Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm OFF (to see the wizzard)

The Wonderful Wizzard of UK.

And so... I'm packed. REALLY packed. 2 bags, each weighing VERY CLOSE to the allowed 50lbs. Just what to bring for a THREE MONTH tour? In a foreign country? With weather expected to be everywhere from frigid to nice? Work stuff (some tools, work clothes, etc). And bike stuff. LOTS and LOTS of bike stuff. And not-work stuff. Sweatshirts, T shirts, jeans. A heavy coat (actually I'm bringing my convertible Columbia shell)'s water proof w/ a hood, and a zip-in liner for COLD,. zip-out for un-cold. I used it for snowboarding not that many years ago. Wool gloves/hat. Some wool socks. A pair of boots. I sure seem to have a lot of stuff. And 2 backpacks. One is the laptop and associated electronics stuff )gps, a couple of ipods, chargers, power supplies, a digital camera, magazines, etc etc), and the other has a docking station (a full size keyboard/mouse and a nifty little doo-dad that takes my laptop and puts it up at an angle so my screen is like that of a desktop), more electronics stuff, my  neck pillow, and of course, my bike helmet.

And there's more...lots more. Stuff I'll only remember when I unpack and go OH, yeah...that. Glad I brought THAT.'d think I was going away forever by the stuff I'm taking. But in my mind, 3 months IS forever. I've got the bike clothes to ride in almost any weather. Now I just need to GO OUT THERE in almost any weather. THAT will be the real trick. I'm SUCH a fair-weather-biker. Gonna have to do some serious 'adjusting' of my acceptable riding weather scale. Or maybe not. I'm hoping not, but prepared for the worst.

I'm so utterly frazzulated and worn out that the flying will be almost (ALMOST) relaxing. The last 2 weeks at work have been just eviscerating. I'm whipped, beat, tired. Worked a LOT of hours in the last 2 weeks, and done all I can. Now it's all in the other peoples hands. I've done my part, and it's time to turn over the reigns to the rest. When I get back in late April there'll STILL be more waiting....most likely I'll have a few weeks home (at best) and then be off to Colorado Springs for a few weeks. No rest for the weary and all that. Or job security. I choose to call it the latter.

And so...I'm away in just 12 hours, almost to the minute. 20 hours or so of airplanes and terminals, then a 3 hour cab ride to my flat (apartment). I'm sure I'll feel fresh like a spring chicken when I get there. THEN I need to get some groceries. Meaning I get to go out in my little rental car. The first drive is always the best. And by best I mean MOST terrifying. It's when I'm the tired'est (that's my new word....I'll aquatint you with how 'tired'est feels 2 days from now), and my knowledge of the local roads is at it's least. Oh, and the 20 hours of travel will ALL be coach. IF I were to get upgraded to economy plus, it's on my dime. But I got them back...I mailed my bike on THEIR budget. If I have to choose between coach for 14 hours (actual flying time between LAX and Manchester), I'll take the bike ship every time. However, during check-in tomorrow morning (around 5am my time), IF there is a decent price upgrade to economy plus on the Newark to Manchester leg, I'll prob take it. That leg alone is over 8 hours. But it will be at that helps. Being as I sleep SO well on airplanes (I'm a light sleeper).

Oh sense giving myself PRE-dread. I'll get my fill of real-time-dread tomorrow. Enough to last me 3 months I bet. But there is always this: I'm going off on another adventure. So crappy weather or not, I'm going to go LIVE in another country for a while. It'll be FUN! And WHEN I meet up with local riders and start getting out there w/ them, well, ,most people pay big bucks for that. I'm being PAID to do it.

And with that note, I'll sign off. My next update will be from the United Kingdom.



  1. Hello! and Bon Voyage Matt! I hope you sleep and get reoriented a bit before you go out driving! Be sure to try some Marmite for brekkie!
    What a pity you couldn't be there for the Olympics--but actually if I had a choice, I think I would prefer to see the spring classics. What an atmosphere that must be!

    I have been having a problem with this site, in that I could come to the bookmarked page, and see your new post, but when I tried to see comments all I got was a blank page--and then couldn't return to the front page. I thought my security software had something to do with it so I finally got in touch with their live help. It had something to do with the temporary internet files, and he fixed it. Still don't know if it was related to the last scan though.

    You are right, SusieB, Contador did earn my admiration for lighting up a stage and continuing to contest the race even when his chance was gone--he honored his jersey.

    Ooh, I am so excited to be getting closer to the real road season. Have been making do with some cyclocross (which doesn't have quite the same appeal for me). There have been SO many changes in teams! mergers, new teams -- it is going to take a long time to get used to seeing Oscar Freire in anything but a Rabo kit, and sentimentalist that I am, I hope to see him get a few grand wins in his last season! I was so excited when he won a stage last week1 Same for Robbie McEwen!

    Janann, which is your favorite kit so far? I like the new Greenedge, nice to see some different colors; It seems that a lot of the teams have made an effort to be more visible in the peloton. In this respect I am disappointed in RSNT -- went from a distinctive look to something rather blah!

    We had a crazy week here. My immobile mother in the nursing home mysteriously fell out of bed (not injured beyond a scrape and some bruises thank goodness); my elderly aunt was taken to the hospital after my brother found her at home with GI tract bleeding --and that brother, after leaving the hospital, slipped on ice (we were having a sleet storm that night) and broke his hip so he is also hospitalized. But he won't need surgery, and neither will Auntie, so we are counting our blessings.

    Take care everyone -- Rae

  2. Hey! It let me into the comments section today! Fantastic!

    Hope your flight went well and you're getting settled in, Matt. Looking forward to hearing about your place, work, and adventures "across the pond".

    Gosh, Rae, that is a lot of bad luck in one week!! I think that we had that same ice storm - it was crazy slippery. Hope everyone is healthy again soon.

    As for kits:
    I do like the Greenedge kits - nice colors. I also like Garmin's new kits to go with an awesome new name of a sponsor in Barracuda ;) I also liked the new Quickstep (or whatever they're called) - oh and Saxo Bank is a nice bright blue this year too. RSNT is not at all what I expected, but I was a bit glad that they kept the simple lines from Leopard, though they all now remind me of Frank Schleck in his Lux champ jersey.

    Well, having stayed fairly healthy this winter so far, I knew my time was coming. The wee one brought some strain of cold virus home from day care and I've been miserable all week. You know that kind of keep flipping over in bed in hopes that ONE side of your nose might clear so you can breathe for a few minutes. Been surviving on Alka Selzer and Afrin & not much sleep. Finally feeling like a normal human being again - and then you realize how great it is to just feel normal :)

    I'm also excited to get the road racing season into gear!
    Later taters

  3. Well.....

    I'm here. Got in yesterday (Tues) about 10am. 21 hours of travel. Urghhhhhh. That is what a zombie must feel like....or a vampire (as in: the living dead). But no rest for the weary...our offgoing crew was expecting us and had a big evening lined up. Dinner, back to the flat about 10 and just died. It's now almost 6:30am on Weds...gotta head into work today. Gonna be a looooooong one I'm afraid. I think one more night of decent sleep and I will be fully human again.

    Just wanted to check in...full post coming soon. Rae..that indeed was a lot of bad luck...hopefully it's left you and found a new home for a while. JD...I SO know what you're talking about...once you get a 'bug' it's amazing how miserable you can be. Reminds us to notice when we feel good and relish the time.

    Have a good day everybody!


  4. Janann, I know that you are a giving and sharing person, but, really, you could have kept that cold to yourself! Jeez, headache, fever, cough, it is a bad one. So grateful that I am an "empty nester" at least..... you still had to take care of the family while you were sick (I remember those days!)

    Looks like OPQS is off to a good start with Levi et all down in Argentina. Levi beat Alberto in the TT yesterday, and the team has won 3 stages so far I think. Like their kits too.
    Garmin Barracuda is AWESOME! Only thing, the kit needs more argyle!

    Matt, I am trying to figure out why your trip took so long...Last time I traveled there, San Diego-LA-London, wasn't but half the time. But you had to make two other connections, didn't you? Hope that you are all caught up on your sleep now and ready to enjoy your stay (as much as you can!)