Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is all about friends, family, and food. I enjoyed Thanksgiving Day with Patrick and his family in MN. We were in charge of bringing dessert and potatoes to Pat’s grandparents’ house in MN. I made three pies (chocolate peanut butter, pecan, and pumpkin), while Pat and I had a cook-off with two different types of mashed potatoes. Pat’s grandmother made “healthy sweet potatoes.” I took one bite and was in love. When Pat’s aunt started to complain, Grandma JoAnne said, “I know, I made them healthy for Patrick and Gwen.”
“What’s in them?” I asked.
“Butter, honey, syrup, sugar. Healthy.” Pat and I laughed, enjoying the “healthy sweet potatoes.” I can’t imagine what she must put in her potatoes normally! But I think best in show was her sweet corn casserole. It was cornbread with cheese, creamed corn, butter, and lots of other goodies.
Only about ten of us ate Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma JoAnne’s house; however, more than twenty grandkids, aunts, uncles, and other family members and friends came and went throughout the night.
The following day, my parents drove to MN to watch me and Patrick race Cross for Tots (a cyclocross race). The weather couldn’t have been any better. The course was in a bowl, making it tough with lots of climbs. After, Pat’s parents, Craig and Jane, along with my parents, Nancy and Joe, went out for pizza. It was a great weekend full of laughs, good eats, family, and indulgence.
After Thanksgiving ends, minds in the USA turn to Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday. A little history on Black Friday: The name originated in the 1960s and referred to retailers’ accounting. Christmas shopping season officially starts after Thanksgiving, and this is when many retailers move from operating at a financial loss (in the red) to financial profit (in the black). The term became popular in Philadelphia when police were frustrated with the congestion caused by the busiest shopping day of the year, terming it “Black Friday.”
This year, I personally don’t need much for Christmas (I’m trying to consolidate my belongings in the USA since I’m only here three months of the year); however, if you are looking for something for yourself, or an athlete that travels, here are some of my favorite things I have:
- An external hard drive full of movies and TV shows (an athlete that travels abroad will appreciate this greatly!)
- The athlete’s favorite appliance with an outlet compatible in the country he/she will be living (for Patrick and myself, this would be a rice cooker and Vitamix (https://www.vitamix.com/). Many girls would also appreciate a hair straightener.)
- A phone for the country he/she will be living
- Starbucks gift card (Starbucks are almost every, except for Vitoria where coffee is so inexpensive it doesn’t matter!)
- Netflix subscription for those traveling in the USA
- iTunes gift card to buy movies/TV shows to watch abroad, or to buy music to motivate them during hard workouts
- An iPod Shuffle
- Noise canceling headphones and headphone splitters (so two people can listen to the same thing at the same time)
- A map of the world (to pin where he/she goes)
- My favorite racing shoe is the Gel-Noosa Fast (http://www.asics.com.au/footwear/racing-shoes/gel-noosa-fast-m/). I feel like I’m flying in these shoes!
- HED cycling chain condom (http://www.hedcycling.com/misc-acc/default.asp?content=Chain_Condom) to avoid getting chain grease everywhere. Now through December 20, use the code “gwen” (in all lowercases) to receive 15% off everything but wheels at www.hedcycling.com
- HED cycling bottle opener is my go-to gift I bring to homestays as a thank you. You never knew how badly you needed a carbon bottle opener until you have one! Use the 15% discount and stock up now! (http://www.hedcycling.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=110&idcategory=)
- Do Organics travel kit (http://donaturals.com/gifts-bundles/bundles/berry-travel-set.html)
- Specialized winter boots (http://specialized.com/us/en/ftr/shoes/mtb-shoes/defroster-trail). These are a great value, and I think they are invaluable, as I can’t tell you how warm my feet are riding in winter (I’ve ridden in below zero Celsius and had my feet feel hot–no joke, these are awesome!)
- Hincapie Grapheme Headband (https://www.hincapie.com/products/womenswear/accessories/50740U/) This is an inexpensive treat at only $20. It is light and thin enough to wear under bike helmets and perfect for running as well. I use it in all conditions – I sometimes use it when it’s warm out just to keep my headphones in my ears, and wear it in the winter to keep warm. You can use the code “GWEN13” to receive 20% off at www.hincapie.com
- Oakley Radar Sunglasses (http://www.oakley.com/custom/radar). I used to hate wearing sunglasses until I wore these and now I won’t go for a run or ride without them. They never fog, they fit my face perfectly, and you can order custom colors online. These are the custom ones I will wear this year:
Frame: Pearl White (Straight Stem) Lens: Vented G30 Path Etching: gwen jorgensen (Font: BARKTWO) Icon: Team Red Earsock: Red
- For a bike couple in the USA, I suggest going to David Hobbs Honda and getting a Honda Odyssey (http://www.davidhobbs.com/inventory/newsearch/New/Body/Minivan/). The Minivan is perfect for triathlon/bikes. I can fit multiple bikes in the back with the stow-and-go-seats and still have room for four passengers and plenty of clothes, rice cooker, waters, and Chia Moxie Peanut Butter (http://www.foodforthedriven.com/peanutbutter.html). Mention my name at David Hobbs Honda and get $1000 off a vehicle!
- Massages for the place where the athlete will be (please let me know if you are looking for someone in St Paul, MN, Athens, GA, Hungary, or a different place abroad).
- An Amazon gift card for the country the person is going to. My sister got me Amazon UK gift cards, which I was able to use while in Vitoria (Basque region of Spain) to buy peanut butter and coconut oil.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas. Enjoy yourself. Stay healthy and happy.
If you still have motivation to read, check out this article:
And if you are a picture person, check out this gallery of me in the offseason thanks to Paul Phillips:
Pat and me in the kitchen pre Thanksgiving
Baking some pies
Cylcocross Race: Cross for Tots. Photo Credit: Matthew Pastick