Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Perfect Weekend

Finally, after six months of things-are-not-quite-right weekends, the past 48 hours have been pretty much perfect. Allow me to bore you with the details....

Wife's Holiday Party
I've been told that a classic symptom of an introvert is that you dread going to parties, but you almost always end up having a really good time. That's me to a tee. Gina has worked at the same company for 24 years and I think I've been to all but one of her company's holiday parties. Some years are more memorable than others --the drunken, skirt-lifting affair comes to mind-- but they're always enjoyable. Like Friday: Tasty food and wine, along with good conversation. Our table won the trivia contest, albeit with some help from internet-connected iPhones. Then, after dinner, Gina danced and I played poker. The first few hands were bleak. The dealer was flirty with the cuties, and Lady Luck was not flirty with me. Twice I lost big with two pair, and then when I drew an inside straight, I ended up splitting the pot. But on the final hand of the night, when everyone goes all in, I nailed a flush and took it all.

Saturday Ride (Bonk-a-rama!)
All week I'd been excited to do the group ride, especially with near-certain rain for the next four days. Plus I really, really need to train. But all that logic goes out the window when the alarm goes off and you're still dog tired and outside the covers is dark and freezing cold and really early. Inside the covers is cozy warm and my sweetie is near. Why get up?! Because, that's what we do, isn't it. 8:00 downtown and I see that 40-50 other riders also got up in the cold dark early. The ride began with nice chatty tempo pace, but as per normal, the climbs sorted us out. I immediately fell back from the leaders and decided the remainder of this ride should be done solo. Skip the regroup, onward to the lake, Ventura, and up the coast back toward SB. Nice power on the rollers at first, but by three hours my fuel light went on and all I had left to eat was a small baggie of raisins. 40 miles to home.

Side story: I have a personal Thanksgiving tradition, and it goes something like this. Leave mid-morning for a four-hour ride. Carry no food. Inevitably a nice bonk will arrive at about three hours, just when the aromas from amazing Thanksgiving feasts begin to waft into the air. Savor the sensations: gnawing hunger, weak legs, slight headache, delicious smells. My theory is, a good old fashioned bonk kicks your metabolism and fitness up a notch.

Anyway, back to the weekend... I missed the Thanksgiving bonk ride this year, so Saturday looked like a good make-up opportunity. By Carp, I was mindlessly turning circles in the 39x17 at 15 mph. By SB, I moved up to the 19 and down to 13 mph. Literal State St. crawl. I saw big-time pro I-AM-TED-KING sitting alone at a coffee shop in full Cervelo kit, and my normal pro-ho tendency would have been to stop and chat (annoy, harass, stalk) him, but this bonk was serious business so I plodded on by. The smell of In-and-Out onion rings almost killed me, but I persevered. At 4 hours and 50 minutes, I arrived home and went straight to the kitchen to fry up some eggs and drench some toast with melted butter which I enjoyed immensely while growing mushrooms in my chamois.

A Nap!!!
After a long ride, a meal, and a shower there anything better?

A Marathon in Town
A huge, huge event for our little community and the organizers did an incredible job of pulling it off. The Santa Barbara International Marathon had a couple thousand runners, which seems like a pretty good turn-out for an inaugural event. Gina decided to run (her 12th marathon in 12 years!) so I rode around to cheer and snap a few pictures of her and some other runners:

One of the most amazing things about Gina is her consistency and her ability to stick to a plan. All but her very first marathon have been in the 3:20-3:30 range. This year she targeted 3:30 which is a nice even time with a bit less pressure than her usual 3:20 goal. Despite the constantly changing slope of our local roads, she stuck to the effort level she knew was right and completed the 26.2 in 3:29:58. Incredible.

And you thought Chicken Rancher Gabe Garcia was just a sprinter! Look at him smiling here on the Cliff Dr. hill after already pounding out 23 miles. His goal was 3:30 also but he went a tad too fast and finished in 3:29:21. Congrats Gabe!

Lunchtime OSM rider Leif Reynolds is also a good runner and this was his 3rd (?) marathon so he knew what he was doing. He also looked quite comfortable climbing that brutal hill on his way to a 3:16:44.

Lots of press about the fast women entrants, and the smart money was on local speedster Drea McLarty to take the vee. But press leads to pressure, which can be a burden on race day sometimes. Well, not this time. She ran away from the field to win in a powerful 2:52:23, 11th overall and a solid eight minutes in front of the next woman. Wow!

Also notable for the cycling community was Eric Forte's performance (2:51:13 for 9th overall) and Nikola Valerjev's run in 3:26:31. Who says cyclists can't run?!

So inspirational was this event and those awesome runners, that I'm going to join the fun next year.

Farmers' Market, Lunch, and Coffee
...with brother and sister-in-law on Sunday afternoon. Nice that he'll still hang with us common folk since he's now a national TV star after his appearance on "Top Chef" and all. Rumor has it he'll be on a future episode of "The Bachelor" as well! Really.

My garden really suffered during the remodel, but now it's finally getting the attention it needs. Amazingly, a bunch of summer crops were still producing so I picked a few things...

...and also finally planted my winter veggies. From seed: lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cilantro, onions, Fava beans, and peas. Also pushed a bunch of garlic cloves in the ground. As soon as the rain lets up, I'll plant a bunch of flower seeds too, so that by next spring and summer we can have a beautiful mix of color and food. The added bonus, of course, is that the flowers will attract and feed a diverse population of predator bugs that keep the pests under control. Nature is amazing.

So that was my weekend, and it doesn't get any better than that.


TnA said...

Marco...I had fun doing a relay leg of the SB Marathon yesterday. In fact, I got to do the 2nd leg which meant I started at Girsh Park and ended right near my house...and then just walked home :-) I saw Gina come floating by Girsh as I was waiting for the "handoff". It was cool running down the middle of the street on most of our Tues. "hammerfest" course...

Marco Fanelli said...

TnA- Glad you had a fun time. Lots of relay teams yesterday. Long-time SB cyclists will remember Ed Philbrick who now lives in SD but came up to run the relay on a team including his Dad (Ralph) and my friend Steve Miley. Here's a pic of them that I lifted from FB:

Karl Ulrich said...

Ok, I was already going to say great post, and it's nice to be reading your blog again, and then you throw in the Top Chef reference. Who is your brother in law? Was he a contestant?

The veggies look great, by the way.

Marco Fanelli said...

Karl- My brother Steve is the wine maker and manager at Sanford Winery & Vineyards, which is owned by the Terlato family. They're also a primary sponsor of "Top Chef". My brother attended the outdoor party in Napa with the contestants, and he had a brief appearance where he commented on the food. So basically, I'm teasing him about being a big star. I don't watch much TV and have never seen an episode of "The Bachelor" but an upcoming episode has the bachelor on a date at the Sanford Winery with Steve giving them a tour. I will watch that to get more ammo for teasing...