Having realized that Dragonforce in the morning can only get you so far on the rollers, I have shamelessly embraced Hulu like a fat kid clutches onto his prized sack of Halloween candy. Somehow, when you're on the rollers and the sun hasn't come out yet, it's perfectly okay to start your day with a little House M.D., even if that means you're going to get to school barely in time for your 10am class.
It was on one of those sweat sessions with Hulu that I came across a commercial for the Smirnoff Pomegranate Martini. Prepackaged vodka, pomegranate juice, and Meyer lemon liqueur, the voice-over guaranteed "the perfect cocktail with every pour." I almost stopped pedaling in horror.
Because, like most things, when you get used to the real thing [or even just the better thing], it's hard to....well, downgrade. What to a college student might seem convenient and palatable becomes, after a few real cocktails, a cheap attempt at bottled class that shouldn't be touched with a ten foot pole. Call me a snob, but if given the choice between Smirnoff Pomegranate Martini and Natty Light, I'd probably go for the latter. At least the frat boy beirut beer of choice isn't trying to pretend it's something other than what it really is [i.e., shitty beer].
And the same goes for bikes and the people who ride them. Though I'm capable of standing over M1's Cyfac, I've refused to ride it in part due to the full C-Record gruppo. It's not because I might crash it [although, due to my clumsiness, that's a very real possibility], it's because I know I'll never forget how it feels. And with a wallet that lacks a third dimension these days, whatever gruppo I may be able to afford won't be anything close to Campy. It's like driving a Lamborghini and then spending the rest of your life comparing it to the late model Hyundai you're currently stuck driving. There's no rational reason for you to do that to yourself.
As for the people, well, they can raise the bar quite a bit as well. Take a handful of experienced cyclists that will easily clock in 200 miles per week and have negative body fat and suddenly hauling a single-speed on the occasional 40 miler becomes embarrassingly pathetic. It's not that they look down on my feeble attempts at cycling; in fact, they do the opposite. But despite their predictable immaturity [they are all guys] I still look up to them, and they unconsciously have me striving for higher goals this winter.
And I don't just mean in the cycling sphere. Though I'm not into poaching my circle of friends for potential husband material, those seemingly irrational requirements for the ideal significant other have gone from "someone who rides a bike" to "someone who has less than 4% body fat, rides at least 200 miles a week, preferably year around, knows how to fix their bikes, will tolerate my roller coaster mood swings, has a solid sense of humor, isn't completely useless, falls on the smarter side of the scale, and oh did I mention is also swooningly hot?" I know, I ask for a lot [but please, I have a lot to offer, now, don't I? Kidding!]. Blame my frustratingly competent friends but I've been around too much of the real thing these past few months. And between classes, exhaustion, and the rollers, I realized that - though well aware that I may never be able to keep up with those friends on a bicycle - I'll be damned if I'm going to downgrade.
It's like realizing that you're spinning out at your gearing; at which point, why would you switch to a bigger cog [or a smaller chainring]? Okay, there's that whole "because it could kill your knees" which in relationship-speak translates to "because you'll end up a spinster with 20 bikes and 30 cats." Touche. But I'll be a spinster with 20 bikes and 30 cats and still be keeping it real.
Sound irrational? Then go to a real bar, [swallow your insecurities concerning your sexuality...you're a cyclist for God's sake, you should be comfortable with the accusations by now] and order a appletini or whatever fruity martinis they might be offering. Savor it. Then pick up a bottle of Smirnoff Pomegranate Martini at your local liquor shop on your way home. Try to actually drink it [without hurling].
Doesn't seem so irrational now, does it?