In the 90's, some kids propped up a dead guy and used his beach house. That resulted in the best weekend of the year for them. For me, the best week of the year just passed. I know that those 2 things have nothing to do with each other, but if you have read my blog before you know that I really don't let technicalities like that get in the way. I get to drive the keyboard here.
My week consisted of four things of awesomeness:
- Ironman GNCC race in Indiana (my guilty non-bicycle pleasure)
- Pearl Jam concert in Charlottesville, VA. (Only the best band in the world today)
- Big epic ride in Virginia mountains with Thomas from Shenandoah Bicycles. (I love finding a new MTB trail to ride. Plus, Roger told me that George Washington National Forrest was God's gift to mountain biking.)
- Cyclocross race in our local park in Waterloo. (Whatever. A cyclcross race in a park is always fun.)
I wrote about my GNCC race in a different blog site, so I won't rewrite that here.
Pearl Jam Concert
What can I say? Have you ever been to a Pearl Jam concert? If the answer is no, then you will need to solve that. There really is no better Rock and Roll band. And since this is my blogsite, I really don't have to defend that with anything other than - they are.
Liz and I drove out to Charlottesville to see them. Seems kinda random, I know. People on the mall in Charlottesville could not believe we had come that far. (Just saying that feels sorta weird - on the Mall.) Hey, you have to follow your passions. If you recall, I chased tickets in 3 different locations and could not get them anywhere else. So, never been to Charlottesville before this but it turned out to be a great medium sized town. One that I would be happy to live in (but that is a different story.)
Driving through West Virginia is always a great experience. There is just nobody there. Beautiful place. As the John Denver song says, Almost Heaven, West Virginia... (I don't really know how the rest of the song goes, and I don't really dig John Denver either, but I do like this Pretty Lights remix)
While in Charlottesville, we decided to take in a little bit of history and made it out to Monticello. Did you know that there is only one of the original trees still on the property there? I won't rehash Jeffersonian history - but I personally do not believe he had anything to do with painting the Mona Lisa or anything with Davinci.
The Pearl Jam show was in the John Paul Jones arena. (They must really like Led Zepplin there in Charlottesville.) The arena is a really nice college basketball arena with great seating, on the beautiful campus of the University of Virginia (designed by Thomas Jefferson). I was worried about the seats from the map online, but they turned out great. We could see right onto the stage, and had a huge screen next to us to see closeups. Only problem was that while jumping up and down and singing all the songs, it was tight. (Of course I sing all the songs, it is a Pearl Jam concert...that is what you do there - sheesh.)
On the way home, I made a playlist of the set list and we relived the concert all over again. We even sang all the songs out loud in the car. (I know that sounds obsessive - it is.)
Before the concert, I was not sure I really liked the new album. (Do not tell anyone that.) I mean, new albums from bands that have been around forever never really sound as good as the old stuff. You just cannot remake Black on every album. Of course after seeing the songs played live - I feel 100% differently about them. The Lightning Bolt album really is quite good. All the songs really do work well live.
Still, no Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town (just like how long that title is), Crazy Mary, Daughter, Black, Yellow Ledbetter etc... I guess that is why you have to go to more than one show.
It was really cool that they played the whole Pink Floyd tune Mother and ended things on Little Wing. Damn can Mike McCready play the guitar.
MTB ride in GW Forrest
My friend Roger had told me that the George Washington Forrest is God's gift to mountain biking. I thought, yeah whatever Roger. I have ridden all over the place and no place is God's gift to mountain biking. I was convinced he was overstating it. Probably just like old Pearl Jam albums are better than new Pearl Jam albums, he was just remembering them as the greatest trails ever. But, it turned out that the riding there is really really good, and dang - the scenery.
I got in touch with Shenandoah Bicycle Company, and they arranged to take us for a ride that would convince us that GWF is possibly God's gift to mountain biking. Thomas, one of the owners there, personally took the day to show us a couple of trails he was particularly fond of. I cannot tell you where we went, but it was incredible riding.
It was a beautiful fall day, sunny/cloudy, lotsa leaves on the ground, cool temps, nearly perfect. We ended up riding about 3 hours and based on what we rode I would agree that the riding is fantastic. If you get there, you have to get into the store and have them point you in the direction of some great riding. It will be worth it.
Mountains that are not high in altitude, sun, leaves, rocks, climbing, descents... Cannot wait to go back.
Waterloo Park Cyclocross Race
I will cut right to the chase here. I am not perpetually 3rd place in CX races just because I do not want to do better. Ben Coates has been accusing me that I am not trying hard enough as I'm happy to just be 3rd. I am doing the best I can. Somehow, I just cannot go any faster than that at the beginning of the race.
As you may know, we had helped set up a CX race at the local park in Waterloo. There is a great big hill there, and a baseball diamond etc... The course had a bunch of off camber sections and run ups on the hill and a couple of barricade sections.
Yes, I ended up 3rd.
So there you have it, the best week of fall. The week that I have been waiting for all year. It is over, and it is time to start preparing for winter. Don't worry for me, there will be plenty of time spent somewhere warm to ride a bicycle. After all, that is the real reason you are here. (Me too.)
Out for now,