By Saturday, I was ready to ride outside no matter the weather. This turned out to be a pretty tall test of mettle, but ride outside we did, for a bit over 3 hours. The first hour included some trail stuff on the local stashes, but the snow was coming down so fast that it was pretty impractical (i.e. impossible to see what was trail and what wasn't) after a short time, so we went for what must have been the slowest ever ride down to Georgetown on the CCT and back up on the Rock Creek Trail. Notice that I said slowest, not most mellow. It took quite a bit to keep the pedals turning over, and I don't think I coasted 20 feet the whole ride. By the time it was all over it sure felt like an appropriately long and tough ride, but not too much to keep us from going out way too late on Saturday night and shutting Bar Dupont down after trading stories with a friend of ours who is headed off to ostensibly increase our security but, more pragmatically, assure our unfettered access to hydrocarbons.
That last statement isn't at all a knock against any individual (certainly not the individual in question) or service personnel in general, nor is it to belittle in any way shape or form the sacrifices and risks that people accept in executing their duties. It is, however, a knock against policies which claim to be one thing but, in reality, are thinly veiled frauds. The boss says go, they go. I'm no isolationist and I don't have the answers to any of life's big or small questions, but I am sure of my belief that where there is oil, and where there is a US military presence, there is an inseparable first order link between the two. Afghanistan is one thing, Iraq is quite another.
Sunday wasn't exactly an early wake up, and it was pretty well all on to drag my ass to squash at 12:30. That didn't last long, the missus got so frustrated at being the recipient of my relentless beatdowns that she decided to strangle her racket and it broke. This is a recurring theme with my opponents lately. My old hardball racket is so tough to use for softball that I hadn't even brought it so instead we adjourned to coffee where we were regaled with stories of home shopping.
Having learned my lesson on Saturday, I was only too happy to climb on board the rollers and do a workout that was supposed to be "a little bit harder than a recovery ride." The difference to plan was that I had no intent of going for 2.5 hours, as would have been the case if I'd been outside. The rollers are really effective at this kind of workout, since mine don't have resistance and I can only get appreciably above LT when cranking the 53x11 at about 110 rpm. It winds up being really easy to stay in the endurance to tempo range, and the distraction of actually needing to pay some modicum of attention in order not to biff makes the time go a little faster.
Last night was a final farewell to our friend. He is understandably pretty freaking nervous about the next six months and we're worried for him. The geological fact of where the majority of the world's hydrocarbon sources are is like history's cruel joke against mankind, a joke which mankind has done nothing but make worse and worse through actions above the surface. Seeing a friend go off to face horrific personal peril as a functionary of these machinations is a lot of things that are probably best summed up as simply "depressing."