Sunday, May 2, 2010

Four Stories


STORY NO. 1 - Grease Up

A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way up the elevator at work with a colleague of mine who has been very supportive of my training adventures (and shall remain nameless). "How is the training going?" they ask. I say it had been slow for a while, but things have picked up and I am having fun. "Don't forget to grease up all over before you ride," they said. There are three other people in the elevator.

Ahem. "I'm sorry, did you say grease up?" I asked. "Oh yeah! You are supposed grease up all over before you head out on the road!" Now everyone in the elevator is listening intently, clearly want to know where this conversation was going. One of the spectators said to me "Oh, are you doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer?" I say yes. "That is great, I did it last year, had a great time." She then looked over at my colleague. "I am sorry, what do you mean by grease up?" I am hoping she say means "grease up" the chain on my bike, or to use sun screen, and not "grease up" like Arnold Schwarzenegger before the Mr. Olympia competition.

"Well, I have a friend that bikes, and they say you should grease up your, um, mid-section to avoid discomfort when riding for long periods." Ahhhhhhh. Now I know what they were talking about. Pete had also suggested using a cream or lotion so that area doesn't get too dry and irritable from friction, especially if your bike shorts are a little too lose.

Let me tell you, that was an awkward 30 second elevator ride. My colleague knew it too. "Why do I have a feeling this discussion is going to end up on your blog?"

STORY NO. 2 - Fashionistas

I told you last time about my first 30 km ride. I went for another last weekend, but this time around the country roads between Oakville, Burlington, and Milton. A lot of riders like coming out here because there is relatively little traffic, few traffic lights, and challenging routes up and along the Niagara escarpment. I think I saw at least 60 riders out and about that day.

I was meeting Heather and Aaron for 9:00 am at the corner of Sixth Line and Lower Baseline, where there is a small gravel parking lot where many cyclers congregate before heading out together. They texted to say they were going to be a little late, so I stepped out of my car to get out my bike and pump up the tires.

Big mistake.

You see, hard core cyclers tend to be thoroughly vapid, narcissistic, and egocentric. And here I was surrounded by them. There was a group of them next to my car, waiting for their friends to show up. They were all decked out super fancy bike shorts or pants, shirts full of sponsoring logos, shoes, helmets, gloves, sunglasses, water bottles, bananas and protein gel packs tucked into their gear, and absolutely ridiculously expensive bikes.

And they clearly had little patience for anyone who didn't have the same.

One by one, as people arrived and got out of their car, every other biker there would look them over, what they were wearing, and what kind of equipment they had on. Let the judging begin.

"I can't believe he is wearing last year's Pearl Izumi Tri Fly III shoes! HELLLOOOOOOO? Whatever!"

"What did those gloves cost you, like $250? Why don't you just use latex gloves?"

"Yeah, that used Cervelo bike is okay, I suppose, if you have no self respect and never want to amount to anything."

Tough crowd. Here I was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt, with regular shorts covering my Christmas gift bike shorts (sorry, no one wants to see that), pulling my borrowed Specialized road bike out of the trunk of my car, struggling for 5 minutes to re-attach the front wheel and then another 15 minutes trying to remember how to pump up the tires. It was like walking into a high school dance with my date, who happens to be my cousin, in a powder blue tuxedo my mother bought for me at value village.

That, and I was literally 3-4 time larger than all of them (width wise). I felt so uncomfortable, I almost got back in the car to wait for Heather and Aaron to show up.

The lesson? It still sucks to be un-cool at 32 years old.

STORY NO. 3 - Directions, please.

This past weekend, we were going to a get together at a friend's place in Milton. I decided I would suck it up, and bike myself! It doesn't sound like a big deal, but being out and sharing major roads with cars (without crying) on my own was a big step for me. I worked out a 27km route, and told Corrie and Sofia I would meet them there.

About two thirds of the way there, I was riding North on First Line, when an on-coming car pulled over and waved me down. There were two south Asian gentlemen in the car with heavy accents. "Pardon me! How do I get to Hamilton?" They had stopped in the middle of a one lane road, and cars were lining up behind them, and me. I told them to pull to the side so cars could get by. They pulled over, got out, and started crossing the street.

I am such an idiot, I thought. I have seen Indian movies like this before, although they usually involve a motorcycle. They would demand my wallet, I would say no, we would get into an epic "Kill Bill" worthy fight scene, dance (literally, I mean a choreographed dance), and then I would get the girl, and finish the 27km.

They stopped in the middle of the road, so I again had to ask them to come off the road so cars could get by. "Can you give us directions to Hamilton?" Then they furled their eyebrows. "But I don't want to take the 407! I am not paying that mauder chaud government for that!!!" (ask a south Asian person what that means, if you don't know). Hmmm, I thought. I wonder if these guys are related to my parents?

I gave them directions and sent them on their way.

STORY NO. 4 - Thanks for Stepping Up!

You guys rule! I picked up about $750 in donations over the last two weeks! Thanks to all who have supported me so much! I still have about $400 to go, but I really think we can smash that goal, and maybe even hit $3,000! So if you haven't already, please donate soon!

Sorry that was such a long one. Cheers!

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