Sunday, June 17, 2012

If you can't be ...

I skipped the Stoopid 50  today. There are a few reasons - 12 hours on the bike last Saturday, the first opportunity I'd have to meet my niece (born June 1st!) on Saturday - but what it really came down to was simple economics: I had a tough time justifying the expense of it to myself. It's not the fee itself -- Chris Scott's events are always worth the price you pay: they're well run with plenty of swag and the courses are all you could possibly ask for in a personal challenge. No, it was the other stuff: it's a 3 1/2 hour drive, so I'd have to drive out Saturday night unless I wanted to get up before 4 am. And that would mean getting a hotel room, buying food, paying $3.50 or so a gallon for 2 1/2 tanks to get out there, etc. It kind of sucks that I think about these things now. I mean, it's not that I can't afford it -- I have no kids, and this is pretty much my only hobby. It's just that I don't want to do that now. Like a lot of people, I'm pissed that I have to spend so much for gas all the time. Without getting too political, I know that the rise in prices today has nothing to do with the rise in costs to extract a dwindling resource (if you don't know, the gas you purchase today was extracted long before you purchased it. So the claim that difficulty in extraction now is causing a rise in prices simply doesn't bear out. Nor does the fact that oil companies made record profits each of the last few years.) Anyway, I just decided that paying several hundred dollars to attend a one day race -- no matter how great an event that is -- is something I'm only going to for a very few select events. And this year, Stoopid 50 just didn't make that list. Maybe it will another time. But this year, the stars just didn't align for it. It's a shame because I am currently sitting in 2nd on points for the SS endurance class in the MASS. This could ultimately cost me a shot at the top spot.

Anyway, since I couldn't be at the race I'd have otherwise wanted to do, I was left with an open weekend and any number of possibilities for how to spend it. Not a bad alternative. And it worked out okay in the end, too ...

Friday night, Joanna and I went to the Academy of Music in Philly to see Earth, Wind and Fire. Joanna is a big 70's music fan and when she saw the were coming to the area, she wanted to go. I pretty much only knew one song ("Let's Groove") but I figured if she wanted to go, that was good enough for me. After a long week at work, though, I wasn't too excited about doing anything on Friday night. I really didn't feel like going. But I did, and I have to say - it was a great show!

They really know how to engage a crowd (no surprise there after 40 years, I guess) and Philip Bailey has an incredible range. Seriously, he can sound like five different people when he sings. It's amazing. I was really glad we decided to go.

Saturday was my nephew's fourth birthday party, and it was the first chance we'd have to see my brand new niece! The party started at 2:00, though, so I had time for a good ride in the morning. I headed down to Wissahickon bright and early for a 25 mile ride in some epic weather.

The rebuilt flood guards off Lincoln Drive

My only issue all day was dealing with shadows in the woods form the bright sun, and that's a problem I can live with.

Whipping through the singletrack

Perfect blue skies, one gear, and miles and miles of trails ... a perfect day ...

I wasn't the only one taking in the perfect day ... there was a huge wedding at the Inn

I finished up my ride at about 11:00 or so, feeling great and ready to go to Jersey for a party. We had a really good time at my sister's place playing with my nephew (who is a typical four year old ball of energy) and my niece is absolutely gorgeous! We hung around for a few hours and then headed home. Joanna wanted to get some rest because we had planned for an early morning road ride with her dad for Father's Day.

And we had a great ride -- her dad is really good at mapping out low-traffic routes. I always enjoy the courses he lays out for rides. We did around 20 miles and had a really good time.

Joanna and her dad on one of PA's perfect cycling roads
After we got home, I headed back out for some more off-road action in Philadelphia. It was a bit cloudy at the start of that ride, but cleared up nicely in the afternoon and turned out to be another perfect day in the valley. I really can't believe how lucky we've been all year here!

And to close out a great weekend, I stopped by the Round Guy's Brewery to pick up a Growler of their Buh Nana Hammock Saison, a new beer they've been brewing. They're getting close to opening their brewpub. They make some great beers and some are now available in restaurants in the city. If you see them, give one a try. They make some really great beers.

Buh Nana Hammock Saison

So there it is. Still would have loved to get out to the Stoopid 50, but this wasn't such a bad substitute for a 50 mile sufferfest, huh?

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