Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year New Goals!

Its New Years Eve and its been a pretty slow week at school because there are no classes. I have basically been studying for the GMAT and making a lesson plan for my English camp which starts in 2 weeks. I have also been thinking about what I want to accomplish next year. I definitely like making goals which probably comes from 10 years of making goals for bike racing.
Next season as far as riding goes I have a few pretty simple goals. 1. Win a stage of the Tour of Korea (which is the most important ameteur cycling competition in Korea) 2. Win as many other races as possible 3. Be a strong teammate and help my team be as successful if not more than we were last season.
As far as other goals go I want to get admitted to business school next fall. I also want to continue to be a good teacher to all of my students here at Yangji Elementary school. I'm really excited about next year. Im enjoying skiing at Yangji Pine resort but I will be ready to get back in good riding shape next March for sure.
This year will be a challenging and exciting one for sure. Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and Greg comes to Korea

Last week 3 big things happened it was Christmas. the last day of school was Wednesday and one of my best friends Greg Christian visited! He is in Korea with his parents visting his sister who is also and English teacher here. I took Thursday and Friday off work but got a call from Greg thursday morning saying that he was sick and couldn't come out! I didnt' want to waste my day off so I took my car down to Jobi San and hiked a big ridge line that I had seen from my bike but never hiked. I found a couple of new fire roads I want to try out on my bike too. After hiking I met Yujin for dinner in Seoul. Friday Greg was feeling better so he came out to Yangji. We hiked Do du Ram San which has a big crazy rock section at the top of it. It was fun but also super cold. After that we went to the sauna at Yangji Pine resort to get warmed up. It was christmas eve and I was supposed to have dinner with Yujin again so I said I would drive greg up to seoul. Turned out to be the worst traffic I have ever seen in my life up there. I went about 500m in 1 hour before finally parking my car and taking the subway! Its Christmas tradition in Korea to take your girlfriend on a date on Christmas eve and Christmas day so thats what I did. Saturday I met Yujin in Bundang and we went to a park with a lake and out for dinner. It was freezing cold the whole day. Sunday Yujin came out to Yangji and we went skiing! She was actually pretty good at skiing and said she learned when she was 5 years old! Overall it was a pretty good 4 day break from school. This week I have to make a lesson plan for my English camp and study for the GMAT! Im taking it Jan 6!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I went snow boarding for the 4th time ever on Friday night. It was fun. I feel like I finally really got the hang of it and can go down with out thinking about my technique the whole time. Boarding is really popular here (it seems like 80% of the people at the ski resort are boarding) so I figured I had better at least become decent at it so I can go when my friends want to. It was really fun except that my friend had a bad spill at the end and sprained his ankle! I was lucky not to have any real hard falls. Saturday Yujin came to Yangji to hang out. We went to the art museum at Everland(a big amusement park near my house) and it was realy cool with lots of old Korean art. Sunday I went skiing with Alex and Brittany which was really fun! We skiied for about 6 hours the most I have done the whole year so far. This week is the last week of school. Wednesday is the last day of class for the kids. One of my best friends Greg is coming to Korea to visit his sister this week and we are gonna go hiking and biking Thursday and Friday. I think we are going to go out to Chi ak San National park on Thursday if we have time. I have never been there but always wanted to go. Friday we are gonna do an epic 70 mile bike ride from Yangji up to Yangpyeong. The rest of my vacation should be fun too!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Skiing and Studying

I've finally buckled down and started studying for the GMAT. Also I've been able to get out skiing about 3 days a week and the resort is now about half open. Unfortunately the weather in Korea has been on off between cold and warm meaning they havenj't been able to make snow very quickly. By Christmas time every course should be open though. I made a new friend in yangji a few weeks ago who also happens to be studying for the GMAT! What a small world! We have been studying together once a week and its been helping. He is good at math and I can help him with the reading questions. Last weekend was busy but fun. I skiied on Friday night with 2 friends who also have season passes. Saturday the Suwon Alpha club came to ride in Yangji and we rode a pretty nice course but there were a few patches of slippery ice that scared a few of the beginners in the club. Overall the ground was frozen pretty hard so it was good conditions for riding. After biking I was dead tired and I actually took a nap for 2 hours! Sunday was busy too! I met yujin in the morning and we biked along the Han river in the cold for an hour. Then I had lunch with a friend and she gave me some tips for taking the GMAT then finally I met John and Yeon Gi for dinner! This week I'm aiming to get some quality studying and skiing in. I'm skiing with a ski club called Yangji Family tonight that I met at the resort last year. They are all really good skiers so hopefully they can help me improve my technique a little bit.

Monday, December 6, 2010

what to do with no bike racing?!

Last week was the first official week of the off season. I still had a little bit of an itch to go biking though so I met up with 3 new friends who are in the Air Force and stationed about 40km south west of me in Songtan. We rode 100km on new roads I had never ridden before. I also went snow boarding with my friends Danny and Eunhye on friday night! It was my 3rd time snow boarding but its definitely fun. Im gonna practice more this year. I'm getting the hang of it pretty quickly but I think I have potential to get up to a pretty decent level if I do it a few more times. After the bike ride Saturday and met up with Yujin in Jukjon. We went to this place that is supposed to look like a european village and ate spaghetti. Sunday was my Suwon Alpha bike clubs year end lunch party. We went to a huge buffet near the shop and the gave some speeches and gave away door prizes. They said they were very proud of me for being the first foreigner in their club. After that I met up with Yujin, Allan, Asami and some other friends at the Seoul world cup stadium park. we walked up and looked at the view from the top of the park then went to a korean barbeque buffet and to a singing room! It was really fun! This week im trying to take it easy and study for the GMAT more. it worked yesterday so hopefully I can stay motivated and study hard today!

Monday, November 29, 2010

1, 2, 3!

My team acheived its goal at the Seoul Rally Hill climb this weekend of getting 1 2 3 in my category! It was in a different order than I thought it would be though. The course was really well suited to me and I was able to take the win! It wasn't a regular hill climb. It had 2 1km or so hills followed by a 3km hill to the finish. The hills had some steep parts and some flats and some gradual which works a lot better for me than a long steady hill. It was freezing cold and my hands and toes were basically frozen after the race! It was a great way to close out the season. My whole team went to Saipan(a US territory near Guam) this week for a vacation and one final race but I had to work so I couldn' t join them! Im jealous but today is the first day of skiing at the yangji pine resort. This was a great bike season for me! Im really looking forward to continuing next spring with Team Cannondale! Its a great group of guys and its great racing with 5 guys who can legitimately win most races here! The race was in down town seoul and was near a famous Palace so after the race I went there with Yujin! It was really cool. I guess now that I don't need to bike for a little while I should buckle down and study hard for the GMAT

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting ready for the last race

Last week was pretty uneventful. After the race last week my team said how cool it would be to get 1,2,3 in my age group with the other 2 guys my age from the team. so I have been riding still trying to stay in shape. Its a 6km hill climb in seoul this sunday. Last sunday my bike club Suwon Alpha came out to my town to go riding. I took them on a new trail I found outside of my town that they really liked. Its a 1km climb followed by 1 mile of rolling single track and a 1.5 mile twisty tight single track downhill. About 15 riders came out and we had great weather. We had goat soup for lunch too which was suprisingly good. They love taking me to eat foods I have never eaten before. The Yangji pine ski resort opens next tuesday which is only about a 5 minute drive from my house. Its perfect timing with the last bike race! 2 of my other friends have bought season passes this year too and I found a korean ski club that goes every weekday after work that I can ski with as well. Should be a pretty good winter! Im looking forward to a little time off the bike even though compared to the last 10 years of my life this is by far the least I have ever ridden but my best season in terms of results. The last race of the season should be fun though hopefully I can follow my teammates wheels to acheive our goal!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

race photos

Climbing during the race

Podium Shot! My team mate Hwan Geol got 3rd

This is the best victory shot I've been able to find.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tour de Korea pre test = WIN!!!!

Sunday was the qualifying race for the 2011 tour de korea which is the biggest ameteur race in Korea. My team and I went down on saturday morning to check out the course and enjoy the ocean. Teh race was in Tae An county on the west coast of korea. It started and finished right in front of a huge beach! We rented a condo near the beach and grilled clams and other shells on the barbeque saturday night! The course was a pretty good one for me. 50km with 3 1-2km climbs. The climbs were fairly steep but were followed by fast downhills immediately so I didn't think a break was gonna be able to go on this course. 2 of my team mates Yeon Deok and Hwan Gol (who are about the same age as me and really fast riders) said they wanted to attack and I said I wanted to wait for the sprint. so we had a pretty good game plan going in. The race played out just like I thought it would with lots of peopel getting dropped on each climb. The race started with over 300 people and after the final climb there were 30 or 40 left in the lead pack. The final 15 km were flat with a tail wind and no one really attacked. The final 300 meters had 100m of up hill followed by 200m of down to the finish. I attacked with 300m to go and held a good gap till the finish. I will try to post some pics soon!! My team took some good shots. my teammates also took 3rd and 4th place. There is one more race like I said in my last post. I don't think im capable of winning but we made a team goal of taking 1,2,3 in the senior men mtb cateogry with myself yeon deok and hwan gol. they are both really good at hill climbs so hopefully I can hold their wheel at least!

Monday, November 8, 2010

hiking in the fog, nami island and it turns out there is one more race

Last week was another good one! On Saturday I went out to Yongmun mountain about 1 hour east of seoul with John (who used to race for inferno racing) (what a small world), khai and alex. It was super foggy but not raining. Unfortunately we couldn't enjoy the view because we couldn't really see more than 20 feet in front of us! The mountain was over 3300 ft high and the trail was awesome really challenging and rocky. Sunday I went with Yujin to Nami island which is an island in a reservoir thats part of the han river also north and east of seoul. You had to ride a boat to get to the island. It is a popular place on the weekends and we had to wait in line for almost 1 hour to get back on the boat to the car!! It was a big flat grassy island and they had ostriches walking around!! It was a good weekend but a lot of driving!! My legs are super sore from the hike too because john and i decided to run down part of it which basically destoryed my quads!! I have this whole week to rest before the race. Which it turns out isn't the end of the season after all. There is one more race in down town seoul at the end of november. it starts in down town and finishes on top of a mountain. Should be a pretty cool race but probably really cold if the weather keeps up like this! I got my huge GMAT book in the mail on monday and im ready to start studying! I should have plenty of time to study during december as my work will calm down a lot when my after school programs finish. Im feeling pretty good about the race this weekend and will write a recap after its done!

Monday, November 1, 2010

good weather training for the last race of the year

so my last race wasn't great. my front derailleur cable slipped at the start and I coulnd't get into the big ring. anyway I fixed it now and I have one more race left so im focusing on that. its an 80km road race with a few 1-2km hills in it. should be a good course for me. I got new disc brakes for my mtb. the ones I had for the last 4 years just stopped working well for some reason I put new pads and cables but they just didn't stop well so I got some hydralic XT brakes and they are awesome!! I have been riding single track almost every day since I got them. I forgot how much fun mtb riding is. It rained a lot this summer and I didn't ride off road because my brakes sucked for the past 5 months. but now they are great and the has been really dry so the trails are in great shape. I have about 5 single track courses that all take about 1 hour or so right around my house so I have been exploring them again. I will write a review of my race season after this last race!
In other news. My friends Kazuki and Asami who showed me and allan around japan came to visit korea. We took them to the big amusement park near my house on saturday and had a party with a bunch of friends on friday. It was great to get to help them have a good time in korea after how much they helped me in japan.
I'm going to take the GMAT during the first week of january. I need to start studying. If you have any good business school advice let me know!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Camping, Training and My dad coming for a visit.

Last Friday I went camping with some of my friends in the woods near Yangji. It was really fun. We cooked steak over the camp fire and the weather wasn't too cold. Saturday I went for a 5 hour bike ride with Danny and my Korean bike friend Chang Jo who I ride with every week. It was a really hard course and the ride was only 11okm but felt a lot longer. There were a lot of hills and false flats but it was a really pretty route. My dad is in Korea this week for business meetings so I got to meet him on Sunday in Seoul. We went to the Korean War Memorial and had lunch before he took the KTX (like a bullet train) to Busan for a diabetes conference. It was a busy but fun weekend. This sunday I have a race thats a 70km TTT!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wedding trip and Tieing in a bike race

I have been pretty busy the last 2 weeks with work, driving all over the place and trying to ride when I can! Last weekend one of my good friends from the Korean summer camp I worked at 3 years ago got married. Her wedding was way down in Busan which is on the south coast of korea and about a 4 hour drive from my place. I drove down with 3 other people from the camp. Korean weddings are pretty fast this one was only 30 minutes and afterwards they have a big buffet lunch instead of a party. Busan is famous for sea food and they wedding was actually in the same building as the huge fish market! The buffet was awesome! probably the best buffet I have ever eaten at in my life. It had tons of raw fish, sushi, crab and even raw beef!!! The weather was good so after the wedding we went swimming in the ocean!
This past weekend was busy too. Saturday I volunteered with my camp organization and it lasted way longer than I thought it would! Anyway it was pretty fun. I had a race on sunday so I drove down and met my team at the condo afterwards but I didnt' get there till 10pm and I went straight to bed! The race yesterday was really cool. It was an mtb road race held in a county next to the ocean. The weather was awesome like 70 sunny and light wind. The course was great too. It was about 30 percent rode 5% single track 20% dirt road and the rest was on one lane cement farm roads through rice paddies. It had one small hill that was off road with a single track descent. There were about 600 people in the race. The course was basically flat except the small hill and since there wasn't much off road I rode on slick tires. It was really fun. My teammates and I composed4 of the 7 in the lead group until 2 of my teammates crashed into each other resulting in one getting dropped! The last 2 km were super crazy narrow fast and with a lot of sharp turns. My teammates pre rode but I didn't. I ended up finishing just a head of my teammate for the win in our age group and 3rd out of everyone (but the prizes and points for the team comp were all based on categories not on overall). The race was done on net timing with chips and I started .2 seconds ahead of him and beat him by .2 seconds at the end so we had the exact same time! It was ok though since we are teammates. The prize was rice I got 180 pounds of it! Our team ended up getting 3rd in the team comp(which factors in every category and the teams that beat us had about 30 people each!) which was good for ~300 dollars. It was an awesome course though. There is one more similar race this year. It looks like I will have 4 more races this year. In 2 weeks there is a team time trial that some how also has an invidual race in it and the rest will be mtb road races like this one.
My dad is coming to Korea this week for business meetings so I get to see him on Thursday and sunday! Im excited. i need to keep up my training so I can keep on getting good results in the races too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

JAPAN trip!!!

I just got back from Japan last night! it was an awesome trip!! We flew to Osaka and spent the first 2 days at our friend Asami's( a japanese girl who we met in Korea) house. To my surprise japanese people ride bikes everywhere!! it reminded me of holland! They bike to the subway, grocery store and school etc. The city is in a huge flat valley with mountains on the side so there are basically no hills to bike up. I travelled with my friend Allan who is also an English teacher here in Yongin. Friday night we arrived and then we borrowed some bikes from Asami's house to go explore her area. We also ate the best ramen I have ever had in my life! Saturday we met Asami's friend Chikako and went hiking up a 900m mountain! Asami and Chikako were really good hikers and the whole course took about 6 hours. At the top we ate japanese lunch boxes that had fish, rice and vegetables. After that we went to this small town called Arima and which is famous for hot springs! We went to the hot springs ate dinner and rode a bus back to Asami's place. Sunday we went to Osaka with Asami and her friend Yuko to go sight seeing. We saw a lot of really impressive temples there and Asami's friend Yuko is really cool. Then at 11pm we rode a bus from Kyoto to Tokyo. We slept on the bus and arrived at Tokyo at 7am on Monday! After dropping our stuff off at the hostel we bought and all day subway ticket and went sight seeing all day. I'm not very good at sleeping on busses and I was tired the whole day! Tuesday we met Asami's friend Mi Na Ae who is living in Tokyo and trying to become an actor! We rented bikes and went around to lots of famous temples and parks around tokyo which was really fun but I don't really like bikign with so many people around its stressful! That evening we met 2 korean people that were also staying in our hostel! one of which is also from Yongin!!!! It was a funny connection and they were both really cool. Wednesday we met our friend Kazuki (a japanese guy who we met in Korea) He is working in Yoko hama which is near Tokyo. We went to an awesome hot springs where they had kimonos for you to wear! After that we went to this japanese TV station and they had a lot of displays about famous japanese TV shows including my favorite television program of all time Dragon Ball Z. When I was in Elementary and middle school I was basically obsessed with Dragaon Ball Z so it was really cool to see all the Dragon Ball stuff and displays for me! After dinner we got back on the midnight bus back to Asami's house!!! The last day we rested at Asami's house and spent the rest of our money buying presents. Now I am back in Korea at school making lesson plans and its gotten pretty cold since I left. It was an awesome trip!! Thanks to Asami and Kazuki and all of our new japanese friends for making it so fun and memorable.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the most epic bike ride i have ever done!

Last sunday was my Suwon Alpha club's big ride for the year. It's called the 5 mountain tour its a 180km road ride. We left saturday afternoon and took a bus out to the Sokcho city on the East coast of Korea. We at raw fish for dinner(which was really good) and then I had to sing in Korean on our tour bus while we drove to our condo!! (the bus had a karaoke machine on it)!! We got up at 3am to start the ride at 4!!!! It was pitch black the whole way up the first climb and we literally didn't see any cars!! There were 35 of us from the club riding! It was also pouring rain and about 60 degrees at teh top of the mountains!! Not fun going down! I was super cold because I forgoet my rainjacket so I bought a poncho at a convenience store and felt a lot better after that. Anyway the total ride time was 9 hours!!! with 2 stops for meals in the middle (one of which was unlimited beef rib soup) The ride was really pretty. There were lots of water falls but it would have been a lot better if it was clear because we were riding in the clouds most of the time. My butt was pretty sore by the end of the ride. Also we all road mountian bikes not road bikes because most people in korea only have MTBs so we put slick mtb tires on for this ride. At the end of the ride we all went out and had korean barbeque then slept on the bus and got home at midnight on sunday night!! This week has also been fun and Im going on a trip to Japan tomorrow for 7 days!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Winning a bike race! ($500) and Making a new life goal

Last weekend was another good one!!! I had a bike race on Sunday east of seoul. It was a perfect course for me 5km with 6 corners and a 1 mile brick/cobble section and totally flat! I entered the mtb road category because my road bike has a broken spoke but the prizes were the same for both groups. anyway I crashed on the start line because I mishiffted and my chain fell of and got some nice road rash on my leg and arm. I got up and caught up to the pack after a few minutes of chasing and sat in until the sprint. My teammate kept the pace high the last 2km and I started my sprint with 300m to go to take the win and 500,000 won!!! (about $500). Im happy to take my second win of the season especially after not winning any races for basically 2 years before this. Im really pleased with my new team and was happy to prove my worth to them by winning this one. The team has a lot of good climbers but not a sprinter so Im happy I can fill that role.
In other news I decided that I want to get an MBA. This is something I kind of thought I would eventually do since high school and while I like teaching english I really want to get into business (I'm thinking international trade or marketing) so that I can have a more interesting and challenging job. I think I will apply next fall and start in fall of 2011. If you have any advice or suggestions let me know. I plan to teach here in Yangji until next September when my contract is up and then I hope to get a job at a company (basically doing something other than teaching english to kids) for a year so I can get some more experience before starting the MBA.
Up for this week is and MBA fair in seoul on Thursday (I hope to get some advice about what else my resume needs and get some ideas for schools I'd like to apply for) and Sunday is the Suwon alpha club(my korean club/bike shop)'s big ride of the year 40 of us will ride 180km over 5 mountain passes (each of which is about 10 miles long or more!) And we are doing it on mtbs with slick tires should be a fun ride.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2 bike races and 2 messed up bikes!!

I had 2 races last weekend. Saturday was the largest race in Korea with about 2000 participants. The DaegwolRyung Hill climb was a big race for me and my new team Cannondale Racing. Friday night I drove out with my team to the race with and got my new bike shoes and my sweet carbon race wheels ready (the team has race wheels we can borrow). The course was pretty cool but being a 20km hill climb I really didn't think I had much of a shot at the podium. I rode well but I could only manage 7th place in my group (senior road bike men age 20-30). My teammates won 3 of the race cateories!! I think we are definitely one of the strongest if not the best ameteur road team in Korea right now. After a huge ( im talking like 500grams of meat per person) korean barbeque dinner we drove back to Suwon only to get up at 6am for a mountain bike race north of Seoul!!! It was pouring down rain the whole day and my disc brakes are messed up and didn't work very well with out me using all the strength in my hands to pull them. Also my middle chain ring is apparently worn out because it chain sucked so bad that I couldn't ride it. So the race was kind of a wash for me because I couln't go hard up or down the hill I had to focus on not dying rather than going fast but thats what happens when you have an 4 year old mtb I guess!! My teammates again tore it up with 2 firsts and 1 second place finish. We got 3rd in the team comp and got 300 bucks which we used to buy a duck for lunch. Which was really good and extremly filling again. Im really happy with my new team! Every one is really nice we have good sponsor hook ups and a team office in Suwon (about a 30 minute drive from my house) where we meet up to drive to races (they also have a lot of bike stuff there like rollers tires tools etc. Unfortunately right now both my bikes are in terrible shape I need new chainrings on the mtb and a new spoke (which they dont' sell in korea) for my road wheels!! Luckily I got some wheels to ride in the time being from the team. Im also getting a lot of good korean practice from hanging out with these guys as they basically don't speak english at all. Its nice to have a group of guys who are around my age to talk about racing and stuff with again! Up for this weekend is camping, going to a pool and a criterium on Sunday (on my mtb because the big ring still works). I think that should be a littl more up my alley than a 20km hill climb

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Geoje Island trip

Last weekend I went to visit my friend Jay on Geoje Island in the south part of korea. It was awesome. Jay was an exchange student at Purdue last year and Geoje Island is his home town so he knew all the good stuff to see. It was an awesome trip. It took 4.5 hours by bus to get down there though! We went to the beach, went to an island, rode on a BOAT!!, ate puffer fish soup, ate korean beef(my new favorite food), climbed around on some rocks and more. Geoje Island was home to a huge POW camp during the korean war and they turned the camp into a big memorial park/museum. It was really intersting too learn about how the prisoners of war were treated over 150,000 POWs were there during the war! On the last day my shoes fell apart and I got a new pair for $18 at the city market! I love shopping in korea. Now I am back at school but I have 2 bike races this weekend with a new team im riding for. Im looking forward to getting to know all the new guys on my team. The first day is a 20km hill climb the second race is a 40km mtb race. Im hoping I can perform well in both of them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

back to korea

I have been pretty busy since getting back to Korea! I got a new road bike (as a present from my dad! Thank you!!) I also had to start working (doing english camp classes at school) the day after I got back! Im pumped about my new bike and have been riding a lot since coming back. I've even discovered a few new routes in the are. one of which is a 20% average grade hill thats about 1-1.5 miles. Its super steep and its a cement 1 lane road!!! Its really really hard similar to mt nebo in arkansas except way narrower and with a really bad road surface. Im training to get in shape because next weekend I have 2 bike races a 20km hill climb and a 40km mtb race and I don't know when the next race Im gonna do after that is so I need to make these ones count!! Last weekend was busy and pretty fun I did a 6 hour ride on saturday( it poured rain on me for the first 3!!) and then went camping in my town with some friends! Sunday I went to a baseball game in seoul which was pretty fun and relaxing. This week has been busy and good too although it seems to rain every time I go riding here but it doesn't realy get much colder when it rains so that makes it a lot more bearable than rain in Minnesota which would drop the temperature a lot usually. I hope I will be in good shape for the races anyway my asthma is way better here regardless so that helps me ride climbs and flats a lot better. I will try to post a pictur of my sweet new bike later. Next week I have monday and tuesday off so Im going to Gojye Island this weekend to visit my friend Jay who is korean and was an exchange student at purdue. Its supposed to be really beatiful there with nice mountains and beaches. Tuesday im going to everland for round 2 hopefully my stomach handles the roller coasters a little better this time!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

America and Tour of Elk Grove

I came back to america last monday for a 2 week visit! My friends Joey and Chris from Purdue picked me up at the airport in indianapolis and we immediately went to go eat 2 of my favorite foods Popeyes' chicken and Moes burritos! I spent the next few days catching up with old friends at purdue, visitin my grandma and aunt in Greencastle and visiting my friend sarah in bloomington. Saturday and Sunday was the tour of elk grove which is a big money criterium in Chicago. Greg was nice enough to let me borrow his bike so I could race my first real crit of the year. Man racing was a lot harder than I remember! So many hard accelerations out of each corner. I managed to make it through both days with out getting dropped though so i'm happy. I think if I come back to the US I can get myself back into good criterium riding shape by just riding a few races. After elk grove I stayed at my friend Dr. Shawn and Jerel's place in naperville and monday I drove to Minnesota. I grew up in Minnesota and went to high school here so it feels a lot more like home than indiana but I haven't been here in 2 years! Its great to be back and see my old friends. Tomorrow I have to go back to indiana again. Thursday and Friday I will get to see my mom, dad and sister too then Saturday morning its back to Korea! I'm having a great time enjoying the US but im excited to go back to Korea also!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to get really sunburned!! Mud festival!!

After getting really sunburned in Busan I took a day off to get ready to go back to america on Friday. My friend danny also came and slept over at my house because on Saturday we were going to the Boryeong Mudfestival. its the biggest festival in Korea and had all kinds of activities involving mud which Boryeong is famous for. We went on a group tour thing and a bunch of my other friends came too! Allan was the organizer of our group, brittany, nicole, and alex also came. As did brittany's little brother Payton who was 6'5"!! he was a pretty cool guy. The first thing we did was a 5km mud run race. They said the top 10 runners would get prize money so I decided I would go for it! even though I haven't run at all in about a year and a half Im still in good shape from biking. I stayed with the top 5 guys fro 2km then the mud got a lot softer and I blew up hard! I had to stop and walk a few times!! Anyway the run was on this huge mudflat area and it was pretty cool to see. After that we bussed to the real festival which is held on a nice sand beach but they truck mud in from the mud flat where we had the race! At the festival they had mud slides, mud obstacle courses, mud wresting, mud painting and other stuff! it was really funny seeing thousands of people covered in mud. If you weren't covered in mud you stuck out! It was easy to clean off too because you could go jump in the ocean to wash off the mud! There were soo many people there! They had a free concert at night too with some korean pop stars that was really fun too. After it they had a huge outdoor dance party! Anyway it was a really good time and I made some new friends that I met at teh festival. Im definitely going back next year!! Right now I am waiting at the airport! My flight leaves in 1 hour!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer vacation!!!!

last weekend was another good one. lots of hanging out with friends and on saturday lots of rain. Sunday was nice though which was good becuase I went to this huge botanical gardens area in the south part of Yongin. It was really beatiful with lots of cool flowers, trees and other plants. My summer vacation started on Tuesday! After work I drove down to Busan with my friends Steve (another american teacher here), Khai( a really good friend of mine from purdue who is korean) and Peter (korean guy). We stayed at a youth hostel pretty close to the main big city market area and close to a beach. Wednesday we went to Hae un Dae beach which is the most famous beach in Korea. It was pretty crowded and you had to pay 5 bucks to rent a parasol(those big beach umbrellas to sit under. It was a really nice beach though. The waves were really fun for body surfing. Sunday we met my friend Mi sun from purdue and we went to this really pretty island/peninsula called Tae Jong Dae that had some huge cliffs and awesome views of the ships coming into the harbor. Then we went to this huge fish market and saw an octopus escape from its tank and start walking down the street!!!! It was crazy! They had all kinds of huge fish eels crabs sharks octopus squid and more! Up for this weekend is the Boryeong Mudfestival and then on Monday I am flying back to america for a 2 week visit! Call or email me if you want to hang out!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

HOOFTA! School trip and white water rafting and bungee jumping!!

Last week was pretty crazy! I bought my plane ticket to go home to America (with a lot of help from my friend June)! Im coming back from July 26-August 7th! We also had our once a semester overnight school trip! We went out the the East Sea Gangwon Province Samcheok city. The first thing we did was sing on the bus. I got to sing first since I'm the youngest and I sang the one korean song that I know the words too (여행을닪아요!) which translates to Let's go on a trip! Singing (using a karoaoke machine that is built into the bus) on a moving bus that is driving on a winding mountain road is no easy task especially not when you have to read the lyrics in Korean! After that we visited Dae Gum Cave which was definitely the most beatiful cave of the 3 I have seen in my life. It had a creek/river running through it! After that we went to eat raw fish(회) for dinner. Somehow at my table 2 of the people didn't like fish so my and another guy got to eat what was intended for 4 people! We also drank some soju and everyone got really friendly. After that we went to our hotel and went to the Singing room. This time our principal was in a really good mood (last time she wasn't in a great mood) and every teacher wanted to sing to impress her. We all had a great time and I got to talk to a bunch of teachers I had never met. Saturday morning we at raw fish for breakfast!!!!! ahhh I didn't really want raw fish again but ate it anyway we also drank some more soju to relieve our hang overs! After that we drove to Daegwonryung which is a famous mountain ridge. There we visited a ranch on top of some mountains. It was beatiful and I've never seen so much grass in Korea! After that we ate beef from the ranch and it was definitely the best meat of any kind I have ever eaten in my life. Then we got on the bus and went to sleep!
Sunday I went rafting with Brittany and Nicole up in gangwon province again! We went on a guided trip and all we had to do was get on a bus in seoul. The rafting was pretty tame but we went bungee jumping after that! I had never bungee jumped before and this was a 170 foot bridge that we were gonna jump off! I was really scared but I did it. I'm glad I did it but I'm not exactly in a hurry to go bungee jump again! Anyway this week should be a little more tame and relaxed than last week.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Winning a bike race!!

I finally won a bike race again! First time since the Depauw Collegiate Criterium in 2008!!!! It was a 50km road race in Hwaeng Song County Gangwon Province. It started with getting up at 4:30 am to drive the race with Pablo(Korean guy who is the boss/sponsor of the team) and my teammate Peter. It rained on the way there but the weather was nice the rest of the day. Anyway I was in the senior men 30 and under category for guys on road bikes and there were only about 30 people or so in the race. There were 3 2-3km climbs on the course and a few smaller ones so it was actually a pretty good course for me (no extended climbing). After riding pretty slow from the start 2 guys who were pretty fast attacked and I bridged up a minute later and so did Josh who is in the airforce here. The 4 of us worked put a big gap to the pack and worked well together. on the first climb one of the Korean guys set a pretty good pace and I thought he would be the man to watch. But on the second climb we dropped one guy and then josh put in a small effort and I waited for who I thought was the fast climber to follow but he didn't so I went up to Josh and we time trialed together. We worked well together until a downhill section where josh slightly over cooked a corner and had to break hard he shifted and jammed his chain and had to get off the bike to fix it. I waited a little then I realized there were only 5km to go and I didn't want us to get caught. I ended up finishing solo for the V. It was a super pretty course and I really enjoyed the race. I won a camel back, night riding light and a special jersey for winning the race. Im pleased to finally get a win! Im feeling pretty good riding lately but unfortunaly the only other race coming up before I go on a trip to america is a hill climb so Im gonna skip it. Im making friends with some of the riders from other teams who race here. Korea has a pretty nice racing scene and I can't wait to race a bunch this fall. Anyway it was really fun to get to be on the top of a podium again. so Im motivated to keep riding and stay in semi good shape besides the races here all have amazingly beatiful courses. A lot of people were taking pictures so hopefully I can find some online. to post here!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

World cup Craziness

Koreans are crazy about the world cup!!! Its a lot more intense than any other sporting event I have every experienced in america. Korea had a game this past saturday night against Uruguay so I went with a few of my friends to watch it out doors at the Yongin Soccer stadium. There were a ton of people there! Everyone was wearing red Korea shirts too (me included). We watched the game on a huge screen and it was like being there. Everyone was cheering and going crazy. Korea scored once to tie the game 1 1 and everyone was jumping up and down and hugging!! it was really fun but unfortunately Uruguay scored another goal and won. Too bad all the world cup craziness here is now over! Sunday I went out to Incheon! I hung out with my friend Brittany! we went to the ocean and went to Wolmi Island which is kind of like a big amusement park. They have this ride that spins around and bounces up and down and you have no seat belts. This guy controls it and he has a microphone and he talks to you and makes comments about the people on the ride. There was a crowd of probably 300 people watching everyone get bounced around! The guy controlling it picks out people and tries to make them fall out of their seat or slide into the randome person they are sitting next too. It looked really fun! So I really wanted to ride it even though I have a weak stomach! it was awesome for the first 5 minutes then I started getting sick and had to focus on not barfing! The ride lasted 15 minutes!!! I felt really sick but I didn't barf! Brittany and I both had really sore arms after the ride but it was totally worth it! although I donj't know if I will ever ride it again. After that we went to Incheons China town and Freedom park which were both cool and china town had awesome food. Anyway Incheon is pretty cool and we had amazing weather too! Up for this next week is a lot of bike riding since I have a race on sunday out in Gangwon Province.! 50km with 3 bigish climbs! Im gonna win this time!

Monday, June 21, 2010

finally doing well in a bike race!!!

I got 2nd in my race last weekend and finally got on the podium here in korea. It was a 70km road race with 2 mountains but it was a lot more complicated than that because it was by age group and there were 2 timed races in one and the sum of the times is what determined the result. The first part was from the start to the top of a big 10km or so climb. I got dropped and finished like 6th in my group thinking oh man I wonj't drop these guys on the next climb. But we restarted at the descent of the climb and they timed from the bottom of the descent to the finish as well. so all of the guys who were relatively close on time started together again(but you got to chose when you started) so a big group of us who were all close plus a bunch of fast people from other age groups all started the second part together. there was a shorter steeper 5km climb on the second part of the course. My teammate Scott (who was leading the 38-48 year old age group)pushed the pace and we dropped everyone except one other guy from my age group by the top. After that we pace lined together to the finish and I ended up moving into second in my group! The prize for second in my age group was 90 pounds of rice!!!! My team ended up getting second in the team competition too which was based on age group results so we won 500 bucks to split between 4 guys! The race also had free lunch and Makkoli(korean rice wine) for afterwards! All for 20 bucks! This has me really excited to do some more racing but it looks like there is only one more race coming up anytime soon its a 50km road race with 3 small mountains in it! sounds like a better course for me than 1 huge mountain and one small one.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

how to break your mountain bike a lot!

So I had a lot of bike breakage this past week! I guess thats what happens when you ride a 3 year old mountain bike with 6 year old wheels a lot on super rocky trails. Last friday I cracked my rear hub! It was a 6 year old Hugi hub that I got as a high school graduation present! I could still roll the wheel but then you pedaled nothing happened. so I had to push my bike 3km home!
I bought a new rear wheel at my bike shop and then I had a race on sunday. (which ended up getting turned into a fun ride because it rained so much that the creek crossings on the course became super dangerous). In the race my cleat came loose and so did my rear break wire! ahhh!! anyway I guess I got lucky that it was a fun ride instead of a race. I still had a good time riding the course with my team though. It was definitely the hardest mtb course I have ever done. It climbed for about 45 minutes right off the start! up to about 3000 feet and then you rode on a huge ridge with awesome views on super duper bumpy rocky fire roads. It would have been a fun course to race on but I liked getting to enjoy the view a bit too. The race was in Gapyeong county which is a famous place in korea for hiking and big mountains. I definitely plan to come back next year to that race. During the race as well my front fork basically stopped working so it looks like I need to take that to my bike shop to get the oil changed! mountain biking definitely isn't the cheapest hobby in the world but I definitely wanna keep tearing up the trails out here. Up for this weekend is another race. This time an 87km road race near the border with North Korea! I better be careful. It should be another beatiful course. It has 2 big mountain climbs in it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friends birthday party and yongin 5 day market

Last weekend was another good one with lots of stuff packed in. Friday night I met up with my new friend Sean who is a Korean university student who is volunteering at my school every friday. we ate pizza and he is a really cool guy. Saturday I went biking in the morning and got a flat tire! I got bitten by a million mosquitos while changing it too! Saturday afternoon my friends brittany and allan came to Yongin and we went to the traditional market where I picked up 3 new shirts for 11 bucks! The Yongin market happens on the 5, 10, 15,20,25 of every month and has the best deals in town on basically everything from vegetables to toys to clothes! After that we enjoyed some Sundae guk and went to the Yongin Agricultural Theme park which also happens to be really close to my house. Its free for any Yongin City resident (meaning me) but it wasn't quite as cool as I expected there is a bunch of flowers and trees and some animals and a few tractors but thats basically it. It would also be a good place to have a picnic. After that we headed up to Gwangju where my friend Danny lives for his birthday party. it was really fun. We cooked samgyupsal, and had a good time. Sunday I went up to meet my friend in in Yangju City north of seoul. We went swimming in a big valley! It was realy fun! Up for this weekend is a 43 km mtb race all on one big loop! Top 6 get prizes in this one so hopefully I have a good race and can finally win something at a race here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

day off good time for a really epic hike

Yesterday was election day in Korea so we had the day off work. I made a plan to go for a super duper epic hike with my friend Danny. We met up at 11 and took a bus that only goes 6 times a day out to the base of TaeHwa Mountain(the highest mountain in Yongin city). There is a ridge of mountains all the way from there up to Danny's house in Gwangju city so we decided we would attempt to hike the whole thing. According the the map that route would take about 7.5 hours! At the top of Taehwasan a random group of hikers eating lunch called us over and invited us to eat with them. It was really funny and we had a nice conversation all in korean with them. They gave a us a lot of food too. After 30 minutes of free food we continued on. Then we found another group that offered us more free food! We also ran into people who were parasailing which basically involves jumping off a mountain with a parachute and sailing around in the air!! Looked pretty scary to me! The hike ended at 7pm or so when we finally hiked to the end of ridge. It was really fun but Im really sore today!

Monday, May 31, 2010

3 day vacation and a bike race!

I ended up getting a 3 day vacation last week because of a school trip! I didn't want to let it go to waste so I took a trip to Songnisan national park with my friend Ji Won who is working at the summer camp I worked for here 2 years ago. It was awesome! A really beatiful park! We did a hike up to a huge rock on top of the mountain on Thursday afternoon then camped out at the park Thursday night. Friday we hiked a little bit more and then headed back to Jiwon's place (which is about 1 hour from my house by car). I did pre race warm up ride around his around his house(which had awesome roads for road riding!) and then headed home to get some sleep. Saturday I did a 100km road race in Hwaseong city which is about 1 hour from my place to the west. It was a completely flat 5km oval used for testing cars. we did 20 laps. It was sunny and now very windy. It was also my first race with my new road racing team. My friend Andre loaned me a really nice Stork to ride in the race. It was a pretty aggressive race with lots of attacks. At one point midway through the race me and my teammate scott got in a break of about 10 guys that I thought would stick(we had a big gap and were off for about 5 or 6 laps but we got brought back with 4 laps to go. Scott attacked again with 2 to go and managed to get a way with one other guy and take the win! They only paid the top 3 guys and I tried to sprint but ended up finishing 8th. The race was fun but I guess if I wanna win money road racing here I better start training more than twice a week since every race seems to only pay the top 3 guys rather than top 10 or 20 like races in the US. It was my first race with my new team but it looks like there aren't anymore road races for at least a month! I have a mountain bike race in the north part of Gyeonggi do in 2 weeks though. I gotta try to ride more this week so I can be more competitive. Sunday I went to a play too. I went with one of my friends to a place called Daehagno. (it means college street). we went to a korean play called liar it was a good test of my korean ability I was actually able to understand about 70 % or so of the play. I was happy but I still have a long way to go in improving my korean abilities. After that I ate my first hamburger in like 6 months! The was extremely nice last week too (low 70s every day and sunny). Ill try to post some pictures later on this week of the race and the national park.

Monday, May 24, 2010

wow long time!

Sorry for the lack of updates. No bike races or road trips recently to write about! I have actually been pretty busy at work preparing for an open class. Last Thursday a bunch of teachers from other schools came to watch me teach a class! This was the most important day at work of the year basically for me. So I spent a lot of time preparing with my co teacher to make sure we had the most amazing 40 minute class ever planned. We used one of my 5th grade classes and it was a big success! The vice principal came and watched and said we both did an excellent job. This means I can stay at my school for another year which I'm going to do! In other news I have a bike race this saturday. Im borrowing a really sweet Stork road bike from my friend Andre. Its a 5km oval used for testing cars and the race is 100km. Im definitely not going to make the same mistake as last time and I plan on getting at least a top 3 this time! Last weekend I went to a concert at Kyung Hee university where I studied Korean. They had Lee Hyori who is a famous Korean popstar. Saturday I went to Caribbean bay which is a big water park here in Yongin where I live. Wish me luck on the race this weekend!

Monday, May 10, 2010

bike race, soccer game, and Yuna Kim's autograph

I had a bike race last wednesday it was sort of a criterium on mountain bikes. Long story short there was a break of 2 riders with 2 laps to go and the field wasn't chasing so I attacked and passed them and went into the last lap solo with 1 to go. I got caught right at the last 2 corners and got 7th which wasn't good since there were only prizes for the top 3! I should have held back and just sprinted! It was still a fun race though my team had over 20 people racing in the different categories we had a big tent and a bunch of food for after the race. I have another race in about 2 weeks. Its a 100km road race ona race car track. Im training a bit more now too since teh weather has been great. Last saturday I went to a Suwon FC pro soccer game. Olympic gold medal figure skater Yuna Kim was there. At halftime she signed a few soccer balls and then kicked them into the stands and I caught one! Its a pretty big deal since she is probably the most popular athlete in korea. That was the first time I've every gotten anything that was thrown into the stands at a sports event. Sunday I went hiking with some friends at gwangyo san in suwon again. it was amazing weather and great views. I also did really nice mountain bike rides saturday sunday and today. I keep finding new trails here and its great. I could make a 5 hour mountain bike loop right around my house now if i wanted. I will post some pictures from the race sometime too. My team is great about taking lots of pics and putting them up on the team website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

a lot of rain!

This last week has had a lot of rain it seems like. I need to go riding to get back in shape for the race i have next wednesday (its a national holiday called children's day) but I have only ridden once in teh past week! It was a great ride though! There is a mountain bike club for foreigners based out of seoul and they came out to Yangji to go riding on Saturday. They actually have a really nice trail that I have never ridden that is only about 3 miles from my house! So I met up with them saturday morning. it was a really great trail they had (5 miles of gradually down hill single track) with a minimal hike a bike sections. After the ride we had a big barbeque too which was really great! Sunday I went out to my friend SangMi's cabin in yang pyeong again! It was even better than when I went there in the winter time! Really warm weather during the day! we had a barbeque and enjoyed the sunshine we also went into the town and walked along the river. I even went swimming in the Han river(which had a really muddy bottom!) Another good but tiring weekend! Its rained the last 3 days now! so I hope it clears up so I can do a decent ride on thursday! My race next week is a 17km road criterium on mountain bikes. there are about 100 people signed up for my category so it should be interesting. I'm hoping for a field sprint! I also hope that even though I barely ride here I can pull off a podium finish for my team!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pictures from my race and of my bike club

Riding in Osan which is about 35 km south and west of my house. There are a lot of spring flowers every where in Korea.
Near the finish of the Misiryeong hill climb race. Ouch!!

Me and my teammate Ik Son. He is the same age as me and is a really good rider. He speaks English very well too.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A birthday a bike race and raw fish!

My birthday was last Friday so now I am officially 23! Koreans count age differently though so I have been 24 since January first here. When you are born in Korea you are considered 1 year old and then on january 1st you turn 2. Which is why I am 24 years old here. My birthday party was pretty fun some of my friends and I went to a Korean barbeque buffet!! It was great lots of different kinds of meats that you cooked at your table. After that we went out to a singing room and ate cake. It was a lot of fun thanks to all my friends that came! Saturday afternoon I went to my bike shop to leave for my first bike race of the year. I have some pictures that I will post on Thursday of the trip. 7 of us went in our van out to Sokcho which is on the east sea of Korea. It was about a 3 hour drive. After driving the course(which was a 21km hill climb that started on the ocean) I was a little scared of the race! The top of the mountain still had a lot of snow and I knew it would be a really tough race. For dinner we went and had sashimi or raw fish because we were on the ocean. It was really good but I think that was definitely one of the weirdest pre race dinners I've ever had! Saturday morning the race started at 8:30am so we had to wake up really early! I was excited to finally race and see what teh competition in my group was like (19-29 year old men riding mountain bikes). There was about 50 in my group at the start. It quickly thinned into a pack of about 10 riders after we hit a few small climbs and then was down to 5 of us by the time the real climb started. Then after about 1km of real climbing we were all on our own. I had to finish in the top 3 in my group to get a prize and I could see 3rd the whole race but I couldnj't quite match his pace and he was putting a few seconds on me each kilometer! I finished 4th which was good but I definitely need to step up my riding if I want to be able to do well in these hill climb races! It was probably the most epic race course I have ever done though it was extremly beatiful and challenging. A girl team mate of mine won the women's mountain bike category and my friend Andre also won the masters men road bike category! I had a lot of fun and I really want to race more now!! I think the next race Im doing is in a few weeks. Its a road criterium on mountian bikes with slick tires. Should be a little more suited to my skills than a hill climb race!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Great riding!!

This past weekend I finally got in some serious riding again! I have my first race of the year this weekend so I really needed to get some good miles and climbing in. There was a big network of fire roads that I had seen hiking that I kept meaning to go ride but I didn't have time. So Saturday morning I didn't make any plans and I rode straight there after getting up. It was amazing riding 2-3 mile fire road climbs that went all the way up the ridge line of mountains and it was all rideable ( a lot of the trails here have hike a bike sections because they are so steep and rocky). It was great training and I found a bunch of new single track descents that I need to go back and ride. I got in a 4 hour ride and it felt great to finally do some real riding again! Sunday I threw some slick tires on my mountain bike and went road riding. Again I found some amazing new roads! I am feeling pretty good but I have no idea how I will do in this weekends race! Sunday afternoon my friend Seung Mi and I went to a baseball game in Incheon(about 50 minutes in the car). It was only 8 bucks and we had a blast! We went to Wolmi Island after the race and had some grilled clams, oysters and other seafood too! I was happy to find out that its only going to cost $50 for the race weekend though! My team has a van we are driving and all we have to pay for food gas and lodging is $20 bucks!(race entry was 30). Hopefully I find some good climbing legs and can get a good result. Then I will be really motivated to do some more mountain bike races. Wish me luck this weekend! I promise to post some pics from the trip!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

finally nice weather!

The weather has gotten a lot better here in Korea! I have been riding a lot after school and trying to get in shape for my first race of the year next weekend! A 21 km mass start hill climb is gonna be a lot different than any other race Ive done before Im sure. Last weekend I rode with a new Korean bike friend and went hiking with Allan to a Chon Gye Mountain in the south part of Seoul. I forgot my camera though! Yesterday I actually had the day off from school because it was the 102nd anniversary of my school opening! I went with my friend Eun Jong to the Korean War memorial in Seoul. It was really intersting to learn about the Korean war. I didn't know a lot about the war before I went and I didn't realize that the south was almost defeated at one point! This weekend Im gonna go to Hong Dae with my friends which is a famous part of seoul for clubbing. Should be fun I will hopefully also get some good riding in!

Monday, March 22, 2010

everland and suwon fortress and riding with my club again

This last weekend was again super busy. Last week I got 2 good rides in and then it snowed again! But I found a new fire road climb that leads to the top of another near by mountain range meaning I discovered a bunch of new descents and trails to try out. Unfortunatly I haven't had a free weekend day to go ride out there and explore more. I was planning to ride out there this afternoon but it started snowing at noon and now there is 5 inches on the trails agian! I hope it melts soon so I can get back out riding soon. This weekend was really fun. Friday night was a get together for all the male teachers at school. We played volley ball, korean pool and went out to dinner. Saturday I went to everland with some friends. Everland is Korea's version of Disney world and its only 20 minutes from my house! It wasn't a very nice day weather wise (45 and rainy and cloudy) so we practically had the park to ourselves. That turned out to be my undoing. I guess I'm not as good at riding roller coasters as I used to be! I rode 4 rides in 30 minutes and my stomach couldn't take anymore. i ran off the roller coaster and tossed my cookies. Fortunatly there are other things to do there than roller coasters so we spent some time recovering and looking at teh big zoo they had. I got to feed raw chicken to a tiger at the zoo! It was pretty cool. After everland we walked around the Yongin central park and went to bed early from the exhausting day. Sunday my bike club came to Yangji again! We tried out a different set of trails this time and they were even more impressed. 15 people came this time. Its definitely nice having them come to Yangji to ride it saves me the 45 minute ride to the shop to ride somewhere else. Sunday afternoon I met up with Allan, Jissu and Mandy to walk around the Suwon Hwaseong fortress. It was nice weather but pretty windy. I got some new cycling tights for 10 bucks at the city market too. It was a great weekend overall. This week should be pretty busy as my after school program is starting but thats good new since it means I will make some extra money.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Korean bike club visit to Yangji

So after freaking out about the snow it melted about as quickly as it arrived. By thursday the conditions were good enough that my bike team decided to have the Saturday Mountain bike ride right here in Yangji. I was the guide and about 15 riders came to yangji at 8:30am last saturday morning for what would turn into a pretty nice mudfest. Unfortunately the best trails were still snowed in because they were on the shady side of the mountains but 2 good loops were totally snow free. They thoroughly enjoyed my trails (especially because unlike other places in korea there are almost no hikers here in Yangji). I also got to see our sweet team van which has a 10 bike rack and seats for 10 people. This season should definitely be fun everyone on the team is really friendly and willing to help me improve my korean. I got a few lessons in politeness this ride. Age is really important in korea and there are several different ways of speaking to people based on age. I didn't know the most polite form of how to say "lets go" until this ride. Last weekend was a also fun because it was my good friend Allan's birthday party Saturday night. Sunday I went up to Seoul and went hiking with Peter and Danny. It was a pretty tiring weekend and I fell asleep at 9pm Sunday night! It looks like its gonna be a great week here. Yesterday after work I drove down to Chung Buk province to visit one of my best Korean friends Yeon Gee from the camp 2 years ago. He is leaving to go to America for 3 months on Wednesday! Up for the rest of the week is studying korean at my new korean language school and riding my bike on trails a lot!.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It snowed again!

It just snowed 5 inches here last night but unfortunately for me the ski resort is closed for the season!!! I guess march snow is pretty unusual here. I just got my mountain bike all fixed up and ready to ride too! I had to buy a new chain and cassette and do a bunch of fine tuning to get it working but now I think I am good to ride for a while. Buying bike parts here is a little more expensive than the US but the labor is free and they fix your bike immediately while you wait. I am officially in the Suwon Alpha Mtb club now too. I got a jersey and everything and I am looking forward to my first race with them in mid april. Its a mountain bike hill climb but I guess its primarily held on roads. Yesterday the club president and Vice president were at the shop and my friend Ik Son who is my age and also races bikes with the club(and sort of speaks english) and they said its a pretty fun race. I guess the week after that there is a race in Asan too which they said is one of the best XC mtb races in Korea. I don't really think I will be all that good at doing hill climbs (especially not as the first race of the year!!!) but it will be an interesting change of pace. I am already missing collegiate racing a lot after talking to Joey, Sarah and the other people from the Purdue team. I still don't even have a road bike( or the money to buy one for that matter). The team actually has a van(a 9 passenger van with racks a paint job and everything). and I guess we take it to all the team races which should be fun and a good way for me to learn a lot of korean. Another intersting difference between korean bike racing and american is that here my jersy size is XXL!!!!!! In america I was a small or medium!!! Anyway I am getting pretty excited to do some racing soon even though I haven't trained at all. It will be fun to do some completely no pressure racing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring is here ski season is almost over.

After my parents left the weather totally changed here! It was like 50 (10 degrees C) every day for a week and almost melted all the snow at the ski resort. Fortunately I have been able to ski a few more times but the resort is closing on this Sunday. So it looks like its time for me to start riding my bike again I and getting in shape for what should be a fun season of racing mountain bikes. With that in mind I finally washed my bike and fixed it up a bit after not riding it for about 2 months! Next week after the resort is closed Im gonna start riding on the road after school. Nothing too exciting has happened since my parents left. I just tried to ski and get as much use out of my season pass as I could. I learned how to snowboard also and I think next year I will try to become really good at both skiing and snowboarding. English camp has finally finished and the new school year started this week. I enjoyed English camp but its definitely more fun to have all of the kids at school. I don't have any super big plans for anything coming up except starting Korean language class again next week and getting back on my bike and hopefully doing some riding with my club before racing starts up in late april.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

parents visit to korea

Last week my parents visited me here in Korea! It was really fun we visited a lot of places, met lots of my friends and tried lots of new foods. We went to the DMZ and stepped in to North Korea and saw real north korean soldiers!!! We went to Seoul several times took a tour of a palace there and saw some famous markets. Sorry for the lack of pictures on the blog I did put some up on facebook though! Other than my parents visit nothing else too exciting has happened except the weather getting really warm (like 40-50s) which is melting all the snow at the ski resort pretty quickly it looks like ski season is almost over for me and it might be time to start riding my bike again. Once the mud is gone I can't wait to get back on the trails and hopefully get in some decent shape for some mountain bike races. I checked a schedule and it looks like there is almost no road racing here except the tour of korea which I can't do because its during school!

Monday, February 8, 2010

2 road trips and getting sick in between!

2 weeks ago I took a road trip with my friends SangMi and Kyung to Hwacheon County in northern South Korea. It was a blast we went to an ice fishing festival and ate a lot of raw fresh fish. Sang Mi and I didn't catch any fish but Kyung caught 2. After that we went and drove around the boarder with North Korea looking at historical stuff. It was really cool!! We went into a tunnel that put us just 300 meters from the north korean border.
Monday morning I woke up to my stomach being in pain. Basically I had some sort of stomach virus thing and ever time I ate I felt like my stomach was gonna explode. Other than that I was fine so I didnj't take any days off work but I didn't eat for 3 out of 5 days last week and the days I did eat I couldn't eat much. I went to a normal doctor and to a korean doctor where I got some acupunture and other traditional chinese/korean medicine stuff. That made my stomach feel a lot better and finally on friday night I was able to eat with out feeling horrible.
That was good news since Saturday morning was time for another road trip. This time to Andong and Uljin in the North Gyeongsan province. It was awesome Steve, SangMi, Liz, Seo Young and I drove there and went to a traditional korean village. We ate some famous foods and drank the famous drinks. Then we went shopping in the Andong City market. After that we decided since we appeared to be close to the east sea on the map we should go. We weren't as close as we thought actually but after 2 hours of crazy mountain road driving we arrived in Uljin and to a Min Bak(like a motel) with a beach ocean view that was 40 dollars a night! The next morning we got up walked and explored the beach! then Sangmi and I went swimming!!!!! It was really fun but really cold. Next up was the 4 hour drive home again over a crazy mountain road but this time in the daylight. There was amazing views everywhere and we kept stopping to climb around on rocks near creeks or take a look at the view. I definitely need to go back to Uljin this summer for some bike riding and better swimming weather. Up for this weekend! Korean Lunar new year which means a 4 day weekend and MY PARENTS ARE COMING ON SUNDAY FOR A WEEK!!! I am really excited and I'm busy planning everything we are going to do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ski Trip

I had a very eventful and fun weekend. It started Thursday afternoon with 13 of my friends coming to Yangji to go skiing. I had a coupon for a free night at one of the condos at the Yangji Pine Ski Resort so we all went skiing together and then stayed up late hanging out in the condo. It was a lot of fun even with the super icy skiing conditions. The next day my friends Chi Ha, Kevin and Steve and I drove to YongPyong Resort in Gangwon Do to ski. YongPyong is Korea's oldest ski resort and it was a really good time. They had some really challenging and long ski runs and it only took about 2.5 hours to drive there. After skiing in YongPyong for 2 days we drove to Phoenix park which is another big ski resort in Gangwon Do. The snow conditions there were much less icy but it lacked the really challenging runs that YongPyong had. We still had a good time though. We actually joined this Korean ski club and stayed with them Saturday night so we made a few new friends to ski with! It was a really fun trip and definitely has me pumped to do more weekend road trips here in Korea.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

snow gone!!!

It was about 50 degrees here yesterday and it rained all day so the snow is now melted except at the ski hill where it is now really really icy. Oh well! I guess the snow doesn't usually stick around very long here in Korea. This past weekend was really great! I went skiing Saturday morning with my friend Kim Chol Og. He is a 50 year old Korean guy who is a teacher at a nearby elementary school. He also loves skiing and hiking so in the fall my Korean co teacher intoduced me to him. We had a great time and I think my downhill skiing skills are improving as I was able to clear the big jump on the hill! It is a 15 foot table top. Then Saturday afternoon I drove with Liz allan and steve up to YangPyeong (about 25 miles north or a 50 minute drive through really pretty mountains). My friend SangMi's parents have a cabin there! It is on the Han river too(Its the biggest river in Korea) We had a great time! We made korean barbeque and played in the snow. Sunday afternoon I went hiking on the way home on a new mountain range about 30 minutes from my house that I really wanna go check out again since I didn't have time to make it to the summit. Having the car makes life here sooooooooo much easier from where I live going to a place like Yangpyeong would take about 3 hours or more using busses and trains but its just an easy traffic free 50 minute drive through the countryside with the car! Up for this weekend is a trip to Gangwon do for some skiing in big mountains!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

enjoying the snow!

I acheived a life long goal of mine this past weekend. I sledded down a mountain and it was awesome. after all the snow we got on monday I realized that i should go buy a sled and then take it out to the local hiking trails for some crazy sledding fun. I hiked with some friends around the trails taking turns doing the downhills on the sled. I also skiied a bunch this past weekend. I definitely need to take a few days off to recover from all the skiing. in 2 weeks I am taking a trip with some friends to Gangwon Do to ski some big mountains. It will be my first Korean road trip so it should be a blast! I am even taking one day of vacation for it! 5th and 6th grade english camps started today too. The 5th and 6th graders are a lot easier to control than the 3-4 th graders so hopefully I won't lose my voice this week from always having to talk really loudly.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Busan trip then skiing!! Then monster snow storm

My trip to Busan was great! I had a lot of fun with my friend Misun and her family. They were super nice to show me all over town. As I mentioned last time I at a lot of crazy seafood some of which was still alive! After returning from Busan my English camp at school started. It is definitely tiring teaching 6 hours of class solo to kids who basically don't know any English but I am having a good time anyway.
Sunday night we had a huge snow storm too! It snowed about 10 inches here in Yangji and I guess thats the most they have had at once in over 10 years! The mountains are really beatiful all covered in snow and the skiing is a lot better on real snow! The only problem with all that snow is the fact that there aren't snow plows here to clear the road! So there is a lot of crazy driving going on right now since people aren't really used to driving in snow. Thank goodness my car has 4 wheel drive or I wouldn't even be able to get up to my apartment. Because of the snow they cancelled my english camp for 2 days so I have been going skiing in the afternoon after spending some time planning lessons in the morning.
Last weekend was a lot of fun too! I had 11 friends come to Yangji to go skiing ang 7 of them slept over at my tiny apartment afterwards it was a little cramped but we all had a lot of fun. Up for this weekend is more skiing with friends and more apartment sleep overs. The season pass and the big SUV I got are definitely paying off since I am taking lots of people skiing every week!
I hope everyone had a great christmas and new year!