Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Goodness

The holiday weekend allowed me to take advantage of the nearly perfect weather we have had this past week. The temperatures in the mid to upper 70's and sunny skies were to much to take while sitting at my desk so I opted to use a vacation day on Thursday to stretch my four day holiday into five day. Thursday is also Sandy's day off so I could enjoy some time with her. I even managed to talk her into going for a bike ride around the lake at Addison Oaks.

Thursday evening I joined Greg and his friend Nate to play nine holes of golf. It was the first time I had even swung a club in over a year and it showed. I managed to shoot under 50 but the lack of touch on the short shots and putting really cost me. I was starting to hit some decent shots near the end of the round but I don't know if the clubs will come back out the rest of the year.

Shawn and Bernie, two of my Cannondale Midwest Racing team mates, joined me Friday morning for a scheduled 11 trail ride, similar to the one I had done a few weeks ago. Bernie rode over from Waterford so he already had over 20 miles before we started. The first trail section we hit had some grassy spots and the dew was pretty heavy. The wet tires caused the sand and dirt to kick up and stick to our bikes and bodies. By the time we got done with that section we looked like we had ridden through the mud even though the trails were bone dry.

We continued on to several more trails via connectors and back roads. Eventually Bernie had to back out and leave. Shawn and I continued the route and worked our way east and south. The cool morning had given way to sunny skies and warm temperatures and we were starting to get tired. We made a pit stop at the Paint Creek Cider Mill to get a doughnut after smelling them while riding past. The first cider mill doughnut of the year hit the spot. I'm sure it won't be the last. We rode back into the school after 5.5 hours of riding and almost 80 miles. And less than 25 miles were on roads. Even then we had a total of maybe 5 miles of pavement.

Sandy and I left Saturday morning to drive to Ohio for The Great Geauga County Fair, the fair we both used to go to every year while growing up east of Cleveland. The fair is out in the country and near Amish settlements so you had horses and buggies mixed with the autos and motorcycles. It had been many years since we had been back and we were both a little apprehensive about what time had done to the fair.

We were looking forward to seeing Franny, one of Sandy's best friends who still lives in the area. While they still talk on the phone they don't get to see each other very often. Fran was able to spend the day with us and it was great to catch up and laugh at the stories they both told.

The fair was much as we remembered, lots of rides, games, concessions and exhibits. While some of the agricultural and domestic arts entries seemed lower, other parts of the fair seemed to have expanded. Sandy and I were both in 4-H and the number of non-farming clubs left was very small but others, such as horses, seemed about the same. Sadly there did not seem to be as many sheep exhibited either. I had raised sheep for a few years back in the late 60's. What had grown in number were the alpaca and llama exhibits.

Of course while at the fair you have to sample the food, for us the one item that is a must is the fries. A big cup of greasy fries doused in malt vinegar and sprinkled with salt. Another regular item on our menus is a sausage, complete with peppers and onions. We complimented that later with fried mushrooms and then before we left a roasted pork loin sandwich and kabobs. Other than a lemonade the only other beverages we consumed were water and hot apple cider. Looking back we didn't eat too much in the way of sugary foods but a lot that had grease as a major factor in their preparation. I wonder how many gallons of grease are used at the fair each year?

Fran has to leave before Sandy and I were ready so sadly we said our goodbyes and made tentative plans to get together again. We stayed through my favorite time at the fair, the time when it starts to get dark and the lights some on. The place seemed to take on a magical quality as the moon rose and the sky turned dark. We ended up strolling around longer than we had thought, almost 7.5 hours. I guess we didn't want to leave the place that had been part of our childhoods and held so many happy memories. But it was getting late and we wanted to get over to my parents for the night.

We spent a little time visiting before going to bed. We had plans for the next morning of Sandy going to church in Akron and me riding out to some trails that i had not ridden before. I had brought a MTB along and was looking forward to riding somewhere new in Ohio for the second weekend in a row. Unfortunately things did not go as planned but instead we stayed at my parents and visited some more over breakfast before heading home. It is always good to see them, the next time may be on November for "the game". I still managed to ride for a few hours once we got home.

Today was more of a lazy day of finally sleeping in and then getting out to ride on a practice cyclocross course I had set up at the high school. I don't have any barriers yet but practiced getting on and off the bike where I imagined they would be. There are also a few steep sections that you have to run up while pushing or carrying your bike. It doesn't take much effort in this type of practice to get your heart rate up. Hopefully we will have some team practices at the school this fall.

Next up in the racing schedule? Not sure yet, maybe a 24 hour race or the Addison Oaks XC next weekend.

Some of the original building on the grounds

Harness racing was going on when we arrived

The sheep I raised looked a lot like this

This breed of sheep was one that I don't remember before, the markings looked like a cow

This is for Shari

Where's the beef? Fran and Sandy

Sandy and I

Night time at the fair is special

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