Answering the usual questions of who, what, why, where, and sometimes when and how.
Got a pretty good deal on tickets this year, despite not-particularly-early prospecting. $278 on Continental, nonstop from SLC to IAH and back again. First pleasant surprise came when the checkin agent in SLC failed to charge me extra for the bike box, though clearly labeled as such. I was sure this was mere oversight and would get tapped on the return trip.
Stuck in the last row non-window seat of an MD80 with a bunch of Mormon high school kids all around, the flight couldn't be over too soon. But it took a while.
Waited a very short time for the box to roll through from the restricted-access top secret baggage mangling area, didn't appear to be any new dings. Got on the Hertz bus to my rental, a green Taurus thanks to the USA Cycling upgrade-a-class-with-13%-discount coupon from license renewal. Surprisingly, the box almost fit in the trunk after I lowered the back seat panels. But not quite by half an inch. Figures. So back to Plan B, take off the top of the box and put pieces in back seat. Works fine.
Rolled down to Rice. Taurus cruises pretty well but it's no Audi. Feels bigger than Dad's old SHO with no-see-um rounded-off corners. Conditions at the track were mid-50s, no-fun north wind. And as promised, a nice new pave and paint job. Turns out the old track was surveyed during destruction and found to be a teensy weensy bit short of 0.3333333 mile, so the previous records are being retired. The new inside line is presumably exactly 0.33333333 mile around, and it's much smoother than last year's patch job. Couple of other people there, nobody I knew, so when I got bored I rolled around campus to look at all the new buildings. And there are a lot of them. The question of declining green spaces was raised with Pres. Gillis at a recent alumni pep talk. Also for enough money you can get the next college named after you.
Still didn't see anybody I knew (what were the odds?) so I went roundy-roundy a few more times and called it quits for the day. Dropped by a pretty huge Best Buy to shop for replacement stereos for the GTI, but didn't see much in the way of selection. Seems they are so diversified that there is only a small section for each niche, a common problem with "superstores" but that would be a separate consumer rant and not a reasonable part of a Beer-Bike report.
Got out to my aunt's house, and discovered Mom had flown down from Plano. Way to go Mom. Went to dinner at Lupe Tortilla's @ Tx 6 & I-10 - as the sign out front says, ees pretty good. Pretty much a yuppie w/kids hangout though - saw a 3-yo in the sandbox wearing penny loafers already.
In the morning, had a Belgian waffle at Jojos on S Braeswood then continued to drive the rest of the Almeda loop to Jones. Stu Baur is there, and Mike Hardy, I got an alumni-race-pit-permit wristband from Teran (along with the now-obligatory waiver), but where are the other alumni? How many times do I have to ride this year?
No trucks on the lawn to get stuck in mud, which is a good thing. Lots o water balloons, mostly a good thing except when I get splashed in the parade as I did disturbingly often this year. Garrick was participating in the Brown section of the parade, (says he gets to ride three times?) which also featured a sign on a truck clearly displaying objectionable language. What's this world coming to...
Out to the track. I graciously allow Stu to use Eddy to ride first, seeing as he didn't bring a bike (and more importantly he doesn't have to make any adjustment despite being a couple inches taller than me). He's not the first non-me person to ride Eddy, I traded rides with Terry and Dave a couple years ago and just the weekend before (while I was skiing and therefore unavailable for comment or possible denial of permission) Dad discovered his stem binder bolt cap broken on the old Trek so he swapped his gel-filled-spring-equipped seat onto *my Eddy* and took him for a spin. So after this base defilement, letting Stu have some warmup laps and two race laps was as nothing to me. Motorola boy spins by with a comment about speed being proportional to muscle cross-sectional area, so I must be going to crush him. Whatever, Motorola Boy.
Having temporarily no bike, I wander over to the chug table, scene of much disarray, to see if they need me to chug. A) No chug cans and B) no stopwatch? Things are looking good for Jones today. I would be useful chugging second, it seems, to go with my apparently-only-once ride of tenth. Nate and Stephen show up but curiously have no bicycles.
The chug cans are found after a PA announcement moments before the start, and off Stu goes on Eddy, doing a fine job. I get up on the table, no practice in several years. I think it was a different cadence too, yeah that's it. I start just before Stu crosses the line, causing a penalty, but at 1.8 seconds am well within my nice safe 4.0 pull time. Actually I lifted the can too early, then realized *doh* it was too early, and didn't start chugging until the proper time. Still a penalty, but a moral victory perhaps.
Stu brought us in first on the #1 leg but then as usual we start losing ground when the sandal-and-soccer-short recruits begin riding. Did I mention I have some kind of cold, evidenced mainly by lots o drainage and a sore throat before I start riding? That's a good excuse for later, I'll have to remember that. Toodling around the infield, waiting for my turn. Don't have to ride twice, that's all I know.
Making my way to the throwing area, looks like we are in about sixth or seventh. Oh boy. Not much of a pack thing going on, but perfect for my attempt for a new (new track) record, right? Wish I felt better. Will Rice rider 10 finishes as I am being thrown.
They throw me anyway. Wind much less than Friday, barely noticeable when I go. Yay! Start out comfortably, cruise the first lap at 31-32. Then it starts to hurt a lot, and my throat is not too happy either, and I come across the line doing 28 or so. Got in one "TRACK!" but didn't have to stop pedaling for anybozo. Darn that cold. And the not riding enough too. Hack around the infield for a while.
Results are announced: Jones up to fourth. Hey, I must have passed a couple people working on the same lap as us.
Women's race. Find some people I know to hang out with. Brown spanks everyone again. Men's race. Another classic Jones victory, or so it appears, with a nice wheelsuck and jump by the Jones #10 rider. Then, surprise, the [Will Rice] officials announce penalties to allow them [Will Rice] to finish technically first.
"Official" results included. Note that the individual times are from rider throw to *next rider throw* thereby including chug/pit time as a bonus. Not sure about the tenth rider times in this situation.
> Because of the new track and newly retired records -- the fastest team for > each race set a new record as did the fastest individual rider. > > Men's Final Times > 1. WRC 23:45.78 -- NEW RECORD > 2. Jones 23:53.64 > 3. Brown 24:23.60 > 4. Lovett 24:26.36 > 5. Wiess 24:36.80 > 6. GSA 25:28.10 > 7. Baker 25:59.00 > 8. Hanszen 26:11.00 > Sid Rich DISQUALIFIED > > Men's Individual Times -- 3 fastest > Jim Bridenstine (Lovett) 2:12.07 -- NEW RECORD > Jones Rider #5 2:12.34 > Jones Rider #7 2:12.44 > > > Women's Final Times > 1. Brown 16:52.60 -- NEW RECORD > 2. Will Rice 17:06.84 > 3. Sid Rich 17:23.90 > 4. Wiess 17:46.90 > 5. Lovett 17:49.22 > 6. Jones 17:50.27 > 7. GSA 18:28.06 > 8. Hanszen 18:31.00 > 9. Baker 19:04.24 > > Women's Individual Times -- 3 fastest > Melissa McConachie (Brown) 1:32.19 -- NEW RECORD > Robin Davidson (Sid Rich) 1:33.16 > Alexa Shoning (Brown) 1:34.65 > > Alumni Final Times > 1. Will Rice 15:40.55 -- NEW RECORD > 2. Hanszen 16:10.00 > 3. Brown 16:15.38 > 4. Jones 17:29.15 > 5. Wiess 18:08.80 > 6. Lovett 19:16.38 > 7. Baker 20:49.00 > 8. GSA 21:43.00 > Sid Rich DISQUALIFIED > > Alumni Individual Fastest 3 Times > Jones Rider #10 01:23.03 -- NEW RECORD > Will Rice Rider #10 01:23.82 > Will Rice Rider #1 01:26.67
Hey, who was Jones alumni rider #10? Wow, he has the new official record. Better go back next year to defend, and here I was planning to make this the last year. WR must have had a slow first chug for their first rider to have that time (faster than Stu by 0.5 sec but Stu beat him into the pits).
Went back to Jones, waited for the sandwiches to show up, then ended up hanging out at The Bank Draft in the Village with several old Jonespeople and their friends for several hours.
Then back to my aunt's house, put Eddy back in the box, in the morning drive to the airport, turn in car, ride bus, check in bike box. Wait! The checkin agents consulted their sophisticated computer database after determining a "bike" was contained in the oversized baggage. However, if this is the only checked baggage an extra handling fee does not seem to apply! Cheapest trip yet. Fly on plane (between two guys with shoulders almost as big as mine, right between the engines on another MD80, grr), wait for box, box arrives with appreciative comments from handler but a beat-up latch and sprung mini-padlock. After everybody's skis. Oh well. After another detour through American Fork, home again.
Here endeth the reading.