The brother's visit was a success. He showed up late Thursday after 8+ hours on the road, and we downed a few cold ones before getting some shuteye.
After introducing him to some of my coworkers on Friday, we hit the climbing gym. Eric is probably the most natural athlete among the Thomas brothers, and since I've started climbing and riding, I've started to challenge his standing. Mind you, if he were to apply himself to climbing or cycling at the same level as I, there'd be no contest. But in the short term, I enjoy being able to lay the smackdown on the bike or on the rocks.
Then he broke out his longboard. Turns out the little bastard has been carving the streets of Dayton Ohio ever since he moved out there. He is smooth like butter on that thing, carving all the hills around my neighborhood with grace and consistency. I tried one big hill and had to bail on the board and run it out after I got way too much speed.
During the first Beers on Gears since JF left, Eric and I hit up Main St. NewArk for some drinking. We were keeping it even-steven until we ran into some friends of mine at Grotto's (the worst place on the planet but they have cheap beer). The table was really friendly and we ended up drinking 6 or 7 rounds, after only paying for 2. I'm surprised we made it home in one piece on the bikes.
My intention was to race Fair Hill Cross on Saturday, but waking up in a cloud of hangover, I was unsure I'd make the race. Turns out we made the race, and Gloucester aside, it was my finest race of the season. All of my bitching and moaning is for naught - I felt like I was actually racing my bike. I made the the primary chase group during the first lap after 2 guys got off the front.
fatmarc flatted halfway to the pit. I made it my goal to slow the pace until he could get back on. I drilled it to the front of the chase group and just sat up, marking every move that came from the back. Marc got a bike change, and with the rage that accompanies his material issues, he was able to get back on, and steamroll through for a podium finish. It made me feel useful, and I finished 13th despite burning a lot of matches early on.
The rest of Saturday was spent relaxing, watching movies, eating. All in all, a fine weekend. Good to see family, good to race, good to drink and remember why it's not always fun to get really fucked up.
And Liz. She is my hero. Seriously. She completed one lap of Fair Hill in 45 degree weather with ridiculous winds and nasty sandpits only 1 year after being diagnosed with LUNG CANCER. With half a lung less than the average human, she has twice the heart. She is filled with hope, determination, grit, humor, and she really just kicks ass.