Saturday, June 19, 2004

Congratulations Homer

Congratulations Homer on the 'Homer' team taking the Stanley Cup. You goaded me earlier and I resisted the temptation to respond, and I'm glad I did not take the bait as the Colorado Avalanche never did fully recover from the beating they took at the hands of your Tampa Bay team. Thanks for rescuing the cup from those Canadians, Ay.

Speaking of Canada, Terri and I just got back from a trip to Montreal, Quebec. We have been following Formula One Racing pretty closely on TV this year. F1 racing is popular all over the world, but not so much in the U.S. probably because of competition for fans with other U.S. races like NASCAR, Champ Car, and Indy Race League. They are currently holding the U.S. Formula One GP in Indy this very weekend. As we were watching a particularly dramatic F1 race unfold on the streets of Monte Carlo, Monaco a few weeks ago, Terri declared that we really needed to see one of these races live. Who am I to argue with logic like that? It's not often that one's wife makes such declarations. No sooner did she say it that they mentioned that the Canadian F1 Grand Prix was coming up in June, just in time for our 19th wedding anniversary. So I got to work immediately securing airline and race tickets and hotel reservations before the mood passed.

Since we had never been to Montreal, we decided to have a little vacation and ended up spending 6 wonderful days there, watching all of the events surrounding the race, seeing the sights, and visiting many wonderful restaurants. Visiting Montreal is a little like going to Europe since they almost insist on speaking French to you, but will quickly switch over to English, but not unless it's necessary. My two years of high school French under Mrs. Zabresky and Sister Fritz finally came in handy, but was just a tad rusty after not having used it for nearly 30 years!

HP sponsors the BMW-Williams team and so we have been cheering for the HP team this year, but the team has not been doing as well this year as in previous years. We were hoping to see their luck change in Canada. We were also hoping to be able to get close enough to see and feel the excitment of the race and we were thrilled to find our seats were just four rows up from the starting grid. I could almost reach out and touch the track, or so it seemed.

The noise from the cars screaming by was deafening and ear plugs were a definite 'must'. We also got to walk the pit lane and get very close to the cars prior to the race, close enough to touch them! There are F1 races held in 17 different countries this year and there are only two races where the racing fans are allowed to walk the pit lane, and one of them is at the Canadian GP. It was one of the highlights of the event and you can see from the pictures that we got very close to the cars.

It was particularly exciting to see Ralf Schumacher win the pole position with the fastest qualifying time. The other driver for the HP team, Juan Pablo Montoya, qualified 4th and so there was an HP car in the first and second rows. We had great expectations. Ralf Schumacher held the race lead for 14 laps but lost it to his brother Michael in his Ferrari who has dominated F1 for the past 10 years. Ralf regained the lead briefly a few times throughout the race, but ended up in second place after Michael Schumacher.

Montoya came in 5th. We were thrilled with the results which would have been the best for the HP team all season. I say 'would have' because the next day we found out that they had disqualified both cars for having the ducts too close to the brakes. The Toyota team had both of their cars disqualified for the same reason. It was a major disappointment but rules are rules and I hope to see the team recover this week at Indy.

If you've never watched a Formula One race, I'd highly recommend it. The races are covered on the Speed Channel in the U.S.. And if you haven't vistited Montreal, it's a great getaway, especially for those of you on the east coast since you can drive there if you like.

I hope to post a little more often here, and would encourage others to do the same since the blog is getting checked daily and I'm sure that others would be eager to hear about how things are going with you. So if you have a story to share, please contact me if you need any help in posting pictures or with the blogger in general. It's going to be a few years before we see each other and so it's a good way to keep in touch.


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