There's been a scary amount of comparison to the Great Depression lately, which unfortunately seems more and more relevant by the day. First there was no way that unemployment would crack 6.5%, a figure that would seem like high times now. The original bank deal was going to be an industry-funded "toxic cleanup fund" on the order of $80 billion, which is positively laughable now - except for the small fact that the banks should have had a heck of a lot better bead on the scope of their problems than this. Within an order of magnitude would have been cool. Also, the thought that they could self fund the thing is obviously someone's idea of a joke.
When I went down last spring, there was a big question in my head of whether I'd be able to come back (such as it would be) or would even want to. As recently as August I couldn't walk. I can't escape reminders like the huge train track on my leg and the odd looking skinny lower leg that bears said scar. There is some residual achiness (sp?) and I can not get off the ground jumping with my right leg. Despite that, I'm pretty well overjoyed by where I am right now. On Thursday, I had the chance to play hookey and spend the entire morning on my bike. I set my best 5 minute interval ever while riding a bastardized version of the 10am loop, then went down to HP for the noon ride. I'd never done the noon ride before, and doubt that I ever will again (there were all sorts of ghosts for me on that one, and I don't like it when my instincts are compromised), but it was a lot of fun to get one in. I wound up with something like 60 fast miles for the day, and it beat the heck out of pretty much any Thursday I've had in a real long time. A lot of people were really encouraging when I was knocked out, and for that I'm grateful. There is nothing like having someone tell you "look, I've been there and yup it does suck but if you don't wuss out you can come back better and smarter than you were before." Two guys in particular, whose riding I really respect, hit me with their first hand experiences of what I was going through and it was great to be out there with both of them on Saturday's 10am, still going strong after most of the riff raff and a lot of the not so riff raff had been cut from the herd.
Speaking of Saturday's 10am, it was a)huge and b)stacked. The minimum speed over the Glen Road rollers was over 17mph, which is pretty freaking fast. I think positioning, at least for me, is the key to that whole deal. A couple of weeks ago I got stuck taking a few real long pulls on the false flats between Piney Meetinghouse and Travilah and paid for it. On the other hand, if you're not at least within whistling distance of the front, someone's going to turn into a landmine and blow right in front of you, causing you to close gaps. On Saturday, I was in the perfect spot. I did get stuck crossing one fairly huge gap when a pack of like 6 guys died on the false flat early on Esworthy, but that was relatively easily accomplished. A small group chose not to get killed by oncoming traffic making the left turn onto Piney Meetinghouse going back toward Glen and had to paceline back to the group. We got back on before Glen, but I pulled the plug at Glen and tried to help a team mate who is much much faster than I am bridge back to the main group. Fun ride.
Despite having been pretty excited to line up once more at Tradezone yesterday, it's probably all to the good that it was cancelled. We were out a little too late at a friend's birthday party on Saturday night. I've proven pretty extensively that I don't reliably do well on 5 hours of sleep and the firewater still running in the veins. Instead I was completely lazy, hung around with the missus until the early afternoon when we went to the gym together and then had friends over for dinner. Hopefully I racked up some hall pass points because I'm going to need them soon enough.
East Bound & Down is hilarious, and Mrs. Wagon is making noise about dusting off her bike when it gets warmer? What could be better?