No, that's not me on the podium. That's the overall GC winners of the Tour de Georgia. Floyd Landis in the center in the yellow jersey, flanked by Tom Danielson on the left in 2nd and Yaroslav Popovych on the right in 3rd. Suzy, Len & I hiked to the top of Brasstown Bald on Saturday to see another amazing bike race unfold at the finish line, once again reminded of the strength of these athletes who can ride long stage races and STILL have what it takes to attack with "Old School Fury" and ride "Deep in the Pain Cave" up this awesome mountain that is said to be steeper than the mountains in the Tour de France, just not as long a climb. Those euphemisms in quotations were provided by the colorful announcer calling the race at the finish line. Imagine staring at a tv screen and having to ramble on for 4 hours and still try to come up with interesting commentary...
We were joined on Sunday in Alpharetta by my old roommate Chris. We set up on the same corner of the race course as we did last year within sight distance of the finish line and on an exciting corner of the 3.65 mile circuit that they did 6 laps around after riding 94 miles to get to Alpharetta. The thrill of watching some of the same pros that will be in the Tour de France is awesome, and you can't help but root for the underdogs and the domestic teams as well. Our local favorites, Jittery Joes Racing Team, out of Athens, GA were there and they all finished the race. It was a beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky, and we stuck around this year for the awards ceremony and I got lots of great shots of all the podium action. A great day to be a schmenge (if you don't know, don't ask - unless you ask Bob Roll...), and I can't wait til next year already!
Well, after reading Fred's blog about the goodness of San Joe's mexican restaurant for lunch, Suzy and I took his advice and went there for lunch ourselves Tuesday. I had the lunch portion of steak fajitas and Suzy had two tacos and a plate of refried beans. After feeling strange about ordering a soda and tea for Suzy, we settled in to our nice hot basket of chips and salsa. We almost always have beer when we go there, but it was lunchtime, so we were on our good behavior. They were their usual speedy service, and we were back at work feeling all full of mexican goodness.
We also went to the Albany Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours function at Wynfield Plantation. Boy, is that place nice. Suzy said she might could even live in the country if it looked like that - really first class. We went with the intention of winning the $10,000.00 raffle that they were drawing for, but neither of our 2 tickets were drawn out of the 300 that were for sale, so no luck there. Someone that worked at a local CPA firm of Mauldin & Jenkins won - like a dang CPA NEEDS any more money - we pay them enough as it is! Our spirits were further crushed when we learned that 5 ugly people from Ohio won our Mega Millions jackpot and the dang MONGORRIAN lotto ticket sellers didn't bother to sell me the winning ticket... Oh well, guess we gotta keep on working. Sorry no pictures this post, too lazy to put any up, plus I didn't feel the subject matter lent itself to photos. Although my fajitas were photo worthy, I didn't have my camera handy at lunch.
Isn't that what all the athletes say after they win? Well, Suzy won her first bike race, so off to Orlando and the land of Disney we went. It was actually our Valentine's Day present to ourselves, but hey, this is my story, and I'm telling it like I want to! We went to an Atlanta Braves spring training game, where we got to see them beat the Cincinatti Reds on a glorious Spring afternoon, that, as Jim Stoll would surely put, "It's a beautiful day for baseball!". While we were in Orlando, we went to City Walk at Universal Friday night and had dinner at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant, which was absolutely packed, but had wonderful service and great beer and drinks and a wonderful band that started a few minutes after we finished our meal. After we left the game, we came back to our hotel, and on a whim, I called to see if Emeril's had any reservation cancellations, but they did not. Since he has two restaurants in Orlando, I called the other one, and they did have a slot for us at 8pm, so we made a mad dash to the outlet mall to find something appropriate to wear out to Emeril's Tchoup Chop (pronouced "Chop Chop") restaurant. The restaurant was THE nicest place I've ever had the pleasure to eat in. It is a polynesian/asian fusion themed menu, and the interior decor was stunning. An elevated water garden with copper lily pads was the center showcase with seating all around. Bamboo hardwood flooring, bamboo on the walls, a waterfall over the open kitchen, complete with bar stool seating overlooking the working kitchen, the works. We were running a tad late, and were glad to see they had valet parking. We were seated almost immediately, and were called by name by our server. We actually had a team of 3 folks waiting on us all evening, and it was so unlike our normal dining experiences at home, or for most other places, for that matter. The menu was almost intimidating it was so extensive, but I chose a steak, and Suzy chose fish. Even the chefs at one of Emeril's restaurants can't seem to cook a steak to order, as I ordered it medium rare, and it came out VERY medium, medium well in some parts. It was still excellent, just a bit on the tough side. I mentioned it to one of our server team when they asked how everything was, and he offered to fix it for me by having another one prepared. I declined, knowing it would take them at least 10 minutes to fix another, and then Suzy's food would be ice cold, or gone. I just wanted to mention it to them, because at the price we were paying to eat here, I thought the food should be as ordered. A few minutes later, a manager came over and asked again if he could fix it, and I again declined, but thanked him. He returned a few minutes later and informed me that he had told the chef about it, and the chef insisted on buying us dessert. So, after drinks, an appetizer, a bottle of wine with dinner, and our meal, we managed to stuff in a fabulous dessert on the house.
We never did make it to Disney, but there's always next time!