Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NJ recap and Thanksgiving thoughts

It is late so I'm going to do this post in one take -

This past weekend was the USGP in NJ. New Jersey is a strange (to me) section of the country. Well, anything outside of NE is pretty strange given my travelling history, but there is something particular that is strange down there. Every square yard of land has been developed, and the Walmart/Target/TGIFridays/Pottery Barns/PEP Boys just run one into the next. Neighborhoods are everywhere, and no apparent center of town like here in Massachusetts. The entire place is one giant suburb from town(ship)line to town line. Then smack in the middle is this beautiful park... this was where the the race was held. Wide open fields, a meandering entrance road, and tons of recreational facilities. They had an ice Rink, a rowing lake (which hosted the 1996 olympic trials), and vast picnic areas. Bubblers stuck up in the middle of fields for no apparent reason. It's like they took all of the open space for miles around and cramed it into this one place.

So the park was really nice but the weather wasn't. The course was great and only took a few small changes to turn it from a power course on Saturday to a technical track on Sunday. Add in dry and windy coonditions Sat and rainy and muddy Sunday and the only thing that was the same was the zip code. They used a random starting order which had me towards the back both days. My race on Saturday was bad. The legs were not responding so while I was suffering like a dog I wasn't going very fast. I took 47th out of the 96 starters, finishing just ahead of the guys fighting their pot bellies to hold their bars. Not sure how I'd feel on Sunday so I just decided to have fun in the slop and not worry about results. Another bad starting spot had me far back but I rode much stronger, had a great time in the mud and got 28th. The bad weather makes warming up, cooling down and cleaning yourself off much more unpleasant but actually makes the racing easier.

The best part was the NE group that was down to race and cheer. NE racers made a strong showing and had some impressive results. Thanks to all for your support during my race, I hope you heard me during yours.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. The two day nature of the thing really allows you to just relax and enjoy the day, take in some good food and swap stories with friends and family. Plus, this may be the least commercial holiday of them all. No gifts, cards, or flowers... In fact, the whole idea is to be thankful for the wonderful gifts that you already have, not create false need for additional material posessions. So with that I give thanks for close family, great friends, and good health. Cheers!

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