Friday, December 28, 2007

Group Ride: Miami Style


Who needs a trade show when you can go on a group ride in Miami the day after Christmas? Never have I seen so many amazing bikes on a single group ride. Pinarello and BMC seemed to be the flavour of choice among this crowd. There was more bling on that ride than in a master’s cat 5 race in the mid-Atlantic …if you know what I mean ….and I think you do.


In addition to the rolling trade show, the group ride came complete with its own neutral support and pace moped. I managed to snap a photo of the pace “car”, but was unable to capture the wheel moped on film. I'm not altogether sure why so much support was needed for a ride that ultimately amounts to riding up and down the the Rickenbacker Causeway. I could just station my grandmother at one end in a lawn chair with a host of wheels and call it good. But this is Miami, and everything seems to be taken up a notch down here.
So, if you missed Interbike this year, don’t stress, just join the folks on the Wednesday morning group riding leaving from Don Pan in South Miami at 6:30am. Don't bother with extra tubes but do be sure to bring your blinky lights!

Miami Christmas

Now that it is only my father’s side of the family residing in Miami, the holidays are much less stressful. No longer will I have to tromp all over the city in a desperate effort to appease the demands of both sides of the family.

The holiday festivities began with Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) at Rosa’s house where we enjoyed a beautiful meal prepared in the traditional Cuban style complete with roasted pork, black beans and rice, and (my favorite) cassava . Ana, Betty and I were relegated to the kid’s table and enjoyed an evening of catching up on the details of our lives. We also discussed recent predictions from the Magic Eight Ball concerning our parent’s engagement. Will this be the year?!!! Following dinner I joined my father at church where he sang at the evening Christmas service. How regal he looks in that robe!


On Christmas day Ana, Betty and I held our breath with every gift their mother opened wondering if the next might be an engagement ring. (I don’t think my dad actually reads my blog, so I feel comfortable speaking freely) And so, Christmas came and went without a proposal, but “all signs point to yes” for New Years!
I started Christmas day off with a beautiful morning ride out to Key Biscayne where my father and I met up at my grandmother’s place. It is now too difficult to transport her to the “main land” which means that our Christmas with her was boiled down to a quiet morning of exchanging gifts and limited communication. On the way back Dad and I experimented with a little car vs. bike race. Dad won by 25 minutes. If traffic had been a little heavier I totally would have beat him!


Upon our return home we all set to work making Christmas dinner. Dad was showered with praises for his gravy and stellar turkey carving skills. Rosa buzzed around the kitchen keeping everything on track. I think Abuela Rosa indulged in a little more coquito. Ana, Betty, and I were upgraded to the adult table. Tio Carlos spent most of the evening shuttling family throughout the city. And Benji and Eddie made loud boisterous conversation that added to the festive nature of the evening.


So, the gringos and the Cubans spent yet another happy holiday together. Our families seem to blend together as smoothly as my father’s award winning gravy that poured in copious amounts from its festive Christmas boat.



Holiday Rides

My holiday riding regime consisted of a Christmas Eve ride, a Christmas morning ride, and a day after Christmas group ride. The Christmas Eve ride was not particularly note worthy save for the ingenious dog transport wagon I happened upon on my way home:










Oh, and my detour to Bill Baggs State Park:












My Christmas morning ride was disguised as “environmentally friendly transport to Grandma’s house” out on Key Biscayne. I also met a family of cycling fanatics along the way. What a fabulous way to spend Christmas morning!











Oh, and it turns out Sean Taylor lived in my dad’s neighborhood (a morbid photo really):













As for the day after Christmas ride …it gets its own heading. (see above)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lutherans

In the past few years my father has become rather active in the church choir. This sounds quite wholesome; however, bear in mind that these are Lutherans we are talking about. The choir director of this motley crew is more or less the rock star of the Lutheran choral scene in Miami. During one of his many choir parties he insisted that my father accept one of his most prized paintings as a gift. A generous gesture indeed! This was not just any painting! No, this was a rather large portrait of a nude woman with all the class of a 1970’s gentlemen’s club on the outskirts of town.

Upon the arrival of this elaborate gift there was great deliberation as to where to hang it. After convincing my father that Rosa surely was joking when she suggested that he hang it in the living room next to the portrait of my great, great grandmother, he finally decided upon the guest room as its proper home. By coincidence, the guest room also happens to be where I reside when visiting my father.

I have come to know her as “Sasha.” She smiles down on me in my slumber and guards my dream life from evil. I wish there was a deep take home message in this story, but I’m really not sure that there is one. Try as I might, there is no part of Sasha that I can translate into any semblance of a female role model. Sasha is just a friendly reminder of those crazy Lutherans, their lively choir parties, and curious taste in art.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Graduation Day!!!

Congratulations to Eric Roman as he graduates with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Penn State! Who knew moving to State College would lead to this?! I think I can speak for the D.C. cycling community when I say that we are all very proud of you!

Congratulations Eric!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the Hill

Capitol Christmas Tree (product of Vermont)


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Harvey and Ruth

Happy Anniversary!!!! Harvey and Ruth (my grandparents) have now been married for 68 years!!! They originally met at a dance in Auburn, Indiana in the 1930s. This was the age of the Big Bands and dancing was a key factor in selecting a life mate. My grandmother was still in high school and my grandfather was going into his second year at Indiana University. For Ruth, it was not exactly love at first sight as he was not the most impressive of dancers. However, Harvey was indeed smitten. It was not until my grandmother began her own studies in psychology at IU that they started dating. They were married by the end of her sophomore year and together they moved to Philadelphia where my grandfather attended pharmacy school. Upon his graduation they headed down to Miami where my grandfather took on the family business. (photo taken on Lake Wissahickon in Philadelphia)

In the age of disposable marriages, I am in complete awe of the life they have shared. Of all the essential components that come together to make a lasting marriage, I believe humor has been the centerpiece for Harvey and Ruth. Never have they forgotten how to laugh, how to find the humor in the darkest of times, and how to let this humor melt away any residue of resentment that might dwell in their hearts.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HARVEY AND RUTH!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Kelley Acres

Last Saturday some of my teammates and I headed north to the hills of Maryland where we met at the home of Chris Kelley for one of her famous group rides. The ride was the perfect combination of crisp winter weather, clear blue skies, friendly chatter, good climbs, Civil War battlefields, and a store stop at Sheetz (the most amazing gas station ever.) Upon our return we were all treated to a warm bowl of beef stew courtesy of Mr. Kelley and his industrial stove. Many thanks to Chris and her husband! Can’t wait for next time!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cooperate!

There are clearly some unresolved issues in our office that were not addressed during Conflict Resolution Day.