Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Biking my way to San Diego

My journey to San Diego began last Sunday, but the day hardly started with me stepping on the plane. After watching a bit of the Charlotte Criterium on Saturday night, I was in bed early for the 5:30 rise. It was quite dark when I rolled Holman out the door at 5:45. My goal was simple - ride as early as possible to avoid the dreaded and oppressive Charlotte summer and get in 100 miles on the bike! So for about the first twenty minutes it was dark as I rolled up Tyvola. The route from my house was a loop to King's Mountain National Military Park. The direction was counterclockwise and would mimic (in reverse) much of the famed Crowders 60 mile ride. The first 42 miles were quite pleasant. My climb time up Cramerton Mountain was 4:10, which was rather slow, but this ride was all about the endurance! The first major stop was the visitor center. I had to hop over the gate then ride up to the bathrooms and water. I had a nice discussion with a very friendly ranger who could had opted to toss me out. Leaving the vistor center was the last tough pitch, and then it was "goodbye" to all the early morning shade/tree cover. Riding 160 in reverse was perhaps the most odd part. At the Filbert, SC peach stand I opted to bang my head on the overhanging pole instead of getting some delicious peaches. Shortly after I veered off to 557 towards Highway 49. There was one more stop to get the largest fountain drink possible. It wasn't as searing hot as my first century, but it was up there. Finally around 12:45 I rolled back into Wexford Court with barely over 100 miles. My average speed was quite disappointing at 16.3 miles per hour, and even worse I did not brick, but I was on a tight time schedule!

I then began the process of cooling off and getting packed. Julie then came over and had her first experience videoconferencing! Even better she got to "meet" my sister! We then went off for a late lunch at Mac's before heading over to the airport. I heard there was going to be a walk later for Winston at an undisclosed park - perhaps Cheney would be there with his sun umbrella. I was extremely excited about this nonstop flight to San Diego. While headed down to the B concourse I spotted fellow Ultimate player Mike G, who apparently was returning. I couldn't help but feel bad that I was going to be missing the playoffs this Tuesday for our Ultimate team, Seven Minutes Abs, which amazingly went 2-0 last week! Actually, that is a bit of an insult as we all know our team has some serious talent.

This was my first time flying now with virtually everything extra costing you, including $15 for the first bag, $2 and up for drinks, etc. For the direct nature of the flight, I certainly wasn't complaining, just my long legs. I keep telling them the moment they start earning some big bucks by being some amazing runner or biker, they will be upgraded to first class. Until then... Just a little over four hours to fly across country - what a deal!

I was last in San Diego in 2001 to visit my friend Jay when he was in law school at University of San Diego. Since then he has finished school, gotten married, and they are now living in roughly the same area on San Diego. Arriving here again brought back many memories of where I was in early 2001. On the timeline of events previously mentioned in this blog, it was just after hiking with Dee at Great Falls that I ventured out to visit Jay. That visit to the DC area was mainly for a job fair hosted by my school, and there were a string of events that defined my deepest nadir of graduate school. It was at that point that things were about to turn around in a very profound way. I would be glad to be much more open about the major frustration/challenge of the 2001 visit. At the time I was still dealing with extreme effects of my peripheral neuropathy, which was onset by the chemotherapy drug vincristine which was part of my regimen in December of 1996.

It was at this time I had began to blossom in terms of my way ability to run (without feeling any pain associated with the neuropathy). I vividly recall several runs, one to USD and back. Jay and I then set to be tourists, but more importantly push my ability to stand still (slow walking, and waiting in lines). We hit the San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Disneyland, and then Sea World. I remember Sea World being last and being in a lot of pain, but the trip was definitely judged to be of great benefit - I may even say another turning point in my life.

So there I was in 2008 (Sunday night to be exact), waiting to be picked up, thinking about this (because not thinking about this minutiae is just so not me!). Despite all the meals and my own snacks on the plane, I was once again hungry. After being whisked away by the Jay and Jan mobile, we headed to Little Italy for a (for me) late night dinner. After sharing some space with a red Fiat, we arrive and I go to bed around 1:00AM (East Coast time).

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