Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bike Races and International Travel

That's pretty much what I've done since my last post. I had wanted to update this more often, but it just never seems to make the priority list with everything going on. Since my last post I've competed in a couple cross races and the Iceman. Cross has been fun as more of the team has been getting involved. Tomorrow is the Bloomer cross race. I'm looking forward to that one, other than the fact that it will be about 25 or 30 degrees when we race. Should be a good turnout though.

Iceman is one of my favorite events of the year and this year it didn't disappoint. For the second year in a row we rented a large vacation home up in Traverse City instead of hotel rooms or a condo. It works great because we can have more people stay with us and have plenty of room to entertain. Also for the second year in a row the rental agency switched our rental last minute. This year's switch worked out much better than last though. The place we ended up in was absolutely gorgeous, about a 1.5 million dollar home on Long Lake about 10 minutes out of downtown Traverse City. The race went really well too. I managed to take 5 minutes off my 2007 time, finishing in 2:11. Almost everyone from Team Sandbag did really well too, including John and Brad who were both sub-2 hours.

Last night I got home from my second trip to the UK in less than a month. I enjoy the travel and especially working with our rep over there. Just over a month ago I went to Edinburgh, Scotland for an orthopedic foot and ankle conference we were hosting. Because of my flight schedule I ended up with a free day there. I was excited to get to see the city, but the weather didn't cooperate. It was raining on and off and stronger winds than I have ever experienced. So strong that they closed down the castle to tours.

My last trip was to Liverpool, England, the home of the Beatles. I flew into Manchester via Chicago Ohare airport. If you've ever been to Ohare you will know what I mean when I say, what a massive airport. I arrive Monday afternoon and check a monitor for my flight to Manchester. Its leaving from gate M16 so a quick scan of the signs and I should be on my way. Hmm, there are signs for terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5, plus A through just about L but no mention of M. I asked a airport security woman "Is there a terminal M?". She responded like it was a silly question, "yes, terminal 5." My bad, I guess I should have just known that M is always in 5. Everything went well and I made it safely to Manchester. Once there I took about a 10 minute walk to the train station and hoped on a train to Liverpool. The public transportation there is amazing compared to here in the states. Its funny though that the locals complain about it and feel its very limited.

Tuesday I had a chance to walk around Liverpool for a while. What a great city. It has a large portion of downtown closed to traffic. The streets are all pedestrian only and lined with shops, cafes, and pubs. Seems like it would be a great place to spend a few days in. The conference I was there for went well, and before I knew it, I was sitting on a plane again. I was bummed that on neither trip was I able to stop in London to visit my cousins Dave and Allison. They've been living there for 2 years now. Jackie and I were able to spend over a week with them last fall and I stopped in for a visit last March on a trip over. Hopefully I'll get back over there soon. Now I'm back home and should be for a bit too. Next trip isn't until January, unless something pops up.