First, before you read my claptrap, you need to click through to my friend Ryan's blog entry, and check out somebody who can actually write. He spent the weekend doing his regular moonlighting gig - reporting on a local pro race for Velo News - and being a velo bum generally. Once you've read that, come on back here for some of the usual drivel.
So today's commute was a total clusterfark and it was a really weird day overall. I normally stick to just the highlights, but so much weird shit happened that maybe it bears note.
On the way in, I got as far as Bowie before noticing that the clicking noise was yet another broken spoke on my Powertap/Deep Vee. The long term fix is to de-tension the spokes, re-tension them, drizzle some Loc Tite onto the nipples (kinky, eh?) and go from there. The short term fix was to return home, steal the rear of the 'cross bike, swap out the 9 speed cross cassette for a 10 speed road cassette, then head back into D.C. Not exactly a smooth start there but at least I'm reasonably good at minor bike fixes and knocked out the cassette swap in under two minutes.
Then on the way in, there were... obstacles. For starters, there was a steady 10 MPH headwind. "No problem," I thought. "That will be a nice tailwind on the way out."
Cutting down toward D.C., I caught the eye of one of the locals. He rather charmingly made a throat-slitting gesture at me. How lovely. A little further on I was stopped at a light and a couple gents were telling each other how they were going to "f*** some motherf***ers up today." What?
Once into D.C., riding down 11th, I settled into a little pack of 4 or 5 commuters, and we all got cut off by a woman who felt compelled to run a red light, and turn left in front of us, to completely block the lane. "F***in' Bitch!" yelled one of my co-commuters... I guess it was warranted, she nearly T-boned us.
After I got to work it took about 7 hours to stop sweating. It was a stressful day, spent mostly in reading impenetrable documents, writing worthless analysis of them, and generally burning off 9 hours of my life that I will never get back. (This was the only normal part of the day).
I got a Subway Veggie Patty sandwich for lunch. Yes, I like them despite my constant tofurkey jokes. It's a fairly light lunch, and like methane, the soy patties are tasteless, odorless, and otherwise undetectable. I mainly get them because the sandwich makes a good vehicle for about 3 tablespoons of crushed red pepper paste, about 25 jalapeno slices, and enough vegetables to... um... create a shortage of vegetables.
The jalapenos and crushed red pepper paste didn't do anything to help the sweating. Come to think of it, neither did the ham sandwich I ate yesterday for lunch, which was made with ham that (maybe) (possibly) (pretty likely) was expired. It was 7.5 days out of the local Giant's deli, and it didn't taste quite right... but Mr. Saving Up For Bike Parts thought "waste-not-want-not" and made a ham sammich with it anyhow. Let's just say that I've had a good opportunity over the last 24 hours to test drive a lot of toilets. *A Lot* of toilets. On the upside, I had a lot of time to check out the soccer games using the smart phone...
So the bottom line, as it were, was I left the office with a massive, massive headache, staggering around like a drunk, with an aching low hindquarter and a coat of sweaty sheen that would have done a suntan lotion model proud. I had this feeling of overwhelming dread stalking me, and as I cruised along I thought I'd throw up. It isn't often that I have a headache so bad that it makes me start to drool out pre-vomit drool, but today I did. Miracle of miracles, it didn't affect my riding, and miracle of miracles, I didn't barf.
Nor did the wind affect my riding; which wind was strong, and again in my face on the way home. How the hell can I have a strong headwind on the way into town, and on the way out? I don't get it.
I trudged up Rhode Island hating life. Those couple of hills are non-trivial, my friends. The sunglasses came off. I poured water on my head. I tried to alter my breathing, and tried spinning, and then mashing. Nothing worked. When I finally hit the calmer portion of Good Luck Road, where there's a bike lane, I took the damn helmet off and clipped it to my handlebars. The cool air on my wet hair was a Godsend. It helped ease the headache a little bit, though I felt really schlocky knowing little kids might be watching me and learning the wrong way to be. I passed a few bike commuters from there on out, and man, did I ever get some funny looks.
It wasn't all headaches and moaning and funny looks, though. A couple guidos in a minivan with New Jersey plates drove by while I was at 193, and one or the other shouted "you f***in' faggot" out the open window. That never gets old, but it makes me wonder which one of their mothers told them to say that, because I'm going to slap that old girl next time I see her.
Eventually I got back home, ate some aspirin and orange juice, had a long hot shower, ate dinner, and mostly killed the headache. It's still lingering a bit. I'm about to collapse into bed and hope that some sleep kills the thing off the rest of the way.
See what I mean? There's nothing really freaky that happened today, it was just a strange day, and everything was off. If my life consisted of a bunch of Star Trek episodes, this would have been one where I wandered around the crew decks invisible, "out of phase" with this particular strand of space time as a result of a transporter accident.
Rough day or not, I'm still glad I rode, but damn... there sure was a lot of weird in it.
I'm not the only one who had a bad day, however. Check out this crash from the bunch sprint in today's Tour de Suisse stage:
Yep, if you don't want to take the risks, you don't belong at the front in the bunch sprint. It's dangerous up there, particularly when a couple young sprinters think they're invincible and start handling their bikes like a couple assholes. I did particularly enjoy seeing Boonen ride over Cavendish. That seems appropriate, somehow.
But if you think they had it bad, and weird, thank your lucky stars your name isn't Al Gore. Now that guy had a damn rough day.