Thursday, June 23, 2005

First Stage Race: Lessons Learned

Three stage race this weekend. Against better judgement I went down with a group. While acting to defray gas costs and lodging costs, the annoyance inflicted by both questionable music taste and an excessive affinity for smoking weed far outweighed any benefits. In addition to feeling like an infant strapped in my car seat while my redneck mother chain smoked Camels with the windows up, it should be noted that pot smoking does not foster a sense of punctuality.

WARM UP: Five minutes of warm up before the TT is not good for one's performance...physically. Knowiing you blew the warmup becuase the group was smoking out in the hotel room instead of getting their shit together...bad mentally.

FOOD: When in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere, one does not have a lot of food choices. There was a Denny's, a place called the Old Mill, which was neither as cool nor as promising as the name would suggest. Add to that a Mexican restaurant with questionable hygiene and what do you have? A belly full of grease, cheese and burnt meat.

BIKES: Don't think you need to strap down that rear wheel on your bike rack? Think again. High winds and a decidely un-aerodynamic seat conspired to scare the shit out of everyone when my carbon beauty decided to take a pitch off the top of the van. Luckily, it stayed on the fork mount. maybe super light, isn't super good?

DOWNTIME: What better distraction than to go to Walmart and people-watch. Three bike races with shaved legs walking around Walmart, talk about standing out. Every single person that worked there weighed at least twice as much as I do. Among the depressing sites and sounds was a mom heard to say, "Put that back, we're going to Mconald's later!" and a man wearing a shirt that read, "Women want me, fish fear me". I'm not sure he was right on either front.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Birds are Stupid

40°F and a steady rain. That's right! Time for the Tuesday Night Group Ride! As I stood in the parkinglot, shedding my gore-tex jacket in anticipation of the coming suffering I realized something. Not only was it 40° and raining, but it was 6:10 and no one was showing up. The problem with riding with a group of people who have loads of talent is this: They don't have to try that hard, and therefore they were all sitting at home watching Everyone Loves Raymond while I was freezing my ass off. Fuck them...that's what an IPOD is for. Riding off on my 50 mile loop, alone and in the freezing rain I was comforted not only by my IPOD keeping me company but also with the knowledge that any training in the rain and cold counts doubly towards your fitness level, and with all the slackers sitting inside, I was gaining fitness on them.

All went well until 3/4 of the way up the red Top climb the rain turned to gropple, then sleet, then snow. Oh what fun, wet roads and snow! I took comfort in knowing that soon I would be thawing my feet in my hot tub. Then things started to go wrong. First my PowerTap's battery died. This was quite concerning since we all know that without data, you gain no fitness. Then the battery in my IPOD died. Grim. Cold, rain, snow, no tunes. Then of course, I flatted. How hard is it to change a flat in the freezing cold rain? Half as hard as changiing a flat in the freezing rain WITH NUMB HANDS. I had a moment of thinking I'd need to call for a rescue, but with aid of a stick, finally got it changed out.

When I was 5 miles from home it went flat again. Of course. Fuck it. I'm riding the flat home. Think it couldn't get any worse? The bike path to my home is lined with lovely little birdhouses the school kids have made and put up. One of said birds flew out of its house and hit me in the helmet. Birds are stupid.