Did a little bit of this...
Tried to keep up with this...
And then demolished this...
[More soon, I promise!]
Did a little bit of this...
Tried to keep up with this...
And then demolished this...
[More soon, I promise!]
They say summers aren't complete without a kind of [briefly ridiculous] love. Preferably one with a partner that would otherwise be unattainable/unrealistic/undateable. Because for three hot months, you can just ignore the glaring signs that things will fizzle out come September. It's summer. Time to make some
embarrassing forgettable choices!
To be honest, this whole notion of summer loving was sort of bothering me. Not in that gratingly irritating thorn-in-my-side kind of way, but in that I'm-totally-constipated-and-all-I-can-poop-out-are-rabbit-pellets-and-it-feels-like-there-are-ten-pounds-of-poop-in-my-intestines kind of way. You know what I mean.
In any case, maybe the fact that summer didn't have time to throw a silly fling my way was a good thing. Because I'm pretty sure it'll be hard to forget the awesome iced coffees at Think and Abraco, perfect sandwiches at Atlas, and parks that keep [lazy] training rides relatively flat and easy. At least not without some heartache.
Oh, NYC. I'm going to miss you.
Because how could I resist your twisted sense of elitist sarcasm as I rode into Manhattan over the Billyburg bridge for the first time earlier this summer, only to be spit out into congested three lane traffic as you sneered, "welcome to Manhattan, you fucking hipsters!"? And what about that perfect couch you sat me down on with the accompanying shot of delicious espresso...in a bike shop, nonetheless? And then what about that time you taught me how to man up and grow a pair and split lanes in some legit traffic?
All of which make me think that this isn't just a fling. And please, I'd like to think you're not unattainable, unrealistic, or undateable. School might be starting in less than a week, but I'm going to be optimistic about this one. Even if the possibility of spending weekends in the city [with the bike] in the next few months seems less plausible than me getting hitched to one of the Schlecks [...sigh]. Even if.
Naive? Probably. Silly? Totally.
But isn't this what's supposed to happen over the summer?
I hate it when people ask me whether I prefer hot or cold weather. If I had to absolutely choose one over the other, which one would I pick? Like if all year long, it was either really hot or extremely cold, and you couldn't ever move again. It's kind of asking someone, if forced into this unrealistic hypothetical situation, whether they would rather choke themselves with a spoon or a fork. Both options have their pros and cons; but is this really going to happen?
Wait, I take that back. It actually might [the choking part]. Mostly because this heat is making me do some ridiculous things.
Like how I thought that time on the rollers would be a good idea at 8am, then decided after a pathetic 20 minutes that it wasn't a great idea and that I should really just lie down. And then falling out of my bed when I attempted to actually get up. And then heading to school on underinflated tires, thighs still twitching in protest, to stare at a few books without so much as a sip of coffee to power me through.
All of which resulted in me coming back to my apartment in the scorching afternoon heat, drenched in my own salt water [you might not be able to see it, but that is sweat from my face on my hand]. And to top it all off, I even got to experience exactly what sunblock, sweat, and eyeliner feels like when it drips directly into your eye.
Yeah, yesterday was fucking awesome.
Don't get me wrong, I love the summer. And with temperatures peaking at around 30C [or 90F], and having lived in Tokyo, I really shouldn't be complaining. It's just that I'm starting to look downright ridiculous.
The tan lines, I mean. I'm considering slathering on the fake tanning lotion. Because it's spreading.
Mid-checking-out-my-own-ass-and-weighing-exactly-how-unhappy-I-am-with-its-massive-proportions, I caught a glimpse of the back of my shoulder. Ah, the bane of sleeveless jerseys. Keep in mind that only the back of my shoulder is that tan. The front has some t-shirt tan going on that's a noticeably lighter shade. All exacerbated by the fact that I don't wear tank tops enough because the whole mess is so embarrassing.
Which makes me wonder why I'm actually smiling in that picture. The only plausible explanation is that the heat was going to my brain, again. Because after that picture was taken, I actually considered getting back on the rollers. Without coffee. Again.
The sheer amount of sweat in my hair made me think twice, and after scheduling a haircut, I ended up doing lots and lots of stretching instead [for once]. Weak, I know. But today, I'm out to a ride that might end at the gym, before I attempt to resist the temptation to cut all my hair off. Then, of course, time on the rollers.
I'm boarding another bus this afternoon to head back home to Boston. Goodbye NYC, goodbye swelteringly hot printing studio in Billyburg, goodbye comfy black couch in NYC Velo.
And also, in a way, goodbye summer.
Not that it's over, technically. But most cyclists will probably agree that they're feeling it pulling to a reluctant close. The hot summer rides aren't going to taper off into more time indoors on trainers or rollers just yet [unless, like me, you're dreaming almost strictly of velodromes recently]. And evenings will probably still be spent - as they should be - with a cold beer or a sticky, melty ice cream cone.
Still. The Tour's over.
The cycling event that dominates three weeks of July, it creeps up on you as you long for clear, sunny days that stretch their light late into the evenings, and keeps you, inexplicably, lingering in front of the TV or computer instead of going on that planned ride. Then in a whirlwind of graceful muscle, it's over, only the ghost of Andy Schleck's smile reminding you of why you used to be in such a good mood in the mornings.
Maybe it was just the really good espresso, though.
Unable to watch the Tour on my nonexistent TV, I was limited to following it through riders' tweets, informative blogs, and friends who gushed about the day's stage. In response to being cut out from the excitement and adventure, I tried to block it out instead, pretending that things weren't actually happening over in Europe during the week. Weekends in NYC, though. That's when the Tour could unfold before my eager eyes via Versus, the lack of sleep from passing out well past 2am only to get up 5 hours later getting pushed aside as a video camera chased Alberto, Andy, and Lance.
That tends to catch up with you, unfortunately, just when everyone hits Mt. Ventoux. Exhausted from hours of printing the night before, I slept in to a ridiculous hour [given le Tour] and booked it through the heat to NYC Velo, where a viewing of the decisive 20th stage was scheduled, along with an espresso tasting of Gorilla, Abraco, and Stumptown coffee. Caffeine, friends, and the Tour? There was no way I could resist.
The promise of such a caffeinated treat pushed sluggish blood through still-half-asleep veins and I managed to scoot into NYC Velo in just in time to watch Andy pull Lance, Alberto, Bradley Wiggins, and a lagging Frank up a giant fucking mountain that no sane person should ever attempt by bicycle. And watching the chase - punctuated by bursts of speed courtesy of Andy and those white Jawbones - I completely forgot that I hadn't had coffee all morning. I was even okay with watching, standing, as the couch and stools were all occupied by those equally addicted to
Andy le Tour.
The testy bitchery from lack of caffeine only just started to stir after Pellizotti crossed the finish line; one that was situated just over a hill that looked like it was at a 90 degree angle to the ground [wherever that was]. As Versus slowly unclenched its dominating grasp on my brain and ability to function, I was handed a good strong shot of espresso, and a Mt. Ventoux of pastries to choose from. Any smartass comment I had for friends died in my throat as I sipped brown nectar and munched on a piece of blueberry cornmeal cake from the Birdbath Green Bakery. And coming off the high that is the Tour de France, it was the perfect ending to a Saturday morning.
And, I'm almost tempted to say, the perfect ending to a summer. With no more Tour viewings until [gasp!] next year, I'm already slipping into the kind of immobilizing depression that's only appropriate for New England winters. The kind that has me staring at my bike before rolling over and squeezing my eyes shut in an attempt to fall back to sleep despite the resulting overwhelming guilt. Which actually sort of surprises me, and makes me suspect that maybe it wasn't just the coffee and pastries that had me so hooked on the Tour this summer.
Sure, it's a little late in the race [mostly because it's over], but maybe I'm seriously getting into this competitive cycling thing.
It might feel like October in Boston, but you know it's summer when everyone starts chasing a yellow jersey.
Ah, the Tour de France.
Having no TV, blown out speakers on my laptop, and drowning in different projects with ridiculous self-imposed deadlines, it's a wonder I even know the Tour started on Saturday. But then again, why wouldn't I know? I'm fully convinced Lance and I are meant to be, after all.
So I'm chasing coverage of the Tour like Jan Ullrich after Lance on the L'Alpe d'Huez [coverage of the 2003 race being one of my all-time personal favorites]. Following The Man himself on Twitter is somewhat helpful. I'm dependent on friends and the Internet to fill me in on the rest.
That's not to say that the shame of having no clue what's happening at each stage isn't excruciatingly painful and embarrassing. Using handy excuses of a need to stitch, scheme, and get in shape, I'm half attempting to play it off like I'd rather be riding than watching le Tour. But honestly, I'd like nothing more than a strong cup of dark roast coffee and a brioche, feet propped up on an ottoman, watching the love of my life race from Monaco to Paris.
Instead I downed an iced Americano at Cafe Fixe while catching up with a friend. Then got deets on the second stage while IMing and coordinating projects on the phone, conversations punctuated by bursts of my sewing machine whirring. But between frustrated sighs and cramped shoulders from being hunched over a laptop or a piece of fabric for too long, I managed to slip out of my apartment for a few brief moments looking just a little bit pro.
The Rapha scarf was an instant favorite and is already on heavy rotation. But paired with a Gage & Desoto tote bag repping one of the best cycling teams in the world, it was easier to push aside the guilt and longing to go on longer rides, more often.
Which is probably a good thing. This month is looking to be a whirlwind of activity - good, fun, activity, but activity nonetheless. That's not to say that the bike won't be making the usual daily appearance, just that bike people might be coming first.
And yes, that includes Lance.
I've been perfecting my pout lately. Not the confidently sexy one that I may or may not put on with a cute outfit and shoes that aren't Sidis. The other one. The burning-with-envy-and-bordering-on-temper-tantrums one. The one that belongs on girlfriends trying to guilt their boyfriends into
doing buying something for them. The one that belongs on a five year old who doesn't want to take "no" for an answer.
Holed up in the library, glued in front of a desk and computer, I'm pouting. Because outside, it's verging on summer, the days stretching out with the sun finally growing reluctant to leave the sky. Cyclists are everywhere, meeting in groups, reconnecting with team mates, and flowing down the streets in packs of colorful Lycra.
And just when I'm getting used to slouching over my notes, outlines, practice exam questions, and too many cups of coffee, pushing bikes out of mind [for now], friends will drop me an email, reminding me of their upcoming summers. And I'm left pouting, again. This time in furious jealousy.
I feel like I'm 10 years old again, standing nervously in my sister's shadow, her artistic talent far outdoing anything I could offer to my parents. But this time, there's no lingering bitterness when I'm living vicariously through gorgeous pictures and poignant journal entries. There's none of that disconnect that comes with knowing that you're outside the loop, that you're simply spectating. It's more a cocktail of envy tinged with excitement; the desire to actually live that, combined with a dash of "I want to be faster" and a generous squeeze of "I need a road bike, like right now."
Not that I'd ever be able to keep up with the gentlemen of Rapha [which is probably a good thing as I'm far from the photogenic creatures they've managed to find to fill their stables]. Which is more reason to pout...if it weren't for the Internet, blogs, and my stalkerish mouse hovering over this particular bookmarked page. Instead, I can't resist a smile as I draw my laptop closer, tuck a leg underneath me and pretend I'm coasting effortlessly on a team-issue Rapha bike through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas...
I've got one more exam before a summer of sweating on a single-speed. One more furious dash before I can collapse into the shower, steamy and starving after a decent ride, anticipating sleep only so I can do it all over again. And between the pedaling and stretching, I know I'll find time to quietly peek at the
boys of summer men of Rapha.
...And, yeah, I feel the penis envy coming on already.