Saturday, March 08, 2008
Escape From Louisville
TransGriot Note: This was originally posted to the Bilerico Project. Photo from the Courier-Journal
As many of you who've been monitoring the progress of the winter storm that's been shellacking the Ohio River Valley this weekend know, Louisville got whacked with a foot of snow.
But yours truly wasn't here to watch all the fun. I took a road trip to Chicago.
Actually, there was a reason for my seeming madness. I hit the road with Dawn Wilson early Friday morning to watch her fence in the North American Cup tournament in Chicago. Dawn is a competitive fencer and has been doing it for four years. She knows I love a good road trip, so I tag along to watch her when my schedule allows.
Dawn's no slouch as a saber fencer. In Vet 40 she was ranked number 16 in the nation and 24th in the combined rankings before we hit I-65 north for this event . She was eager to continue her push to the top of the Veteran's rankings in this tournament being held at the Rosemont Convention Center.
I had to work until 7 AM EST, so when my shift was mercifully over I headed straight home to finish packing. As I was driving hone from the airport area the first flurries were starting. By the time I'd gotten home, packed and put my bags in the car those flurries had rapidly changed into large, wet flakes.
Dawn was on her computer getting directions to our hotel in Rosemont. Usually she's badgering me to get moving because I'm the slowpoke when it comes to starting our road trips in a timely manner. This time she was the one holding up progress. I looked out the living room window at 8 AM and noticed the two inches of accumulated snow on my car. I'd only had it parked in the driveway for 20 minutes, so I knew we had to get moving soon or else we risked getting trapped in town.
We finally got moving northward ten minutes later and were dogged by snow and high winds all the way to Indianapolis. (sorry Bil, we'll catch ya next time). Once we got to the northwest side of Indy we broke into brilliant sunshine for the rest of our 165 mile run to Chicagoland through the picturesque northwest Indiana farm country. We arrived in Chicago about 1 PM CST and got her fencing equipment inspected after checking into our hotel which was right across the street from the venue .
After we finished, we walked around the center and ran into her LFC teammate Lou Felty and a few of Dawn's Vet 40 fencing buddies. They discussed the 'Baby Vets' nickname some of the Vet 50 fencers jokingly gave them. You have to be 40 to compete in the Veterans division and some of them just recently passed that milestone birthday.
But many of these Vet 50's aren't laughing tonight. A 'Baby Vet' won it, and Dawn and the rest of the 'Baby Vets' served notice with the beatdowns they adminstered that they were forces to be reckoned with in the Veterans Women's Saber Division.
Dawn and the 'Baby Vets' are part of the over 90,000 people in the United States that participate in this fast-paced Olympic sport. They range in age from 12 to 70 and some of those participants are also GLBT people as well. Even though I'm not a fencer, since I'm an FOD (friend of Dawn's) and have been to numerous tournaments with her, they show me just as much love as they show her in the fencing world.
Dawn's competition started at 7 AM CST this morning, so I decided to stay in bed for an extra two hours before checking out of our room since I'd been up a grand total of 32 hours since Thursday.
I woke up to Chicago being dusted with 2 inches of snow. By the time I sauntered over to the convention center, her pool bouts were over. She'd gone 5-1 in her pool and received a bye into the direct eliminations. She got through her first two DE matches before losing her third one 10-5 and missing out on a medal. After hanging around to watch the gold medal match and the medal ceremony, we headed back to Louisville.
Once again, just as we did on the trip up, we ran in and out of snow all the way to Indy, then had a clean 100 mile run to Louisville. Fortunately our driveway had been cleared when we arrived home at 7 PM EST since we weren't looking forward to shovelling 12 inches of show.
What Dawn is looking forward to is an upcoming July trip to San Jose, CA for the Summer Nationals. I'm just looking forward to the next time I get to hit the road.