Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Night for a Sport Other than Cycling

Putting cycling to the side for an evening (and riding for today, including the crucial Thursday interval session - bad Jason!), The Complete Jewish Cyclist became The Complete Jewish Baseball fan; our company took us out for an evening to the new Nationals Ballpark in Washington, DC to see the Nats take on the New York Mets.

Now of course a baseball game is a far cry from a Belgian Classic, and the Nats and Mets are not CSC-Saxo Bank or Caisse D'Epagne, but it was still an enjoyable time. The ball park was absolutely wonderful - clean, well-lit and appointed, very convenient to fans, and lots of fun. My company treated us to a buffet dinner, and they brought in special kosher meals for me. However, the beers were still ballpark beer, so The Complete Jewish Cyclist had to drink Budweiser instead of a fine Belgian Ale commonly preferred by pure cyclists.

The game itself was interesting. Being Jewish, it's no surprise that I am originally a New Yorker, though it is surprising to most non-New Yorkers that I am not a Yankees fan. I grew up going to Shea stadium with my father, and I was a Mets fan, Baseball fan, and little-leaguer until I discovered cycling. That was back in 1985, one year before the Mets won the World Series, and the same year Greg Lemond won the Tour de France. Still, the kid and New Yorker in me endured the joking displeasure from my local coworkers as I cheered on the Mets to their 9-3 victory (though the Nats do have a player named Ryan Zimmerman, also a Jew, whom played a nice game tonight and I gave him his due). The most interesting part of the night is that the Mets fans at this DC stadium outnumbered the Nats fan; blue and orange reigned supreme over red and white.

But now the baseball is over, and it's back to cycling. The Langster, revived for some more riding, is propped-up near the front door and ready to go tomorrow. The morning ride will be an easy spin, and the afternoon ride will be my pre-Shabbat time trial - 9.5 miles of pure violence and speed, with a significant climb in the opening miles, and undurlating tear through Rock Creek Park, and three leg-burning sprints up the final three climbs. If I make it home in time and get the pre-Shabbat preparations done, the hopefully I'll have time to run out and restock the Belgian Ale (Leffe makes for both a for a fine kiddush wine and a post-cyclocross beer). The riding is critical, though; Sunday is a 40-mile group ride with the Bike Rack, and the last 20 miles are at race-pace, so it's pedaling and miles on Friday to keep the legs fresh and carbs on Shabbat to keep the engine revving.

But for tonight at least, it was kosher hot dogs and cheap beer at the ol' ball game. Go Mets!

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