One of my favorite parts of learning something new is all the extra vocabulary that goes along with it. I’ve given up learning a 2nd language – I can tell my memory even for my first language is slipping, slipping – but I’m mostly ok with learning new English words. In quilting, there are mitered corners, chambray, bias, English paper piecing. In orienteering, there are reentrants, spurs, attack-points, handrails. Jeremy & Edda and I had gone to packet pickup for this race and I was reading through the packet – telling Jeremy that 1. this was not a race and 2. he needed to stop at every stop sign and 3. that the sag wagon could pick him up if he faltered. (It was not really a race because they’ve had serious accidents in the past and people got angry about fast bikers zooming through not-closed off roads. And yet. There are posted, timed, chipped results.). I told him that Edda and I were his own personal sag wagon and what did SAG stand for exactly? He didn’t know – I looked around. It stands for support and gear. I said that I had no gear and that maybe we were just his cheering squad and that I thought in triathlon they would call me & Edda sherpas. Then he said in biking those people were called:
soigneurs. Ah, back to French. Soigneurs, people who take care of you. I think we take care of each other.
We settled into the hotel room. Edda falling promptly asleep between her bedrails.
Wounded toe in a little band aid.
Woke up really early and made our way into the mountains about 15 minutes away from the hotel.
I was going to just drop off Jeremy and head back into town, but there was only one opening into the parking lot which was one car wide so I couldn’t leave until everyone had started because they couldn’t reverse traffic until the race started, so we hung around an extra hour in the lot.
When he signed up for this race months ago, he was in less good shape than he is now, so they had assigned him to the 2nd wave. But he petitioned to get moved to the first wave because he could tell from the weekend rides and who was assigned the first wave that he needed to be moved up. I’m telling you, this is serious business. Off he goes!
After everyone started, Edda and I headed back into town to a breakfast at Panera.
And then a lazy morning at the hotel.
Then I drove back to the race start at about 1:30 pm where I found Jeremy just having finished. The race is called Mountains of Misery because you spend 60 miles on relative flats and then the last 40 are hills with the finish on the very top of a mountain. Then you take a bus down the mountain and they’ll bring your bike down on a different bus. Being Jeremy’s soigneur means, primarily, that I listen to hours of discussion of race strategy, route elevation, other people’s performance, his own bike qualities, professional bicyclist’s performances, etc. etc. So the initial race strategy was, as he considers himself a good hill climber, to stay with the peloton the first 60 miles and then be strong on the hills. He had a few people in mind to catch/keep up with, etc. My only advice was to please not do anything dangerous and crash somewhere out there.
After the race, we waited for his bike for a long time to be shuttled back to us. Maybe an hour. During this hour, Jeremy said that he didn’t think that he’d do this race in the future. He said that it was too far from the house and it wasn’t his kind of race. He likes to start off strong at the beginning of a race and fall apart as he gets closer to the finish line (fly & die) and this race isn’t conducive to that. It’s a sit and kick race because you are conserving energy in the first 60 miles with the peloton and then you have a ton of hills which are slow and hard and mostly alone. He said he felt like he was worried the whole time about managing his energy reserves and that he couldn’t kick into a higher gear and therefore, at the end, he felt it wasn’t a full race effort. He said the race in NY a few weeks ago was much better – higher average effort throughout.
we waited a lot. The bike got delivered and we headed home.
Jeremy, who was not driving, enjoyed stretching out his legs, analyzing his Strava splits, planning future rides. A few hours into the drive, he found out the results. He came in 12th. You see the guy who came in 11th? He’s a former olympian in kayak – competed in three summer games culminating in a 9th place finish at the 96 games in Atlanta. I’m like – dude you came in right after an Olympian, you absolutely cannot be bummed about your perceived effort. He countered – but it’s in kayak and he’s 10 years older than me! I’m like – really? you’ve got to be kidding me, last time I heard kayaking takes a bit of aerobic capacity. And then he conceded that maybe the NY race was an anomaly because he was on high dose of steroids for the Bell’s Palsy (therapeutic exemption!) and maybe he won’t feel that way on any other race ever again.
I was 10 miles into the drive home when I had the hunch that I had lost my wallet. I pulled over and we searched the van and it wasn’t there. When I first arrived at the pick up site, Jeremy had asked if I had my wallet to buy a race jersey. I had pulled out my wallet and held it in my hand as we wandered around the parking lot for an hour. Then I remembered putting it on top of the van as I loaded Edda as we were getting ready to leave and dammit, I left it on top of the car as we drove away. We drove back to the parking lot, asked all the people and left phone numbers and was feeling very discouraged that I’d have to replace everything in the wallet. We started driving home, without the wallet. Jeremy was like – just keep looking on the road, maybe we’ll see it. And we did see it, in the middle of the highway about a mile from the parking lot. It had gotten run over and destroyed. We picked up the wallet (it was a relatively quiet freeway) and then I walked the shoulder and the median and picked up more than half of the cash and most of my cards.
My license is still OK. It’s a wonderful feeling to have found the wallet! It isn’t a mystery anymore what happened to it. I lost about $40. I hope someone finds it and buys something fun with it, though it’s on the side of a freeway, I’m not sure who will find it.
Now I finally get to buy a new wallet. I bought this wallet at the Lot 1 in Singapore in 2006 right outside our apartment complex. I remember I was very sad because of Edda’s recent diagnosis and I wanted to buy something to cheer me up and I bought this orange wallet. I’ve thought many times of replacing it, but it still served my needs and I didn’t want to give up the memory. But it is done now. After being run over, it’s ripped all over – unusable. I’ll have to get a new Costco card.