Yesterday, I wrote a whiney little post about how I needed a new carrot – something to keep me focused and give me a short-term reason to lose weight. I got lots of good advice. Steve Medcroft, though, had one word for me:
About five years ago, I tried a couple of cyclocross races, using my mountain bike. Now, racing a muddy, short course while occasionally jumping off your bike and hurdling a barrier at your absolute maximum heart rate for 45 minutes doesn’t sound like fun. It doesn’t look like fun. But it was a lot of fun.
So today I did the following:
I talked with a coworker, Anne, whose husband (Rich) is heavily involved with Seattle cyclocross. He, in turn, sent me a bunch of links and getting-started advice for cyclocross racing in Seattle.
Then I called my local bike shop; it turns out that one of the people who works there — Mal — races cyclocross. She had tons of useful info and said she’d be happy to help me pick out a good bike and would bring in her own cyclocross bike tomorrow to show me what she races herself (sure, it’s her job to help, but I could hear that she had the zeal of the true believer — she loved the idea of getting fresh meat on a cyclocross bike).
Then I called my wife and told her that my annual bonus would be in my next paycheck…could I use it to by a ‘cross bike? She said yes.
Suddenly, I’m all twitchy and giddy: New bike! Mud! Hopping like a goofball over little hurdles! How could I not be excited?
Between the cyclocross bike, the track bike, and the Matt Chester fixed gear utility bike (along with the Fisher Paragon and Ibis Ti Road I already have), 2005-2006 may well be my most bikeful year ever.
Goonster recommended I try a randonneuring event, and I admit I’m intrigued — I like self-supported endurance riding, though to this point most of my real endurance rides have been on mountain bikes. But the name "randonneur" freaks me out. I imagine myself showing up at the ride and getting laughed at when everyone discovers I have no idea how to pronounce "randonneuring." Or "brevet." And while I’m OK with the idea of no aid stations, having to use a map to find my way around the course scares me. I’m more easily confused and lost than just about anyone I know. I imaginge the following conversation as typical:
Me: "Do we turn left or right here?"
Seasoned Randonneur: "Look at your map."
Me: "I am looking at my map. Do we turn left or right here?"
Seasoned Randonneur: "You’re not very self-reliant, are you? You know, self-reliance is the mark of a good randonneur."
Me: "That does it. I’m getting out my GPS."
Seasoned Randonneur: "No, GPS technology is specifically not allowed in the Randonneur by-laws."
Me: (Starts to cry)
Seasoned Randonneur: "OK, quit blubbering. I’ll tell you which way to turn, on one condition."
Me: "OK. Name it."
Seasoned Randonneur: "Show me that you can correctly pronounce ‘randonneur,’ preferably with a French accent."
Me: "Randy newer."
Seasoned Randonneur: "Stupid American."
Me: (Starts to cry)