This weekend was my current definition of a good weekend. I would get to put in a long ride, Doreen would get to do a half-marathon and the boys would get to hang-out with Grandma and Grandpa (and Grandpa's train set).

First up, my long ride. On Saturday I left the house at 0900hrs heading East and North on a zig-zag route towards Red Deer with a goal of riding 250-260kms on a purely liquid nutrition plan in the form of powder added to water. It would seem the weather was conspiring to change my plans. For the first 10mins the riding conditions were good but quite cool, as soon as I got on the highway heading out of town I was exposed to the wind - and it was WINDY. At times I was only doing 15kmph and it was getting colder, yikes. Two hours later I hit Strathmore and could now see my breath, hmmmmm. I put on my cheap vinyl-ish waterproof racing jacket that I have had for a few years, in order to cut the ferocious wind, 30mins later the wind had torn it in half, keeerazy!

Eventually I turned North and started heading for Three Hills, with the wind behind my back I started to make good time and the weather started to warm up enough that I could eventually stash my destroyed rain jacket. Things were starting to improve, right around the time I got a high-speed flat on my front tire. Sitting in a windy ditch next to a highway trying to find the holes in an inner tube is the less Zen-like side to cycling. After patching the hole and throwing my destroyed rain jacket back on, to try and stay warm, it was time to start the inflating. Since I only had my small emergency pump in my saddle bag I knew 100psi would take a while. When you are sitting in a ditch by yourself for 20min you have time to entertain yourself with fascinating math trivia like how many pumps it takes to gain 5psi; that's right, it takes approx 60 pumps. I figure I pumped that little inflator over 600 times to get the tire back in working order - uhmmmmm, yay. I was glad to jump back on my bike and hammer it for 15mins to warm up again.

Arriving in Three Hills, I filled up my watter bottles and called Doreen to let her know I was doing well and got back on the highway again. Now the sun was shining and it was fairly warm, I was feeling great. On most of the hills I was out of the saddle punching it forward at a decent pace - nice. Close to the 200km mark and just outside of Delburne the sky was turning an ominous black and I was pushing as fast as I could to try and outrace the impending storm. Stopping in Delburne to fill up my water bottles and add more magic pixie dust liquid nutrition powder I got a chance to talk to a girl who had just driven in from Red Deer, still 45kms away at this point. She said it was raining pretty steadily and wished me good luck with a smirk. With no rain jacket to speak of I made the call in to the cavalry (Doreen's dad, George) and arranged for a pickup. I hopped on the bike and started heading in his direction, getting on highway 595 was most interesting...

With the rain blasting in sideways the highway soon turned into a no shoulder construction zone with the road consisting of gravel, mud, sand and potholes. Conveniently, any cars that drove past me in either direction managed to send a wave of muddy water toward me. Google Earth didn't show any of this is all I could think as I watched another wave of muddy water splash towards me through a pair of muddy sunglasses. And with that, George crested a hill on the highway and thoughtfully didn't hose me with a wave of mud, bringing my ride to an end at 214kms. I was a bit bummed out that I didn't get to go my intended distance since I still felt really good and figure I had a few more hours of steady riding in me. Still, the nice warm cab of George's truck had a certain appeal as well. ;-)

Sunday morning was Doreen's half-marathon, the weather was really nice and in her words the course was really well laid out, with great support and a nice family feel about it. Somehow we missed her crossing the finish line and by the 2:30 mark I was starting to get a little concerned. Eventually I saw her wandering around with a coffee in her hand, looking pretty relaxed and happy with herself. She had a good run and said it was a really well organized event. I'm proud of her efforts, in addition to the marathon in Dublin she figures this is her seventh or eighth half-marathon now. Pretty sure that's seven or eight more than I will ever do. I got my fill of running in the army.

After the run it was back to Grandma and Grandpa's to play with Grandpa's trains some more, dive into a big lunch and generally sit around and chat. I guess my body was looking to cram a few more calories into some empty holes as I had two big plates at lunchtime and then later in the day two big bowls of soup (yum, Ruth's homemade soup). On the drive back to Calgary that evening I'm pretty sure there were no empty holes available.

Back in Calgary this morning and the weather has taking a turn; quite windy, cold and raining - hmmmmm, wait a minute that sounds like my ride on Saturday. Hopefully the week improves since I want to jump on the new mountain bike and hit the dirt for a few hours. It would be nice to get out to Kananaskis country and do some more of Powderface long loop or Moosepackers. New mountain bike??? Guess I haven't really mentioned that yet. ;-)