Unlike last weekend’s Triathlawn, this weekend’s actually involved three sports… and a hella sunburn because I’m not above being an idiot now and again. It keeps me humble.
We started the day off with one of my favorite rides for an east wind. For this time of year, we’re usually well into the longer rides but this one is a quaint 57-miler with a nice 2,000′ of up – remember, for us, anything more than 20′ per mile is a fair bit of climbing. About 20 miles into the ride, one of the guys asked if we wanted to add miles by going to the next town north. As you might imagine, late spring, on a gloriously sunny day, on a shorter ride, I’d never kick extra miles out of bed for eating crackers…
Five single bikes and the tandem headed north while three singles stopped at the only convenience store for miles. They were going to slow roll up the trail to meet us but decided instead to roll for home and wait for us there. At 35-miles in, we hit the turn south… and tailwind. It was a weird ride home. Whether a few of us were a little too enthusiastic or some were hurting, we ended up opening gaps up. In my case it was over-enthusiasm. I was having a blast. We ended up dropping the tandem with about ten miles to go – they just popped. That’s a really hard ride to complete at the pace we were going on a tandem. Our fastest two-mile stretch was at 66-miles @ 24-mph, with just a couple miles to go. I was beaming as we pulled into the parking lot with a little more than 68 miles.
The next leg of my Saturday triathlon has a bit of history with it. I was, long ago, a very good golfer. I could drive, straight, over 300 yards and had a decent iron game and a mediocre short game. My putting was crap unless I was on really nice greens. I was very much a “crush it for show” golfer. My dad and I used to golf together often. I’d pick him up every Friday around 11 and we’d head out to one of the local courses for 18 holes. Taking my father out golfing was a highlight of my life and career – and I can still remember the first time I beat him, legit, fair and square, on the 18th hole. I shot par, he bogied on the old course at The Jewel of Grand Blanc. I still have the score card.
As my father’s dementia progressed, as he approached the cliff, he started hitting golf balls at me if I didn’t watch what he was doing. At first, I thought he was joking but quickly found he wasn’t when I had to dive out of the way to avoid being hit. Having to give up golfing with my dad broke my heart. I tried to go out with a long time business associate, to a retreat up north to Tree Tops resort where we played two of the courses and the famed par three course. My dad always loved Tree Tops and it crushed me he couldn’t be there. I only picked up my clubs twice after that, the last time four years ago (or so, I’ve lost track).
Well, a friend who I shot rounds with for years asked me to pick it up again and golf with him, so we started at the driving range just five miles from my house. Amazingly, I’ve still got it. I’m sure they’ll turn my clubs off at some point but I was hammering the ball pretty good with my 8 iron (about 165) and my pitching wedge (about 135). And being a crush it for show kinda guy, I had to let the big dog eat. It took a minute to lose a slight fade, but I did and managed to fly about 240 into a hill with a little draw. Nowhere near my 300 yards of old, but distance will come with time as my body loosens up. 300 isn’t all that necessary anyway, if you can keep it in the fairway… it’s all about fairways and greens. Anyway, I didn’t feel anything negative about hitting golf balls. It was just nice to be out there with my friend.
The final leg of my triathlon was tennis with my wife and daughters. This has become a regular weekend enjoyable way to spend a few hours running around. Admittedly, after the first two legs, I wasn’t doing much running. My back was tight from golf… and I can feel it in my core today. We played for about an hour before I called it, too tired to move. Our home cooked dinner, grilled chicken fettuccine alfredo and a salad, was fantastic. I capped the evening with a cup of coffee and drifted off to sleep watching The Avengers Endgame… Visions of Carl Spackler dancing in my head…
What an incredible Cinderella story. This unknown comes out of nowhere to lead the pack. At Augusta, he’s on his final hole….