Spent the night at Compass Point, the very lovely lake house of Bundschuhs and Ruutupolds. Great company, lulled to sleep by rushing water, beautiful on awakening and walking around. What a treat!
Orienteering race 1:33:45 5.62 km (16:41 / km) +124m15:02 / km ahr:118 max:153 spiked:8/12c slept:9.25 shoes: 2014 icebugs
Nominal course length was 3.4, and I did a lot more. When I was good I was very good, but when I wasn't . . . Worst were #2, where I didn't seem to have any luck trying to relocate, and was only vaguely hopeful when I finally found it. There were a lot of people hanging around, including running into Tony F my first pass, and then again near when I found it, and #8. I bailed out 4 times to various features and walked in ever more slowly, kept coming back to the same area. By the last time I couldn't imagine I wasn't in the right place, but couldn't find anything until somebody came in and punched. After punching I pulled down a big dead pine branch that was hanging over the control.
Otherwise, some minor losses on 6, where I was confused by the little marshes on the way in and wandered off line, and 9, where I stopped short and milled around for a while. Otherwise pretty fine. Drifted right on 3 and had to climb the hill, so lost some time there even though I knew right where I was. Really happy with 4, 5, 10, 11, and seemed to have the fastest split on 12.
Orienteering1:06:05 4.51 km (14:40 / km) +85m13:24 / km ahr:115 max:176 spiked:9/13c slept:5.5 weight:163lbs shoes: 2014 icebugs
Boulder Dash day 1 Brown. Physically felt pretty good, and did a fair amount of running. Only one big mistake, but it was a doozy. 1 was streamered, and easy enough, although I wasn't really reading the map and so got nervous that I might have missed it. Trail around to 2, went more or less right to it, but felt lucky. More or less straight to 3. A little right on 4, but looked around when I got to the more open area and saw the rock. 5 was on the trail, then 6 was on compass, and just missed it before turning back, so maybe a minute lost. Then 7 was the disaster. Saw the stone wall symbol off to the right and convinced myself it was a north line, happily headed south. Things weren't lining up, but didn't get too upset until I came to the wall. Still didn't know what was going on, trying to figure out how I could have gotten to the wall beyond the control so quickly, when it dawned on me. So feeling a bit pissed I headed off toward 7, but without being in good contact, and I wasn't able to establish where I was except in general terms. Finally I found a flag by a small marsh, figured out where I was, and went right to it from there. The rest of the course went well, staying in good contact, keeping moving, reading right in. The only glitch was losing maybe k30 seconds or so by thinking I was going from 10 to 11 when I was only at 9, but figured it out quickly.
cycling2:15:16 17.85 mi (7:35 / mi) +456m7:01 / mi ahr:97 max:153 slept:8.25
Another short ride today. We skipped the steep broken road up from Regaleali to Valledolmo, and then went across toward Sclafani Bagni, beautiful old town up on a giant rock. Some longish climbs, but I was able to use a higher gear comfortably, and then after Sclafani Bagni the girls got in the van before a really long descent into the area of the Parco Della Madonie. Mike and I descended down a long series of tight, tight switchbacks on a narrow road to the valley, beautiful giant valley with big mountains along the side, and much less intensively farmed. Every day has had much different scenery. Another excessive lunch, this time at the beautiful Case di Cardellino. Then we hopped into the van for the ride to Palermo and packed up the bikes. This was perhaps my best day for feeling strong and comfortable, although in fact quite a short ride.
cycling1:46:49 15.53 mi (6:53 / mi) +417m6:21 / mi ahr:111 max:170 slept:7.0
Short ride today, accompanied by Roberta and Tino, filling in for Daniele who is away at his grandfather's funeral. After a rather substantial breakfast, even by my standards, we went to the Agriturismo Villa Dafne for a cheese tasting and "lunch". Villa Dafne is quite an operation, where they make their own cheese, as well as raise sheep and cows, garden vegetables, vineyards and olives. Giuseppe, one of the owners described the cheeses and the process for making each of the 10 varieties we sampled. When they brought a plate out, I wondered how the four of us could eat that much cheese. However, I was mistaken. That plate was just for me, and each of the others got one just like it. Of course it was wonderful, and there was some wine, the Tasca d'Almerita Leone white that we had tasted yesterday. We started with ricotta, first some that was two days old, very delicious, and then the incredible one-hour old fresh ricotta. Soft, delightful, a mix of cow with 15% sheep. Then we passed through mild primo sale flavored with pistachios, to stronger, sharper cheeses made in the same process, but aged six months and 9 months. The 9 month cheese was very strong, very good. Then we moved into the stretched cheeses, and had provola - like little provolone, and then smoked provola. That would have all been fine, but then came aperitivi, olives, eggplant caponata, salami, prosciutto, carpaccio, etc. that would have been more or less fine, but now things started to get out of hand with a first plate of wonderful spaghetti with a sun-dried tomato and oil sauce, although that doesn't describe at all the complexity of it. Well even that might have been ok, but the second plate soon showed up, polpetti with peas. Struggling mightily to eat just a little of it, and soon came the cannoli, of course with their own ricotta.
We were not capable of the ride back, and stumbled into the van for the return and a nap. On the way back I had a nice chat in Italian with Roberta, who is a windsurfing enthusiast.
cycling5:09:45 34.85 mi (8:53 / mi) +1337m7:56 / mi ahr:111 max:160 slept:8.0
Quite a nice ride today. We had a van transfer from Massierella Rossella to the village of Caccamo, with its medieval castle built right in the rock. The ride started with a rather steep uphill through the town on cobbled streets, then mostly up but some down and nothing flat. We stopped for a picnic lunch in Roccapalumba, Daniele once again finding local pizza and fresh ricotta. I ate way too much, which was ok on the ensuing long and sweeping downhill, but a little distressing as it got really hot and we had a long climb to the next town, Alia. At that point Daniele cut our ride a bit shorter, and we went right instead of left. Originally it was scheduled for 74 k, but it ended up 56, which was plenty. A 7k climb up to Valledolmo went better than imagined, and then the others went in the van for the last 7k, mostly down through some really rough roads to the winery at Regaleali, Tasca d'Almerita, the largest and most prestigious winery in Sicily.
This was my best day physically. Legs felt strong, hills went well, back was more or less fine. Most importantly the battle with my saddle didn't erupt the way it did on Friday and Saturday.
This is perhaps the most elegant place I have ever stayed. After cleaning up we had a tour of the winery and a rather elaborate tasting, all explained in a lot of detail by the lovely Sofia, but alas mostly lost on me, as wine is not something I have interest in. After a bit an elegant dinner with four types of wine, three appetizers, soup, beef with mushroom sauce, their own tomatoes and lettuce, potatoes, and finally a ricotta cake. Amazing.