The Waffle House Chronicles...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Signing in from the copper cup in Bloomington, IN. The Waffle House down here is a fake but the mountain biking is for real although my seat skewer doesn't belong on a bike and will no longer work on bikes. Fortunately it broke with 1/4 mile of trail left, unfortunately we climbed over 250 feet in that quarter mile and then a 6 mile road ride totally ghetto... 6 sliders...yum! Two deflated air matresses...guh! 2 trails on a fall day. Oh yeah, Brown County will be among the next IMBA Epic rides.

Today we go to the UW/Indiana game...should be a great time! Go Badgers! Long drive home and then Badger Cross tomorrow. Ultimately I'd like a Top 20. With my perfectly working bike, road legs, and awesome travel diet it should be no problem! :) Actually my bike will probably work good, I can't speak for anything else though. Although we aren't in Wisconsin so I probably won't down like 7 brats or anything.

Well I've got like 14 minutes of battery power left and I have to buy some stupid crap on Ebay probably...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Friday sucked! Why? It was the last day! We started at some huge-ass buffet. It was monstrous and $5.99. That’s the life and gets me ready for our cruise in January! We then headed to Blizzard Beach Waterpark. Oh crap, I forgot my suit, good thing we were super early and our hotel was 10 minutes away. We still were suited up in line before it opened. The first hour was super clean with tons of walking and tons of rides. We even went on Summit Plummet, just you, a slide, some water and 55mph. We stayed there for like 3-1/2 hours and did every single slide there. After that we had some lunch and then went shopping. Post shopping it was time for me to overcome my fear of heights. Picture this. Remember that sketchy swing ride at the county fair? They have that in Florida. Crappy metal swings, 3mm thick linked chain, 4 per swing. You get on and it twirls. Pretty routine. So we are swinging around. Now the trick part, the thing rises up over 200feet so we are swinging on this ghetto contraption at 220 feet, feet dangling, my weight being supported by 4 thin chains. It was an experience! I can’t really say it was fun, but it was worth doing. The thing went up and down 3 times, each time keeping you at the top a bit longer. After that we ended up hanging out at Downtown Disney and the Disney Boardwalk. We went to the Virgin Megastore and Jess opted to listen to the #1 selling album, Justin Timberlake. Since there was only one Justin headphone option, I went towards another album, #39, Clay Aiken. That’s right. He’s the next (but better) Michael Bolton, his album is all 80’s songs that he redid. Download his version of Broken Wings, love it or hate it it’s definitely worth a listen.

Saturday morning, we head to Dunkin Donuts quick and then to the airport. Jess was a little worried we were late but everything worked out great. Then we were home…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Theme Parks!-In true Blogger fashion I can't upload photos!!! Poop!

Tuesday was the busiest day of all! We had planned to do two Disney parks but instead knocked out three!!! It was totally dead, we could barely wait in line if we wanted. At Magic Kingdom we waited twice, once for 5 minutes and once for 10 minutes. We got on everything, many multiple times (Space & Splash: 3 times, Thunder & Buzz: 2 times) and knocked out so many others: Pirates, Small World, Pooh, Stitch, TTA, Carousel, Haunted Mansion. What a morning. We left at lunch time and hit some Checkers (and Subway for Jess) and headed to Animal Kingdom. We did Everest twice with about a 5 minute wait each time. It was pretty sweet and worth the wait (it wasn’t open last year yet.) It then started to pour so we did some indoor Bug’s Life and headed to MGM. Animal Kingdom is pretty lame in actuality and we had Busch Gardens the next day. At MGM we did Tower Of Terror Twice and Rock N Roller once. We then hit the rest of the park (movie ride, muppets, Honey I Shrunk, etc) and it started to rain. One more Tower of Terror and we called it a day as the rain increased. We didn’t miss anything I loved (there are a couple more that would have been decent to do) and still had time to spare! But it was time to rest up for Wednesday.

Wednesday was Busch Gardens. I haven’t been there for a long time, since 1998. It was pouring all morning, we get 5 minutes from the park and the sky just opened up, beautiful day! Park opened at 9 but all the rides were still closed. Not a good start. We found a ride at 9:15 called Rhino Rally, it was pimp and even brought us within 5 feet of a Zebra. At 9:30 everything opened and we headed to Kumba. What a great coaster, twice in a row. Then to the premier thrill ride, Sheikra which is new this year. No line. We sat in front. There are three rows of 8 and we were in the front corner so we weren’t even over the track. This coaster has a 200ft drop at a 90deg angle and is the only coaster of it’s type in the US. Of course you think you are about to drop and it stops so you sit and overlook the drop for 5 seconds. Insane! Then you fly through the water. I ended up doing it 4 times, twice more than Jess. The rest of the day was spent doing two other coasters (Montu is excellent) and seeing and getting close to tons of animals. It was the perfect time to go, they had a 2 week old Hippo baby. They don’t even know the sex yet as it is too dangerous to get close to it. There was also a Rhino baby and Gorilla baby. We even went to the VIP Brewmaster club and sampled beer and cheese and stuff. I got to try 9 different, Jess tried maybe 5. Only one or two might make a worthwhile purchase some day. Headed back to town and rocked some Jungle Jims…

Thursday is my favorite park in the world (even better than Cedar Point,) Epcot. We rocked everything there as well, Soarin’ 3 times, Test Track twice and everything else once, missing only five attractions of a total of about 25 and most of those are lame (15 minute film on the history of China for example.) We were pretty tired in the late afternoon so we called it an early day and headed back to watch the Office! What a crazy show! I can’t wait until Thursday already!!!

Monday- This was a busy day. We got up early and headed to the only IMBA Epic Trail in Florida, Alafia State Park. This trail blew Carter away. OK, the swamp wasn’t as impressive (there was still some good swamp) but the trail itself was downright insanity. Tight turns, awesome drops, very technical. Super fast ups and downs where you get huge air. Went down twice, one on an insane downhill (rated a double black diamond) where I decided it would be better to shoulder a tree than slide down rocks into a pond. The second was on the easiest trail where I unsuccessfully tried to wheelie a log crossing. Jess went down hard as well and has two skinned knees to prove it. But, I did do one of the sketchiest drops I’ve seen. I sat at the top for about 2 minutes, finally Jess said don’t do it…so I did it! The photo doesn’t do it justice, it was steep and loose but had a good run out at the bottom. Also we say two of the biggest birds I’ve ever seen eating an armadillo in the trail, when we approached them, they flew away and it sounded like a helicopter. Also saw a big black snake. No gators though. It you are ever thinking about going to Florida, ride this trail!

We returned the bikes after that and headed across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to St. Pete. We hit the beach, it was calm and dead. The water was nice but the waves were weak. We swam and built drip castles. After that we were starving but we quickly found a Waffle House and all was well! Good eats. We then headed to Tropicana Field for the Devil Rays/Orioles game. No complaints there. We scored free parking a block away and then when I was buying tickets some lady gave Jess free tickets. Oh yeah, 20th row lower deck, 3rd base side. Sweet! Dollar dogs and Pepsis. $7.75 for 2 dogs, 2 Pepsis and a pretzel, and parking and two lower deck tickets. The game was boring with maybe 5000 fans and two bad teams. We left early but it was really a cool place! I even got to pet some sting rays in the outfield…random…

Monday, September 25, 2006

Florida Recap- Pt1 Add Image

Saturday: We left friggin early! Thanks for the ride Gary! We went through Atlanta to Orlando. The second flight was on a Delta Song airplane! Pimp! Live ESPN, trivia, music, window seat, I was all set! We got to Orlando around noon and headed to the car rental and then hotel. After getting set-up we decide to go get some lunch. We hit Jungle Jim's! Awesome! After was some Downtown Disney to play some Lifeand then to the Super Wal-Mart to buy some Life (cereal) and to the hotel for some college football and sleep.

Sunday: It's all about the bike. The rental shop was a little over an hour away an opened at noon. I am antsy so we left around 8:15am. We headed to Lakeland to scope out some trails. We wanted to ride the TOE and Carter but the TOE is private and after checking it out we decided not to push our luck. We stopped for some water and checked some things out and then went to the rental shop and got some bikes. We snacked at Sonic and got to Carter which was my favorite trail this side of Crested Butte. Jess' pedal didn't work so we then went bike shop hopping and tool hopping. No shops open near the trail, Jess cleat was frozen into her shoe so no changing it. Jess trooped on and half way through the ride her cleat/pedal interface worked on one side, by the end they both worked, she just couldn't hardly step out. Carter is awesome but is getting a bit eroded and has a couple spots of excess growth. I rode some trails I never dreamed of riding before and felt really good about myself. Jess liked it too. The trail basically traverses in and around several swamps and around a lake on a series of narrow rides that are about 50ft above the swamp in places and 2 feet off the swamp in others. We didn't see any gators though. :( We headed back to Orlando, cleaned up and then went out and lost our Ruby Tuesday virginity. Triple Prime Burger is awesome...but super messy.

We're back! :)

We are back from our Florida vacation! It was awesome! I'll post more about that later when I have more time. We got back around noon on Saturday. Jess' parents picked us up from the airport. We then headed to JT Whitneys so we could have lunch and watch the 2nd half of the Michigan/Wisconsin game. It was a good game, I wish the result was better but such is life. We came home and I got pretty organized, doing all my laundry and cleaning up and getting ready for Sunday. Yes Sunday, we still had grand notions of doing the WORS race in Wisconsin Rapids.

Sunday came and I wasn't really feeling racing but I wanted to go anyways as it was a beautiful cool fall day and the course is pretty fun! The trip up was good luck, first the XM played Life by Haddaway which was a good sign. XM 54 was also hitting up all of our 90's alternative favorites. We caught up to the Longs on the road which was also cool! I also saw some bison on the way up so I was really having a good luck day! We finally get to the race and register. It was kind of chilly but eventually I got ready and warmed up.

The race: Expectations low, I don't really care about points, I ate alot of crap food in the last week and flew in yesterday. I don't get a call up this year as it was only my 6th WORS race and 3 of them sucked. I did weasel my way into a front row start and I was ready. From the gun I tried hard to get to the front. Only problem is that I don't really have top-end speed any more. :( I got passed by a few and entered the woods in maybe 12th place. WI Rapids is a course that is almost all flat (one slight climb at the end of each lap) with mostly singletrack connected with some fast double track, ski trail and other open trail. After lap 1 I was battling for 7th-8th place in my age. But the last half mile of each lap and the first half mile of the next lap I could dominate. And I did. I passed tons of people. 1 mile into the 2nd lap I was in 5th place by a hair. I got passed by a guy who is better in singletrack than me and settled in behind him as we worked the singletrack. No one could keep with me on the end of the lap, so I hammered it and never saw that guy again. I did however start to see Ebben as we entered the 1st real singletrack. I got up to his wheel and then he messed up a pass and went down so I passed him and I was in 4th. I settled in and started taking chances then but couldn't see anyone else. Finally I pull onto the road to take the last climb to the finish, threw it in the big and flew around 5-6 people, the last one happened to be in my age group as well, so I just buried it and in about 300yards I put 10 seconds into him and finished 3rd. Parman and Gosse are duking it out for the title so they both got ahead of us by a ways. But I was happy, Rapids usually isn't a great Mark Larson course. I also finished in the 20's in the overall which is awesome for me for being in the last wave. It's weird, I have no top end speed but I can really hammer for a long time so I just can't rock the start like I used to but I don't fall off pace either. Hopefully I can get a little snap back by Sheboygan so I can race close to the lead.

So the good luck continued on the way home. After the race we needed some eats, Jess wanted Culvers but I thought I remembered a Taco Bell to the left. We go left and I see the Taco Bell. Just when we are getting there though, there was a friggin' Checkers Drive Thru! No lie! So I had to hit that, even though I just had it on Friday! Awesome! No worries, we still went to Culvers for Jess' Grilled Cheese! Then we settled in, listened to the Packers and got home! Pack and Colts both win! A good day! :)

Jess: 4th in age; her best race this year!
Jen: 2nd; oh what a season!
Ryan R: 2nd! What a stud!
Mike W: 1st! Awesome!
Jerry: 7th overall in Elite, by far his best finish ever! Congrats!
Ryan: 11th overall in Elite, I believe his best finish too!

Florida trip report coming soon!