To all of you that have sent pictures of my boy, GH, after he won a stage in Tour de California – I say thank you. But please stop teasing me. If he is not on my door step wrapped in a red bow I would rather not imagine what could be and just wait for what one day will be.
But alas I looked on my doorstep this morning and he was not there. All that I saw was snow. It was quite beautiful but still it was snow. Which is cold, wet, and generally makes outdoor activities near impossible.
Yes, I spent the better part of Monday night mouthing off about the snow. But I am not to blame. You see, post-race I always have a bit of a poor attitude. I believe it is just post-race fatigue and pain leaving my body through my mouth. Sorry to those within earshot of me right now. All of the pain – especially duathlon pain (there is no pain more evil) - leaves me a little disgruntled and jaded, mouthy and on edge.
On Monday morning I thought I had escaped the post-race-day-pain malaise and mouth off. I woke up feeling mostly ok and did a glorious 45 mile ride in the Phoenix sun. I would tell you that I rode with Thomas but I disqualified him shortly after leaving for wearing toe covers. For crying out loud it was 60 degrees with full sun and the man put on toe covers.
The three of us – Thomas, Chris, myself – rode along some Sonoran bikeway which was really just code for wide shoulder with painted white line separating us from the oodles of cars that apparently had to be out doing things in Phoenix on Monday at 9 am (these same people are all over the suburbs of Chicago – I don’t get where everyone is going all the time or why the heck they are in such a hurry to get there).
Lucky for us, one of them politely stopped at a red light alongside us while they were in the car lane and we were in the bike lane and they said to us “you know that’s why they made bike lanes."
Nevermind the people driving in Phoenix, the bike course itself was quite beautiful. I like the desert landscape. I’m sure after awhile a cactus is a cactus is a cactus – with a mountain in the background – but against the blue sky, wispy clouds and red rocks it looked beautiful to me.
About 75 minutes into the ride, Chris left us to chase after his dream life of bike cowboy riding off into the southwest equipped with the only things a true bike cowboy would need – his favorite bike, fast wheels, leg & arm warmers and a pair of shorts. Honestly I wasn’t sure if we would ever see him again. He’s not the best with directions unless they are being shouted at him from tiny box atop the dashboard of the car.
Thomas and I continued our ride back to his house. It was nice to be outside. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like having the luxury of riding outside November through March. I might actually get good on the bike. We were averaging over 19 mph. On an easy ride. I thought that was pretty fast considering a good day on my trainer is usually an average of 14.9 mph.
Thomas says that for 3 months out of the year, though, they can’t really train outside. Too hot. Too hot? Ovens are too hot. Hot coals are too hot. Fire is too hot. Of course I believe you that Phoenix in summer is 110 degrees too hot. But then again you are talking to a person that lives in sub zero windchill too cold. Which by the way is always too cold for riding outside. So I would be willing to take my chances with too hot. Even if it meant riding naked at 4 am with a headlamp. I would take the too hot over too cold.
By some navigational miracle and a little bit of luck, Chris arrived back at Thomas’ house about 40 minutes later. I suppose the excitement of life with small wife and smaller dog lured him back from cowboy dreams. If I were him I would have ridden west, far west then south, crossed the border and lived a life riding my bike and selling Mexican pottery and pharmaceuticals to unassuming tourists on the street.
Next Chris had to pack our bikes up quickly before heading to the airport. I usually don’t offer to help and didn’t this time. I’m not much good at putting things together or taking things apart. Chris is good at both so lucky him he gets to do all things bike.
Honestly I could have cared less about the bikes or making the flight. I was more concerned about food. Me and no food are not a good pair. Especially post long ride and NO food. But no worries, right? We are heading to the airport where we will have nothing to do but kill time and eat food. It seriously took almost an hour to get through the ticketing line (are those bikes, are those wheels, is that equipment, how many, are those bikes, how many bikes) then the security line then to the gate. Of course outside of the gates there is a smorgasboard of reasonably healthy food that you might actually want to put in your body. However once inside you are literally trapped in a prison cell of bad food choices.
For some reason Chris was totally cooperative and walked around all of the gates with me to find something that I would not feel ashamed of putting in my body. I didn’t really need the 10 mile walk through the terminal. I just really needed some semblance of healthy food. I refuse to settle for crap. I will starve with raging headache before I will put fast food into my body. No way.
Finally I settle on a blueberry bagel at Starbucks. Things you need to know – I hate Starbucks and I hate bagels. Unless the bagels are on Saturday morning after masters swim with my husband from Einstein’s. Trust me, I want a bagel like I want another 10,000 yard swim. I know they’re not bad for me but they certainly aren’t good. And no matter what they all taste the same. BARF!
The only thing that could have fixed this situation was coffee. So I order an Americano. The barista (I hate that word) gives it to me with literally two inches of empty space in the cup. For what? FOR WHAT? My thoughts and good wishes? The sweet nothings I will whisper to coffee into that little hole in the lid? Fill it up. NOW. She says “I thought you wanted room for cream.” No. Never never NO. Even if I did, there is a huge difference between “room for cream” and “room for the living room couch” in that cup.
She adds seriously ¼ of an inch more hot water (I give up) and then I sit at the gate. I am disgusted. I hate people. I hate food. I hate post-race soreness in my legs. Not really but I do hate airports and the fact that we as a culture have accepted Cinnabon, Burger King and Pizza Hut as food. We accept that, we buy it, we eat it. And we wonder – gee – why are we fat? Why do we get sick? Why can’t we get our penises up? That last one is because if I get one more e-mail or see one more commercial about a penile dysfunction I will run through the airport shouting IT IS CINNABON’S FAULT!
And then after that tirade in my mind I just got jaded. Sat on the floor of the gate eating my barfberry bagel and drinking my half air/half caf Americano spewing silent nasty thoughts at the world. Why is it so hard to eat right? Why have we sold our souls for convenience? Is it really worth our health? I quickly realize that these are much bigger issues than I will be able to solve in one day. Or one flight. So I start to talk to Chris. Who by the way is eating some burrito thing that if I ate I would seriously put on 20 lbs and spend the 3 hour flight in utter colon distress. He ate two. And probably will wake up thinner tomorrow to boot.
I forgot where I was going with all of this. But it doesn’t matter. These are just my random thoughts. And interrupting anyways was an e-mail from my coach reminding me that in two more days we leave for Camp HTFU. Which means I will once again be in the airport going somewhere south. So today I went to the store and bought green things. And red things. And nothing that comes in a package, bar or bag. I will put these green and red and healthy things into a quart-sized baggie and carry them on. In fact, I will carry a potted plant into the airport with me on Thursday if it means I will be able to eat healthy and feel good.
So tomorrow I gear up for an all girls weekend away. Please note this is the first time I have ever done such a thing. Usually I’m the token semi-fast girl in a group of guys. Not this time. All girls, an army of estrogen rolling down the roads of South Carolina. I am not sure I – nor South Carolina – is ready for this. But one thing is certain, by weekend’s end someone will be in tears. We may be tough girls but even big girls cry at some point. For many different reasons. Because their legs hurt. Because the pool doesn’t open until 1 pm. Because someone switched the regular with the decaf. Because – BECAUSE – there is no internet connection at Ashley’s house. And as Ness politely pointed out to me last night, that girl in tears will probably be me.
I totally agree.
So if you see a piled heap of a small person on the side of a South Carolina road crying, mumbling mean things about Cinnabon and ready to impale the world with an aero bar, kindly bring me an Americano, leave no room for cream and then get the heck out of my way. Because it will be at least another two days before the post race pain leaves my legs. Until then, there is a 100 percent chance that from my mouth it will snow bitter complaints. And the only thing that will cure it is a lot of sun and something I can eat that is healthy and green. Ok and maybe a little bit of chocolate cake.