ENDLESS SUMMER

21Jul10

June got off to a rough start. Working with friends Shelby Campbell and Ryan Yeager, we produced a one-hour show on the Lance/Alberto Rivalry for Versus. It was great to dig so deep into cycling before the TdeF began but it didn’t provide much time for fitness. During the 12 day edit, Ryan and I didn’t see much sunshine. Generally, as the picture attests, we felt a bit like hostages. The show was well received and we had a fairly riotous time working together so in the end, it was worth the sacrifice.

Proof to the outside world, we're still alive.

Coming off that gig, I shot up to the Cape for several days with my nephews from Palo Alto and their father (the man that first got me interested in the Tour de France). They’re big football guys, so Drew, Fiona and I hooked up with them for a tremendous afternoon of passing drills. I also encouraged them all to join me in an adventure at Water Wiz and though we had no less fun than we did there last year, I’m sad to report there was just as much excess flesh.

Moving on to the Poconos and more family fun (but from Lulu’s side) we visited the Skytop Lodge. Before going, the only thing I thought I knew about the Poconos is that it’s where they filmed Dirty Dancing. My wife, however, who is something of an expert on the film, assured me that I was wrong in my filmic geographic bearings. Apparently Baby and Patrick Swayze got their groove on in the Catskills. The Poconos provided equal entertainment value. Not only did Grammy M and Grandpa Sol treat all of their children and grandkids to the whole weekend, they did so at a sportsmen’s mecca. My highlight came on the second day there when the activities list was as follows: breakfast, 2 1/2 hour MTB ride, swimming, lunch, horseshoes, volleyball, 1 hour MTB ride with Drew, a walk with Nonnie, family photo, gifts for the Grandparents (celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss) and dinner. Oh and falling asleep, I watched the recap of the Tour. With no TV in our bedroom (we call it the temple), hotel visits are truly special.

The palatial grounds of the Sky Top Lodge

Once the Tour got serious, I’ve been pretty much tied to the Stamford area but the fun just keeps rolling along. Last week, Nona took all the birthday money she’d saved and bought the only thing that she really wanted (besides a telephone, hoop earrings, a guitar and blonde highlights). Mrs T and I took her down to Cycle Fitness in Monroe for a brand new MTB. At first, I was certain she’d reach for the pink option they had out front but instead my little princess made it down the aisle until her gaze fell upon The Stomper, a fierce looking beast with knobby wheels and a rugged black and blue color scheme. Her eyes lit up, the seat was adjusted and she took it for a shaky ride in the parking lot next door. After doing a quick out and back, she confidently proclaimed the bike “hers” and we made the deal.  Still not a big fan of taking her steed on the single track, Fiona and I have been riding around the surrounding neighborhoods. She’s very good at shifting her gears and is getting more and more comfortable coming out of her seat for extra power. The other day I told her she looked like Alberto Contador, she grimaced and said she’d rather look like Lance.Nona astride The Stomper

My favorite thing about our rides is how it’s opened up her eyes to the idea of exploring. I’d forgotten how much freedom a bike represents to a kid. It’s just too bad that people drive so fast on our street. If it wasn’t like freaking Le Mans out there, I’d consider letting her and her brother do more riding on their own but it’s just too dangerous. I’m as big a speeder as anyone but I keep my lead foot for the highway. Wish more drivers would tone it down where people live.

Of course, I can’t mention one kid without the other. Drew joined me, Mrs T and our buddy Nate Dougall for a most outstanding race in Huntington State Park. Put on by YES Endurance Sports the race was the the third installment of their 4 event series. Mom, Drew and Nate took on the 5K while I ran my first race of the year in the 10K. Despite voicing some early morning fears, Drew finished in 4th place (overall) and the Current Mrs Thompson was right behind him as the winner in the Women’s competition. Of my experience, all I can say is, I suffered mightily. 10K has never felt so freaking long. Though I’ve run just about every trail at Huntington, I’d never run them when I was in this bad of shape and I hurt on a biblical level. Coming in at 50 minutes (!!!) I did manage to place 4th in the overall but I went home and said a little prayer of “thanks” that it was a small race. As I’m getting older here, I realize I don’t handle the heat well and I have a difficult time recovering coming off of hills. At Huntington it was over 90 and the vertical seemed endless on the back half of the course. The good news is that the final YES Event of the year will be in my home woods, Indian Ledge, on October 2nd. If anyone would like to come and run it with us, we’ll host a post race breakfast at the Madison Manse.

Of course everyone's smiling: the race is over.

Okay, that’s the update. If you have not been watching this year’s Tour de France, you’re missing out. Contador and Schleck are simply fantastic. On Thursday, they will kill themselves trying win the Col du Tourmalet. You don’t have to watch the whole thing, just tune in for the last hour, sit back and be amazed. It’s been my privilege to get close to alot of great athletes but none are tougher than these guys.

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3 Responses to “ENDLESS SUMMER”

  1. Jim – that was an awesome run – I am glad that I only had to suffer through the 5k – we need to get out running a lot more! It is tougher after losing old iron-sides Dinger for inspiration. As far as Dirty Dancing – both you and Lulu are wrong – it was filmed at the Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke, VA (on Smith Mountain Lake). Nobody puts Baby in the Corner!

    • 2 jthompson31

      Oh, now you’ve done it. Yes, it may have been filmed there but it was meant to be the Catskills.

  2. 3 tfromtrumbull

    See you on Oct. 2. Glad you guys are still in town.


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