Always having been the less talented of my parents' two daughters, I was constantly presented with two choices: excel in something different or be content and find value in being, well, inferior. It's easier to be the latter...but my parents didn't raise me that way.
can usually results in me doing things just to prove that I can do them. Like biking year-round in ridiculous temperatures. Or sort of training for a fixed century. Or deciding that doing a longer ride on a track bike I can barely ride with increased gearing would be a fantastic idea.
Which is exactly what I did yesterday. Planning out a simple 20 mile route, Pete and his extremely pale yet freshly shaven legs assured me that my jump in gear inches was fine, and that we could do 20 miles easy. I blindly believed him and failed to factor in the whole twitchy lightness that seems to be characteristics of a true track bike, as well as mostly unwrapped bars and gloves with no padding.
My hands and arms absorbed the shock of every crevice and bump we went over...and quite frankly, my ass didn't fare much better. I mentally told myself to toughen up and keep plowing through. Concentrating a little too much on actually planning out and holding a line [my 'cross bike lets me truck through anything and everything], we got lost and had to backtrack a few times. Spotting the river, we decided to ride down River Street in Waltham towards Watertown and Cambridge.
It was the worst road I've ever ridden on. About a mile in, Pete yelled that it was like riding the Paris-Roubaix...and it certainly was. His superior bike skills allowed him to deftly dodge obstacles while maintaining a constant speed. Already nervous about being perched on something that felt like air compared to my 'cross monster, I was a stressed mess. Brake with my legs, cautiously roll over uneven layers of asphalt, skitter around unexpected potholes, attempt to maintain enough speed not to piss off the drivers speeding by, try not to lose Pete. It was like that "don't step on the cracks in the sidewalk" game I used to play as a kid, except my teeth were clattering, I was developing carpal tunnel, and it was way more painful.
While half tempted to stop and take pictures, the desire to get to the end of this ass-beater of a road had us riding as fast as we could. The worst part? It didn't seem to end for a really, really, really long time. When we got back to civilization, normal Boston roads - despite all the cracks and potholes - felt like sliding on butter. The people milling about in Harvard Square looked at us oddly as I [finally] lurched into Cambridge. Maybe we let our guards down a little too much as an older model Volvo cut off Pete on Mass Ave without signaling, causing him to slam into it as he maneuvered between the curb and the car [he's okay, though]. The driver claimed her signal had "fallen off," which had us giggling on our way through Cambridge.
We inhaled bagels [sorry Eric] before heading home. I wasn't sure my legs and arms were still attached to me but Pete assures me that they were the last time he saw me. Normally, I wouldn't be adverse to go back and take pictures of River Street. Normally. Because unless you give me a full-suspension mountain bike, I'm not ever riding Boston's Paris-Roubaix, again.
Unless, of course, you challenge me to do it...