spirits and made me smile! I worked as hard as I thought prudent on the way down, and eventually reeled the group in to 20 seconds ahead of me by the turn around. Because I knew the climb back out of Skull Valley was 12 miles long I decided again to be patient and not bury myself to catch the group, and instead rode just hard enough to keep them right in my sights. Until, 50 minutes into the climb, they weren't in my sights anymore. Again, I decided not to panic. Anything could happen like a flat or cramping, or a crash. I rode my own pace for the rest of the climb and rallied on the singletrack for some sweet flowy descending, which again lifted my spirits. I'm pretty sure I started talking to myself as well.
photo cred Dave McElwaine
Eventually the course was lined with spectators who yelled encouraging things, reminded me that I had been waiting my whole life for that moment :), and handed me beers to drink. I was feeling pretty tired and beat up, but after chugging half a beer from some dude I felt really good again and hammered it home for 5th place overall. In the last 10 miles of the race I became acutely aware of how much fun it was to ride the Scalpel through the rocky/techy trails and creek crossings. The whole race was a bit of a blur of fire road climb plus a heaping serving of agony, but the last hour was pure rock heaven.

Crossing the line, not really sure I could no hands it in the slippery conditions!
Then the second best part of the day happened (you know, after getting to ride my bike for 50 miles), I earned my first ever oversized check, AND a little girl asked for my autograph (no one has ever asked for my autograph before!).

Told you I got a big check! Best day ever!!

This one had to be small so both pictures could be on the same line

It was some pretty exciting times, followed up by a shower chocolate GU Recovery Smoothie, and a 6 hour drive back to SoCal to be in bed by 9pm. None of it could have happened without the outstanding support of the Ridebiker Alliance and Team ShoAir (who kinda adopted me this weekend), but that's another story in itself :) So for now, I'll just say I am incredibly fortunate to have such great support and so many awesome people making this bike racing thing possible.

I left a bunch of details out of this recap in the interest in keeping it short (ish) so there may be more Whiskey reminiscing later on down the road. Long story short, put me on a Scalpel for 50 miles and feed me a beer 40 miles in and I am a pretty happy camper.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Time I Learned About Patience (AKA Whiskey 50 Fat Tire Crit)

Last night we raced the Fat Tire Crit here in Prescott AZ, to determine the call ups for Sunday's 50 mile main event. Here is a little run down of how it went. 

Lap 1- Sat on Erin's wheel up the hill, and got in front-ish for the first descent, not a bad start.

Lap 2-Went all out because it was a prime lap (if you cross the finish line first you get $50), and got out-cornered by Rose Grant.

Lap 3- Found myself off the front with Georgia, Chloe and Rose, going really really hard! Absolutely buried myself to keep up on the climb!

Lap 4-Came off the lead group and found myself alone, between two groups of riders, suffering.

Lap 5- Let the next group catch me, and then rode with Katerina, Maghelie, and Evelyn for a while, trying to recover. 

Lap starting to loose count- The announcer announced another prime lap for our chase group, and the Luna Chix attacked, got dropped, and started to feel sorry for myself (haha).

Lap really not sure now- Kept turning pedals, saw the sign for three laps to go, was very grateful for that!

Lap still not sure but close to the end- Some lady crossed the street in front of me IN the sketchiest corner, I screamed for 20 seconds. Then I saw Carl Decker on the backside of the course, and the magic of his mustache gave me supernatural powers!

Lap one to go- Caught Rose and securely attached myself to her wheel.

Lap none to go- Attacked the crap out of Rose on the last climb and crossed the finish line in 5th!

Ruining the podium since 2014!
All in all it was an amazingly painful race complete with a searing sore throat from the altitude and that awesome cough you get when you go hard. The crowds were pretty spectacular too, cheering harder than I was racing! I think I liked the cheering as much as I liked the pain in my legs and lungs! And I also didn't know the podium went 5 deep, so I was very unprepared for it, hence the slacks and not really sponsor correct jersey :)

Now we drink mochas and take naps all day to prepare for tomorrows second round of brutal thrashing! I can't wait!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Just finished pre-riding the single track portions of the Whiskey 50 course, and holy moly is it amazing. I think I had more fun on bikes today than I can remember in a long long time. Flow trail was awesome in Santa Cruz, but Prescott is like mountain bike heaven. Here is why today was #anotherbestday:

Scalpy 2.0 is the best bike ever. Seriously, this bike flows, shreds and climbs like nobody's business. I haven't raced a 29er XC bike since I 'borrowed' a Felt Edict two years ago for Montana and Wisconsin, but this bike takes light, short travel full suspension to the next level. I can't even really explain all the good feels it was giving me out there today, just competent, confidence inspiring descending and smooth climbing goodness.
Scalpy 2.0 blending in with the ShoAir RV before our ride. Isn't she the prettiest too?
 I got to ride with the raddist Adam, who took every style point out there on the trail, and even showed me how to crash like a pro! Following this guy's lines makes me laugh, and take chances! Plus he knows all the things, and is good at heart to heart talks! haha

The views were epic. We are talking sweeping views of Arizona valleys, mountains and pretty cloudy skies. I wanted to stop a million times to take pictures, but we were riding so fast/having so much fun stopping seemed like a bad idea.

And most importantly, the trails here are INCREDIBLE!!! I have never gone so fast downhill on singletrack, ridden over so many rock outcroppings, and felt the flow through so many amazing turns, and over so many fun bumps and drops. We rode everything but the fire road descent and climb, and I was hooting and hollering the whole time. It was like all the best parts of my favorite trails all in one place at one time!

And the good news is, I get to do it again on Sunday!!! Although it will undoubtedly be more painful, I'm looking forward to doing it all again! Now it's time to lay low, keep the feet up and rest up for the fat tire crit tomorrow! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Today at 4:30pm, when I was riding home from Blackstar Canyon where I failed epically at doing my one hard workout of the week, I started to come apart. The last 6 weeks of racing, traveling, working, and keeping up with life are starting to wear on me. The good news is, this weekend is the last in a long string of intense race weekends. Also, I am healthy, and have a very nice husband who did laundry for me today. The bad news is that I may have not thought this weekend through. Racing 50 miles on Sunday and then driving 6.5 hours back to Orange County on the same day to wake up at 5am on Monday for work? Why did I think that was a good idea? Wish me luck...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sea Weasle FTW!

We arrived back in SoCal at 11:30pm last night, hit the sac and then woke at at 5am for work. Ouch. Let's just say there was much coffee consumption today! The pain of waking up early and going to work today was numbed though, by all the good memories made this past weekend at the Sea Otter Classic! The XC race on Sat may not have gone as I would have hoped it would, but a fantastic time was had meeting/thanking sponsors, seeing new bike world stuff and letting it all hang out on the Flow trail in Santa Cruz.
The following is some of the highlights in pictures (although I missed about a million excellent photo ops, such as meeting Charlie Sponsel, and seeing some dude in a sumo thong on a bike). I will write a race recap at some point, but the socializing was the highlight of the weekend, so here's to the fun stuff!
Got to pre-ride with this cutie. It took us 2 hours to go 17 miles, but it was super fun to ride with hubs again!
Incredibly beautiful oak trees lined the course, which meant we had to take lots of pics, hence the long pre-ride. 

Got to meet/thank so many amazing people who are super supportive of my bike racing career. My favorite part of the weekend (besides the free espresso thanks to Kenda Tires) was telling people how well their products have treated me/how much the performance of their tires/wheels/pedals/grips makes riding more rad. I am pretty lucky to have some incredible equipment under me when I ride.

AND we got to spend the weekend in Monterey where we saw a REAL LIVE SEA OTTER in the nature!!

We wrapped the weekend up with pastries and coffee, a romantic morning walk along the coast and then shredding bikes with a super fun group of college friends!

 Riding in Soquel Demo forest never disappoints! :)

Off to bed, so I can tackle one more day of teaching, a day of Algebra 1 planning meetings, and then it's off to AZ for my first Whiskey 50 ever!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Back to Bonelli Park!

This time around, the Bonelli Park US Cup race was an HC race, the highest level of categorization below a world cup. This meant there was more high end competition on the start line, such as the Australian, Swiss, Czech Republic, and Canadian national champions (some of whom were at the last two races), and countless Olympians and other crushers. The field was smaller that the last Bonelli race though, probably because it was such a blood bath 4 weeks ago when temps exceeded 95 degrees and we had to race 7 laps!
Photo Thanks to Cycling News (Maybe stolen, lets hope my blog doesn't generate too much traffic that they get mad or anything :)

I had a decent start, got caught behind someone on lap 2 and got held up for quite a long time (there was more singletrack this time than at the last Bonelli race), eventually got around her after trying to make some questionably safe passes, and then worked hard to bridge to the lead group. I sat around 6-8 during the majority of the race, and then at the end, even though 6th was only about 10 seconds from me, I settled and crossed the line in 7th place. 

 I was proud at the finish to have stayed in the top 10, and finished before some olympians, but of course as the afternoon wore on, I got more and more bummed with myself for giving up and not gutting myself to try for 6th. I know in hindsight it seems like I might have been able to do it, but it's probably the case that I had nothing left to give and that's what kept me from catching her.

High stoke coefficient on the A-line because I rode it like a boss! Ok, not as much of a boss as the other girls who launched it, but I'm improving I think!
In any case, I still had a blast during the race. The descents were ripping fast, off camber, and loose as could be! I tried my best to leave it all out there on the descents because I wanted to capitalize on some new found confidence, and it was an all around great time.

Most importantly though, the spectators were unbelievable! Besides all the people I knew lining the course, yelling at me to keep charging, there were tons of people I don't even know, yelling my name, or 'Go Smiley!' and that really is the best of the best feeling. I am so humbled by the support from the SoCal cycling community and from Ridebiker Alliance. Bike racing really is the best sport ever! 

Now I have to jet to lead a Non-Dot Adventures Pre-race course preview ride! Hopefully I get to meet some new people, and I know it will be a really good time!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bonelli #2 Pre Race Prep

Here we go again, another awesome US Cup HC race, another go at Bonelli Park, and another chance to play with the big dogs of mountain biking! I am so excited!

The only down side to racing bikes at the elite level is that sometimes you have to be a good kid and take rest days, where you don't even ride your bike at all! The horror! Here is what a high school math teacher does for prep on an off day during Spring Break leading up to a big race:

1) Paint the walls in the bedroom because they were PINK when you moved in. Who paints their walls pink?!?! This job was actually much more time consuming than I thought it would be. Thursday morning I thought I would be done painting by noon, instead I am still not done with the second coat of paint on a small section of the tall wall!

2) Bake some bread, 'cause why the heck not!

3) Walk the dog for 2 hours because you have to visit all the cool mountain biking neighbors (really walked for an hour and visited for an hour, sorry Davey!)

4) Install a new 'on demand' hot water heater with hubby. Hooray for having a working dishwasher and indoor shower again!!!

5) Yoga and stretching, until the dog tries to kill me. (either he thinks he is hugging me, or he hates yoga, not really sure which it is though)

6) (on Wednesday) Pre-ride the awesome new course on hero-dirt.
It looks a lot different now that the warm SoCal spring has browned out all the grass, but the new course is seriously a good time!
7) Wash all the lovelies! Especially satisfying is washing all the coffee off the bottom bracket area of my road bike :) Any guesses as to how it got there?
Put that green bar tape on the AR FRD before I got picked up by Ridebiker. Good color choice because now my road bike fits into the fleet!
8) Hit the pumptrack! (actually did this a few times last week to work on my pumping/carrying speed through stuff. One day I want to descend as fast and smooth as Emily Batty and Catherine Pendrel! 
I always like reading what other Pros do to prepare for a big race, and now you have the inside scoop on how I get ready! I have some more rooms that need to be painted, so come over any time... :)

And don't forget to come out and cheer tomorrow at 11:30am at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA. If you're too far away to watch live, you can stream the race again at

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Staying Positive (or something like that)

This past weekend I got the nicest text from sister. It read:

Torturing Cara in Davis...
'I think you should write a blog about all the ways you to turn shitty situations into positive or fun ones and how it's helped you with success on your bike. I was telling someone about how I visited you in Davis and you tortured me by making me scavenge for free food because you really couldn't afford to spend money and it ended up being a lot of fun.'

It made me smile, and laugh a little to remember the good old college days when I would raid the research orchard for free cherries because I couldn't afford to buy dinner. It also made me smile because there is something about a sister telling you that you did good when things were tough. It really made me feel loved.

A time when sister came to visit and I DIDN'T torture her, much. Ok, maybe a little.
To blog about turning adversity into success though, I don't really know how to do that. I may have had a pretty tough time in college financially, but I don't know that I have it together enough to say that I always turn shitty situations into positive ones. For example, when the team I rode for last year dissolved in mid-fall I didn't do such a good job at looking on the bright side. There were a lot of tears, and talk of quitting, and general negative behavior. I would love to say that I always find the silver lining, that I am consistently a glass half full gal, but I think it's more a work in progress.

What I can say is that I learn a lot from the tough times in life. During some of those tough times, it really 100% does make a huge difference to put on a smile, pretend to be happy and go out and live. This mind set definately helped me survive college, a time in my life when I was constantly scouting places to live under bridges just in case I couldn't pay rent and got kicked out of whatever questionable housing situation I was in. Pretending to have a good time almost always turns into actually having a good time, even if the thing you're doing is a little sad or bizarre like scavenging for free food. Although I did my fair share of wallowing in grief, and crying into my pillow about the possibility of drowning in debt I was also very active about going out and pretending that the ridiculous things I did to survive were fun. Most of the time those ridiculous things turned out to really be fun (mostly because I was surrounded by such a great group of friends + sister), and the best part is, I survived.

How does this apply to bike racing? Well, I think all that adversity, all that pretending it's fun when it's actually painful and hard, might have shaped my ability to process pain, and to work through it. I'm not saying I'm fast BECAUSE I was dirt poor and ate dumpster bagels, but I am saying it changed the way I process stuff, and may have made me a bit faster than I would have been. Plus, on this side of the really freaking hard times I appreciate every little thing a lot. And hopefully I have the perspective that future hard times will be temporary, hopefully.

So there's that. Now it's time to go pre-ride the new Bonelli course, and conquer the new A-line!

Monday, April 6, 2015


I love racing bikes, and I love training, and I love all those things, BUT... lately I've really been craving a nice long, fun day of playing bikes. This weekend brought TWO of those days, along with the opportunity to find my missing love of going fast-ish downhill.
Spring in SoCal means mustard weeds, EVERYWHERE!!!!!

Saturday's ride was a 5 hour mini tour of my favorite trails in Laguna and Aliso. There were rocky, technical ups and screaming fast twisty descents. I got to play with sliding corners and met tons of people (also maybe almost killed one or two, sorry!). There were also lots of giggles going through tight turns and some scared for my life screaming on some bad line choice sections of Car Wreck. Highlight of the ride was hearing Adam yell 'yolo' behind me on the way down Car Wreck, hahaha. Thanks for playing bikes with me Adam, Carl and Jane, it was a pretty perfect day.

Meeting all the boys. Mountain bikers are my favorite people, I hope these guys we met at the 'top of the world'  get to Downieville someday like they said they would :)

 Also, it was a beautiful day, finally a weekend where it wasn't a million degrees! I did still empty 3 entire water bottles on the ride though.

Sunday AM brought Easter rock climbing with the hubs, where we both destroyed our arms and shoulders (I know, I know, it's mostly supposed to be lower body, but we are still learning!), and then 2 hour naps in the early afternoon. Then I got to go ride local trails with neighbor and MTB legend DW for a few hours. We rode all the staple fun trails, and one new one I hadn't seen before. Another perfect unstructured romp in the dirt. Spring break has been very good to me so far :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Keyesville Classic Race Recap

This past weekend was on the epic side, in the sense that I raced my bike 4 times in 3 days on pavement and dirt. So epic that it has taken me 5 whole days to write a recap :)
Sadly, two of the 4 races didn't go as well as I had hoped, but that's bike racing for ya, you can't win em all!
Smiling because I love riding bikes up hills.

San Dimas Hill Climb TT- I looked forward to this race for WEEKS, seriously, since January. I mean, the chance to go up against some of the best women in the US in a hill climb time trial, to see where I stack up in the roadie world, sounded awesome to me. However, I may have gotten a little too excited, went out WAY too hard, and ruined myself in the first 8 minutes of an 18 min race. It was still a beautiful day, surrounded by beautiful people complete with a stay in Motel 6 San Dimas, so I'm not saying it was a total loss, but disappointing none the less. Now I have to wait 12 months to do it over again! More on this experience later, when I have time to write about the weird, beautiful, sexist world of road racing.
The venue for Keyesville is incredibly pretty, see the mountains in the background and stuff?
Keyesville STXC- This race was more my style, and after 1 lap of the course I had ridden all but one woman off my wheel, and gone fast enough to make the race organizer change our race from 6 laps to 10 (it was supposed to be a 30 min race, I guess he originally thought we would be doing 4 - 5 min laps). Midway through the race I had lapped most the field, and then decided to dial it back as there were 2 more races to go for the weekend, no need to destroy myself in short track. More about this race later as well, when I have a chance to tell everyone why they should come to Keyesville next year because it is the most awesome race ever. I also earned the nickname 'motor boat' during this race...

Keyesville DH- I majorly blew it in the downhill, not coming prepared with a full squish bike, and then not really taking it seriously during my run. I had thought if I just got down cleanly it would all be fine, but I came in 3rd, which set me back in the points a lot. Turns out the points were weighted, and DH was most important!

Keyesville XC- I had a chance to redeem myself in the XC, taking the win by 22 minutes! It was a brutally long, hot, windy day on the Fsi, complete with some incredibly fun descending, hallucinating about almost being caught by 2nd place (it was really just a dude) and catching about 20 dudes who started 3 minutes before me. Most important about this race is the fact that I drank 2 whole bottles DURING the race. This is huge for me, haha, but still prob not enough considering the length of the race and heat.

Keyesville All Mountain- It would be an understatement to say I was shocked when my name was called for 2nd place when the overall awards were presented. Based on the points break down provided by the website for the race I had won by 1 point. I guess there were new rules though, which weighted the race even more in favor of the DH and which never made it to the website. Alas, I did not defend my all mountain title from last year. I was a little stunned on the drive back to Orange County, but it was nothing an In-N-Out burger and seeing the coolest girlies in the road racing scene at the gas station at the Grapevine (if you've never driven from NorCal to SoCal, this is the place EVERYONE stops for gas, coffee and snacks) couldn't fix.
XC Podium. I was Stoked about how many awesome women there were this year!
So there you have it, the weekend I looked forward to most this winter is done and dusted. Now to let my poor tired body recover from waking up at 4:30am all week, teaching, training and life. It's spring break :)