Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lah Lah Lounge

Now, this couldn't get any better if I had made it up - and I swear I didn't. This evening I went for dinner with the remaining half of Chris' family as Chris and his Dad took off on a road trip down to Ohio...he's doing a bike race there - best of luck! :) That left his Mom, brother Andrew and myself here in Guelph. Well, that's not entirely accurate as the female contingent of the aforementioned trio was supposed to be enroute to Road Nats in Quebec City - however my charming illness has us delayed by a few days. Apparently when we left Minnesota I decided to bring a charming cough with me - and things have progressed since then...and I'm about ready to be healthy again - my window of tolerance in which I must be healthy is down to only 2 days now...but I'm sure that the immune system will cooperate! (you hear that immune system???)

So yeah, I'm a little irritated of the timing of the sickness, but you can't choose these things now can you - but regardless, tonight's entertainment help spur on my spirits. So to start at the beginning, I had spent all afternoon sleeping and soon enough it was dinner time and no one had really given any thought to dinner. Chris' mom suggested we go to this great pizza place and so we were off (in the brand new red convertable beatle...I must get a picture of that!) As we walked into the restaurant we were informed that it would be $3.00 cover to watch the "show". Said show was a podcast (still trying to understand what exactly is a podcast - best description came from Andrew as a audio blog) and so we were in for some great live entertainment....and some that is good to talk about on my blog. As a sidebar - dinner at Manhattan's was INCREDIBLE - it was the first time that I've had vegetarian pasta in a long time that didn't leave me wanting meat - mmm...a delectable combination of sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, artichoke hearts and olive oil - it was AWESOME! Also on the awesome list was the second act up for the evening. This girl constructed a song entirely with her voice - not sure if it wasn't pre-recorded, but regardless, she had slowly built up with her accompniment and then sang - and it was gorgeous - I thouroughly enjoyed her act. The larger woman belly dancing (no wait, it was a flamenco/belly dance cross) was less enjoyable - partially because I'm not sure she wasn't wearing langerie...classy my friend classy.

The rest of the evening was enjoyable and helped me to understand that my musical talent is pretty much non-existant. The fact that people can sit down and write songs, with music and lyrics just blows my mind. I am also disappointed that we missed seeing Dee Something-Or-Other who was a top 20 Canadian Idol...unfortunately my sleep is also important to me.

So after that entertaining interlude in my life, I'm off to Quebec City to speak French and ride my bike with the top racers in Canada. I'm looking forward to seeing girls I haven't caught up with for awhile and getting back to Quebec City - haven't been there for awhile and it will always remind me of Marie-Claude and my grade 6 exchange. I DID the town back in 1993...I think it was then anyways...just hoping that the evil sore throat demons leave me in the near future.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nature Valley Complete...

So the camera’s fixed, but apparently I no longer remember how to take cool pictures for my blog…We did however accidently detour through Detroit on the way down there – oops! On the upside we were able to take a picture of “8 mile” – yes that is my claim to fame…and that was only a few hours into our 16 hour trek. (After writing I was going through my pics and I decided that in actual fact, everyone NEEDED to see the picture of the hugging bears on the highway - that' just for your other good reason)...That’s right, Julia, Chris and myself decided that the most fun activity we could come up with last week was to drive to Minneapolis, Minnesota. And while I do grant you that they have an equivalent mall to West Ed (which I did not get to visit much to my dismay!), driving there requires that you chug through Ontario, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and then Minnesota…That’s right – my US geography is going to be KILLER by the end of the year! Over the 16 hour drive (remember that’s 16 hours each way!) I learned that I still love Wisconsin. A land of cheap cheese lies near and dear to my heart – on the way out we stopped at a “Cheese” place – apparently Julia doesn’t get how my camera works, cause that picture doesn’t exist somehow…but I got FIRE CHEESE – and believe me, they ain’t kidding about the FIRE – jalapeno to be precise. Not quite as odd as the cheese fudge (that’s right, cheese that tastes like fudge, I had to sample it just to be sure!), but the fire cheese was far more versatile. Unfortunately, to contrast the wonderous cheese state (that also had waterslides EVERYWHERE – I wanna go to a waterpark!) I had to pass through Illinois. A State of irritating toll booths (we missed two of them on the way there and had to send the state $1.60 in the mail…definitely a class A system) and road construction. I think I lost at least 3 years off my life driving through there – oh yeah and the drivers are CRAP! If only I could find a way to drive through Lake Michigan and bypass Chicago – I’ll work on it for Superweek….So we got ourselves to good old Minneapolis – Eden Prairie to be precise – we were hanging out at our host house Connie – she was awesome! And let the racing begin! I can’t say that it was the most positive weekend of my life. I was all stoked about it until I didn’t sleep at ALL the night before the TT – Chris helped me out by going to pick up my race packet though and I trooped through and put down a solid ride (to tell you the truth, I was a little surprised as I felt quite sick to my tummy prior to the race). The next day was a complete gong show. Anyone who was there knows exactly what I mean. I don’t think I hear anyone say anything positive about it – there were echoes of “that was the hardest race I’ve ever done” all over the place. Here we learned that just because a race is flat, doesn’t mean that it is easy…I still prefer the flat.
Friday was the dark day in my racing year. After a killer storm – and I mean NUTSO, blowing hard rain, flooded streets, hailstones and a temperature drop of about 15 degrees – we took to the streets. I don’t think I was actually racing – I’m not proud of this fact. In fact, if I could erase one single race this year it was that one…luckily it seemed to serve as a kick in the bum. Plus, had we not had the crazy storm, we would not have been lucky enough to sit at a super sketch gas station for most of half an hour waiting for a taxi to pick up Robin. Like honestly, this place was a piece of work – I would have taken a picture, but I may have been shot in the process. We took Robin’s stuff out of the car and we were sitting at one of the pumps waiting and the dude inside came on the intercom and informed that we might want to come closer to the building as it was “more safer” over there. Upon approaching the building we found that the gas attendants were protected by about 2 inch thick plexiglass – but we had the crazy man with the lazy eye “protecting” us. A large fork of lightening scared me so bad that under the circumstances of the night I almost started crying…but now it makes for an EXCELLENT story…but as usual I’m just not doing it justice! :P
My legs carried me through the next two days and I tried to stay tough. Apparently racing 7 stage races and 37 days of racing in the first 6 months of the year is starting to take its toll on me. I am happy to say that I did finish the race – and in a fashion that was much stronger than the way I started out, which was nice. I’m resting up for this week, waiting to head up to Quebec City next week. I’m enjoying the action provided to me by the World Cup – specifically my boys from England who have advanced to the round of 16 and will be playing Ecuador on Sunday. This afternoon I’m dealing with the difficult question of do I fly to Quebec or take the train. The real question boils down to – is 8 hours of my life worth $200? I just don’t know…I appreciate any input.
Alrighty, it’s back to being a bum – maybe this week I’ll have the energy to work on my website…it’s about time!