Another funny thing was seeing Beth Mason down there for a noon ride. She's moving tomorrow and apparently needed a dose of high-estrogen riding with some other *very* fast women and the usual bunch of Tuesday folk. She rode well and her perspective on the local scene will be missed; we all wish her well.
Another odd thing I did was ride at or near the front the whole time. Riding at the front doing the warmup lap at 22-23 was dumb, I just looked at the power file and that was 7-8 minutes tooling along into a headwind at threshold/subthreshold levels. It was pretty cool to lose a few spots then bridge up, close a gap or two, drive real hard in the drops for a while. I hung in for the warmup and about three hot laps, and dropped off when I started getting crampy. It had something to do with letting myself get real dehydrated between last night (couple drinks at the Team dinner) and not hydrating this morning, unless you count two mondo coffees and three or four 20 ounce Diet Cokes as hydrating. I had meetings all morning so I was following an unusual, kidney-destroying hydration regime here...
Anyhow, the real oddness came when I was riding. The wind was whipping along from the left at one point, I was stuck in an echelon on the left, and people were passing on the right in the gutter. I had this enormous brain-draining snot I needed to blow out and couldn't do it, so put my jersey sleeve and glove to an alternate use - huge snot rag. This got me to thinking, what other unorthodox uses could you put bike kit to? It didn't take long for my fertile brain to crank out some ideas (maybe I had the 493 milligrams of caffeine to thank for that...)
- Bike helmet - this is the ultimate product testing tool for all those clean air, odor-reducing devices that upscale gear stores sell to over-moneyed yuppies. I don't care if they are negative ion air cleaners, HEPA filters, or a bunch of illegal day laborers hired by shady subcontractors to Clean Air Americans Won't Clean. Put the cleaner in a room with my helmet, shut the door, and come back an hour later. Two men enter, one man leaves. If your cleaner doesn't break down in a cloud of smoke and tears, it's market-worthy, and you can make those outlandish claims about how it eliminates all odors. But if it doesn't hold up, or my helmet stank overpowers it... get it out of here. And don't even bring that weakass car mirror pine tree air freshener crap 'round here.
- Inner tube - as others have noted, the primary use of an old tube is to amuse your kids. You let them blow it up, tie off the ends when it shreds, blow it up, and repeat several times. Total howls of laughter ensue. The alternate alternate use is scaring the bejeezus out of the dog, who now hates tubes perhaps more than he hates vacuum cleaners, and bro, he hates him some vacuum cleaners.
- Chamois butter - Oh yeah, there's an alternate use for this too. Oh, jeebus, you pervert. I was just going to say it's wonderful for dry, cracked skin. It's a good substitute for Norwegian Formula. Great stuff. And you can use if for *that* I guess, you big freak. By "that," of course, the perverted use, I'm referring to frying up Spam in a light greasing of Chamois Butter to make fried Spam sandwiches... mmmm... Spam... is there anything it can't do?
- Gu - if you need to animate your kid in the morning, a packet of Gu with normal caffeine will do the trick. You have to watch out to ensure he doesn't have "KidBonk" after an hour or so - that's where they crash out wherever they happen to be, even if it's standing in the middle of a busy street holding a running chainsaw in one hand and a beehive in the other - but otherwise it seems pretty safe. I'd recommend avoiding the Double Caffeine Espresso Love Gu. I haven't tried it, but sometimes in life we can make a good educated guess about what type of abject disaster will ensue if we do something we know we shouldn't, and when we get that feeling, it's usually spot-on. I call it the "Dating That Redheaded Girl" instinct, though some others have called it the "Law of Ingestion of the Marginal Tequila Shot," which involves drinking one last tequila shot. As any economist can tell you, it doesn't pay to consume marginal goods, the cost is simply too high at the margins...