Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Play by Play"

Here I sit on the brink of my 5th Trans-Atlantic flight/travel this year and the fun has already begun. My first flight from El Paso to Atlanta is delayed 70 minutes, which means my connection from Atlanta to Brussels is in jeopardy as well. I certainly don’t want to have to spend the night in Atlanta because if I am in the US I want to be with my wife! The only advantage to not making the connection is that I would be able to see the Monday Night Football game between my Green Bay Packers and “da Bears” of Chicago. I think I still prefer the flight.

They just made an announcement (11:31am) that our aircraft is landing shortly and they will clean it and we are then off. Yikes, for a flight originally scheduled for 10:55am, we are doing really well! Oh well, this gives me time to do the necessary updating on my life!

Where to begin… first thoughts are that I am sad to be leaving for three weeks again, but at the same time I am excited for a little bit more racing and valuable experience in my first season. My first racing will be September 30-October 3 in Franco Belge. Then I follow that up with three one-day races on October 5, 7, and 10. Finally I finish with Tour of Lombardie on October 16. The focus of this block of racing is Lombardie and I am going to the race with hopes of being a strong domestique for Haimar, Jani and Chris. The other races are flat and just for training (at least I hope!), while Lombardie is among the best one-day classics and has plenty of climbing and difficult terrain to break things up!

Our plane is rolling into the gate now! (11:37am) This will be interesting for sure. I think I better get warmed up for my upcoming race through Atlanta airport! Enough digression…

Updating from the last couple weeks…  I can think of one good story for sure about my role as the exterminator in my marriage. Lisa asked me to kill an ugly looking spider who has spun a nice web home in the corner of our living room. Upon gathering my courage and my killer weapon, the Kleenex, I approached the spider. I didn’t think much of the venture I was taking and was swooping in for the extermination when I saw the underside of this nice sized black spider… a red hour glass… hmmm... black widow anyone? I slowed my approach and rethought the attack. Unfortunately the intruder fled and now I had to do some chasing. Not the ideal situation for dealing with a venomous creature! I found the invader has retreated to a small space between the floor board and the cable line running along the wall. I wasn’t reaching in there, but I also wasn’t leaving it there, so I grabbed a pencil and we began the jousting match. After some “gentle” prodding and sweet persuasion, the spider ended its hostage negotiations by coming out fighting. I must say that was the wrong move because it was at this point the killer Kleenex came to work and the heroic battle was over. Case closed.

Anybody hear about the latest tropical storms/hurricanes: Lisa and Matthew? How crazy is that? I promise we are not a mean couple and not out to destruct anyone/anything, but it is pretty sweet and quite unbelievable that two storms at the same time happened to be named Lisa and Matthew.

Ok, the real stories now, US Pro TT and RR and moving out of the apartment. I begin with the apartment moving. Lisa and I decided to make a move to a new place and it was not until this week that we realized how difficult that process is! It is amazing how much stuff you accumulate and how easily it builds. We don’t keep junk, but even just the essentials add up! Thankfully when we were “ready” we had some friends with a big pickup (a small monster truck really) and a trailer they were able to get from a friend. With these two and our two cars, we were able to take everything in one trip and life was good!
Calling for boarding, pretty good timing I’d say! (11:52am) More in a bit…

Ok, I continue this blog now from across the Atlantic Ocean in Belgium. Travel was a bit hectic and stressful, but that has become expected now. After the 70 minute delay in my flight leaving El Paso, I arrived in Atlanta with less than 30 minutes to make my connection, which I made, but then bad weather rolled in and I sat on the plane for 75 minutes before finally taking off for the 8 hour flight to Brussels. My seating on the plane was a bit junky. I ended up behind a mom with a very young (but very cute) baby and next to a crotchety old man next to me. I was in the window seat and when I sat, I said “wow looks like a movie theater” because there were big screen TVs on the plane for the entertainment system. That comment was met with a quick glance and a big silence. Wow, this is going to be fun! Yup, didn’t say a word the whole time. Then he was all over my space while in flight; I almost felt like he was trying to cuddle up with me or something. I was quite aggravated. In the end of it all, the baby was no problem, just the mom who was constantly fidgeting as if trying to make some kind of nest for her baby, which I don’t think she ever succeeded at and the old man 
who was a pro at the cold shoulder.

Upon my arrival in Brussels, I was happy to deplane and go for my luggage. Wait for it, wait for it… and… wait some more. No luggage. OH MY GOSH! Two bikes and a suitcase did not make it through. After waiting for nearly 45 minutes, I decided I would pay the luggage counter a visit. I was not the only one in line! After waiting in that line for a while, they said more luggage would be delivered. I went back and to my pleasant surprise, they had made a last delivery of all my luggage! Finally, after an hour of waiting for that, it was time to see where the next adventure would begin.

Nicely, when I walked out, there was a team person waiting for me and we loaded up and made the 100km drive to the hotel. It is a very old/historic hotel. I think it dates back to as far as the late 1300’s. I am not overly impressed by it, but it will suffice.

After having a bit of lunch and getting my bike assembled, I went for a spin. It was a bit rough! Body was a bit travel-logged. Weather is a bit gloomy as well with 100% cloud cover, almost foggy, and temps below 60 F. Welcome to Belgium! I don’t know if I brought enough clothing. I thought it would be cooler, but maybe not this cool. Oh well, I’ll survive.

Alright, that is enough for now. I will give the US Pro TT and RR updates/stories tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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