Monday, November 23, 2009

A Beautiful Day

No records broken, but a very nice 24 hours. Friday afternoon I drove to Tucson for El Tour de Tucson. I only get to ride every 4 or 5 years, because usually we have a Devereux Foundation meeting the weekend before Thanksgiving, but this year--thanks to our innumerate celebration of the Devereux New Jersey Treatment Network's all-important 19th anniversary--I could ride ETT.

By the time I finished registering, checking into the hotel, assembling my bike, and laying out my kit for the race, I wound up getting takeout from Feast, which is now on the Liberal Desert highly recommended list. The potato gnocchi and sausage was just what Dr. Carbo Loading ordered. Plus they had small gift bottles of St.-Germain at the checkout at a tastefully restrained price.

Saturday was pretty much a perfect Arizona day, except for the last 28 miles of the route--for me, anyway, which was work and not much fun. (Very cool Arizona Daily Star 360-degree photograph of the start here.) I pretty much knew I would not finish in under 6 hours this year, with not nearly enough training and a bad cold from two weeks ago. That meant anything better than 6:30 would have to be acceptable. But during the ride, I kept falling in with groups and managed to draft my way to Marana in less than 5 hours, and my enthusiasm started rising. But around mile 80, I had to stop for water, and got dropped with finality and realized it was going to be a long slog to the 108-mile finish in 6:25:48. (That's the official time, it took 3 minutes to get to the start, so my watch said 6:22:50.) Who knew there were so many rest stops after mile 80? But either officially or unofficially, my time is still under 6:30 so I should be satisfied. Results here.

I then packed up my bike, picked up my finisher's medal, and drove home in plenty of time to shower, change, and dine at Cibo and then attend the Arizona Opera production of Richard Strauss's Salome (Greer Grimsley is pretty impressive, but so was Noah Stewart.) Good food! Bicycling in the sunshine! Opera! I need to sleep now.

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