Let’s back up for a minute. When we arrived nine weeks ago at the start of the program, we heard all sorts of talk about an upcoming bike race called Bici-Tololo. As the name might suggest, it’s a race to the Cerro Tololo summit! It will be about 32 km long, but the elevation rises by 1.6 km from the start to the end… this is serious business. The race is finally coming up this Sunday and I’ve been planning to participate: I’ve registered and Andrea has arranged for me to borrow a bike and helmet. And my mom was nice enough to ship my camelbak from home so I don’t pass out from dehydration. I’ve even picked up a good pair of bike shorts and gloves down at the mall. I’ve been eating healthy (or at least healthier) this week and getting good nights of sleep too. Plus, I’m excited because it’s one more trip to the Tololo summit for me before I leave! I’ll have you know that, come Sunday, I’m going to be unstoppable.

Or so I thought. I woke up this morning and found an email waiting in my inbox. I read it and found out that there was no transportation available. There are about 60 riders participating in the race, but they have cars. Not having a car, Owen, Cesar, and I are without a way to get our borrowed bikes to the starting line. It’s a bummer, but it’s understandable and Andrea worked really hard to try and get this taken care of for us. So, instead of putting ourselves through the brutality of the race, we’ve now volunteered to sell empanadas during the festivities at the summit. On the bright side, we’ll still get one more trip up to the picturesque summit. On top of that, we’ll be visiting the Cerro Pachón summit next Wednesday to see the SOAR telescope and for the rest of the students to see Gemini South (where I observed a couple months ago with Percy).

I tried to just focus on the positives to get myself in a better mood. When I went into Percy’s office to work with him this morning, we started to get on a roll. I’ve never worked with IDL before, but I quickly started to appreciate how powerful it is. Things were going well before I took a break for lunch. Then Ana and Owen and I had planned to head out and get a cake and wine to celebrate Julia’s birthday tonight. We were successful and picked up this beauty:

It’s covered in chocolate and has plum jam inside. Oh, and we’re in Chile so of course it has manjar… what’s not to love?

Back at Gemini, I spent the rest of the afternoon powering through data with Percy and working to create a master catalog of our data. Things were going great and we called it quits for the weekend in a great stopping place. So, while I don’t have a grueling bike ride to look forward to, I have other things to appreciate.

Tonight, we’ll be heading to casa 17 for a barbeque, tomorrow I may sit down with Julia and others to show them what I did to combine the images I recently posted, and Sunday I’ll be loving life at the summit. Sounds like a good weekend ahead in my book!