Monthly Archives: November 2006

What Makes You.

Every week I get stronger, more savvy, smarter, better.

I can corner now faster than the girls I start with. I can downhill faster than them. I get bottle-necked up behind them because of my start position. They’re in my way.

And that’s ok. I’ve spent plenty of time being in other people’s way. I still do, every race, when the Women’s A group catches me and passes me at blinding speeds on the left.

The point is that I’m gaining skill. I can ride shit now that I would have never ridden before and that the women around me won’t try.

This morning I got to the course, took a lap and pulled up short in front of a row of small logs that had been laid down as obstacles.

Fuck.
I still do not know how to bunny hop.

I dismounted and ran my bike across them. Sam was up ahead, waiting.

“What are you doing with your bike on your shoulder!?” he demanded. “Ride that shit!”

“I haven’t learned to bunny-hop yet… remember?” I replied.

“Where are you going?”

I was veering off the course, out across the grass, back toward and open field behind the car.

“I’m going to learn how to bunny-hop.”

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Rain Run

It continues to rain.

I may eat my words later (and I promise to own it when I do) but I love this weather. Riding home in the rain is fucking religious. Little drops accumulating on my face, the dark, cloudy night sky above me. My michelin tires spraying through puddles that I have purposefully ridden into. On Wednesday morning I wasn’t feeling well and Sam said to me, “You should take the car to work.”

“Are you insane?” I said. “This ride is my favorite part of every day!”

It was overcast and pouring. An angry, wet, cold November day. I pulled on my ridiculous knee-high wool socks and put booties over the top. Then I rode to work… smiling.

Later that afternoon the rain battered my office window fantastically. It was 4:00pm and I was planning to run around 5:30 or 6:00. The downpour was torrential. Rain in sheets. Huge, huge, amazing, pounding rain. I put on running knickers and a technical long-sleeve shirt and headed out early. Screw waiting for the weekday to end. You couldn’t pay me to miss this storm.

The cold air outside felt good in my lungs and I set my nano to shuffle-all and started running. There was only one way to get warm – run.

Fast.

So I flew. I lengthened my stride and let my smile carry me through the deluge. As I merged onto the Esplanade path two men were running slightly behind me. I determined not to get caught and bounded off toward the bridge, detouring at every opportunity to veer my route directly through a mud puddle. All of the detours meant I had to run even faster to keep the chase group at bay.

On the Hawthorne Bridge I opened my eyes to so many glowing lights. The city was bunkered down under the driving rain, the streetlights shone defiantly.

Omygod, I thought. This is who I am. I am this crazy girl who loves to run in the rain. Right in this moment – I am most me.

Like standing in center field during a close game in the bottom of the 7th.

I was soaked through and flying. When the downpour let up just a little bit I started running through bushes and jumping up to tug on branches so that I would continue to get wet. I wanted water all over me. I wanted to be soaked to the bone.

I kept running and got my wish. The chase group never caught me .

Back on the west side of the river I veered off into the grass and took a diagonal line back to my office.

I felt new.

I am my father’s daughter. There’s no rain yet today but I’m holding out hope. Maybe it’s because there is a large slice of me that is wickedly anti-social. When the rain drives the pansies indoors, more of the world is mine. I have more room to stretch and run. When the water pounds down onto the streets and rivers it drowns out the sound of so much mindless, social din.

Sam says, “Will this rain ever stop?”
“Not until March.”

I don’t even try to hide my elation.

*

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And on Sunday… We Race!

It has rained for a week.

On Saturday night I lay in the attic and listen to the raindrops hitting the roof. It has been raining forever. Our gutters are full and the downspouts filter water down the side of our house. In two years our house will be one hundred years old. I hope my downspouts still work when I am 100 years old.

I have a long way to go. I am 29 years old and rain makes me smile.

I sleep on Saturday nights dreaming of mud and puddles. I am as terrified of a cyclocross course as I am intrigued. I dream of mud spattered shins and gritty teeth. As I dream my Pinarello jersey sits peacefully in my gear bag, waiting. Some crazy Italian cyclist wore that shirt once but now it’s mine. It’s full of stories that I’ve yet to shake out of it. Lips are sealed. I can only engage in conjecture.

In my mind I am a crazy, Italian cyclist and it has been raining for months. The puddles are fantastic. There is grass lodged in my front, right lever, as always.

I always fall to the right.

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