Bike Racing in Twelve Easy Steps.
Wednesday, Nov. 08, 2006 @ 3:15 p.m.

Yay (some of ) Virginia! At least half of us have our heads on straight. However, the results also mean that half of you voted for a bloated racist, but I guess that's to be expected in a southern state. What I really can't wrap my head around how many people voted FOR that unconstitutional piece of crap "marriage" amendment. I wonder how many people actually read it. Jesus Christ, people, gay marriage was ALREADY illegal! Now you've just made it harder for unmarried couples, gay or straight. Good job, Virginia. You suck.

Now, before updating you all on my weekend of suffering, can I just tell you that my lower right eyelid will NOT STOP TWITCHING. It's been on and off for days and days and I'm ready to tape the goddamn thing down, it's so annoying and freakish. I have a twitch and it makes me feel pretty! I know it can be caused by stress or lack of potassium but I honestly don't think I'm any more stressed out than usual and I eat bananas regularly. What gives, eyelid?

So, my weekend. It was, I think, a study in disappointment, punctuated with a bread pudding moment of pure joy. I'll get to that later.

We did a craft show on Saturday and while it was mercifully inside, it was not actually profitable. People looked and commented but nobody bought anything. Nobody even bothered to touch the lentils, it was that bad. Our stuff looked pretty good too, and, while not cheap it's certainly not outside the realm of affordability. Maybe it was the fact that I began hissing angrily at anyone who approached? I can't imagine that would be so off-putting.

Okay, I didn't really hiss (wanted to!), but as the day went on and on and on we both definitely started drooping and being less interested in putting on the perky face people seem to expect. We also both wore uncomfortable shoes, as we weren't expecting to have to stand the entire time. (It was a narrow hallway with no room for our fold-out chairs.) So finally tally: negative $24.00. Nice.

I went home FULLY grumpy and took a nap with the Fuzz. That helped a bit to lessen my grump, plus! We finally have heat. After two different companies, lots of repair calls and money spent, the furnace has been restored to working order. This is really Kenny's story, but it's been stressing us both out for way too long. (Hello, twitchy eye!)

We went to dinner and had lovely fatty pasta dishes and beers and then: Warm bread pudding with boozy sauce and whipped cream. So good. So, so good. I practically humped the plate. Then we went home and cried bitter tears about the impending race. Happy! Sad. Happy! Sad.

Race day. Wow, it's...frosty outside. Like, actually icy frost on the ground. I shivered and put another layer of clothing on because I'm always cold as it is. We drive out to the race in Stage One of the Race Day Emotional Chart, which is denial. "Lalala, just driving in the country obscenely early on a Sunday morning! Nothing to see here!"

My race started at 10am and at 9:55am the sun vanished behind the clouds and the temperature dropped a few more notches. Did I mention it was cold? Because it was. Very. Cold. So here's the rest of the Race Day Emotional Chart:

Stage one: denial
Stage two: panic
Stage three: sucking wind
Stage four: fuuuuuuuck this
Stage five: second wind!
Stage six: strong like an ox
Stage seven: nausea
Stage eight: I quit I quit I quit
Stage nine: denial, part two
Stage ten: anger
Stage eleven: elation
Stage twelve: amnesia

I went through that whole chart, maybe twice on some of them. First of all, sucking great gasps of cold air through your mouth actually physically hurts. My nose was out of commission almost immediately and as I'm not one for snot rockets (NEVER OKAY) I just let the river run. What else could I do? Anyway, there were three in my category and after a few minutes one of them asked in a soft, sweet voice if she could pass. She did, and we never saw her again. Ah, youth! She is fast, that one. I took chase and managed to keep my lead on the third racer for the rest of the race. This is a bad feeling, though, because I never knew how far back she was.

I did most of the race alone which was good because when I could actually catch a breath I was using it to curse just about everything. I was cold, my nose was running, I couldn't feel my toes and my lungs were burning. For twelve miles. It was misery. At one point I retired from racing, effective immediately. Here's what happened:

I passed a beginner guy who'd pulled off the trail and asked him if he was okay. He said he was fine and I kept going, but almost immediately took a turn too fast and went down, narrowly missing a tree. As I was slowly picking myself up and assessing the damage, he rode right past me with nary a word. Fucker! What is with that? I was unhurt but I had a flash of hope that perhaps I was just hurt enough to quit. Then I realized that I could RETIRE. RIGHT THAT SECOND. It was crazy! Why was I doing this? It...hurt! Intentionally! I COULD JUST STOP. I enjoyed that thought for a long moment and then got back on my bike because...damn. I don't even know. It's just not in me to quit, I guess.

So I finished the race. I came in second and I think I placed first overall in my category. I got a t-shirt and a story out of it, so that's not so bad. Next year the prizes will be better and the races will be more spread out, which is great. Hmph, thatís Stage 12 talking: after the pain is over you forget how hard it is and start thinking about the next one. SOMEONE HIT ME.

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