Sunday, October 23, 2011

As vacation ends ...

As much as I would prefer that my vacation never ends, this Monday morning I'll be back at work. But if you have to end a vacation, this weekend was a hell of a way to do it!

On Friday night, Joanna threw me a 40th birthday party at Borghi's in Chalfont. She had been planning this since July and was really stressed out that I would find out. She had nothing to worry about - I had no idea that she was planning this and none of the friends who were there ever let on at all. Her theme was "40 Beers for 40 Years", and so, in lieu of gifts, everyone had to bring a beer. Now THAT is how you do a birthday!

The basement fridge has never been so full!

I was blown away by everything. I've always known that I am luckier than anyone can expect to be when it comes to family and friends, but nights like Friday really make me realize that I have a pretty great life!

I spent most of Saturday working on the lawn, but then today I got out for a good ride with Tim and Craig at Nocamixon. We met up at about 1:00 at the Tower Road Parking area. Craig led the ride because he's ridden there more than Tim or I and he'd ridden the new loop up to Rte. 563. It was really muddy in a lot of the sections, but it was still a blast. That trail has changed a bit since I was there last. The new section is fun, but it would be much better when it's drier. That's the only issue I have with Nocamixon -- it takes forever to dry out. It hasn't rained here since Wednesday, but the trail was still really soft and wet in a bunch of places. I don't mind getting muddy, but this is that sticky peanut butter mud that cakes on your tires and doesn't wash off. 

Still, it was a great ride - always fun to get out with Tim and Craig!

Plotting out the ride

Tim has become a really epic trail runner the last few years so it's great to see him back on the bike again!

Riding along the Ridge Road trail

The Nocamixon Gnome watching over the trail

If you screw up, he'll take your cog and chain to adorn his entry way

Finally ... the most exciting thing of all ... introducing ... the all NEW and IMPROVED ... preparedness bag!!!!

Plenty of space for emergency gear, first aid equipment, pain meds, vitamins

The preparedness bag is large enough for all my gear yet small enough to bring anywhere I need to go!

Overnight amenities included!

As are tunes and a camera ...

Most importantly, extra cold so I never need to live through a frigid Shea Stadium opening day ever again!
So what exactly is a "preparedness bag"? And why am I so excited about it? Story goes back to opening day at Shea Stadium several years ago. My brother and I had tickets in the upper deck. It was a very sunny morning - perfect for an afternoon game - except it was cold. Damn cold in that upper deck. I spent the entire day shivering my ass off because I didn't have an extra warm jacket or sweatshirt. It was terrible. So from then on, I decided I would be ready for anything when I traveled. And so ... preparedness bag

Over the years, it's evolved to include everything I might need at the drop of a hat - pain meds, endurolytes and snack bars for long rides, first aid equipment, and - especially - extra clothes. I carry it with me all the time - to races, to visit my family, even to work. I like the idea of always being prepared! This year, I asked Joanna for a new one for my birthday. My old one was a messenger bag and it was hard to keep things organized because it only had one pocket inside. The new one is easy to keep organized and even a little bigger. 

It may seem obsessive or odd or even downright nuts to carry around a bag that's sole purpose is to protect against things that might happen. But I don't care. It's a good feeling to know that I'm prepared - not just for things that may happen to me, but even for a friend or maybe someone I don't know. Because it sucks to get caught out in the cold!

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