This past week was busy busy busy. To start with on Monday Lisa asked me to clear out some crazy weeds we had growing around our gardens. Truth be told I hate pulling weeds but these were big weeds so it seemed fitting that I attack the job. On top of the weeds being big one corner of the yard was getting over grown with poison ivy and, since I've not been allergic to poison ivy and Lisa has, it was safer for me to dig it out. You'll might notice that I used the past tense to describe my allergic relationship with poison ivy. It turns out I am now officially allergic to that shit; my arms and legs are a living pus laden testament to how nasty that stuff can be. I'll talk a bit more about this later.
Wednesday we had our first official company golf scramble. Technically we had another one a few years ago as a marketing deal where we invited customers and others but this one was just employees of the company and our friends/family. It was a very cool gesture by the owners to give us an afternoon of careless fun. If you have been following my golf history you will know I'm not very good. So far this year my average has been around 114 or so. Granted, last year I did shoot in the 90's two or three times, but in general, my average over the past two seasons is closer to a 105. As pitiful as that is somehow I was deemed by my boss to have the fourth best average in the company's golfers and thus I was the "A" grade player on my team. My teammates were Sean (whom I share an office with and who thinks his average is around 110), Mike (who hasn't golfed in 8 years and thought his average was up near 110 when he did play), and Adam (a 6' 10" guy who also shoots about a 110). Knowing that each of the other teams had a player who averages in the low to mid eighties I figured we were in trouble.
It turns out, however, that a balanced team actually means something as we finished second out of the four teams. Each player contributed a lot throughout the day. I was, for me, on fire on the front nine while the other guys were finding their swing then, on the back nine, when my drives started finding houses more frequently than fairways, the other guys started to heat up. Our entire team was putting well on the back nine too and thanks to that we saved a bunch of pars and bogeys that could have killed us. When all was said and done we ended up at five over par - a 77 - only four strokes behind the team that won (Ed in the 80's, Ryan in the 90-110 range, Brandon in the 130's, and Tracy who had never golfed before).
My teams goal for the day was to shoot bogey or better golf on every hole and we nailed it. We had six bogeys, a birdie(!), and 11 pars. I was pretty stoked. Everyone on the team had a good time and I think we would all be happy to go out and golf as a team again.
On Thursday I got to go mountain biking for the second time. You would have thought that I had learned my lesson last week and boycotted the sport but oh no, not I. By this point my poison ivy was really kicking into itch mode as well and I had some big swollen red areas on my lower calves. You may not know this but you can actually get rid of those by scraping them off with a sharp object like, oh, I dunno, a bike pedal! That's right, I've found the cure for poison ivy just rip it off your body. It hurts and burns like hell but that area won't itch anymore. Woo hoo!
On this biking trip we took a different route to start with - a much more technically challenging route for me with much steeper downhills but I think it helped me gain some confidence when we started the second half of the route which was the same path we took last week. I managed to stay on the trail nearly the entire time and even picked up speed going down some hills. However, about 1/2 way through last weeks path we took a detour to another hard trail that I am not really qualified to walk on let alone ride a bike over. Needless to say I saw my imminent death a few times! At one point I got off my bike to walk it down a particularly treacherous path and, about halfway down it I though; "Oh, this doesn't look to bad, I'll ride now" only to hear Ed yell back up "Bill, Walk on this part! Sean just went over his handlebars!" I was not too proud to heed his advice and thankfully I wasn't becuase the path got really ugly with a steep hairpin turn and some big branches, rocks, and trees obscuring the way. After that portion of the trail the difficultly dropped back to an easy blue or a difficult green slope and I felt much more comfortable again. I rode pretty hard from there on out and really picked up some speed only to encounter a really narrow trail area. Amazingly I managed to navigate through the entire thing without pausing. At the end I pulled over to catch my breath and a group of skilled riders passed me in the opposite direction. I was very grateful that I didn't cross their path when I was going faster or I might have killed one or two of them in my death throes.
Next week Ed has a cool sounding path for us to follow and I'm pretty stoked about it. If I survive I'll blog again!