Back on Saturday, August 20, I started out with a serious weekend plan. No showers, all gaming. As I wandered sleepily out to the three-season porch to dine on a bowl of cereal on Saturday morning, Mostly Naked was already out there. He asked, "Want to enter a bicycle race with me today?"
I'm stupid sometimes. I realize this. In fact I know I heard my brain stabbing itself and screaming, "NO! You are NOT going to say 'Sure'!"
What? A bicycle race? Like, without engines? Me? Fatty McTubb? Pft. Good lord, the last time I actually rode a bicycle--before I just recently purchased my completely and utterly bitchin' beach cruiser--was, I think, when Reagan was President. I had tried here and there with a ten-speed that made sitting extremely uncomfortable days after (ew, yes, I know) and one time on one of my brother's old bikes...I would've gotten farther on a pogo stick. And pogo sticks likely bounce less than that bike did.
I repeat this time and again to people; I am built for comfort, not speed. At least as far as exercise is concerned. Or it's a thinly veiled way of saying I'd rather hack off my own fingers with a rusty spoon than participate in any aerobic exercise. I check my blood pressure occasionally. It's always disturbingly low, therefore, sweating, cramped lungs and knee pain, in my opinion, are nowhere NEAR chocolate and naps on the Pros side of the list of life.
I started attending a yoga class back in October last year and, for the most part, I've been going once a week, every week since then. I've never claimed that the one-hour-a-week exercise has helped me lose weight. Maybe it has. If nothing else, between yoga and what I do at work, I've improved somewhat in metabolism and muscle tone. I tend to believe, though, that it might be the bacon-and-bulimia program I've put myself on.
I'm kidding. I hardly ever eat bacon.
Kidding again. I actually just pay better attention to my eating habits. Smaller portions, less eating in general. Don't eat till you're stuffed. Stop earlier than you think you should and see if you're still hungry in a little while. Now, those of you who know me, don't start thinking that I've altered my lifestyle and eat healthy. Well..ramen is organic, right? I still eat junk food and processed food, and products made with white flour, and ice cream (love ice cream). I love chicken ramen, I occasionally go for McDonald's Surf-N-Turf, I love butter. And meat. I just don't eat as much of it. And damnit, if you want the ice cream, just eat the ice cream...don't eat a meal first out of guilt! That's me.
Now...am I a health nut? Hell no. Am I on a celebrity diet? Puh-lease. Am I keeping track of points? Good Lord no. But I've still managed to dump 10 pounds and they've stayed dumped for a number of months now. So when I die of cancer from the processed foodstuffs, I die thinner! I call that victory.
I've recently switched from a total yoga class to a Pilates/yoga combo class. Again, once a week for an hour. My guts start to hurt about a day and a half later and pain me for a couple of days after that. But something weird has happened. I guess I felt I was ready for more of a "challenge." I grumble about the dominatrix who runs the class (whom I absolutely adore, btw), but very nearly beg to be tortured more. Suddenly the pain is good. I don't get it. I think I might be broken...
Seriously...did I just say "Sure" to Mostly Naked? Holy cats, I think I did. So I go shower (pft, there goes THAT plan), throw on a pair of capris and a t-shirt (Triumph tee, of course...even when I'm not motorcycling, I'm motorcycling), and gym shoes. I have a kick-ass water bottle that Brother custom-painted, but no bottle holder on the cruiser. I throw a canvas bag over my shoulder and drop the bottle in the bag. I'm ready darn it...let's do this.
...Aaaaaannd, Mostly Naked is wearing bicycle shorts (they look like normal shorts (thank God), but have that thick butt pad in them), a bicycle helmet, clip-in binding shoes and he's riding a lightweight mountain bike with disc brakes and suspension. My bike has a springer front end (that's squeaky) and springs under the big-ass seat. My cruiser has to weigh something in neighborhood of 10 pounds more than Mostly Naked's floaty sport utility vehicle.
Any bets on whether I get through the "race" without crying? Or get through the race at all?
As it turns out, it's actually only a checkpoint ride with no fixed route. It started at 1 and one of the friendly, good natured, granola eaters says, "Be back here by 3:30." Ha. ...Ha...ha hahahahaha. When I rode up to the starting point with Mostly Naked, there were probably about 30 other riders. Not one beach cruiser. Lightweight, carbon-fiber, stretchy shorts, little dopey hats, bindings and road-racing bikes as far as the eye can see. One, even, without brakes and only one gear. Dead meat on a stick? Me.
Mostly Naked and I didn't work on a plan. We were given a list of checkpoints...5 I think, all spread out over the environs of Eau Claire. And we did them in numeric order. That might've been our first mistake. Also, the fact that we both took turns getting ourselves lost didn't help either. But so what? I had a good attitude (at least when I started out) that I wasn't going to get discouraged and that I WAS going to finish this here silliness.
The cruiser is actually a 7 speed in the rear wheel hub, so it's not like I had to grind through one gear the whole way. But if you ever look at an elevation map of Eau Claire...there's not much around here that's flat. A couple of particular hills (Birch/Madison and State Streets) are just painful to look at. Honestly? I kept trying to find minus 2nd gear. Had to walk those two bastard hills. Not Mostly Naked. The punk.
Mostly Naked was a saint. SAINT. He's in much better shape than me and, when we all first left the start point, and I watched the main group ride away out of sight within seconds, I looked over at him and said, "I understand if you want to start seeing faster bicyclists." He assured me he was just looking to enjoy the ride and not haul ass. Well, at some point he actually did haul ass...mine. Up one incline (minor though it was, but at that point it ALL felt like it was uphill), we grabbed hands and each took turns pulling one another up to the top. If I wasn't laughing so hard, I probably could've used him another 20 feet or so.
How'd we do? The last two checkpoints were supposed to have people manning them. They apparently gave up after 3:30. We rolled back to the start point...about 4:30...maybe 5. But we did it! Finished! Nearly 30 flippin' miles! Here's our route. While it may appear to not be that much on this map, we actually took the same route back in some places.
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I slept pretty good that night. No surprise there. The next morning, Sunday, I awoke bright-eyed and sore-tailed, slithered into the leather suit, hopped on my motorized two-wheeler and openly mocked every bicyclist I saw. Neener neener indeed.