It's been a crazy few weeks. How many blog posts start out that way? Not terribly original, but true. We were percolating along nicely during the Summer of 2011, doing our usual racing & daytripping routine, when the wheels seemed to come off slowly grind to a halt around mid-August. The change seemed to start with the cancellations of my final two big summer races (Hyannis & Fall River), then the Missus got sick for one of the Rent' Races and - coincidentally - I got stung by a bee. So instead of racing, we spent that evening in the ER. We had a slight up-tick in activity the last full week of August, racing TWICE (Rent' & Ninigret), but then The Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene came calling & we had to deal with that. After she left, the weather took a decided turn for the chilly & the last Rent' race of the year was cancelled due to the National Guard using it for a staging area to help victims of the storm.
Talk about a strange - and abrupt - way to end the summer. Instead of doing what we'd planned, the storm made us plan what we'd do (you have to when you're without power & water for days). So before plunging totally headlong into Autumn, herewith are a few photos documenting the summer's ignominious end....
The night before the storm, I took a short ride around town and took a few "before" shots. This is North Cove.
And here's Fenwick.
Here's Fenwick again, shortly after the bulk of the storm headed north.
We couldn't get to town our usual way. This is one of five trees that were down, blocking the road and ripping out powerlines, between us and the substation. We'd be without power (and since we have a well, we'd be without water) for four days.
This is the beginning of the causeway over South Cove and the beginning of the leadout/sprint for our Friday morning group ride. Road's flooded. Sprint's blocked.
The storm forced us all to be a little more creative. Though this use of our grill isn't all that original, I'm glad it has the little gas burner on the side (though don't try to cook a pound of bacon without planning ahead where all that grease will go. Ask me how I know).
And candles aren't the best way to roast a marshmallow, but anything'll do in a pinch.
One of the brightest discoveries (sorry) was how great my bike light was as a source of indirect/bounced light. Aimed at the white ceiling, it just about lit the entire room.
As we started clearing things out, we discovered the main reason power wasn't being restored quickly. This picture doesn't do it justice, but this is an absolutely GARGANTUAN tree across the street from our house that took out ALL of the powerlines. Good thing it fell the way it did. If it'd gone the opposite way, it would have totally destroyed the house (just off pic to the right).
We got by relatively unscathed. A big branch came down in the front yard. And this big, ivy-covered tree, came down in the back yard - right on top of our well. Speaking of the well - and water - we were VERY blessed to not have gotten ANY water in the basement. I was especially worried about that given all the rain and the fact that the sump wouldn't be working without power.
And another blessing: Clearing the tree away from the well revealed that it wasn't a direct hit. The well is fine.
I was actually out on the regular Wednesday Night group ride when my neighbor texted me that we'd gotten our power back. And one of the coolest things was heading back and seeing house after house, previously dark, now all lit up like Christmas. Tim was on our ride and we all cheered when we saw his porch lights were finally on too.
Labor Day Weekend was a lot different this year. Our traditional dinner couldn't happen - Dock 'n' Dine had been swamped by the river and the storm surge. And instead of playing at the beach, most of us in Old Saybrook - and all over the state - spent the weekend cleaning up. But what we had to deal with was nothing compared to the devastating flooding that happened in upstate NY and Vermont. Nobody expected that and those folks are STILL trying to get things back together up there. So all in all, certainly no worries here.
But now that the summer and my racing season are now officially over, it's time to turn my attention to my "off season" pursuits. All that time indoors - and now that I don't have to train, I'll have a little more of that - allowed me to make some more progress on Chet's modules. I don't think I've ever told Chet's story on this blog before, but since I expect I'll be sharing more photos like this, it's probably about time that I did.
Not quite time though. While it seems forever ago now, I did do two last races and I've been able to get together for some great Saturday morning group rides that I'd like to share.
So watch this space. There may not be any racing to report, but Autumn is one of the best times to ride. And if you don't mind the "branching out" a little bit topic-wise, there'll be plenty of off-season activities to share with you too.