Monday, April 19, 2010

Yankees visit the Confederacy

Michelle and I visited Richmond on Saturday, the site of the USAT Duathlon National Championships. I've heard all sorts of things from people... brutal course... not-so-bad course... hilly, short, technical, you name it.
Got there and was greeted by Civil War veterans (both of the Union AND Confederacy) packing heat... muskets with bayonets and revolvers and swords. Terrifying. Especially since Michelle and I weren't supposed to be amongst them. We were just trying to find 2nd Street. We managed to escape alive, but we felt their stares that emanated through their war-ravaged, fully-bearded faces.

We first tested out the run course. It was pretty confusing the first time through. Rumors of lots of turns and gravel turned out to be true. But it wasn't hilly. A few light rollers and a steep downhill start, but other than that, pretty flat (heh, that rhymes). I can see how times were pretty fast last year, as we measured it to be a little short.

We couldn't ride the course, as much of it takes place on busy highway/bridges, so we drove it. It looks tough. Plenty of false flats, rollers, and probably the worst of all... highway entry ramps: steep, curving hills that empty onto flat or false-flat roads. I'll need all the acceleration I can muster. But the hills work to my strength, which is on uphills. I can really gain and separate on people on the bike when the course is hilly.

So basically, everything that everyone has said about the course is true. It's technical, it's hilly, it's short, brutal on the quads but really not so bad. I'm looking forward to it even more now.


  1. I think you saw Reenactors, not veterans.

    Also, Maryland was not a solid "Yankee" state.

    Like the lower South, Maryland had voted for Breckinridge in the presidential election. Southern-Rights Democrats controlled the legislature; only the stubborn refusal of unionist Governor Thomas hicks to call legislature into session forestalled action by that body. The tobacco counties of southern Maryland and the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay were secessionist. The grain-growing counties of northern and western Maryland, containing few slaves, were safe for the Union. But the loyalty of Baltimore, with a third of the state's population, was suspect.

  2. Towpath, I'll ask you this question...

    Were YOU there... or was I there?

    Take that history question and give me your answer in essay format.

  3. Granted, I was not present, but the general consensus among historians is that the last civil war veterans died in the 1950s. Also, as a Marylander, you are not technically a Yankee since your State is south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    -Prof. Towpath

  4. I'm Yankee-er than you, sucka.

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  6. You probably are Yankee-r than me. I don't celebrate the fact that a great, great grandfather was in the Texas Cavalry (CSA)

  7. I am from abolitionist Massachusetts...beat that.

    Southern Md was very Confederate and gave Booth protection after the assassination.

    RE Lee's troops marched through Md on their way to Gettysburg singing "Maryland, My Maryland" in the hopes that the "border state" would not cause the invading troops any harm. However, the fact that Lee's army raided the farms en route did not help their cause.

  8. ok ok ok that's fine and all, but the fact remains that I am a dirty traitor to the dirty south.

    I never realized Robert E. Lee was such a badass. I'm a World War II connoisseur, this is all a little bit before my time.