For the Tour of California!
Cyclist: Andrew Talansky
Materials used: crushed Doritos
For the Tour of California!
Cyclist: Andrew Talansky
Materials used: crushed Doritos
[Sadly, I didn't break any records doing this one.]
Cyclist: Alex Dowsett
Materials used: digestive biscuits
There's an odd painting hanging in my sister's apartment. A man and woman are facing each other, playing poker. The man is fully dressed, the women completely nude. And yet, you can see the man's hand, while the woman keeps hers [cleverly] out of sight from the viewer.
Ah, men. So predictable [if you replace "common sense" with "what would make sense if you just wanted to get laid"].
Unfortunately, I sometimes feel like I'm completely naked and showing off my hand. I make it too easy, I guess: I perk up at the mention of bikes, I gush when anyone asks about cycling and training rides. I even smile and giggle.
Talk to me about bicycles and there's a good chance I'm going to walk away loving you.
And while those less closed-minded than me might entertain the prospect of dating a non-cyclist, [assuming I had the time for a relationship] for me...well...that's not really a possibility. Because cycling ends up seeping into your skin and permeating every aspect of your life if you get as addicted as I have. Cycling doesn't become a smaller part of your life. You just end up rearranging life around cycling.
And I don't even race [yet].
Sure, I'm predisposed to guys that ride hard [pun intended], but that doesn't keep me from thinking that it's great that newbies are out there these days, testing the Boston commuting waters. Because it is, and the streets seem to be crowded with strings of
slightly blatantly inexperienced commuters. It's just that, even if that means more eye candy for me, a lot of them are simultaneously breaking my heart.
Call me neurotic...but...really? Sure, a bike is just a bike, but like a trophy wife/husband/girlfriend/whatever, that doesn't mean you're allowed to blatantly parade around the fact that you think it's dispensable. I think it actually took more time for my brain to process everything that was wrong with this picture than it would to cut through the lock and steal the bike.
Yes, I love cyclists; but no, I could never date this guy [assuming he was hot and interesting].
And apparently it's not just isolated to male cyclists. It's good to know that if I wanted a relatively new pale blue cruiser, that I could have one within 5 minutes. It's a cute cruiser, too, and one that probably gets its fair share of love. Just, maybe not enough from the right source. And though I don't doubt that the owner has good intentions, she's never going to realize what she had until she loses it.
We've all been there. With things possibly more precious than a bicycle. And there's really no point in setting yourself up for unnecessary heartbreak. Which is why I don't like to make it easy. I'm not condoning playing games; that's a waste of everyone's time. Just, you know, make it a little more challenging to steal the object of your unconditional affection.
Seriously. U-lock that shit.
It's Tuesday, I know, but let me tell you about Sunday.
Because there was ketchup involved, pre-5pm, and that is always a good thing.
I think ketchup is a food in and of itself. It's not a mere condiment; labeling it that strips it of its innate glory. It's a pureed, red mess of vinegary deliciousness that makes everything taste better. I'll opt for ketchup with my grilled cheese over tomato soup, and I'll even throw it in a pan with pasta [don't ask].
Did I mention how NYC can make me ridiculously happy? Even after scant hours of sleep and a throat hoarse from chattering and laughing too much the previous day? Well, it did. And ketchup was, of course, involved.
It came in the form of brunch at Cafe Orlin. The brioche french toast sounded incredibly tempting...until I saw the goat cheese, avocado, and tomato omelette. This neat yellow package packed with creamy goodness with a touch of Tabasco and Heinz's? That combination made me forget that the back of my eye sockets were burning from lack of sleep. I woke up a little, even [although that may have been the Americano], and managed to recall some of the ideas M1 and I came up with the previous night.
Needless to say, I stuffed my face. M1 rolled me back downtown and hung out while I waited for the bus with an amazing early birthday present from Lauren: the perfect, pink, vintage suitcase, complete with a "K" monogram.
M1's pile of stuff was the last thing I took a picture of before jumping onto a crowded, cramped bus headed back to Beantown. 4.5 hours later, I was home, pumping up my tires, and throwing a leg over a bicycle. Once back in the saddle, I momentarily forgot how much I already missed the city. And sprinting up the hills, I remembered why I absolutely, frantically, desperately love biking. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suppose.
And while fighting the temptation to book another ticket to NYC, a ball of pure happy uncoiled in that space between my lungs and the back of my throat as I clipped in and sprinted. Shooting smack couldn't beat this.
Oh, and study.
That's pretty much all I did yesterday. I fell into bed early on Saturday in anticipation for the Sunday morning ride, even though there was no route planned. And possibly no ride partner, Pete having texted me late Saturday night that he was up for the ride but was an "anarchist party." I figured he'll be a no show.
I woke up bright and early to a comment on my blog from Pete. Written well past 1am. Yeah, right, he's going to be ready by 8.30am, I thought. Screw it, I was going to do two 15 mile loops without stopping anyway [my first 30 miler - sad but true], Pete or no Pete. But a small chat box popped up in gmail around 7.45 - Mr. Pete Shelby himself, awake and willing to go on a ride after about 5 hours of sleep, even with work from noon to 6pm at CB. He picked up a Red Bull at the Store24 and we headed right into gusty winds towards hills and, for me, 30 miles of fixed [anticipated] agony.
We didn't stop [minus the few red lights we didn't blow through] until we had thrown down 14 or so miles, and we pedaled past an apparent fire in Brookline. There were about seven fire trucks, the road was blocked off by police cars, and ambulances also lined the street. I used it as an excuse to snap a few pictures, eat some offered gummi bears, hydrate, then slide my feet back into the clips to do 15+ more miles.
My toes numb by mile 20, I was seriously jealous of Pete's Sidis [I haven't set mine up yet]. My legs were sort of on autopilot halfway through the second loop, and only familiar landmarks and the desire not to be seen/labeled a lame quitter kept me pushing on the pedals. Well, that and good jokes - seemingly perfectly timed - which had me laughing to the point of not realizing that I was already halfway up a hill and that I just had to push a little more to crest the mofo.
My knees seemed to think 28 miles was quite enough as the last stretch home got slightly uncomfortable. That could be due to my sprint through the intersection in Washington Square, though; we never seem to make the light, except on Sundays. Sighting a green as we came down Beacon Street, I yelled ["It's Sunnnddayyyyy!!!"] and whooped as we burst through the light as it turned yellow. Gritting my teeth, sniffling while trying to breathe/pant, head down, slouched into my drops, we finished the ride in two hours and change. Less than 15mph; yeah, slow. Still, don't hate.
I proceeded to stretch, shower, stuff my face, and fall asleep on my books [missing polo!], but dreaming of pretty bikes, summer rides, and all things Rapha [Pete unzipped his jacket just enough as we said goodbye to reveal a baby blue Rapha jersey...yeah that whole "starving artist" front is totally just to get chicks].
Next time, we'll do it faster.
[Today's also my older sister's birthday - the only person who is capable of making me cry in sheer envy of her artistic talent, call me on all my bullshit, and the first person who taught me that what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger. Thanks, Kanako. Happy Birthday!]
Whenever my Mom tries to admonish me about not being [insert any adjective of your choosing, popular ones include: smart, stylish, intelligent, prepared] enough, I pull out a handy Japanese proverb:
"A frog's child is a frog, Mom, I'm only going to be as good as you and Dad."*
To which she will either sigh, disappointed, and claim I inherited most of my genes from my father, or furrow her brow and say:
"You aren't the hawk the kite gave birth to?"**
I am no hawk. This is clearly evidenced by my inherited [from my Mom] love of shoes. Back in the Time Before Bike [TBB], I had at least 20 pairs of shoes - boots, heels, stilettos, kitten heels, ballet flats, etc. - that I actually wore; several more pairs had to stay at home in Japan. This complicates things when I'm at home, because all three shoe closets are taken up by my Mom's shoes. Thank God we don't wear the same shoe size, or the bickering [and borrowing] would be neverending.
The obsession [also applicable to handbags], sort of faded after the purchase of my bike. I'm currently running three pairs of sneakers into the ground, and I haven't bought a pair of shoes in over a year [to my best friend's absolute horror]. Well, until about a week ago.
Because when the going gets tough, the tough naturally go shopping. And retail therapy is never sweeter when it's presented as a huge sale. And there's no better deal when you can get a pair of shoes you've been fantasizing about at less than half the retail price.
Yeah, I'm officially rocking a pair of Sidi's. The footwear of champions and everyone who likes to clip clop in public. I understand black shoes are only for domestiques, but due to the fact that I'm trying to work my way up to that status, I think it's only appropriate. I picked up the shoes last night [after deciding against SPD pedals, and going with straight road ones], and clopped around in them in my apartment, gleefully. It even motivated me to shave my legs, which I hadn't done in about...oh...three weeks [okay, bumping into Croth and his perfectly hairless legs the other day probably motivated that decision, too].
I have to admit, I'm sort of scared of trying them out. Friends at IBC assured me that getting out of clipless pedals is actually easier than toe clips:
Jeremy: Because when you're about to fall, you'll sort of naturally twist your foot.
Me: So I'll just land on my top tube instead of crashing and burning with the bike attached to me?
Marcus: At least you're not a guy.
* "Kaeru no ko wa kaeru" - Meaning that a child takes after her parents, and will grow up to be pretty much just like them. ** "Tombi ga taka wo unda" - Used in the rare situation where a child out-accomplishes her parents.