Monthly Archives: September 2006

New bike, new ear, new sport.

Sam’s mother helps him wash his hair. He has to be careful of the healing skin, the sutured wound. His ear is alternately numb and sore and he claims that the doctor did not reattach it properly to his big, round head:

“It’s not on there right. I look different.”

He’s been gone forever.

I sleep with the cats. Biddy with his proud little chin on my shoulder, Uci with his great, substantial body at my feet. We’re the Trio of Loneliness. We fall asleep together. We wake up together.

Me and the cats.

It’s raining and I’m wearing ballet flats. For someone who is persistently cold, I certainly don’t do very good wardrobe planning. My feet are ice cubes attached to my body at the ankles. Hot coffee provides intermittent relief.

It’s raining and I’m riding my little Peugeot to and from work. We are friends again now that he has a front brake. We call this the Plan B brake because the Peugeot is fitted with a coaster brake and about 2 months ago I found out that coaster brakes actually cease to function when your chain comes off. I know – incredible.

I found this out while riding over the Hawthorne Bridge. A very adept, very handsome and very fancy cyclist on a beautiful road bike rode up behind me and took hold of the back of my saddle to slow me down. It was my damsel-in-distress-knight-in-shining-armor moment. I didn’t like it very much but I will say that I was grateful for the rescue.

So it’s me and the Peugeot again in the mornings. I have decided that the Peugeot is definitely male. A very angry little Frenchman to be exact. This may have something to do with the fact that we have had some trouble getting along in the past. I’m hoping that the worst is behind us.

The Pino, on the other hand, is one jealous Italian bitch. She sneers at the Peugeot and I was we leave in the morning.

“But baby!” I say, “You don’t LIKE the rain, remember? You don’t want to have to wear fenders, do you?”

Apparently she is not speaking to me because she has yet to respond.

No matter. They are both going to be spitting fire in about 10 days. There’s a new bike on the way and I have a feeling it’s gonna be getting a lot of face time. Cyclo-cross season came and grabbed Sammy by the heart and gut. I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground here and cyclo-cross is on every tongue.

What is cyclo-cross? Find out here.

Basically it’s like a cross-country race on wheels. Holy good god, yes, that sounds fantastic. Thing is, neither the Peugeot nor the Pino go off-road very well. Hence the need for a new pony. 🙂 I got a great deal on this ’05 LeMond Poprad and I frankly prefer this color-scheme to that of the ’06.

Mud, grass, hell: prepare to be conquered.

I’m nervous because cross is very technical and requires constant mount and dismount. When hills are too steep or muddy or both, you jump off your bike, throw it on your shoulder, and run. Now that is my kind of sport. They also put obstacles and barriers throughout the course that force you to dismount the bike.

Basically? It’s pretty much fucking insane. Which is, of course, why I’m interested. There will certainly be ‘cross updates in the future.

For now I am headed to my first yoga class ever. (What!? Yoga?!) Yeah, that’s what I said. I’ve known for a long time that my greatest athletic shortcoming is my lack of flexibility. I also know that improving flexibility will make me less injury prone and keep me on the softball field and the running path for a lot longer. I’m going to suck it up and go see what this hippy shit is all about. 🙂 From what I’ve been told I’m about to have my ass kicked.

If I can un-pretzel myself when I am done there will be a full report.

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Filed under cycling, cyclocross, sports, Uncategorized

Finally, Rain. And the Race for the Cure.

When the massage therapist arrived on Wednesday night the first thing that she said to me was, “Hey. Did you notice that it’s fall now? Do you remember when that happened?”

“Yeah. At 3:00pm.”

She laughed because I was right. It is starting to be tradition for me to write about the onset of fall. Two years ago I wrote “Fall fell.” after riding home from work in a taxi cab while the sky got just a little bit more inky and the leaves skittered along the lonely streets of SOMA.

It’s always like that for me. One minute it’s still summer and then, bam, fall. Wednesday at three o’clock I turned in my office chair and looked out my window toward Mt. Hood.

“Oh my god.” I said quietly, “It’s fall.”

And it is. The sky is a different shade of blue. There are leaves everywhere.

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Best Morning Ever

Stumptown coffee on Belmont.

Josh and I huddle at the front window, chatting.

Not only did I get to sit within mere feet of a local pro cyclist whose blog I read religiously, I also got to watch in awe as other whippet-like riders gathered around me.  From our perch we could watch as they rolled up – wiry muscles and tiny little waists, shaved legs.

As they arrived they stacked their bikes against the rack outside the window.  Between the pile of amazing, beautiful fixed gears and cyclo-cross rigs I wasn’t sure whether to stare at the bikes or the boys.

I decided to split the difference.

O god.  Cyclists.  Little whippet cyclists.  Josh endured me as my eyes lit up and we commented on the bikes as they rolled in.

When we were finally (gloriously) surrounded by about 25-30 tiny little super-fast, super-efficient bodies with rock-hard quads and tiny arms, they departed.  Outside the window they sorted out their bikes and sat on them in that way that really good cyclists do while they waited for everyone to get ready.

I wish I wasn’t such a little sucker but I am.  Cyclists just do it for me.  Good, hard bodies in spandex?  That awesome blurring of gender lines with shaved legs?  Skinny boys on bikes can be mistaken for girls from a distance.  I guess that’s part of what does it for me.

Josh and I killed a second cup as the group departed, led by my secret hero.

I’m hopped up on two Americanos and memories of well-filled spandex knickers.  “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins came on as I got on the Morrison Bridge and I smiled, cranked the volume and thought, “Today is the greatest.”

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Filed under cycling, cyclocross, PDX, stumptown