Dear MIT Cycling,
This was the beginning of what promises to be an epic journey to the end of the road and back again. We won the overall conference championships edging out both Army and UVM in the final weeks. After some beautiful podium shots with the team, we packed up the Nats van with help from teammates. We ended up being the last to leave the Penn State crit course, but Nick and I decided to go ahead and leave even later by taking the first of many side detours to attend a tasting of ice cream at the Penn State Creamery. I had a shake, and Nick had a cup, and we chatted with Joe Kopena and Caitlin Thompson about why USA Cycling sucks and how they need to improve.
Eventually we got on the road to Pittsburgh toward Nick’s sister Andrea’s place. Most of the journey was through the mountains of Western Pennsylvania coal country, which provided some pristine views of several large coal power plants and billboards (as well as green mountains and rolling countrysides). I noted to Nick that one natural-draft cooling towers (show a pic of one here) could cool up to about 1GW of coal generation, so the plant that had three in the distance was likely a massive 2-3GW net plant. Ok, done with the electricity nerd aside.
One interesting sight on the way was this small red business off to the right labeled with big white letters spelling “CLIMAX”. Of course this piqued our interest, both being 20-something males. As we came closer, I noticed a smaller sign saying “DRIVE THRU PEEP SHOW”. Wow. I was simultaneously disgusted and amazed at the existence of such an establishment, when the appropriateness of the name finally hit me. ‘Nuff Said. Hilarious.
We got dinner at a great Pittsburgh-original Mexican place called Mad Mex, where Nick and I chowed down on a trio of salsas: habenero-pineapple, avocado-tomatillo, and spicy cheese. The wittiness of the menu can be summarized by their listing of one particular fake side item: “Item: A Little Honey on the Side | Price: Half of Everything”. After a big meal of fish tacos and beer for me and enchiladas for Nick, we rode on to Pittsburgh.
We arrived at Nick’s sister Andrea Loomis’ house and we had a grand ole time hanging out with her and her boyfriend Dan. We spoke of Swine Flu, phallic (non) musculature, instruction manual translation, and teaching science to school children. After a solid three hours worth of driving, we were worn out and sweaty, so we took showers and went to bed ready for an epic day of driving to follow the next day.