Monday, 13 October 2008

Exploding Salads, Car Payments and Dirt

This weekend was a time to go against most of the principles we've lived by and celebrate our 5th anniversary in style. The keystone event of the weekend was dinner at Komi. Komi is generally rated as one of the best restaurants in DC, and after eating there, I believe it. The meal takes an interesting path; you sign up for either the cheap bastard course or the full gourmand course, both of which include a bunch of starter plates (the gourmand has more), a pasta course, main course and dessert. Cheap bastard is a relative term here - it was more than I've ever paid for a meal by about double (see above: car payment), but the food makes it almost worth it. There were a lot of tastes I experienced for the first time in life. They do things with dates there that you wouldn't think possible. They have a deep fried salad that's about twice the size of a sugar cube and has left me perplexed for about two days and counting. Virginia has some tasty ass free range buffalo.

This culinary extravaganza was preceded by an enjoyable ride through lower Montgomery County, during which I realized that the trip to Lost River had produced a watershed in my recovery. In the couple of years I've been cycling somewhat seriously, it's always surprised me to realize that there are certain breakthrough workouts, after which you are at a higher level than before. August and September were months where I was having incremental gains but nothing to write home about, and I never felt like I could put the hurt on anyone and was riding ridiculously defensively with respect to both positioning and effort. This actually continued through the Lost River trip until the last bit of the last climb. After a good week of workouts last week following Lost River, I felt a whole world better on Saturday.

Sunday morning was of course a totally different story. A bit hungover and wary of how many miles I'd put into my legs over the past week, I went to the Espresso Ride expecting the first miles to feel like they did: terrible. By the time we were out to the regroup at the far end of the loop, I felt good enough to enliven the action a bit and then played along with the sprint shenanigans at the River Road junction. By the hill on River coming in past Piney Meetinghouse, I was doing well. The pace up the hill was a bit slow for my rhythm so I got on the front and did my pace, then stayed on it over the top. Things got a bit stretched out and it made me think that I'm a little bit on the way back from being such a paper tiger.

Th mountain bike ride that I did with the missus after getting home from Espresso may have been one candle too many. We went to Schaeffer Farms, which is a pretty easy track and the conditions were just perfect. Trying to keep up with my bride proved somewhat problematic. That she doesn't race bicycles is just stupid to me. She's faster than greased owl crap, handles her bike perfectly well and has a ton of endurance. I don't know. Anyhow, for a first mountain bike ride in a long time it was really fun. I even got to play Macguyver and rehab the chainring which my bride taco'd cleaning some ridiculous log pile with a bottle opener, so I felt useful. Schaeffer Farms isn't exactly the most technical joint out there but it's nice and fast and has some really fun sections.

Apparently the markets are going to go gangbusters this week. While that's good, I still don't have a lot of faith that the rotten fruit has been shaken out of the tree. We still have the credit card shoe to drop, and consumer spending is going to continue to get worse and worse - of those two things I am certain. Housing is going to keep declining until credit frees up and prices reach an equilibrium level based on the absence of fantasyland mortgages and the death of the fable that home prices always go up. I'm not building the bunker quite yet but there will be a lot of "the worst is past" statements circulating this week, of which I am not a buyer.

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