An Open Letter to the Members of the Core Team, Each of Which I am Certain Will Offer Different Excuses for Why They Won’t Come Ride the STP with Bob and Me This Year
Dear Core Team,
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I know you are all busy people, so I consider it a kindness that you would carve time out of your schedule to consider what I have to say.
Or, in the case of Rick M., I appreciate your assistant taking the time to read this, briefly summarizing what she reads to you during one of your thirty second breaks between meetings, and then writing me back, usually within three business days.
I have two matters to bring before you today.
I have reasons, which I consider both good and sufficient. They are as follows:
- We rarely do epic road rides together. We have done a lot of mountain bike rides together. We have done a lot of long mountain bike rides together. We have done a lot of road rides together. But we have not done many epic road rides together. And that’s a shame. We should do this ride, we should do it together as a group, and we should do it this year, before senility takes over and we forget who each other are.
- It’s in a different kind of place. Let’s face it, we’ve gotten kind of stale. When we go on a trip, it’s to Moab or Gooseberry or — sometimes — Leadville. All three of those are good places. But Seattle is an incredible city, and Portland’s very cool too. And while I’m confident Bob doesn’t know his way around Seattle even though he’s lived there for ten years, I’m equally confident that Nick does know his way around. I know, I should probably know my way around Seattle too, but I’m actually worse than Bob at that kind of thing.
- It’s a beautiful ride. There’s something about this ride that feels huge. You’re going point to point, between two big cities and across a state line, through untold numbers of small towns and through hundreds of miles of beautiful countryside. It’s just a great ride.
- There’s a certain novelty in riding at sea level after living at 4500 feet. Riding at sea level after you’ve been living in the mountains makes you feel incredibly strong. You’ll notice that you can ride at a good brisk clip while still breathing through your nose. You’ll marvel at how good you feel, even at the end of the day.
- There’s even more of a novelty in hearing the locals call their cute little rolling hills “big climbs.” This ride is, essentially, flat. But people act like a couple of the rolling hills are big deals. They aren’t. I intend to ride my SS road bike on this ride, and I’m going to put a big gear on.
- It’s astonishing to be in a 10,000-person mass start. You know how the start at Leadville seems huge? Imagine ten times as many people.
- It’s wild to be on a ride where there’s an aid station every couple of miles. All you’ve got to do is carry a couple of water bottles and a fifty. You can eat every twenty minutes, if you feel like it. Most of it’s free, some of it’s fundraisers for local high schools, which I think is very cool.
- We owe Bob. Bob travels out to ride with us a couple times a year, in spite of the fact that he’s deathly afraid of airplanes and feels acute embarrassment about his fainting spells. It’s our turn to go see him, to show him that we like him in spite of his shortcomings.
- Nick will be there. Nick, as you know, is a tall Australian who is happy to pull all day. Really, most of the rest of us will be feathering our brakes more often than we pedal.
While I am confident in the persuasiveness of my points above, I am equally confident that each of you will have a meally-mouthed excuse for why you don’t plan to go on this ride. Below I anticipate and answer your objections.
- It doesn’t sound like my kind of trip. This is just you saying that you aren’t willing to do something new. For crying out loud, break out of your rut. Try something you haven’t done a thousand times before. You’re starting to act old. What’s next, yelling at kids to get offa your lawn?
- It’s not a race. I know, Kenny. But it’s possible to do a long ride without it being a race, and still have fun. Seriously. Try riding with us. We’re not so bad.
- I don’t think my wife will approve. Perhaps your wife wouldn’t lord over you so completely if you weren’t such an uxorious milksop.
- I’m busy taking the children camping that weekend. Your kids called. They said they’re sick of going camping every weekend and would like to have a weekend with the Nintendo, and without your interference.
- I’m afraid. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Seattleites and Portlanders are remarkably tolerant, even of Utahns.
- I can’t afford it. Financing plans are available. Reasonable terms.
I look forward to your commitment to ride the STP with Bob, Nick and me. Your reply, forthwith, is appreciated in advance.
(The core team likes to pretend I am not as famous and important as I am, and as such, prefers to call me by my given name. I humor them.)
PS: I don’t do a lot of blog recommendos, but I’m a big fan of “PuddinRider,” who is a frequent commenter here as “SoreLegs.” He’s a rider who is just beginning cancer treatment and is blogging about it with humor, intelligence, and courage. I’ve added him to my blogroll and recommend you go pay a visit.