27 September, 2015                 Cornucopia

cornucopia n. 1. Greek Mythology The horn of the goat that suckled Zeus, which broke off and became filled with fruit. In folklore, it became full of whatever its owner desired. […] [emphasis added]

The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionary (2011-11-01). The Essential American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

This week has been a cornucopia of fun. Everything I love – friends, dogs, bicycles, food, I even got to play with firewood! Full of whatever I desired! And then some! 

“Peter Sagan won the UCI men’s world championship road race in Richmond, Virginia.”  [The Guardian]

UCI men’s elite road circuit in Richmond, Va. on Sunday, September 27, 2015″ [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

“Slovakian Sagan wins elite men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships” –[IBID]

“Sagan completed the 162.4-mile race in a time of 6:14:37.”  [IBID]

Here’s a picture I actually took this morning at the start of the race at The University of Richmond (U of R):

University of Richmond, a few minutes before the start of the Men's Elite Road Circuit this morning

University of Richmond, a few minutes before the start of the Men’s Elite Road Circuit this morning – the starting line

I took this picture moments later as the peloton made their way up the hill and out of the U of R campus:

A gray day with a LOT of color

A gray day with a LOT of color

From there we moved to the Carole Weinstein International Center (what better place) to watch some of the race on television.

This was the outdoor entertainment:

International Center in a city FILLED with international cyclists

International Center in a city FILLED with international cyclists

The next several pictures are pictures I took of TV screens with my iphone. So the quality is weak. But what an incredible event to watch. I started out tepid and/or lukewarm about this, believe it or not. I enjoy riding but I’d not been so fond of watching people ride. I am now a permanent semi-rabid fan. It’s hard for me to understand what it feels like to be a pro football player or baseball player or basketball. I don’t even know what it feels like to be an amateur. But I’ve spent a lot of thousands of hours working hard on my bicycle and I have a grasp of what these guys are doing. Or of the theory anyway; these guys don’t look much different than me and I’ve got a nice bike too but man. 26 mph. 

When we got indoors to watch it on the monitor the leaders had nearly 250 kilometers remaining. The entire race was “only” 261.4 kilometers (162.4 miles) long, so they were just getting started. In this picture they’re climbing the cobblestones on Libby Hill for the first time:

Picture of a TV picture of the cyclists climbing the cobblestones on Libby Hill for the first time today.

Picture of a TV picture of the cyclists climbing the cobblestones on Libby Hill for the first time today.

Here’s another picture about 44 kilometers (27 miles) later, of the peloton going around the Lee Monument on Monument Avenue here in Richmond:

I just love seeing this in Richmond. I drive there in my car nearly every week. I think these guys were all breaking the speed limit!

I just love seeing this in Richmond. I drive there in my car nearly every week. I think these guys were all breaking the speed limit!

This is the perfect time to insert that the winner (Peter Sagan, 25 y.o. of Slovakia) averaged an astounding 26.0 mph for the whole race. So that was around an hour later. I’ve said this in blog posts before; I hope you’re not bored with it. If you don’t ride it won’t make much difference. But if you do ride, and if you have a speedometer on your bike, you know what it feels like to go 26.0 mph. In my own case, it feels like you’re going down a really steep hill. From my perspective it is almost unfathomable to do it non stop for over six hours. As a human being who rides a bicycle a lot, it’s still hard for me to grasp. Fun, but wow. You should try riding 26 mph if you have an opportunity. I promise you will be shocked. 

After we left U of R we went to our friend’s Ariel’s house with the dogs for a while and relaxed. Then home for a while, then we were off to Portico in Goochland for our friend Nancy and Larry’s wedding celebration. The race was on the TV above the bar; I have never seen so many Richmonders so riveted to a bike race. I was thrilled to see the finish.

Here is Mr. Sagan crossing the finish line:

Peter Sagan after riding his bicycle for 162.4 miles in 6 hrs, 14 minutes:

Peter Sagan after riding his bicycle for 162.4 miles in 6 hrs, 14 minutes:

And a few seconds later; I was and am amazed:

Look at that guy. That's how I look BEFORE I get on my bike!

Look at that guy. That’s how I look BEFORE I get on my bike!

I started this post off with a “cornucopia” and I’ve only put one thing on it – the bike race. And I only put today’s race on it; the UCI World Championships have been going on all week. It’s been such a cornucopia I’m tired! We went to a great party yesterday at Tree of Life and Nancy and Larry’s wedding celebration at Portico was wonderful. They sent us home with homemade cookies!

I’ll be getting out on my own bicycle this week – although I won’t see 26.0 mph on my speedometer very often. There’s a hill by the lake at West Creek; I may see 26 mph for 162 feet. If I give it everything I’ve got. 

Thursday is October 1! It’ll be cooling off soon. I have a nice pile of firewood to start the autumn; the first fire will be soon:

Fun way to start the cool weather. Thanks Tim!

Fun way to start the cool weather. Thanks Tim!

All best until next week,


PS Oops! This just in. In a manner of speaking. Ev and I were in Carytown Saturday picking up a few items. First to the outstanding Carytown Teas; I cannot recommend it highly enough. Second to Sheppard Street Antiques; what Carytown Teas is to tea, Sheppard Street Antiques is to antiques. The customer service, products, atmosphere and location are without equal. Outside – on the last weekend in September – there was a clump of honeysuckle (my favorite flower) growing – and it smelled as fragrant as any June bloom. What a treasure: 

Delightfully summery honeysuckle - on the final Saturday in September!

Delightfully summery & fragrant honeysuckle – on the final Saturday in September!


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Endurance, Fun, honeysuckle, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Cornucopia

  1. Jean Yerian says:

    Totally wonderful images — both verbal and photographic — throughout this post — nice job, Jay! I’ve been moping a bit about being in Canada while the world came to Richmond, but you made the atmosphere come alive for me — thank you. I hope all the reviews will be positive and RVA will attempt more big things. Would be fun to watch future ones unfold.

    • Hi Jean! Great to hear from you! I hope Canada is nice. I’ll bet it’s cooling off! It was fantastic having the Worlds here – I was surprised at how exciting and enjoyable it was. And the enthusiasm was city-wide – it had a nice feel to it. I too am looking forward to more great events here in RVA. I hope to see you soon! All best,


  2. Kathy Louthan says:

    I was at U of R too (even rode my bike over to watch the race) and like you, I ride my bike but haven’t followed the international bike races. I ended up going to 4 of the races and would have been more if I could have worked it out. It was amazing at U of R to be so close to the premier riders in the world, even shaking their hands! And I don’t look that good before I go riding, let alone after a ride LOL. Congrats on the wood pile and keep your eyes open on your walks this week. I hear with these marine depressions coming off of our coast some very interesting birds are being blown farther inland than usual on their migrations. Heard from someone yesterday of the warblers he was seeing in his backyard on Sunday. Happy birding!

  3. Hi Kathy! And thanks for the note! I was fortunate to have a friend w/in walking distance of U of R so I got to park there – and bring my dogs to the start! When I was walking around at U of R after the race I saw an Eastern Towhee perched on a post for a moment – amazing. Then it dove under a bush, where Eastern Towhees spend a lot more time. Fun to see though. I think the local red-tails have moved on and I haven’t seen any ospreys lately either so I’ll miss them for a while. But I did get two unmistakable (but poor quality) pictures of an adult Bald Eagle at Pony Pasture on Tuesday. And possibly a Broad-winged hawk – some sort of vague raptor – on Thursday. Waiting for a few more leaves to drop before I really focus on small birds. Although I did get what I think is a non-typical (not a Carolina) wren on Tuesday. Weak ID though. Can’t stick by it. The Buffleheads will arrive in about a month – then the leaves will mostly be down. Happy birding too! Have a great day,


  4. Clare T says:

    what a great weekend! and I always look forward to your first photos of firewood at Jay’s house – in addition to the wood this yr, i’m trying out an Amish heater – don’t remember the real name, but going to give it a whirl for those extra chilly mornings.

    I’ve seen so many more cyclists out on the road now – thanks to the race (and the new lanes) – yeah!

    happy autumn!

    • Hi Clare! And happy autumn to you too! I’m always excited to put up my first firewood picture. Now I’m looking forward to putting up my first FIRE picture! Mackey and Turner and Dash are looking forward to it too. Think I’m going to get a few more loads from Tim soon. The Amish heater sounds nice – I just looked them up, that will be a good addition. You’re right about a lot of cyclists being out. I live here near the Westbury Pharmacy and I saw Team Colombia going right up Three Chopt Road on a practice ride. Lots of more ordinary cyclists out too, always great to see. October is usually a great riding month – hopefully the sun will be out soon and the riders too.

      Thanks for the note and have a great day,

      Jay & Mackey & Turner

      PS Pony Pasture’s getting more beautiful all the time – you guys will have to come down!

  5. Bob Parker says:

    Hello Jay,
    I’ve been looking at your blog since my son, Lee, told me about it many months ago. Love everything you’re doing.
    I have to comment on this latest entry. I’m not a biker. Probably haven’t ridden a bike more than a dozen times since I was a teenager. I’m 72….
    I found the Worlds truly amazing. Enjoyed all three events we attended. I, like you, cannot imagine how they pull this off.
    One thing I noticed, call it irony, is the picture in the Monday RTD Worlds supplement on page A14. Notice the rider at the bottom with #179. That’s the winner, Peter Sagan. How cool is that??? Keep up the good work.
    Bob Parker

  6. Hi Bob,
    And thanks for the note! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the blog. And I’m REALLY glad you enjoyed the Worlds so much. That’s great that the RTD Worlds supplement had a picture of Peter Sagan in it – from a week ago! I am friends with a couple who live in north Richmond. On Saturday the 19th, when the riders first got to town, there was a practice session. And my friends got their picture taken with Peter Sagan that day! They said he was as nice and down-to-earth a person as you’ve ever met. He’s got a great smile! I was thrilled to see the Worlds here. Thanks again for the note and have a great day,


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