Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Race recap and travel log

As I said in my previous post, we were in Kansas for a cycling event for The Mike.  We arrived in Emporia, Kansas. This year we stayed at the Candlewood Suites. In the past we have always had to hope for a microwave and small dorm fridge in a room. The suite had a pretty regular kitchen. Full fridge, dishwasher, plates, pots, pans, two burner stove, microwave. It was SWEET!

Next stop was registration for The Mike, then Walmart for groceries (it was across from the hotel).  Course map for his race.  Emporia is at right center.  His race would take him to the southern side, then to the middle left and up to Council Grove at the center top with its history on the trail. (which is a very nice town on the Sante Fe trail). Emporia west to Strong City  and north to Council Grove would be a great road trip in American History and the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Between packet pickup and waiting for the racer's meeting, we had an hour or so to kill and we walked along the business district. There were multiple pianos painted and decorated in various themes and designs. This one was outside the Brown Shoe Store and sheltered from the elements.  Very attractive.  I sampled tickling the ivories at each one. . . though I don't recall how to actually play piano from my lessons.  

Mike had his race meeting and I started on dinner at hotel (ah, home sweet home!).  We didn't think it out too carefully though, so we had two orange veggies (sweet potatoes and carrots), pork chops with some Alfredo sauce (which seemed to be gluten free via the label, but I'm not putting the brand here just in case it's really not. I had a little sauce, Mike had more of it. Really good though and no problems for me). Served with a salad greens and tomato.  Cherries on the side and a nice glass of milk. Then to try to wind down to get to bed by 9. .. uh, yeah, that didn't happen.  I think I finally fell asleep about ten!

One of the fabulous large homes in Emporia along 12th (I believe) which turned into "Grand" ha, how awesome is that. This house is actually for sale, It had a small gardner's shed or garage behind the left side of it as well.  There were a few others long the street that weren't brick, some with pillars, some without, some with Greek letters on for Emporia University which is fairly closeby.
A couple of years ago we took Mike's nephews on vacation with us.  I found this board in a book store (It's a Melissa & Doug) and while the sound of hair band elastic snapping wooden pieces on a board isn't the best sound--oh the joys--- it is fun to visually see where the cars full of folks have been.  We were lucky enough to find Maine on the interstate and Alaska in town (cyclists come from all over!).  Amazingly, apparently people only travel I-35 and I-70 for Kansas if they live in the north/south corridor there, lol. 

My before race picture has the Flat Ethan who I took on the road trip with us. Flat Ethan lives in Massachusetts and he wanted to visit the Midwest. He got more than he bargained for, as he ran the Hospital Hill half marathon with me!  

My face is always bright red after I run, no matter if it's fast or slow, long or short. 

The very nice fountain near the finish line.  (photo taken after I spent time at the Crown Plaza, so the finish area had been taken down already).  

I headed out in search of gluten free food for lunch. I decided on pizza again, though I was debating the breakfast place owned by the same folks.  The pizza was sooo great last year I just had to have it again. Um, it turned out to be one of those things where memory of the item was so much better than the food was this time around, or maybe my body was craving protein more than it was carbs. 

In Olathe, Kansas at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop.  I stopped due to some spare time, some need to walk for a bit before driving back to Emporia, and the curiosity of following a historical marker sign. This place is a living history farm area. Small admission fee, an indoor museum and an outdoor working farm. 

For whatever reason, the drive back to Emporia seemed to go much faster than the trip there before. Maybe it was knowing I didn't have to drive this stretch again, or knowing the visuals along the way and that I was almost "home". 

After refreshing, I went to downtown for the the showing of THE GOONIES (read: best movie ever) on the big screen at the Granada Theater. Then I went back to the hotel (and now I can't even recall why I did that).  Then back downtown about 8:15. Mike was wanting to beat his previous finish time of around 10pm (last year) and around midnight (2 years ago) 

Imagine my surprise when the announcer said, "we have five cyclists coming in and we'll announce their names shortly" to everyone immediately cheering for someone, my looking up and recognizing Mike's cycling kit. EEK --quick grab the camera! . . .
Mike signing a trading card for a young race fan.

The theater lit up at night. Beautiful, isn't it?

Sunday we headed out to and decided to head up to my parents'.  We skipped the family reunion this year, as  going to that and then my parents' would have been a lot of extra time on the road, but there was a 'shortcut' to my parents via the navigation system in the car  so we headed there.  Along the way we saw ONE, just one, historical marker.  . .. I knew of John Brown via Harpers Ferry and via the John Brown Caves in Nebraska City (which were part of elementary school field trips), but I forget that he was in Kansas too. . .so many battles are in Kansas.  This one we thought was interesting. The folklore that Brown managed to get those chasing him to disband by his bravery (or stupidity) of charging through a swollen stream in December.

Just 1,142 miles and we were back home after leaving for our three day weekend. Yes. All this managed to happen in three days.  

 What was on our doorstep when we arrived home?  A fabulous box of Chobani packed in a well insulated ice packed container.  YUM!

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