Mike and I had one of our occasional get togethers to discuss some ongoing pressing issues, which of course derailed itself into a conversation about some of the finer things. Like beer and food. Whereupon Mike, in the space of just a few crisp sentences, destroyed my 2011 season.
Hand grenade #1: Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits. How it is that I've lived within a mile and a half of this place for about 6 years and never learned about it, I can't say. I think of it as a fortuitous stay of execution, both for my status as a mostly sober person and for my bank account. I've never seen a place that even remotely shared the same orbit as Chevy Chase Wine. It would be nearly impossible even to guess at how many selections they have. The prices are fine (once you realize that you aren't buying 30 packs of swill from the 7-Eleven - real beer usually isn't cheap), but holy crow the selection. It's just ridiculous. So much so that I wouldn't even consider going there without some sort of an idea about what I was looking for - otherwise it's just totally overwhelming. Get yourself a free account at Beer Advocate and do some leg work before you shop.
Hand Grenade #2: The Epicurious App. I'll be needing to switch to the SOB build for pretty much everything, including pants. We made risotto with peas and bacon on Saturday night, it was ridiculous (paired with a fairly dry merlot that had been picked out for us by the French wine rep guy at Chevy Chase, which was a great choice). It was so good that we had it again on Sunday night, even though it takes the better part of an hour of full on dedication to bring to fruition. On Sunday, we paired it with Dogfish Head's Bitches Brew, which gained fame in the first episode of Brew Masters on Discovery. A really good beer, but not something I'd necessarily swim the Nile to have on a regular basis. I'm glad to have had it, but it's basically a unique stout, and I've had several stouts (Rasputin, Brooklyn Chocolate, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal) that I prefer for the way they do stout. But it's an interesting beer for sure.
I did get some nice riding in on Saturday. We had a small group that we were trying to keep small because it's hard to maintain training value with a big group and I wanted to spend a lot of time talking to Chris and Paul about cross equipment. The group expanded a bit, but we were still small when we rolled out of the Broad Branch gates in time for the 10am not to think we were the 10am. Except that they did think we were the 10am. So our 6 person ride became a 60 person ride. No problemo, we pretty much sat on the front and rolled tempo until our planned turnoff at Travilah to head out to Turkey Foot (which I insist on calling Turkey Leg). As Paul and I pulled off the front over to the ragged "glass and dirt" part of the gutter approaching Travilah, a couple of very sweaty-faced guys lambasted us for not pulling through blah blah blah. Humorous. But a good long slog of never slowing down (57 miles and either a 19.8 or 21.3 average speed depending on whether you ask the Garmin or the software - I think the software is taking out the 5 or 8 minute stop we made on the way home), which is exactly what we were looking for. The pace line session on Clara Barton was a good final nail in the coffin. That is until Paul and I decided to gut check each other going up Mass from Goldsboro (he schooled me). Great ride.
It appears that almost every team in the area is in a state of complete flux, self-destruction, assemblage of the elements of utter domination, or some other bit of high drama. Except us, we're boring as sin. The tide goes out, the tide comes in. I like boring.
Really psyched for those Haymarket "crush your soul and steal your wallet" rides in January.