Alright, time to bring some closure to this windy series. This part is a fun one - it involves a party, baseball, and yes, more cycling.
A while back, I told you about my experience with Ride for a Cure and about how I had met Oscar, who I rode with that day. I rode with him again for the Steve Hartt Memorial Ride. During that ride, he told me about the Amtrak Century, which goes from Irvine to San Diego, with the return by private train. I was absolutely interested, even more so after he told me that you could send a cooler of beer down ahead of time to enjoy on the ride home! The ride is limited to 1200 riders, and I was warned that it sells out quickly, and that I should register as soon as it opened. Well no kidding, I registered when it opened at 8AM, and it was sold out by 8:30. Fast forward 3 months to 9/11 and the ride... As is typical with our crazy social schedule, we had been invited to a family friend's 30yr Anniversary party on the same day down near San Diego. Since I had already paid for the ride, I was bent on making both work. If you've ever been to one of my family's or family friend's parties, you would understand that riding 100 miles and then attending such a party would be asking a lot of one's self. Alison wasn't thrilled about the idea of having an exhausted zombie of a husband at the party, but I reminded her of my superhuman energy stores, and made plans to drive down to the start of the ride in Irvine myself. She would drive down separately, drop the kids at her mom's (Thanks Loretta!) and meet me at the Carlsbad Sheraton where we had booked a room for the night. The second thing I had to work out was how I was going to get from the ride's finish in downtown San Diego back up to Carlsbad. After a bit of research, I discovered that I could hop on the Coaster train with my bike and be dropped off in Carlsbad! Everything was coming together nicely!
I got to Irvine around 6AM and met up with Oscar and his wife Kelly, who would also be riding with us. We all did the usual pre-ride rituals and snapped the obligatory photos. Headed out around 7 and started on our route towards San Diego. This ride was a bit different than the last SD right I did in that it took us up into the OC foothills, and then down into San Juan Capistrano. I felt much better during this ride than on my last one and it really showed in my overall time. 100 miles, 5:35 total, with an average speed of 17.9mph. Not bad! What's more, I finished 12th overall. Now, I know it wasn't a race, but that still feels good!
I had a little time to kill between the end of the ride and my train to Carlsbad, so I called up my buddy Scott Sears. Scott happens to be part of the management structure at Petco Park, and luck would have it that a Padre game was going on just then. He invited me over to take in a bit of the game and have a beer. What a day! I stayed for about an hour, then headed out for the train station. Of course, I had to make a pit stop at 7-11 to grab some frosties for my train ride!
Although somewhat tired, I rallied and we headed out to the party. The party was in honor of my parent's good friends Jeff and Maureen Hawke, who were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It was held at Maureen's fathers house in Fallbrook. The house was unbelievable. Something like 14,000sq.ft. with a catfish lake out front, a pool out back, and a palm tree farm beyond that. The living room could have been designed by Charles Foster Kane himself. Huge, marble everywhere, and a fireplace that was bigger than my bedroom. With the sun setting behind the hills, it really was a beautiful venue for a great night! It was a great celebration with so many good friends and plenty of dancing to an awesome band (same band that did our wedding party if you were there). And yes, the rumors are true. I did end up in the pool in my boxer shorts. Another wild night in the book!
Since we were already in San Diego (kinda), we thought it would be fun to catch a Padre game with the kids. We purchased some park tickets for the Sunday day game, which allow you to hang out on the grassy hill out in right field at Petco Park. It was a beautiful day to be chilling on the grass, taking in the game.