The Waffle House Chronicles...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Race Update! So Sunday morning I decide I need to race. I didn’t feel great though but I drove down at 9 to register (last time I registered before the race and it took like 45 minutes.) I came home, ate the only thing we had left in the house (a couple Eggo waffles) and drank some tea and got the bike ready. I then rode to the race (Jess drove down to watch) and warmed up. The starting line only had about half of the people as last week, maybe around 35-40. It was also super windy. When the race started I decided with a small field it would behoove me to be near the front. I found myself at the front on the first uphill, windy section, trying so hard to get off the front that I kept trying to pull off but everyone followed. I finally slowed the field to about 13mph and someone finally came around. After that the pace got wicked fast and I was yo-yoing off the back and trying each lap to get up towards the front on the sheltered 2nd stretch. The pace continued to be fast for 15 minutes but I was feeling ok. I got back up to the lead for a half of a lap (just happened to be when this photo was taken and it also happened to be the lap Jess ran the camcorder.)

Here is me in the red with the frosty blue helmet. My teammate Hertz is to my right and Jerry is in Orange just behind him. The white helmet to the right of my shoulder is Kelson. The guy to the right of Hertz and Jerry is Jerry's biggest fan! :)
Anyways, after the turn on the next stretch though there were a couple of attacks. Everyone seemed content on chasing these two, and soon I went from the front to the back and about a third of a lap later I couldn’t hold on. I TT’d about 10 seconds from the back for about a lap but then the pace again sped up and I couldn’t keep touch. I rode hard hoping not to get lapped but about 4 laps later I accepted my fate and slowed up. The pack caught me so fast though and I didn’t see them until it was too late, so I didn’t get back on. However Danny (a guy I know) and I hooked up and mopped up 3 other riders. In the sprint for 21st, Danny got 21st and I came in right behind him beating those other three. So this race sucked a lot more but I only finished one spot lower. But now for the bright side. Hertz worked hard and got an 8th place finish. Kelson and Jerry though schemed the whole day and Kelson led Jerry down the back stretch and Jerry nailed it from the corner and took the sprint for 1st, what a finish, wish I could’ve been there. I did watch the race right afterwards where Jerry did the double and sprinted for his second straight win in the old man’s race (that I can race next year!!!) Thank god I will never have to race with him again as he will now be a Cat 3. If we can get another 15 or so people to upgrade I might be able to compete!

Afterwards Jess and I chilled and cleaned up and unpacked. We went out to supper with Jess’ parents as usual and then showed them all our trip photos and then we watched Family Guy.

Monday was back to work…guh! It sucked, I was swamped with no end in sight. That’s what happens when you are busier than ever and still go on vacation. 250ish e-mails… Finally at the end of a not-so-fun workday I went out to ride Belleville/Fritz. I stopped to relieve myself just outside of Belleville, jump on my bike, look back and see Hertz. He hammered it (sometimes letting me draft) back in so it was like intervals for me. 41 miles. Cold day, but hopefully I can ride today and maybe get back to some running as well. Also on the plus side I have to take off one day this week or lose it…Thursday or Friday I am hoping. My neighbor across the street claims to not care about lawns and stuff but I saw him log a good 3-4 hours raking and adding dirt and all that stuff yesterday, what’s up with that?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Friday and Saturday…

Friday we woke up and didn’t do much either as it was cold and rainy. It quickly turned to warmth though. We did watch some Price is Right and then do a little shopping and stuff. After that Beth decided to chill at home with Anna so Larkin, Jess and I went downtown. We found free parking by Safeco, bought tickets for the baseball game that night and rode the free bus to Pike Market for a 3rd trip. We had more cheap tamales, the worlds best (that’s debatable but it was decent) Mac & Cheese and some Gellato. We also shopped around. We then went to Gameworks and played the balloon game, and I got my first career win (actually I was 2nd to some ringer employee but most importantly I beat Larkin and Jess.) We bussed back into Safeco to join the thousands of fans waiting to get in for their Ichiro bobblehead. The stadium was beautiful. We took in batting practice and saw some fan not paying attention take a homerun ball to the groinal area. We toured the stadium, I had a hotdog and we watched some baseball. Day turned to night and warm turned to cold and by inning 6 we decided the windy upper deck was no way to go and moseyed down to behind the 1st base dugout maybe 35 rows back. Much better. The Tigers won as the rally was squashed in the 9th as Ichiro couldn’t be the hero… We sped home and took in some shut eye.

Saturday was departure day. I returned the LeMond road bike back (thanks Ian) and then we packed. We spent a lot of time with Anna. We then decided to go to Red Mill burgers for lunch before leaving. We get there and it was packed. Our 15 minute stop turned into a 45 minute wait for food, a bag to go and some high speed driving to the Sea-Tac airport. Of course our car fuel light hit empty a good 15 miles before, so add finding gas to that list. We found gas finally (10 miles from the Burger place was the first gas station) right before a nice draw bridge that was down. I ate my burger while Jess pumped. Best Burger in Seattle!!!We then got in the car, speed up the road and hit a red light. And then the bridge rises. We sit and contemplate missing a flight. At that moment we look to our left and for the first time we saw Mt Rainier (it hides in the clouds most of the time.) It was huge, words can’t describe how massive it is. It is only 200 feet lower than Colorado’s highest…but this one starts at sea level so it is 14+K of total height, where a Colorado mountain is only like 8-9K above the surrounding. Anyways riding the bike around just the base is like 156 miles and has two mountain passes that are part of the Rainier uprising, so we get it, it is huge! Anyways, I threaded the post bridge traffic and just hoped the airport runs smoothly. It did, I swear it took 15 minutes to park the rental, turn it in, get our luggage checked and boarding passes, go through security and get to the gate, we had a half hour to spare which turned into an hour with the half hour delay. We flew to Chicago, got to the car around 9. It took us 2:06 from the O’Hare parking lot to our driveway including a rest area driver switch. It was good to come home to the puppies (Jess’ dad picked them up from the kennel earlier.) I hate going to Seattle. It is a place I would love to live, and leaving the beautiful area and Larkin, Beth and Anna was very hard. And not being on vacation anymore will hit me hard tomorrow.

A special big thanks goes to Eric and Beth for putting us up while we were there. Their hospitality was much appreciated as were all the tips for getting around and what to do! Thank you so much and we hope we can return the favor some time!!!

All in all it was an awesome trip with a little bit of everything thrown in!!!

The rest of the week!

Thursday- Thursday was a day to regroup and take it easy. We didn't do much that morning and made it for the 12:30 showing of the IMAX Wired to Win, which talks about the mental process of a rider in the Tour De France. For those who like cycling you'll surely like this as well, all else should pass as it was rather dull. I then played in the big water fountain and didn't even get wet!!! We then hung out at the Children's Museum where Beth (sister-in-law) works and checked out the Mr. Rogers exhibit. Anna didn't want to leave...Afterwords we drove to Alki Beach in West Seatlle and ate at the locally famous Alki Bakery. We had some of the best cookies ever! :) After frolicking on the beach (mostly throwing rocks in the ocean) we headed back home. After chilling for a bit it was supper time. That meant, the Original Red Robin. They did not dissappoint. The food was good and the service was at a record low quality. I've had bad service before (especially at Red Robin) but this trip won hands down. Our waiter seemed ok at the start, taking our order and saying that the cokes would be here in a couple minutes they were changing the machine. Then a whole lot of nothing. Our waiter frequehntly appeared to help two tables of girls, one group who wasn't even eating. We waited almost record time. Then some girl came and said that are food would be up shortly and refilled our waters (no Cokes yet.) Then the food came, Eric's extra salsa burger had no salsa and my blue cheese burger had no blue cheese. And I had no ranch for my fries either so I really couldn't eat. The lady came back 5 minutes later to finally deliver coke. I asked for the salsa, the ranch and she took my burger to have more blue cheese, and I asked for more fries (the fries are all you can eat.) The fries came and then we waited. Finally my burger came and we had to ask again for salsa and ranch. Then everything was good. We ate and the food was good. I then had to walk to the bar to get Coke refills; our waiter went outside along with half the staff it seemed (he gave us our bill but no refills.) We waited another 10 minutes, no one to take our bill so we asked a different waiter. Finally that was resolved, it took way too long and it sucked. The atmosphere was cool. Our waiter did however come back in time to talk to the girls some more not worrying about us as we walked out. No tip. The worst part is the girls weren't all that even, not worthy of stiffing a table for sure. We went back home and played Boggle and Euchre...