13 Mar Enzo visits the University of Kansas
Friday noon, I head home to pack the car for another college visit with Heidi and Rachel. This time it will be to Lawrence, Kansas. Home of KU and my old RRB team mate Gary Irick. We pack the new Enzo mobile with all the clothes, Trek Cronus, and the ButtonHole sales kit. Gary said we will be riding on Sunday morning with a good group, CX bikes mostly on gravel. We pick Rachel up at school hitting the road about 1:00.
This is an official visit so the University comps the hotel and meals if we are with the coaching staff. Rachel is excited because she fits into the running program at KU well and the coaching staff has depth and much experience. We arrive in Lawrence about 9:00 pm, check in and look forward to seeing our friends, before the official visit begins. We meet Laura, Gary and their son Thomas for breakfast in town. The place was packed because there was a JayHawks basketball game starting at 1:00. Basketball at KU is huge, so the games draw many people out of the woodwork.
After breaking bread together, we split up, Rachel gets picked up by a few team members and her visit begins, starting with the basketball game. Heidi goes over to hang out with Laura, while I go to the tennis club to watch Thomas school his dad in a practice session. Gary was the tennis coach at Baldwin College for many years and has coached Thomas for ever. It was fun to watch Gary still hitting the ball well, though it was like a cat playing with a mouse. Thomas has skills and could pound Gary quite easily if he chose to. I give him credit, only unleashing full gas pace on the old man once in a while. We talk about the ride departure time deciding that Gary will pick me up at 9:15 at the hotel.
Heidi and I have a few hours so we stop at the local bike shop that Gary is connected to, Sunflower Outdoor & Bike. This ends up being a very cool shop, Climbing gear, hiking and trail running shoes, hiking cloths, kayaks, Frisbees, and many cool racing bikes in stock. We talk ButtonHole and riding, meet the owner Dan, who had just finished a ride, and make our way back to the hotel.
6:00 pm, we are scheduled to meet Rachel, the host girls, and one of the coaches for dinner. First we will pick up Kevin, Rachel’s cousin who is a Junior at KU. We find his house pulling into the alley we see some guy on the roof of the house. A second look we see it is Kev, he is lighting a firecracker to throw into his room mates window. We both start laughing and heckling him, he reply’s I will be right down. Kevin gets in the truck and I can smell beer right away. Totally normal since he was watching the game with friends at the bar. I remind him that we are sitting in close quarters because he has his verbal volume set on 11.
Arriving a few minutes early it is to the bar for a few cold ones. Enzo only had one since the beer was some weak ass pale ale, being an 2xIPA snob. Rachel and the girls find us and we spend a few hours getting to know the group, so far so good. It was cool to feed Kevin a solid, most college students do not spend $30.00 bucks on a meal. After everyone leaves, Kevin says, “I am going to more track events, those are some cute super fit girls”.
Next morning it is finally ride time for Enzo. The forecast is for mid 40’s but at 9:15 it is 28F, difficult range to dress for. I opt for Hot embro stick and leg warmers. Gary is on time and we ride a few miles to meet the group at 10:00. The group was about 12 people, which would give Enzo a few places to hide. Early in the ride one of the locals hits a weird section of Pave’ and hits the deck, lucky we were going slow. The plan was to go into the head wind for two hours, then turn around and make in back in one.This was never revealed verbalized, the groups way of messing with the guest. After the two hours, I new who the players were and the pace increased on the way home, Dan and Collin started throwing down. This was really fun, tail and cross wind sections on rolling roads. 30-34 on the tailwind sections, and mid twenties in the cross winds.
The group was down to 4 guys, Gary, Enzo, Collin and Dan. The 1 hour return is now a 4 man TTT, with no white towel being considered by anyone. Finally at the 50 minute mark, Gary cracks on one of the many climbs, I smile hearing him say no more. I confirm he is dropped peaking at the gap, I let off. We slow the pace slightly working together and reconnect before the next tail wind section. Finally we are within a few miles of town and we slow down to talk and say our good byes. Here are a few photos of the boys. Ended up being 62 miles for Enzo, 3300 Kcals, nice. Soon I will be at my racing weight, within the next 4 weeks anyway.
Back to the hotel, a quick shower trying to get the embro off, which has been working nicely, though the water makes it too F’ing HOT. Calling Heidi to see what campus building they are in. Perfect, still in the Athletes building, I have not missed the meat of the tour. We spend the next 3 hours with the distance coach and all the staffers that work with the Student/Athletes. I will say this, if your kid can be an athlete while attending a large university, they are going to receive their moneys worth. If they are on scholarship, bonus. It is amazing to see how much they help and expect, the athletes to do as well in school as on the field of battle!
We finish the tour and it is off do dinner with the KU head coach, distance coach, and the 3 host girls. About 8:00 and we head back to the hotel, Enzo is quite tired from a long day. Monday early we pack the car and start the 8 hour drive home.
Next up will be the spring race report. Not sure which race but a report will follow. Until then safe and happy training.