This was how it started, "up north at Hollywood, water on the driver's side ..."
Sometimes it's fun to play tourist in your hometown. Driving LSD as the sun comes up on a sleepy weeekend morning has to be one of life's finer moments!
I had every intention of using my camera on the ride at Palos, too ... so that didn't happen. I got down there a couple of minutes late, and by the time I was ready, Lou and Chris Mosk were chomping at the bit to get out on the trails. And when they go, they go hard! No warmup, and before I knew it we were shooting down the blue trail, cutting over to the next picnic area, and driving it fast around Turf 1. I was off the back immediately, my engine not quite ready to go, and started struggling a bit in the technical stuff as a consequence. I endoed on a log crossing (again!), and eventually caught up to them at the base of the rocky climb. This was going to hurt!
As I warmed up, my fitness caught up, but I was no match for their skills. They took me on a huge loop that I had never been on, and it was fast, technical, and did I mention fast? I was well behind them at every checkpoint, but they were gracious to wait for me as I struggled to keep up. There were maybe two places where I did OK, when I could use my fitness rather than skills to keep up! It was exactly what I needed -- hard and fast, perfect to get ready for the WORS race!
They had to get back to open the shop, so I set out on another loop. I did this one at almost race pace, really pushing in some places, but the damage had been done on the first loop -- by the end I was really starting to feel it, and although I didn't quite limp home, I wasn't as smooth as I should have been, and I was starting to cramp. It felt good to go that hard, and I can say I'm ready to push even more at the race!
(I did do one last small loop, looking for a water bottle that I ejected and hitting the jump trail a couple of times. When did it become fun to catch air?! At some point I also jacked my front derailleur, and spent 45 minutes trailside trying to fix it -- thanks to John and Lou for answering my phone questions and talking me through it!)
Kim still wasn't home by the time I came back, so I headed to Jiffy Lube and the car-wash place to get that done, before heading to the Pony Shop so the pros could work on my bike. While there, a couple of customers came in while everyone else was busy, so I got to be a salesman for a bit -- it was a blast! I'm sure it drives Lou nuts when I answer the phones or talk to real customers, but I really get a kick out of it. Hmmmm ... maybe a career change?
I finally made it home, and the real work started. I got my couple of to-dos out of the way, and then FINALLY re-engineered our dining room! The hardware has been sitting there for 6 months, and Saturday was finally the day ... By the time Kim did get home (at 10 p.m.), I had been at it for more than 5 hours, and we had several new holes in our plaster walls ... but all the wheels were hanging up in an orderly fashion! Spackle time!
We hit the ground running on Sunday morning, as I rode part of the Judson ride on my road-bike-wheel-equipped 'cross bike and Kim went for a walk/run. Then it was back downtown for a company event at Navy Pier -- a boat cruise for a few hours along the lakefront. It was pretty spectacular! The weather was perfect, and of course I got a bit sunburned ...
We then drove up to Kenosha to visit Christina and Tom for Pork-off 2006. This was a head-to-head, no holds barred, husband vs. wife throw-down -- Christina's breaded-and-baked pork chops vs. Tom's marinated-and-cooked-on-the-brand-new-just-built-flamethrowing-supergrill. It was pretty spectacular, as the smack talk started once we got there, Brodie was entertaining Kim as the girls rolled and boogied all over, and everyone was working up an appetite ...
Tom's grill was pretty cool, and in the end we all enjoyed some pretty awesome "other white meat." It's always fun to visit the Millers, since a) they grill year-round; b) we don't own a grill; c) they are awesome cooks; and of course d) they're a lot of fun to visit! The home-made honey-lime salad dressing was declared the winner, and we all celebrated the victory with some Cold Stone Creamery ... mmm ... ice cream ...
Needless to say, Kim and I passed out by the time we got home, a weekend well spent!
ONLY 125 DAYS TO NATZ!!