Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Vacation" Over

It is probably officially time to call an end to my small break between Colorado and Canada. I'm in Quebec now and gearing up for the Grand Prix Cycliste Quebec (and Montreal). Tomorrow is Quebec and Sunday Montreal. This will be my first time racing both, but I can say with absolute certainty that they will be hard. I got to ride the circuit in Quebec today, and they final 3km will be a doozy! And I shouldn't forget to mention that we will do it 16 times, so the absolute final will really be difficult! The rest of the course is relatively flat or rolling making it pretty fast I suspect. There is a section of the course after a steep downhill to the St. Lawrence River that will definitely hurt because it will get strung out every single lap. This race is going to be a lot about positioning, which will help save valuable energy.  We haven't received any "orders" from the director yet, but I believe our definite favorite is Tony Gallopin, but also Ben Hermans and Haimar Zubeldia should be good. I am not sure what to really expect from the race, but I wouldn't mind being in the break. We'll have to see what tomorrow brings.

So about that break after Colorado. Lisa and I flew home on Monday to Wisconsin where we spent the week. On Tuesday I went with my Dad and brother over to Trek and picked up my new mountain bike. We took advantage of that time to go out with Matt Shriver (Trek employee) and ride the Trek trails. It was our first time out there, and we were all surprised by how nice the trails were. They are well built offering a fun ride for anyone. There are a few technical options that can be taken or passed, so it has options and variety. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is the land use. Trek only has about 300 acres to work with, but they have managed to create a very well laid out network of trails. After a fun morning/afternoon at Trek, it was time for a family BBQ. We went over to my brother's house and had a family get-together. It was really nice to just hang out and relax with everyone for the night. I'm trying to decide what was best though: the corn, the hamburgers, or the campfire with smores...

On Wednesday, Lisa and I hopped in the car and headed north to the lake cabin. Along our drive, we got a wild hair and decided that once and for all I would stop at Lambeau Field to check it out. I had driven by so many times but never stopped, so it was time. Unfortunately it is not something you can see without paying for, so we decided the outside view and atrium were enough for the day, and we would dedicate the money we saved to tickets for a future game! After Lambeau, we made a quick grocery run and headed further north.

We arrived at the house mid afternoon, and it brought back instant memories and happiness for me. Nothing really has changed about it since my childhood. It is the first time we have been there in probably 4+ years, too. It was the perfect place for us to go and get away. We really enjoyed our time. We enjoyed great breakfasts, lunches, and dinners every day; as well as great, restful sleep in the quiet, cool, northern air. I did a couple exploratory mountain bike rides with my new bike, as well as a few nice road rides. I have never really ridden up there much, so it was great to see a little of what the area has to offer. I know Lisa really enjoyed her runs through the woods on the ATV trails and fire lanes, so the trip was already a success! Add on top of that the time we got to spend sitting at/in the lake or kayaking around the lake, plus shooting my bow and a few guns, and the trip was super nice. I even took Lisa on a date night! Friday we decided it was time to go for the infamous fish fry I have always talked about, so we headed out, not really thinking about it being 6:30 on a Friday night... of Labor Day weekend. Whoops! We put our name on the wait list, which was already an hour at that point and tried to figure out what we would do to kill time.

Mini golf! We went over to the Kwik Stop for a "kwik" round of mini golf to help build up our appetite. We played a rushed but fun round with the winner not really certain. I was leading until the final hole, but then we quit counting. I suspect I might have actually lost, but we didn't really care. We went back to the restaurant and eventually got seated for our fish fry, which was just as good as I remember it! I'm not sure though if it is the food that is good or just the memories. Either way, we had a great night! Saturday night was our last night at the cabin, so we did everything we could to get ourselves ready for Sunday's departure before the evening came. We successfully did that, so we got to have a really nice final evening with grilled shrimp on the bbq, accompanied by a nice campfire, ladder golf, and eventually smores. It was a great way to end our time up north.

Monday was no slouch of a day either. I was up early and off for a mountain bike ride with my brother. The trails were packed because it was Labor Day, but it was loads of fun to ride/hang out with my brother. After mountain biking, it was time officially start my brother's bachelor party. We began with paintballing. We played for 2 hours and really enjoyed ourselves. A few guys left with some war wounds, but I think everyone pretty well survived. Post paintball, we went over to one of his friends and had one of the most relaxing, fun BBQs ever. We had great food, company, and games! There was of course bean bag toss and bocce ball, but there was also GIANT JENGA! By the end of the night, we had played a lot of impressive rounds with the tower getting what seemed impossibly tall. The most impressive was the tower that reached 35&1/3 rows high and had no more legal moves. It was pretty cool and quite the sight! Guys slowly trickled out, and the evening came to a happy close.

Not sure if Larry is giving advice or taunting Aaron
It's night now, and Aaron is analyzing a tricky tower!

35 & 1/3
Tuesday brought reality back as I had to fly to Quebec, which now brings us here. Yesterday's ride was a nice tour of the island to the northeast of here. We had a local rider show us the route, so we didn't get too lost. We made one lap of the island and came home. Wednesday night we went to do an appearance for a shop. It was at a restaurant instead of the shop, and it was really fun to sign some autographs and talk with some fans. I couldn't speak to most of them because they spoke French, but enthusiasm is universal, so it was all good. Today we rode in the morning, check the course, and have done our best to relax. Tomorrow brings war, so we need to be tranquil as long as possible!

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