Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rio 2016, final days and final thoughts.

I'm hanging in there in my viewing, staying roughly a half to 3/4 day behind. But I'm mostly clearing the DVR every day before I go to bed. Mostly. This weekend is the last I just needed to HANG IN THERE! And so...away we go!

Womens water polo (from Saturday). GOLD!!! The maidens of the water were FANTASTIC (again) in the Olympics...trailing by points a GRAND TOTAL (all matches combined) of 44 seconds! This Olympics started off a bit sad as the coach's brother died just before the start of the games, so he flew back to the US for that, and then flew back to immediately do his job with the water-women. And do it he did. After the gold medal ceremony the players lined up one by one and put their medals on him until the entire teams gold medals were hanging from his neck, each getting a giant hug before the next girl comes in. It was a fantastic heartfelt celebration from a team who adores their coach (and immediately after the final whistle blew they threw him in the water, kind of like a super-gatorade dunk..which was also very cool).

Then there was the Olympic Handball.        JUST. CAN'T. GET. INTO. IT.       And I tried. Of all the games, it just seems like a bunch of grown men running around trying to throw a ball into a net with a bunch of other guys trying to stop him, but no tackling is allowed. Wait. That's EXACTLY what the game is.

And THEN, there is Rythmic Gymnastics.       AHEM. ANOTHER. SPORT. I. CAN'T. FOLLOW.     This of all the events just seems like they took a bunch of Cirque de Sol performers from Vegas and have them throw sticks and hoops around doing yes, some incredible things...but HOW ON EARTH DO THEY JUDGE IT?? Synchronized Swimming is RIGHT BEHIND IT IN MY DISINTEREST. But at least w/ SS, you can see when things are good and when things are bad. You know, out of sync, stuff like that.

Then I watched the entire (well, mostly) womens MTB race. I liked the course...there was obviously some high-speed areas and then some rather technical areas (read that: potential to crash and get hurt) using LOTS of big rocks. The American women were nowhere to be seen, but it was quite a race in front between Sweden and Poland for 1/2, and Canadians bringing up 3 and 4. (note: this was another case of  NBC dropping the ball and my recording stopped...but THANKFULLY I was able to find the late-night rebroadcast and I got that, and was able to watch the REST of the race early this morning).

Then we had Soccer. Yes, it's the worlds most popular sport. And NO, I just don't get it. I mean, I get it...but I don't GET it.  It's SO BORING. SSSSSOOOOOOOO BBBBOOOORRRRIIINNNNGGGG. Case in point: the mens Gold medal match between Germany and Brazil. 120 minutes with a TOTAL of 2 goals scored (that time included the overtime period). But WAIT! After 120 minutes of snoozing while a bunch of guys run around a GINORMOUS grass field, suddenly we have a SHOOTOUT! And JUST AS SUDDENLY, it was VERY EXCITING! And it stayed EXCITING as man after man MADE THEIR SHOT! And just like that, all 8 men had scored, and THEN it went to SUDDEN DEATH! Each team got 1 kick, and if only 1 of those score it's over. And if they both score, or neither score, then they do it again, and again (and again...if necessary). And JUST LIKE THAT, the Brazilian goalie BLOCKED the Germans 1st attempt, and with an entire stadium of Brazilian Fans going CRAZY, the Brazilian MADE HIS SHOT! GAME OVER! Brazil had WON THE GOLD!

Who knew soccer could be SO EXCITING???

Whew...after a break to get my heartrate down and get my breathing under control, we go into the Mens 1500m race. Matthew Centrowitz from the US PULLS IT OUT and WINS!! That was a bunch of rather boring laps, followed by a REALLY EXCITING ONE! Kind of like a very short soccer game actually! And that gold in the 1500 was the FIRST for the US since 1908! I'd call that a pretty HUGE DROUGHT! Way to go MATTHEW!!! Drought-Killer!!

Then the womens 800m, which was won pretty handily by South Africa's Caster Semenya (uhm, er...yeah....THAT was a WOMAN?? Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME?? Sorry...I call BS here. Waiter, DNA Check PLEASE, lane 2. Yes, I'll wait. NOW, while we wait for Caster's DNA results, we have the mens 5000m. Yeah...right....more soccer comparisons here for SURE. But it did get exciting in the last lap, much like the 1500. And Farah wins it (I forget which country he's from...sorry Farah), but wait! Paul Chelimo from the US takes the SILVER! We haven't had ANY medals whatsoever in this race since 1964, way to go PAUL!

BUT WAIT! Chelimo is DQ'D (DisQualified)!!! Apparently he stepped out of bounds, OR he interfered with another runner (when he was trying to get out of the box they had him in)..we don't know why, just that he's OUT. Instant replay did show he sort of touched the inside line with one step (I wasn't aware that merited a DQ honestly), and as to the interference, hmmm...that is a serious case of 'judgment call'. And there were other DQ's too, so NOW, suddenly Bernard Lagut (also from the US) GETS THE BRONZE!!! HOLY COW! What a shocker! He came in like 6th I think!

BUT WAIT AGAIN! Chelimo protested his DQ and it's rescinded! So CHELIMO AGAIN GETS THE BRONZE, and poor Bernard is out with 4th! Damn, that must hurt Bernard! Talk about rags to riches to rags!

WOW! I've never seen any Track and Field event  that was SO BORING become SO EXCITING! And this all AFTER THE FINISH! Good golly gosh...I'm hyperventilating again! Good thing I don't have any heart conditions or anything....otherwise the soccer match and the 5000m would have done me in!

And now....(remember what TJ said...breath...breath)...the womens 4x400m relay. Thankfully there was no interference or baton drop like in the 4x100, and the US ladies easily win their 6th straight gold (thank goodness, don't think I could take more excitement just now!)

And then...womens basketball. big surprise here, the US win it with only 3 players on the court at any one time, and one of them with 1 arm tied behind her back (just kidding, but it seems like they might have been able to do least it would have made it exciting). I don't think any other country has ever won the womens basketball...but do any other countries really PLAY womens basketball? I mean, we have it in college here, and there is a PRO league...kid of hard for other countries to compete with that. Sure, a few of their players obviously went to college here, thus they have 1 or 2 players.The rest, well..they try hard. Which is what the Olympics SHOULD be about. Eddie the Eagle, remember??

Then the announcers talked some about Usain Bolt from Jamaica. He's now won the 100m, 200m and anchored the winning 4x100m relay in three consecutive Olympics. Never been done before, might never be done again. Nobody can say he isn't a pretty amazing sprinter, that's for SURE! And he's got CHARISMA too. His pointing-pose after his wins are pretty great actually! And he claims he's retiring now...the world will miss that pose for sure! Well done Usain!! Thanks for the memories!

Up next in my video viewing marathon was Mens platform diving. Yep...that's TEN METERS ABOVE THE WATER!  Have you ever gone up a 10m platform and looked DOWN at the water? Climbing up seems pretty high, but looking DOWN at the water seems WAY WAY WAY THE HELL UP THERE! Like TERRIFYINGLY HIGH! And they LEAP off the edge and DO STUFF! ON PURPOSE!! Obviously the platform divers are INSANE!! Have you ever belly-flopped (or back-flopped) just jumping in from pool level? Or even worse, off the 1m board? YEOWWWCHHHHH! THAT HURTS! Amplify that by 10! (anybody remember that one reverse dive the FANTASTIC AMAZING ALL-TIME-GREAT Greg Lougains did when he smacked the back of his head on the platform, and was knocked out instantly and fell straight back into the water, landing in a TOTAL BACK-FLOP?? Can you imagine when he woke up what THAT felt like? I mean, besides the INCREDIBLE HEADACHE??

Anyway..(sorry, sort of got carried away there with the sheer TERROR of jumping off a 10m platform)..the divers (this was the semifinal btw). We had TWO Americans in it! And there were 2 Chinese guys (big surprise there). And some other guys. But our 2 were doing ok, and then not so ok, then ok again...back and forth, as they slid down the list of 18 divers, until finally on the LAST ROUND, David Boudia did a good enough dive to overtake the other American Steel Johnson (great name for a 10m diver btw...Steele...I like it!). Boudia took 12th place, Steele was in 13th. Only the top 12 divers go to the final. OUCH! But Steele wasn't alone...Great Brittain's Tom Daly did NOT make the final either! (and he was expected to medal). That was a HUGE BLOW to GB's diving expectations for sure! And I think one of the 2 Chinese guys also didn't make it (THAT was a huge blow too...he's probably going to get tortured when he goes home). So in the final, well...what can you say...those Chinese guys (and girls) must have some super-secret formula of stuff they put on their bodies to NOT make a splash...they just zip on into the water with a little "sploosh" and that's it. Seems highly suspicious to me. And Chen Aisea (the remaining Chinese guy) was FANTASTIC as usual, with his collective splashes of all 6 dives being almost as much as any one dive from most of the rest. But Boudia was in 2nd and had moved his 'problem' dive to his last. He got ok scores, even though he did it better than in previous rounds...but then another stick-guy from Mexico goes and rips his landing...and viola...rips into 2nd, and Boudia now has Bronze. But wait, Boudia gets BRONZE!!! OMG, That's FREAKING FANTASTIC!!! And to find out it's Boudia's 4th overall medal...(he also took silver here in Rio in the Synchronized diving, his partner was the guy he beat out going into the final round). He also has 2 medals from London. WAY TO GO DAVID!!! (Did I mention that the 10m diving is pretty exciting? Sure, it's 1/2 of a second of death-defying excitement, followed by a few minutes of no activity whatesoever, except for some showering and hot-tubbing and such...kind of like US Football, if you take away the showering and hot-tubbing and replace it with a bunch of guys standing around).

And FINALLY! Yes...that ended the Saturday events! So NOW I'm into the FINAL DAY's EVENTS! That leads off with the long awaited Mens MTB race! (I made darn sure my DVR was going to record WAY PAST the end of this event too). There were 49 riders, and their placement on the starting line is according to their World Tour placement! UHM...So, Peter Sagan, the CURRENT Mens ROAD CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, is ranked down at something like 9,786th (just a wild guess)...considering that he DOESN'T RACE MOUNTAIN BIKES! So yep...his place is DEAD LAST! And all week the pro MTB'ers have been joking around and such, basically showing they have no respect for him and he won't be a threat. Pretty smug. I don't think they've ever watched the Tour de France in the last few years. Or any of the Spring Classics. To them, he's just a guy with a man-bun who speaks kind of (ok, I'm being kind here) funny. But if you're a guy who rides a bike, I don't think he's a guy you want to poke. That would be like a boxer poking Rocky, or a Sheriff poking Rambo, or a bad guy poking get the picture. He's just not the guy to poke, I think my point is well made.

And so....they're off. Instantly off the front the top 4 or 5 guys are there, and they ride around some turns and stuff, and before you can say "don't poke me", HE'S THERE! He has just passed FORTY SIX of the best mountain bikers in the WORLD! And he's SITTING IN THIRD PLACE!!! OMG, I was beside myself! And I can only guess that the guys who were poking him all week (you know, the 2 guys in front of him, and the 46 now BEHIND him) were SHITTING themselves!! (sorry for the profanity on my typically G rated blog, but YES, I was THAT EXCITED!) And THERE he sat, looking pretty comfortable in third, with the smell of doo-dah in the air all around him (just guessing there, but how could they NOT?) And there was NO VIDEO of that MOST IMPRESSIVE FEAT! I'd LOVE to see some...he must have been a MAD MAN...because it wasn't a few minutes and THERE HE WAS! I guarantee you the top guys figured he'd NEVER make it to the front before they pressed out a lead. Never in a million-gazillion years did they believe he'd be ON THEIR ASS in less than HALF of the FIRST LAP (of 7).

So now...sure, they're all riding much lighter now (after crapping themselves repeatedly)...and they go to a commercial break, and when they come back (this before the end of the FIRST lap), he's gone. Apparently he had a flat front tire. And you know what? On this 3 mile loop, there's only ONE PLACE to get stuff like that! SO... if you flat out on the course, you get to ride your flatted tire (OR you can also carry it) to that ONE SPOT to get a new one! Does that just seem WRONG to anybody else? I mean, how about putting new tire's at a FEW places on the loop? Would that be CRAZY?? I know in the road racing they realize that losing a race because of a mechanical is not they do their best to insure that doesn't happen (tho it still does, but you have to give them an A for trying...I mean, we have about 900 cars and motorcycles with bikes and tires on them in any given road race). So after Sagan FINALLY gets his new tire, the front group is well gone, along with any realistic chance. It's like having a flat 4k out of a road race finish. Sure, you will get a tire, but the front group is gone with the wind and you wont' see them again until after the race.

But I digress. So. Sagan's great hope of a WORLD CHAMPION ROAD RACER winning (or even placing) in the Olympic Mountain Bike race is dashed to the rocks. He only lost a few minutes due to that flat, and we never really heard or saw much of him after that...the announcers treated him like he was just some roadie in sheeps clothing (of note: Sagan was riding the exact same bike as the guy who won Silver...a Specialized, but I don't now which model...other than it was a full suspension). He finally ended up something like 9 minutes down from the winners when the mud settled. And those 2 guys who WERE in front of him for that very exciting and crap-filled half a lap? They took 1/2...the #1 guy from London took 2 here, and the #2 guy from London took #1 here. And a Spanish guy took Bronze. I kept hoping to hear that Sagan was coming back, and would eventually challenge for 3rd...but he had another mechanical issue later in the race I heard...just in case he had ANY hopes of SAGAN'ing this race and powering his way to the front...again. And so endeth a grand experiment. Nice try anyway Peter! And just imagine...had he WON (or placed), we the unsuspecting public would be subject to HEARING HIM SPEAK!! THAT is a nightmare! Good thing he's good on a bike and makes great money he will likely NOT do very well as a public speaker, NOR will NBCSports be hiring him along with Christian and Bobke (that last bit is just my opinion btw).

And THEN...after all that excitement, we have mens indoor volleyball! (I LOVE VOLLEYBALL). The US Men had lost to Italy in the SemiFinals, and were nowplaying Russia for the Bronze (who was beat by Brazil in the other Semifinal). The US won that match, tho I only got to see some of it (they didn't air it until AFTER the gold medal match between Brazil and Italy). It was quite a close 3 games (score wise)...but Italy was just KILLING THEMSELVES with BAD SERVES!  I think they had a total of 18 in the 3 games (yes, they lost ALL THREE). But they were all very close. Just think...18 points they GAVE AWAY. And then losing each game by around 2 or 3 points. But that all said, you can't take ANYTHING AWAY from the Brazillian team! They were pretty fantastic! One thing about the mens volleyball...they have some HUGE GUYS who can jump about 2 feet ABOVE a basketball rim! And when you consider the top of the mens net is7'11and 3/4" high, they are WAY above the net! It's quite a sight to see a back-row hitter just flying the friendly skys (of United)...and then just RIPPING THE COVER off the ball! I'm amazed there aren't more blockers with broken fingers...that ball is going by real quick and in a HURRY. And so....Brazil won all three games and that was that. The host country team won both Soccer AND Volleyball (coincidentally, the 2 most popular sports in their country, and in that order). They've been a volleyball powerhouse for quite some time now, and for good reason. They were awesome to watch for SURE!

And finally...I got to see SOME of the US match against Russia. And OMG was it CLOSE! We won 2, they won 2, so it goes to a 5th tiebreaker game to only 15! And we were UP....14/11, then 14/12, then 14/13 (I'm DYING at this point!)...but FINALLY we put the game away, 15/13! And that is that...the US men win the Bronze!!

Wow...I'm BEAT! And this doesn't even include any events I missed from the prime-time show tonight (Sunday). I also recorded the closing ceremony...I'll try to watch that tomorrow...maybe it will give me closure, so I can let go and get on with my life.

BUT WAIT!! The VUELTA started YESTERDAY!!! (sadly, I'll get ZERO coverage of that Grand Tour dag-nab-it!) I'd LOVE To give day by day analysis of a Grand Tour...I feel like I'm really on to something here after the Olympics!

And now. Good night.


  1. Here's a nice little blurb in Velo News about Sagan's race in Rio.

    1. The VN article I linked above talks about Sagan getting TWO flats. I can't imagine WHY he (and EVERYBODY ELSE for that matter) wasn't riding tubeless! I have been tubeless on my MTB's for a LONG TIME now...(figure at least 7 or 8 years) and I've had exactly ONE flat i all that time. Tubeless with sealant, THAT is the answer. Pinch flats, gone. Thorns? Not a problem...ride on, pull it out at your leisure, sealant stops the air loss. My current rear tire (fairly new actually) after every single ride starts to show little blobs of sealant leaking out of all the holes (from thorns most likely). I'm not kidding when I say there must be at least 20 of them. Each little blob of sealant on the dusty tire would have been a flat needing a patch or replaced tube. Instead, I add a little bit of air every few weeks. It will likely go on like this until the knobs are worn off and I need to replace it, having exactly ZERO flats it's entire life.

      So again, I can't fathom how Sagan and the others were getting flats. (my one flat I had was when my presta valve stem seal failed, but it was 8 years old). I think it would take a gunshot to flat my tires. I find it hard to believe the pro's aren't riding tubeless in the trails. Just my 2 cents worth.

  2. Hey Matt - I just LOVED all your posts of the Olympics & will keep them with my 'archived' Rio Olympic mags & articles. (I have the 'Sports Illustrated' Olympic issues going back to 1984). You probably didn't realize it at the time, but YOUR Olympic 'viewing diary' will be a FANTASTIC retrospective of every day during these Games. If I ever want a reminder of all that transpired & the excitement, I'll just need to reread your posts. :) :) I actually stared re-reading your posts this week & got a bit teary-eyed that it was all over.

    I tried to get here every day this week but it's been one thing after another. Plus, my delayed PTD hit hard on Monday night as POD. This entire week I've felt discombobulated. I need a "transitional period" to readjust to non-Olympics life!

    I plan to come here next week to chat about my fave Olympic moments/events.

    BTW, I missed the 1st 2 laps of the MT bike race but it was available on Comcast On Demand so finally was able to see Sagan FLY up to the front. The TV commentators (1 was a longtime BMX guy that has participated in the X-Games for years & has also done commentary for ESPN for the various BMX events) just couldn't BELIEVE that he had gotten up there. It was hysterical!

    Oh, did you figure out if you have the Universal HD channel? Well, it is showing 2 HOURS of taped coverage of the Vuelta EVERY DAY! Paul & Bobke are the commentators. I don't think they are IN Spain, but this is the 1st time in 5-6 years I think that I've been able to see more than a 1 hour taped review show broadcast a month AFTER the Vuelta ended, so I'll take it.

    Well, I have to go for now. Hope you are 'decompressing' ok after the Olympics & hope to 'see' you next week. Have a great weekend!

  3. Hey will be great to hear your thoughts...highs and lows, events and people you will remember down the road and such. I think the womens gymnastics team will be LONG will MP's end of the road Olympics...he finished it on a high-note for SURE...good for him. What he does NOW...that is the question. Just what 'job' would he be good at? I'd think any company would love to have him on their payroll, just for the PR (much like the companies who hire retired NASA space people...well, they are ALL SUPER SMART too...on top of being an ex-space-person). You should have gone to NASA Susie...I bet you'd have had a shot.

    And hey...what about Ryan Lochte and his MESS! Sheesh...what a dumbass! I watched the news that morning (after the last relays...the mens 4x100 medley), when he said straight faced that a bad guy put a gun to his head and demanded money, and he said "go ahead" (like he was a big brave guy, DARING a robber to actually shoot him) was odd the other guys basically said we know why...they were probably thinking "what the hay dude?? THAT didn't happen!" And then HE flys home, and the other guys get literally pulled off their plane and their passports taken! Stuck there being interrogated for DAYS (and had to pay big fines, all for stuff Lochte did) least, that's how I understand it. What a crazy note to end the Olympics on...(I have yet to watch the closing ceremony...still have it recorded). Gotta run...break time over (working on Sat).

  4. And because I have SO much spare time, I started painting the house (inside only thankfully) this weekend. Been a while since I did any serious painting (we haven't really done the entire inside since we bought it 13 years ago...I painted nearly the entire inside before we moved in...OH so much easier when you don't have all your 'stuff' in the way), and I forgot HOW MUCH work is involved...and I'm not talking about the actual act of's all the prep-work and then the cleanup that kills! I figure this little project will take me a few MONTHS, but will save us a nice chunk of change over having someone come in and do it.

  5. Rae here... Matt, I also have really enjoyed your posts! You and SusieB should be writing for SI!
    I don't mind painting at all, but yeah, the taping and washing and draping and furniture moving, not so fun. The last major painting I did was in 2008 (painting the kitchen after the remodel wasn't major, since there really was so little wall space and woodwork to do)-- actually after Hurricane Ike decided to visit the midwest and knocked out our power for 8 days. I couldn't distract myself with a lot of other things so I painted one bedroom, the hall ceiling, the living and dining rooms and all the woodwork. I don't plan to do it again, unless of course I get tired of the color again.

    Matt, don't you have a cable subscription still? Can you buy the NBCSports premium gold subscription? If so, only 19.99 and you will be able to see races right up through to next spring live and replays. The only thing -- the replays (which I have seen only) of the Vuelta don't seem to have commentary!

    Did you see the track cycling event called the keirin? That's the one with the motorcycle pacing. I wanted to watch that because I had met the US Men's champion Matt Baranoski (he let me hold his gold medal!) in Richmond. Well, in the preliminary heat, he was interfered with and couldn't recover. The guilty party was relegated, but in this sport (unlike track) there is no do-over or being given a pass due to the interference -- so he was out of the final. So not fair IMO!

    About Lochte -- so immature (at his age!). Sounds like the whole story started as a fib to his mother, who then spread the story. Have you seen the video of the incident? Some of the video seems to be missing, and the views are not great, but I think that I see a gun out and the swimmers have their hands up. There have been reports that in fact the swimmers actually never entered the restroom and no damage was found by reporters that visited later. A witness that was translating has also said that the swimmers were basically forced at gunpoint to pay money to be let go -- sounds like a classic shakedown, over a minor incident (urinating behind the building and tearing a poster -- not that that is in any way okay-- I don't condone drunken behavior). Then, a larger shakedown by the Brazilian authorities. But, if our government were to rise to their defense I am sure that that would play very badly to the rest of the world, especially in South America, so it is not gonna happen.

    1. Hey Rae, glad to see you back! We have satellite (DTV), not cable...they don't offer the NBCSports package...we had to upgrade to the next higher "Package" to get the NBCS channel...and pay $23 a month extra for it (didn't really see any channels other than the NBCS that I would like to keep)...Jeannie already canceled it, as I had it for almost 2 months...I do wish I could just add specific channels and pay a reasonable fee...seems stupid to be FORCED to pay for an entire package when I only want the ONE channel. Maybe someday we'll have ala-carte tv programming. 99% of the channels we get are useless to me anyway...but we're not yet ready to drop it altogether and go w/ amazontv or appletv or the other internet services (for one thing, we'd have to up our internet speed from DSL to cable if we want to stream anything...dsl is kind'a slow, but being as we don't stream it's not a problem).

      I heard of the keirin but didn't get to see any of it...sounds kinda like the OLD velodrome races they did behind motorcycles...pretty crazy speeds and some horrific wipeouts (the tracks weren't nearly as nice as the ones we have now).

      Totally not sure what to think about Lochte and that entire usual likely the media makes a lot more of it than there was...didn't really get a grip on what 'damage' they did/supposedly did...nor how much they had to PAY to be released. Getting hammered in a foreign country is NEVER a good idea tho...we (Americans) have a VERY bad reputation as the "Ughy American" (rude, obnoxious, etc)...and we seem to have a never-ending-supply of people who go overseas and reinforce that image. Then we wonder why they hate us and treat us so bad (in general). Been to some places in Japan where they won't allow us (obviously Americans) inside (I can only assume they've had bad experiences in the past).

      And so...haven't seen a LICK of the Vuelta (as predicted)...catch up on it on VN as I do pretty much all the races EXCEPT for le Tour.

      Well...gotta run...busy Friday (it's a ghost-town here at work tho...tumbleweeds blowing thru)...but a nice 3-day weekend, woo-HOO! I'll likely only paint for 2 half-days (I hope). I'd like to get in TWO bike-rides...we shall see how that plays out tho.

      Have a GREAT Labor Day weekend... you too Susie! And stay DRY if that hurricane makes it up your way!

  6. Sorry, Matt. Tried all week & then planned to write here today but work just keeps getting in the way! ;) I will try again next week.

    And you are very sweet about NASA. And when I was very young, I wanted to be an astronaut along with every other kid at that time (didn't even know women were not allowed then). But I only took as much math & science as needed & you needed to not just be good but the best of the best in that area of study. A girl in my dorm was aspiring to be an astronaut (still not officially allowed then but rumors were it would happen soon) & I remember her studying & cramming all the time in advanced calculus, chem, biochemistry, physics, etc. I studied quite a lot but she made me look like a sorrowful slacker. Now YOU are so talented in SO many things & with what you do as a career (so impressive to me!) that YOU could have been an astronaut easy! Ground Control to Major Matt! :) :)

    Hope your house painting is going well.

    The Vuelta has been very interesting so far. Poor Contador crashed AGAIN early in this GT too (!) & its affects may be what's keeping him a bit behind. Froome didn't start out strong but he's now catching up to Quintana, who's going much better than at the Tour.

    Have a great Labor Day weekend, Matt & Rae!