Sunday, July 14, 2019

An Icon's Days Are Few, The 3M PGA Tour Event and Riding Talk

I can handle the heat; it's the humidity I can do without! I wanted to powerwash our concrete driveway today in preparation for sealing it but it's too uncomfortable outside. So here I am, catching up on my blog with plans to go for a walk once the sun inches closer to the horizon.

Workers at the Black Dog power plant along the Minnesota River in Burnsville are in the process of dismantling their tallest smokestack. I'm sad to see it go. It's been a looming presence over hundreds (maybe more than 1000) of my workouts over the years, both cycling and running. I can't explain what it is about it that resonates with me—just that it's been there since I can recall. There were times I would pass by and nonverbally say a few words to it—a greeting of sorts until the next time. The running/bike trails have been flooded over since spring with not much relief in sight, leaving torn up and displaced slabs of asphalt strewn about. There's no telling when the area will be open to the public again. I'm hoping to get down there one last time before the towering stack is gone so I can say a proper goodbye.

With our steadily warming climate and an increase in severe weather, I'm worried that interest will be lost in trying to maintain the area. That will be a sad loss to many of us who frequent it.

I attended my first PGA Tour event last weekend—the 3M Open in Blaine, MN. A friend gave me a ticket for the final round. Kenny was working the "shot link" on the 12th hole, helping to track the players' shots. I got there early before the crowds and the heat and wandered the course, in awe of the lush grounds and seeing players I've only seen on TV walking alongside me. It was almost surreal at times. I followed the pairing of Jason Day and Kyle Jones for a few holes. The galleries were still sparse enough that a spectator could get as close to the players as the ropes would allow. In addition to Kenny, I spoke with several other volunteers working the tournament—they all enjoyed being a part of it. I'd like to sign up next year to offer my time and if possible, I'd love to be the person with the sign walking along with each group displaying the players' names and scores. How fun it would be to walk along with a group for the entire 18 holes, inside the ropes.

Here's a collection of photos I put together from the day.

I got out early yesterday morning for a longish ride (104 miles/167 km) on my road bike. I've spent so little time on it this year but if I'm going to ride in this year's Dawn to Dusk ride on August 31st, I'll need to rachet up my time riding pavement. I'm somewhat lacking the motivation to do the necessary training which will involve several 150-200 mile (240-320 km) rides to condition my legs. So far this year I've been content to push myself on my gravel bike where the scenery is much more serene and appealing. More time training means less time for other interests. I could probably get by with less mileage but I like to come prepared for these events. I don't want to be the guy who's struggling with 4-5 hours still to ride. What to do?

Here are a few ride videos I've put together since the last time I wrote here beginning with yesterday's ride.

It's time for that walk I spoke of.

That's all I've got.

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