Thursday, March 3, 2011

Big weekend. Bigger week.

So the weekend in Austin was a flash and yet another week is on its way out. NAHBS was downright incredible. Eye candy galore. I scoped out all the single-speeds and there was no shortage of them. Plenty of beautiful single-speed, rigid mountain bikes as well. The craftsmanship and ornateness of some bikes was simply stunning. Glad I went. Fellow PA boys at Dirt Rag have some good coverage.

On my drive into Austin I was blown away by how many people were out, running, riding, walking their dogs, and even paddle boarding on the lake. I drove in on one of the main drags, called Cesar Chavez that parallels the Greenway (I think that's what it's called...), a long park on the lakeside. It was perfect. It was a quick glimpse into how active and alive Austin is, and it was great first moment in the city.

After the show, I explored and visisted a cool local bike shop. I met their service manager while riding at Reveille Peak ranch (my new "local" trails) the weekend before. Great guy, who, with his wife, have introduced me to tons of local riders. I was trying to race for the shop team, but I missed my shot. Their roster is filled up just before I got to town. I didn't know that on Sunday though...

But, let me finish Saturday first. After the show and shop, I met up with my friend Brynn who I led trips with and knew from Penn State. Not the closest friend, but we were able to have a good time at lunch then some afternoon drinks. Her relatively recent boyfriend had a rugby game and our afternoon drinks were had at an irish pub full of the most macho and lude rugby players. It was quite the contrast to my morning at a bike show. They burst out into graphic songs about women, homosexuals, and sex. None of them were pleasant, to say the least. After this, I witnessed something I certainly wasn't prepared for: their tradition of sending new teammates running stark naked across the downtown Austin street, into a gay bar to take a shot, then back. This was at five in the afternoon. Apparently they've done this for five years now. Crazy.

All in all a good visit with Brynn, excusing the offensive rugby cro-magnon men.

Ok. Sunday. Stupidly I didn't just stay at Brynn's, but instead drove back to Marble Falls Saturday night. So on Sunday morning, I drove back into Austin and out the otherside to the first TMBRA race at Warda. I later learned this was the first ranch that purpose built mountain bike trails were built in Texas. Pretty cool. $5 land use fee at the gate. $35 entry fee since I was late. Not a cheap race. It was a fast and challenging race though, so I got my moneys worth. It reminded me of Fair Hill in Delaware. Twisty, sandy, singletrack. It didn't flow super well. I met more people, some kids from TX State most notably. Planning on riding with one or two of them this weekend. I also got to meet the team captain for the shop that I wanted to race for. Another nice guy that informed me of the situation. I was just too late. They might offer a kit at cost, but he was unsure of their expectations of me. We'll see. I feel that my 9th place finish in the Cat 1 SS race is respectable considering how little I've been riding as of late. Some pictures here.

This week? Most notably I ran over and killed a rather sizeable racoon last night, then surprised my co-workers by integrating it into the mock-class I taught today. It was brilliant! That sucker requires two shovels to pick up. He's a biggin'.

Looking forward. Reveille Ranch Saturday with new friends...maybe an old one. Relaxin' pool and/or lakeside Sunday. And I actually get to teach kids next week.

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