I raced this weekend in Ashland at the Spring Thaw. People asked me how I did, and my response is, I didn't come in last (193/204). Turns out, amongst the Clydesdale's, I was 6th out of 8 - and I would have beaten #5, but I'm scared of rutted, sandy downhills (which is what we rode down).
Needless to say, my ego wasn't exactly stroked this weekend. It was a pretty grueling up-hill, and I haven't trained very much, so I was passed by everyone from the skinny athletic guys to a 16 year old on a rigid Kona with a rack. I do take some pride in that I didn't walk any of the first hill, I passed a couple of people who did, and one who puked his breakfast. I only walked the 50' of the super steep and sandy hill right after the last aid station.
While I was cruising along in the middle of the race all by myself I realized Ashland is a pretty idyllic place to live: good skiing all winter, good mountain biking all summer. The only catches are: 1) it's way in the middle of nowhere, and 2) the unemployment is relatively high, and 3) all the jobs revolve around the tourist industry and are barely above miniumum wage.
While I was cruising along in the middle of the race I had delusions of winning the race. I envisioned myself at the head of the pack, racing to keep ahead of those who would wish to take the yellow jersey from me. That thinking didn't make me go any faster.
After recovering from the race, I finished a book Mary lent me: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. It's not my usual reading, but it written much better than the stuff I normally read. I think I'll go back to the sci-fi.
Just before we left Ashland, we stopped by a "Nature Store" that had all sorts of bird feeders, fancy lawn ornaments, and wind chimes. We looked for a wind chime for the in-laws b/c memere broke hers a while back. I'm not a big fan of wind chimes. An old housemate of mine bought me some bamboo ones that sounded pretty cool, but they're usually too high pitched and tinny. However, we saw a set of these chimes which sound really good. They sound like Tibetan bells. You'll have to come on by to hear them.