Jay and I headed south late Friday night, rolling into his hometown w/ just enough time to hit the hay and wake up with no alarm clocks! We grabbed coffee and breakfast at Hyvee and had some social time with Jay's folks before getting back on the road to watch the Snake Alley Crit. Within seconds of pulling in, we found everyone. Peter the CX Kid was easy to spot mid-Snake in the fab green Phloyd's Ph&%#'d Tee shirt. Lou and Ken were there, too, cheering and jeering with the best of them. MN came out hard, with Mean Dog, the Swanson Bros., and Dewey climbing the switch-backs with the best of them. Vegas flatted on a pothole, but the rest of the crew put on a good show, making it fun for cheering fans.
Jay and I cut out quick after the race to catch the last bit of daylight and an evening ride before dinner. The Iowa country side is spectacular, with rolling hills and electric-green fields for miles. We got in a great ride and were home in time to make some killer fajitas for his parents. Dinner was just tasty, and it was fabulous seeing D up and at'em.
Sunday was the Muscatine Crit....I'd never done a Crit before, so Jay talked me into it by calling it a "Circuit" race. Okay, so I'm not that blonde, only my highlights are....the crit was a 1 mile loop, so I was much more willing to do that then the ones I've seen so far. The day was beautiful, the air a perfect temp,....and dinner had been too spicy, so I couldn't stay out of the bathroom to save my life! There is nothing more painful than and upset stomach and having to find a way out of a skinsuit quickly, over and over again! So, sore, sick, and dehydrated, I rode up to the starting line. The race was fun aside from my guts, fast, a killer downhill with a wicked speed hump at the end ( I caught air every time! ). I rode hard with the group for the first couple laps, got dropped on the hill, caught back on, and then got split off with a slower group. After about a lap, I dropped the rest of the group and chased the leaders solo for the rest of the race. I finished with a hard sprint 13th of 23. It was a lot of fun and I learned even more about racing - cornering was my big lesson this race, and I couldn't be happier. Jay had a tough race as well, finishing farther back than he wanted to, but he was still having fun being out there.
Later that evening, after dinner w/ the 'rents, Jay and I headed for Scott Church Corner for a sweet Iowa City Wine Ride. It's an interesting reminder that you're growing up when your cycling booze rides start to include cheese, crackers, and napkins. We met up with Lu, Ken, and the gang at the park and drank an extraordinary amount of wine and nibbled on the large assortment of cheeses. Did you know Maytag makes a killer blue cheese? Yep, that's right, the washing machine Co. has supposedly mastered the secrets of Blue Cheese. It was the talk of the concrete picnic table.
The night was spectacular - warm, breezy, lightning bugs filling the fields around us. We hung out until the late hours of the evening, a dozen bottles of wine later, and rode out as a pack back to our beds. The ride was fast, fun, and furious on the pitch black country rode. We got home in great time, curled up together, and slept soundly with no alarm clocks.
The next morning was another road trip home, but our hearts were full of fond moments and memories shared.
There are moments lately when I actually stop and think solely about the fact that this is my new family (with John and Abby, who I've yet to meet). These wonderful people who welcome me with open arms and smiles are my new family, and I couldn't be happier. I can't believe how fortunate I am so know so many amazing and loving people. I truly am blessed.