Last week started out with my first ever scientific presentation in Spanish. I gave a 45 minute talk (Alexiades_USFQ_presentacion) on two of my dissertation chapters for the weekly Ecology and Biology Colloquium. The talk was well attended and went rather well. It generated a lot of interest within Andrea’s lab group, so we all went to lunch together afterward to discuss our research. I even got a question or two from some undergraduates, so I was glad to see they understood it somewhat. Monday was a big day, since after my talk and lunch, Andrea and I had a meeting with the PEER project team at Juan Guayasamin’s house. The meeting was productive but lasted 4 hours and I didn’t get home until after 8pm! Despite being a long day, it was great since through my talk I met a lot of other students and at the meeting we developed a tentative work plan for the hydrological classification of the Napo River Basin. The rest of the week was less eventful but nice. We continued to ride with Pico, Gaby and the gang at Metro in the mornings or drop down 12km and 1000m to Nayon and then ride back up for training. Over the weekend Abbey and I did a 65km, 7000ft elevation gain trail and road mixed ride from Quito to Puembo and back. Nice ride, but I got a flat! I had the biggest Stanimal I had ever seen, probably from the TNGA. I should have refilled my tires with Stans after that race! On Sunday, we practiced the course for the upcoming race right in the Parque Metro behind our house. Its going to be the most brutal XC race we’ve ever done…The uphills are ridiculously steep and the downhills are super technical, add that to the altitude and I’m just hoping not to get last place!!Apparently I’ll be racing a guy named Juanito who is a true animal. He takes his seat off his bike to do 100km training rides and will eat a whole turkey leg while racing! My only chance is if he breaks something on his bike, which he routinely does since he is so strong..Its going to be a brutal one!!