Thursday, January 11, 2007

Florida: Prologue

I call it the Prologue because nothing too significant happens today. For the last two years, we've rolled in at about 4 or 5 PM, assembled our bikes, rolled around the parking lot, ate, and called it a day.

Today was a little different. We took a much earlier flight and actually got a ride in. The early flight involved some unpleasantries like me getting up at 5:15 AM or so. I wasn't feeling too good but the prospect of some warm weather motivated me a bit. On the flip side, the bed with the fiancee and two kitties on it was pretty tempting too. Outside, the luscious grass from Saturday was replaced by reality - brittle, frozen, dying ground. The winter freeze just started to set in, a couple months late, and it was really cold.

My semi-fever didn't help any but I kept my heavy winter jacket and gloves on until we got to the airport, where a switch to the team jacket sufficed till we got into the heated airport.

The flight was uneventful - Air Tran. Got nailed $65 for the bike, which is a little more than the $50 JetBlue gets. Since my name is on the TSA list, I (and my training partner Gene) had to wait around for someone to decide I can fly. I hope that this guy with my name is one BAMF for all the time I have to wait every time I fly. I sat behind a really tall girl - her hips were at or above the seat tops when she stood up - probably 6'2"+. And with less room than Jet Blue, I don't know how she coped. She looked appropriately miserable when she got off the plane.

Someone at the airport looked vaguely familiar. After some thought, I decided she looked just like a girl at the bookshop yesterday. And later, after the flight, I realized this was the case.

I got to see the office from the plane, the various curves and hills that mark my daily commute, and I thought of my colleague Kelly sitting at the office. I thought about telling him to wave out the window but: A) He'd have to do it from one of the Partner's offices and B) we were still gaining altitude and using the phone was a no-no. I didn't want to end up in the news like the woman who lit matches on a flight so I decided to pass on calling the office.

Once on the ground, we got our car and got to Gainesville, home of some football champions. There were special Sports Illustrated magazines declaring this in the supermarket. Apparently it's been 10 years since they won before, and they were not expected to win. There is some celebration going on in a couple days and if I can walk, I'll be there.

I realized that I forgot one thing - my WATERBOTTLES. I say it like that because I have gobs and gobs of waterbottles in the house. My fiancee asks, with good reason, why we need so many. We don't - it's just that this one was from this trip, that from that race, so on and so forth. Now I'm a proud owner of a new Bikes Not Bombs bottle and a Cannondale one.

Florida is a lot warmer than a 20-something degree Connecticut. We rode in shorts and short sleeve jersey. I was tempted to put on my vest but declined as I was actually warm.

I also had my first official flat. On the brand new rear tire that I mounted yesterday. Arg. Took about 5 minutes to fix as I took my time. At least it was glass, not a huge cut or something. I'll have to stop riding so far over on the shoulder.

We got things I needed like a wireless card for the laptop (I didn't know they came in USB format, but that's what I got and that's what I'm using), food (salad, breakfast things, Slim Fast, coffee & related stuff, Rock Star, bananas), and dinner.

We have an early riding date tomorrow with Gary and Mandy and we're planning on doing 3 or 4 hours.

So, in preparation, I first installed the network card. That worked because I'm typing here. Now I have to true my wheels, put a patch under the little cut in my one day old Michelin Pro Lights "Service de Course" tire, and put my clothes away (bottle of mouthwash in my bag blew up when I put my bag on the bed - so my bed won't have gingivitis and any CSI type folks will wonder what the heck I did in bed - but in the meantime all my gear is laid out on the bed).

Hopefully things go well.

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