Wednesday, November 18, 2009
No worries about the 'rents going hungry on the big day. CrabbyC and Tex are heading to the casino for T-Day dinner, they love them some comped buffet and slots.
Last night at Bingo! (our only win was a door prize giving us $5 off our next visit, last time we won $120 - woot!) I asked GeekBoy if he thought they might have Bingo! at our resort. He said he didn't think so, that they probably don't know what Bingo! is. I sort of agreed, figuring that he was probably right; but then said wouldn't it be HILARIOUS if they had their own game called Gringo! instead?
Dammit - I AM funny.
Currently, I am in the misdst of trying to pre-overpack for this trip. I have a fundamental inability to pack light. We leave Saturday morning. I have (basically) 7 days/nights to pack for. With clothing options to choose from, jewelry, hair stuff, and 7 books; my bag should be around 83 pounds. Although, I did just get a new hair dryer - the T3 Featherweight, so maybe there is hope for me. Those ounces really add up. And GeekBoy wasn't too receptive to my suggestion that I could utilize the unused space in his bag. His point about packing too much leaves no room to buy anything while you're there is valid, but I then pointed out that jewelry really doesn't weigh that much and BONUS!, you can wear it out of the store.
It's not going to be all lazing around while we're there. We do have plans for a day trip to tour the ruins of Tulum, as well as to snorkel in the cenotes at Dos Ojos (spider monkeys!) and to swim and snorkel with sea turtles in the bay. Critters! I can't wait. Well, I could wait on getting into a bathing suit in public, but whatever. Monkeys and turtles! Drinks with umbrellas! Not being at work!
Kitties will miss us though. No worries, they will be very well taken care of. We have teams of people lined up to care for them in our absence. OK, we have 2 people. But rest assured, they will not experience an interruption or decrease in the level of service they have become accustomed to.
I've got a new camera (thanks for the b-day gift GeekBoy!) so my trip pictures should be kick-ass. Unless all the umbrella drinks impair my ability to push the button and hold reasonably still.
We'll see! I know you can't wait.
Until then, amigos.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Since the last time I posted:
- 1 birthday (mine). I am rapidly reaching the end of the 'x-39' age bracket, and really, it's no big deal. I will poll myself again next October and we'll see how I feel about it then. It does appear that I am regressing though, as I asked for (and received) a new bike from CrabbyC and Tex. Thanks Parents! Now I am going to be even faster in next year's cancer ride. I hope.
- 2 excellent dinners out in honor of the above birthday. Nectar, for sushi, on the day itself - was phenomenal. Then a steak (well actually surf & turf - nothing is too good for moi) dinner at Pietro's Prime that weekend. It, too, was excellent. And they had 150 year old Grand Marnier; on whose fumes, one can get drunk. Which I did. And then I drank two of them. Because I wasn't drunk enough, apparently. Then I barged in on the date next to us and promised them some concert tix that we won't be able to use. Which I did send to them, because I am a gentleman like that.
- 2 weeks of bingo! Oh my God, I love me some bingo. I believe I am a 70 year old woman trapped in a 39 year old body. We've found a local Tuesday night game at the firehouse in Phoenixville, and I am so enjoying it. Even GeekBoy is getting into the game, although he has yet to win. I won $20 last week and it more than paid for my night. I'll be there tonight with my dauber and my chips and I can't wait! Wish me luck. Word to your g-ma.
- 1 harvest party at my aunt's house. We carved pumpkins and ate a lot. I should have taken a picture of our pumpkins because they were bad-ASS. Since the weather has been so warm here, within a week, mine had caved in and gotten all gross. So now it's in the trash. :( Geekboy went and bought us more pumpkins though, so we'll carve a couple more later this week so we have some for Saturday night.
- 1 musical event. Ian Anderson performing acoustic Jethro Tull at the Keswick. Tull is one of my all time favorites and the Keswick is a fabulous venue; intimate setting, has seats (I can't stand for long periods of time anymore), and there is also a bar (bonus!). We had great seats and it was a fantastic show.
- 55 treat bags for Halloween. I go completely overboard on candy for the kidlets. Strangely enough, although I am not a kid-person, I absolutely love children on Halloween. One night only, and I go all out for it. This year, I think I bought close to 30 bags of candy and got 55 treat bags and a plastic pumpkin filled with leftover loose candy out of them. I put like 10 pieces of candy in each bag and when they are gone, I move to the loose stuff. When that's gone, I go in my house and cry. I hate running out of candy before the trick-or-treaters stop. When I lived in a townhouse community (where I would easily get 200 kids) I still made up bags (yep 200 bags), and when I ran out, I would lock up and go to my mom's house, because I couldn't bear to sit inside and watch kids still walking around. CrabbyC and I have a tradition where we call each other throughout the night and report how many kids we've each had. I'm hoping the weather is good this year. I've got almost 40 luminarias (is that right?) leading down our driveway (it's a long driveway) to the door - I don't want to have to sit at the end of the driveway to give out candy if it's yucky out.
- 1 National League Pennant. OH HELL YES! Go Phils! I can't wait for this series. Here's to hoping that we can pull it off. I got me a new shirt and everything and I am looking forward to watching my boyfriends (him and him mmmmmyummy - oh hi, sorry) play some mean ball. There is nothing like Philadelphia in the midst of a playoff or championship of any sort. I couldn't believe how tame the other team's fans were during some of the games. Really? Christ, they had to grease the light poles downtown before the last game to try and keep people off of them when we won, I heard they removed mailboxes and trash cans too. Those other cities could learn and thing or three from the folks here.
- 1 bee in my hair. I came home after work and went to feed the kitties and all of a sudden there was a buzzing in my ear. My hair was in a ponytail so I started shaking and slapping my head (great mental picture, just wait, it gets better). I still heard the buzzing so then I ripped the hair deal out and bent over and shook out my hair, all the while shrieking like I was being axed to death. Still buzzing, I ripped off my shirt and ran around the house with my head bent over, jumping and yelling and generally acting like a freak. Then the bee fell on the dining room floor. He had absolutely no idea what had just happened to him. And the kitties were no where to be found. I scooped up the bee and took him outside (he was fine) and came back in to feed the felines. They wouldn't come out for anything, I scared the living shit out of them. It took 10 minutes after putting their dishes down for me to coax them out of their hiding places. After I got them squared away, I went out to get the mail and wouldn't you know it, the bee dive-bombed my head. Bastard. I about turned myself inside out in the middle of the driveway. My neighbors must love me. They get to see me at the best moments of my life. I used to wonder if they thought I was psycho, beating the trees with a broom to scare away the squirrels. Maybe they are used to me now.
- 7,542,863 leaves on the ground. Holy shit and there are still as many left on the trees. I vacuumed (yes, vacuumed. with a yard vac) the driveway last night and today it doesn't look like I did a frigging thing. And now it's raining. Here's to hoping that they dry out by Saturday so I can vacuum again. Wet leaves are a bitch to clean up and I don't want any special snowflakes slipping and falling in our driveway on the big day and their parents suing us for everything we've got (which ain't much, but I might be willing to hand over one or more of the kitties though).
- unknown number of hosta leaves clipped. I've been cutting back everything and it's just so sad to see the leaves get all yellow and brown and droopy. Every year I worry 'What if they don't come back next year?!', but so far, they have returned. Keeping my fingers crossed that they come back again in the spring. I did find a dead vole (sorry mr. vole) last week in the driveway, and now I'm concerned that I have voles. Voles and hostas do not mix at all. Always a challenge, in my garden.
Have a good week you guys. Happy Weenie Day!
Watch out for bees.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Where I work, we are lucky enough to have breakfast, lunch and dinner provided for us, at no charge. (pause, for you to mentally slap the shit out of me) However, this does not come without the requisite drawback. Our on-site chef, Nasty McMeanPants, is (based on my sample study) the person who would be voted 'Most Likely to Come in Here with a Machine Gun and Blow Us All Away'. Seriously. He has been overheard telling an employee, who dared to take 2 hamburgers, that he hoped the guy choked to death on them. Another employee had a dirty rag thrown at him when he didn't hear what Nasty was saying to him. Needless to say, we don't complain about the food. At least not within his earshot.
Today's gourmet delights included quesadillas, of the beef and chicken variety. I had a chicken one. Maybe it's just me, and maybe I am too used to the 'American' Mexican food; but these did not resemble the quesadillas that I am familiar with.
For one, there was no cheese in them as far as I could tell. Second, they had some kind of black bean corn concoction in them that appeared to have been mixed in when they cooked the shredded chicken. Corn and beans in quesadillas? Am I missing something?
It was like shredded chicken black bean corn stew between flour tortillas. With NO CHEESE. If there had been cheese in with the other stuff, I could have forgiven the rest. But there wasn't, so I can't.
I know, I know - how DARE I bitch about free food, don't I know there are starving people in (insert impoverished country here)
It was just strange to me and I am curious if anyone else would have had the same reaction? Or is this the way they really are supposed to be and I am the one who doesn't know from real Mexican food. Kind of like the way our 'Chinese food' isn't at all like what you'd get in China. I've been to Mexico (the 'real' part, not resorts) but I was very young and I don't remember what I ordered at the restaurant, let alone what it looked/tasted like.
But I'm sure there was cheese on it - because I am a whore for cheese.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I will NOT be recommending that anyone ever eat at this restaurant again. If I did at any point after 1997 (the last time I ate there), I apologize profusely - let me offer you a gift certificate to any restaurant of your choice to make up for it.
It was, by far, the worst dining experience I've had in, probably, the last 10 years.
To start off with, it took 30 minutes after we were seated for our server to come to our table, and then, he only filled the water glasses. (let me preface all of this by saying that at no point while we were there was the restaurant even close to half full)
About 15 minutes later, he came back to find out if anyone needed drinks or wanted to order a starter. We advised him that we were ordering from the prix-fixe menu, which consisted of a set salad and dessert, with 3 choices for entrees (lobster francaise, halibut with a lobster cream sauce and a rib-eye). Several people order the lobster and our server says he'll have to find out if the kitchen has enough to fulfill the orders, as they were running low earlier. I, and 2 other folks opted to try the lobster bisque - in addition to the fixed meal, and everyone ordered their entrees. 15 minutes later, we got bread and told that the kitchen can, indeed, fulfill the lobster orders. At this point, we've been at the table for an hour.
While ordering, my friend V. advised the server that in addition to being lactose intolerant, she also cannot eat shellfish. When she ordered her halibut, she asked for it plain, no sauce, due to her dietary limitations - the lobster cream sauce would send her system into an uproar.
10 minutes later, our server comes out to inform us that the kitchen dropped one of the lobster dishes and now someone will have to order something else from the 2 other entrees, because they do not have any extra. My thinking is that that person should have had the option to substitute an entree off of the regular menu, due to the restaurant's mistake, but that was not offered. So J. ordered the halibut.
Meanwhile we get our soups, and then our salads arrive. The bisque was good, the salad - meh. Chopped salad is fine with me, but when it is nothing but iceberg lettuce and garlic, drenched in olive oil - well, it loses a little something. But, whatever, I deal with it.
A half-hour later, our entrees come out. Our giant salad plates are still sitting in front of us. Really? You're not even going to clear the salad plates before bringing out the entrees? I can snark, because I was a waitress; but also, I am extremely easy to please in restaurants. It does not take much to make me happy. Bring me bread and drinks within 10 minutes of my sitting down and you can disappear for another 30 minutes before I will start to get annoyed. Keep the table clean and make sure my food is hot and timely - I am the happiest person you've ever seen and will tip upwards of 20-25%.
V.'s halibut comes out drenched in the lobster cream sauce. She reminds the server that she ordered it plain and that she cannot eat what he's brought her. Terry (our server) apologizes and takes it away. Meanwhile the rest of us have our food and are sitting there, waiting for hers to come before we dig in. She tells us to just go ahead and eat, don't worry about it. OK.
I tuck into my halibut and first bite, pull 4 bones out of my mouth. OK, I'm done. I'll be goddamned if I'm going to choke to death in THIS place. Put my fork down and wait for the server to come back to ask for a box (GeekBoy is good with leftovers). At this point GeekBoy points out to me that the lobster cream sauce very closely resembles the lobster bisque. Huh - well, what do you know - it IS the lobster bisque. Way to cut corners, Chart House.
20 minutes later, Terry brings her the replacement fish. This time, it's drenched in a butter cream sauce, because he could not believe that she really meant that she wanted it plain, with no sauce. Are. You. Kidding. Me. He sends the manager over. This little man tells V. that there is nothing that the kitchen can make that will be out in short order and the only thing he can offer her is their 'help yourself' salad bar. WE JUST HAD SALAD YOU TWIT.
V. and I head up to the salad bar to see if there is anything she wants. Not really. At this point it all looks like shit.
While we are standing up there, the manager stops by to apologize again. We explain that V. was very clear when ordering that she could not have shellfish or dairy and twice was brought food that she could not eat. He then proceeds to offer her a SHRIMP dish or CRABCAKES. Now they've GOT to be playing with us. This can't really be happening. Is everyone in this restaurant learning impaired?
Meanwhile, GeekBoy visits the men's room and finds that there are no towels - he alerts the host to this and brings his wet hands back to the table to dry off on his napkin.
On his way back to the table, I let him know that our desserts will be boxed and we are out of there. I manage to grab Terry walking past and let him know that I need a box for my fish and I want our desserts to go as well. V. asks for her dessert to be boxed too.
20 minutes later, I get our boxed food. 30 seconds after we get the boxes we are out the door and retrieving our car from the valet.
The worst 2.5 hours of my life, foodwise, that I can remember. I mean, I didn't have this bad of a time when we were in France trying to cobble together enough words from my phrasebook to make sure I wasn't ordering organ meats.
Our reservation was for 6 PM. At 9:48 PM, I got a text from V. saying that she was home and eating cereal (with soy milk) for dinner.
At no point during our time at the table did anyone from the restaurant try to make things right, in a way that I found anywhere near acceptable. When we were leaving, the host could see that there was something wrong, and asked us - we told him that we had already spoken to the manager. At that point, what would they be able to do? There is no chance in hell that I will go back there, so gift certificates and/or gratis meals mean zero to me.
Thanks for nothing, Chart House.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Without further ado, a selection:
Sandals (I realize it's a little late in the season, but we're going to Mexico over Thanksgiving and my Bonnanos make my feet hurt)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
A gratuitious kitteh picture! (they are Q and M's babies, not mine)
Last, but certainly not least. We have our wedding date set. 10/10/10. Going binary seemed appropriate and it's right up GeekBoy's alley. We'll be doing the dirty deed in Vegas; and yes, Elvis will be there. I think I've got GeekBoy convinced to grow some mutton-chop sideburns and I'm considering a bouffant hair-do and elbow length gloves, or possibly a poodle skirt and saddle shoes.
Viva Las Vegas!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
This trait flows into much of my personal life. It's difficult for me to see new and varied uses for my things. Especially clothing. I have clothes for work and clothes for not-work and clothes for going out and clothes for working out. They rarely, if ever, make appearances in each other's worlds, except for my jeans - I wear them to work every day and also for not-work and for going out. They transcend the boundaries I've established. Magic.
When traveling by air, I try to dress as comfortably as possible, while maintaining some semblance of a halfway decent appearance. I'm always checking out other women's shoes and commenting to GeekBoy - 'Do you think she can run from the burning fuselage in THOSE? I hope to hell she's not in front of me. I'll go all George Costanza on her ass, and then stab her with that high heel sandal.' I marvel at the get-ups that some of our society will take to the skies in - it's not your living room couch or a nightclub, people, please don't treat it as such.
You see, when I first started flying; at all of 8 weeks old, air travel wasn't what it is today. It was a treat, not a taxi ride. When we flew, my mom would dress me up and once we got to the airport I had to behave just like I was a guest in someone's house. While I am thrilled that flying has become so accessible to so many folks, myself included, I do wish that it was still regarded as something special, and that we'd act in accordance.
How did I get sidelined into the whole 'stop dressing like skanks/lazy slobs at the airport' tirade?
Normally, I wear jeans and a nice shirt, usually black (with a wrap of some sort), and sturdy shoes to fly. Easy peasy. This last trip, though, I got an idea. I love my yoga pants, and have a pair that are a touch too large for me to wear to practice (but not so big as to be ridiculous) that I've relegated to the not-work section of my wardrobe; I bum around the house in them. They are so comfortable and most importantly, black. Easy to wash and not too slovenly looking score points for them too. Could I?
Yes. I could. And I did. And I loved it. Who knew? And why didn't they ever tell me? Can I get on that mailing list?
This could be the start of me thinking outside the box.
Bring on the Mobius Strips and that Schrodinger's Cat thing. I can handle it.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Q. and I met in '97-'98 when I up and moved across the country to SF. We worked together at the Evil Empire (it's so funny that many people refer to their workplaces, usually former workplaces, by this name) in the Financial District. She left their employ before I did, but we've stayed in touch ever since. Q. was definitely the best part about that place, at least as far as I am concerned. I moved back east at the end of '99, but have visited the left coast as much as possible since returning to PA. (I'm still determined to move back out there someday) Anyway, she and M. up and moved across the country to the east coast just about a year ago. So now we get to be in the same time zone and only a one hour flight away from each other!
A good time was had by all this weekend. There was much chatting, drinking, eating and some African drumming and dance thrown in. Next we work on getting them up to our neck of the woods for a visit.
Now, back to the hostas!
I know I've been a little light on the plants lately. Thing is, around this time of the season, when it starts to get a little cooler out and the greenies start to get kind of sad looking; I get the shits of working outside. It's just a matter of weeks until the leaves start to fall and then the really hard work starts. Picking them all up and moving them out to the street for removal, lather, rinse, repeat. For 2 months straight. Autumn is my absolute most favorite time of year, and I love being outside when it's passing through, so I guess the leaves give me an excuse to spend lots of time enjoying the season. Can you tell I'm trying hard to make a negative into a positive? Go me.
In 2007, GeekBoy and I puchased a house on what could be called a 'difficult' piece of property. It's wooded and slope-y and clay soil and wasn't very well maintained (the landscape, not the house part) by the previous owners. We've managed to clean up a fair amount of it and we are always making improvements where we can.
One such challenging section was the slope leading down to the side yard. It's covered in ivy and pachysandra and part of it looked like someone had, at some point, tossed a bunch of railroad timbers down it and just left them there to rot. The plants had grown over most of them, but the ends were sticking out in a few places. We were worried about a possible erosion problem and it just wasn't very nice to look at - not that we see it - but a lot of people walk around our neighborhood and it was kind of an eyesore for them. In addition to that fun, the lawn in the side yard (ha! I use the word 'lawn' when I really mean 'weed patch') was looking a little beat, and there was a clear line of demarcation where our yard ended and the neighbor's lush, green grass began. The previous owners had had some trees removed and the stumps ground out, so we had a pile of sawdust and some big divot-holes and uneven patches, it was always hard for GeekBoy to mow the weeds.
We decided to get some terraces built into the slope to control any erosion and to clean the view up a bit and also to have the ground in front of them graded and grass seed put down, so it looked a little less like suppose nobody cared about it.
An aside; the words in italics are a saying of my mother's, from when I was a little kid. 'If I let you go out in THAT people are going to think that 'suppose nobody cared' about you.' I have no children and no plans for them, and still, I find myself repeating the things my mom said to me when I was young.
Here's the offending spot as viewed from our driveway:From the street:It looks shitty. I know it. You can say it. I won't be hurt.
I made GeekBoy take pictures of the workers in action: It's a good thing that we were getting the yard graded and seeded as well - they made an absolute mess of it with the rocks and equipment. Here's how it looked when they finished:Better. Now the terraces just need some plants to fill them.
Oh hey! There's my little red wagon! It was a Christmas gift from GeekBoy last year. I truck all over our property with it filled with plants and soil amendments and tools. It's so much nicer than hand carrying everything and making 5 trips. Remember all those plants on my deck table? That's all of them down there. Waiting for holes to be dug. Plus more that I bought later. I was a little worried that I didn't have enough to properly fill the terrace beds. You can see GeekBoy putting in some rock steps to make it easier to access the terraces. That was something that we didn't think about, and didn't ask for when we booked the job. Here we are in the midst of my planting. It took me all day to plant the 3 terraces. I started at the top and made my way down. It was a long day. Then we mulched everything and watered it and the grass seed. And continued watering the grass seed, hoping that some of it would catch on and grow. And here it is a month and a half later:
Way better. Can't wait to see how everything comes in next year.
I hope the neighbors like it.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Hopefully I've got everything I need for the flight and the weekend away.
See you when we get back! Have a great holiday weekend.
I mean, I thought that I had the market cornered on shit-eating habits with my rummaging around for leftover chocolate chips from my Christmas baking and then getting the brilliant idea that 'Hey, I bet this'd even be better if I stirred them into the jar of peanut butter'. (this only happens sometimes) Apparently, this behavior has been inherited from my mom. (Hi Mom!)
The woman can go through a 2 pound box of See's Nuts and Chews in a weekend. I have not yet worked my way up to that level of sport eating. It's amazing though, that we aren't both morbidly obese. Although I think the smoking is what keeps her at least 20 pounds lighter than me. She's got herself on a steady diet of coffee, cheese, cigarettes and candy. Almost like Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. But Patsy hasn't eaten solid food since 1973 (except for that crisp).
This guy takes the cake. Deep fried butter.
I don't even want to think about the nutritional content of those little fried butter pillows.
That is all.
*My mother (who does not yet know how to leave comments) let me know that I left out 'doughnuts' from her food staples. Sorry Mom.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
But I'm back now, and I will do my best to post more regularly. Lord knows, I've got plenty of stuff to blabber on about.
I have a pair of Bonanno sandals that I'm having a bit of trouble with. They are the Emma Classic Monograms and I bought them last year. I love them - that's not the issue.
Look how cute they are!
Yes, I am well aware that I have pontoon boat feet. Thanks for noticing. On occasion, I see trannies shopping in my size aisle of shoe stores.
The issue is that when I wear them, they hurt my feet. Well, my foot. The left one. My big toe rubs and gets a blister on its' pad. Owie. And the heel part of the sole (on both) is a little irritating. Now, I've only worn them a handful of times, as I am a bit of a shoe whore and I have a tendency to not rotate my inventory as well as I should, because I can't see all of it. (hint to GeekBoy - let's fix up the closets like we've been wanting to for the last 2.5 years - shall we?) This rubbing thing has happened each time though. They fit well, and my foot doesn't slide around them very much, so I'm starting to wonder if it's just that we have a compatibility problem and there is no fixing it.
Has anyone else out there had this problem with theirs? Did it fix itself? Or did you have to do something? I really like these shoes and I don't want to have to stop wearing them if I can help it.
Next issue (told you I have tons of stuff to go on about).
I came home yesterday to the latest Burberry mailer, notifying me that the Autumn/Winter collection is now ready for my perusal. Yay! Burberry is one of my absolute favorite designers (mainly for outerwear/accessories/bags), and plaid is my favorite color. :)
Lately, I've been thinking of getting a nice tote to carry when I've got my laptop and other large items to transport - it would be more fashionable, and decidedly more practical than the nearly useless computer bag that work supplied me with. I'm figuring that I could interchange it with my daily handbag, which, although quite large, wouldn't fit my computer and the Kindle that I hope to get at some point and a jacket and various and sundry other things that I must have with me at times.
This was on the cover of the card:
(yes, that's Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies)
But look at the bag she's carrying. It's fabulous. It's exactly what I was looking for. How did they know? The folks at Burberry must be on the same wavelength as me. All I could think was that I must have THIS BAG, and I must have it soon.
I'll give you a second to click the link and have a look.
Did you? Have you put your eyeballs back in your head?
Yeah, I'm thinking that I will just have to find a suitable alternative. Now I am not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I own several (a few more than several?) higher end designer handbags. They are one of my habits. But I cannot cotton to spending $7500.00 (yes, the decimal point is in the correct place) on a tote. It's really too bad, because it was love at first sight for me. What a bummer.
So I took a look around the site and found a few others that will do.
I think I'm going to look around a little more and maybe visit the KOP mall and see some bags in person to get a better feel about what will work best for me.
Thanks for listening.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Right after I started working at the software company, I got recruited to ride in the American Cancer Society's annual Bike-A-Thon. It's a 60-something mile bike ride; starting at the Ben Franklin Bridge, and ending at the Buena Vista Campground, in Buena, NJ. Our CEO is really into supporting organizations such as this; we hold blood drives every 56 days, regularly ship boxes of stuff to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and a bunch of employees and their friends/spouses ride in the Cancer Ride each year. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
When I lived in California, I picked up mountain biking. How could I not, the firetrails that the original repack crew invented it on were at the end of my street. However, mountain biking and road riding are two completely different animals.
That first ACS ride was the first time that I rode more than 30 miles in one day, that day, I rode over 60. On a mountain bike. In a crowd of mostly road-riders.
Since I didn't die that first time out, I decided to do it again and see if I could beat my time of approximately 8 hours. Yes, 8. The same time most of us spend working each day, Monday through Friday. Except I wasn't getting paid. I was paying to ride, and raising money to support the American Cancer Society and their research.
Being that I've got about a 100% chance of developing skin cancer (it comes with the fair skin and the hair and the poor SPF choices we had when I was a kid), I figure that it's definitely a cause I can get behind.
So, glutton for punishment that I am, I signed up for a second Tour de Agony.
On the appointed day, at the appointed time, The Rocket Scientist and I made our way down to the starting point.
Coming off the bridge, it always jams up while everyone sorts themselves out and sets their pace. Luckily, there weren't any crashes.
This year, we had an added element. A local motorcycle club, The Centurions, were riding along with us, running interference. There were a lot of times that I wished I was on one of THOSE bikes, instead of mine.
The Centurions were there to make sure that we were protected while riding. They also stopped whenever a cyclist had trouble, to block them from traffic, as most of the roads we ride on are not closed.
This ride is so well supported, it's unbelievable. There are roving, mobile bike shops all over the course, to assist any rider who has a mechanical problem. The bike shops in the area sponsor it, and I am grateful for them. I have yet to have a malfunction, but in the event I ever do, I know it won't be long until I get some help. They also set up tents at each rest stop, if you have an issue that isn't serious enough to cause you to stop on the course, they'll take care of you when you roll in.
A typical rest stop - they're loaded with food and fresh water.