05 June 2006


What an awesome weekend! Especially after all the hemming and hawing on Friday at work, I really needed that. And yes, I have a job (for now at least), and as it turns out, the crisis wasn't as big as we thought. Fallout is still happening, but I can put that off for now with thoughts of the weekend ...

I realized early last week that this was my last free weekend until July in which I could ride whenever and wherever I wanted. With races back-to-back next weekend, and then our trip, this was my last chance to do any trails for a while ... so it was off to Palos I went!

On both days, I got there at the butt crack of dawn, and although Sunday was more crowded, I pretty much had the run of the place. I got quite a few comments on my 'cross bike -- the fact that I was on a 'cross bike out there at all! -- and had a killer time stringing together long trail loops that hit the best singletrack that really tested my weaknesses -- downhills, cornering, and downhill cornering!

There were a couple of absolutely surreal moments, like the time I came around to Kim's log crossing on Out and Back, only to have a deer FLY across the trail at the exact same moment -- half a second sooner, and I would have been a goner ... or the 200-lb. guy I saw on Three Ravines on a dept.-store bike with NO toe clips -- good luck buddy! ... but the best was in my last hour on Sunday, when I had some guy try to keep up with me on Three Ravines and I dropped him! Then, when I swung up to Out and Back, a guy from Rogers Park on a full-suspension rig absolutely railed it to try to drop me, but I stayed with him! We got to the end, and he was super-surprised -- that made me feel pretty good!

I did biff it twice -- both absolutely spectacular endos. On Saturday, I dropped my front wheel between two roots, and stood straight up, hovering just long enough to know it was going to hurt when I landed. I ended up skidding down a tree trunk, ripping a hole in my vest and leaving a mark on my ribs ... oh, and I banged my leg on the top tube ... Then on Sunday, I took a log crossing too fast ("showing off" for a group I had caught), and my front end got sideways when I landed. Down hard on my shoulder, twisted my brake lever, and again banged the exact same spot on the top tube ... So I'm a little sore today, and after so many hours out there, my back is pretty tight ... but it was worth every minute!

Saturday afternoon, Kim and I headed to Kenosha to visit Christina and Tom and their three little ones -- it was a blast! We went down to the lakefront to see a "kite flight" (check out the link for a photo) -- dozens of the most amazing kites, all floating in the picture-perfect sky ... there were "stunt kites" and kids with kites, and huge kites tehtered to the ground ... it was pretty impressive! Then, Tom grilled up an incredible dinner of chicken ka-bobs and veggies, and Christina made these great potatoes -- since Kim and I can't grill, we were in HEAVEN! I had two heaping platefulls, and could have had more ... but had to save room for the pound cake, whip cream and blueberries ... hey, fruit is healthy!

It was fun to see Brodie again, since it's been almost a year since we were up there last. He is an absolute bundle of pure energy, and I swear he didn't stop moving the whole time we were there. He's also super-super-super smart, with a memory like a steel trap ... at one point, Tom gave him some fruit snacks shaped like cartoon characters. He laid them out, Brodie named them all, and then proceeded to eat them. Well, he forgot one, and about 5 minutes later Brodie was in the living room and Tom called to him ... "Hey Brodie, you forgot something. What did you forget?" Before Brodie even made it back into the kitchen, he had identified which character he hadn't eaten! That's pretty tough for an adult, let alone a 3-1/2 year old!!

It was really neat to see Cailey and Cate. You can tell they're Brodie's little sisters, definitely a family resemblance! It was fun to see them smile and start to grasp everything going on around them (literally, when one of them grabbed my nose!), and it was cute (for Kim and I anyway!) when they kind of yell a happy yell. After not too long, Cailey had enough of the kite flight, though, and kind of lost it, so it was back to the house and time for dinner. It was kind of funny, with Cailey carrying on, Cate just sat on the blanket with me, just sort of taking it all in peacefully ... they're both teething, though, which I'm sure can be very trying for Christina and Tom!

Yesterday afternoon was spent cleaning bikes -- the Colnago hadn't been touched in more than a month, and the Waterford was still a mess from last weekend. Mission accomplished, though, and then homemade pizza and bed ... a great finish to a fantastic weekend!



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