Dear Diary 006: Satin Kegs and Team Rides
All’s Fair in Love and Team Rides
Riding for Veloforma is precious and wonderful and gut-wrenching.
These girls are fast, see.
So fast. Like lightening.
The little one – made of muscles. A new recruit. A girl I worked with professionally in years past and understood to be rock solid. I dragged her out to a ‘cross race with the ladies and we hooked her. She’s 3 parts talent, 1 part Solid Muscle, 1 part Superior Determination. She’s going to be a great bike racer. She already is. I can’t hold her wheel to save my life.
Coming back to the group ride is as painful as it ought to be. We are a mob out in the west hills with all sorts of VO2 everything pounding and mashing up the steep grades in Washington Park.
I swear to god I’m pinned before we start.
Wait. I’m fit, right? Right?
So I hang on and manage to be somewhat less demolished than on rides past. Really. I ride with bravery and valiance and I owe myself credit for that.
Still. Kerplow! All kinds of fireworks and legs with aching stories.
I’m amazed by my capacity to be obliterated.
Sal says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about – you rode great today.”
I came home and laid down on the sofa without removing shoes or booties or jersey. I could feel the bulk of my pocket contents poking into my lower back. Cell phone, pump, spare energy bar, and unused gloves forming an uncomfortable lump. I did not adjust myself. I did not move. The cats circled in, sniffing and wondering if I was dead.
“I’m dead, I’m dead.” I told them.
They didn’t believe me.
Cats don’t have much patience for drama.
Later my coach would say, “I can’t believe you set those power records – I didn’t feel like we went that hard.”
I want to stab my coach between the eyes but I probably won’t.
Satin Kegs and Tan Legs
For the first time in my life I am the tan girl.
At the team launch party I’m surrounded by ladies with translucent white skin in sexy evening wear and funny cyclist tan lines. I am the slowest maybe, but – goddamit – I am Golden in your white and shiny midsts.
Why launch a team? Why throw a party? Why walk the runway? (Yes, we walked a runway.)
Because this is fucking fantastic and you know it. Because we are adults unafraid of taking on the risk of going big and losing (or winning!). Because bike racing takes mad dedication well above and beyond the standard recreational commitment.
We take to the roads and try to kill each other. We attack and ravage and suffer and annihilate.
In the middle of a climb I want you dead. At the top of a climb I want to hug you. At the pub with a beer I want to kiss you.
We take sport to new levels by saying we’re going to do things and then making them happen. We do not settle for finishing, we want to break your fucking legs.
So, yes. We walk a runway. We throw a party. We call for a keg.
Let’s celebrate this because it’s going to be a long season.
Let’s celebrate this because it’s above and beyond the call of duty. We do it because we love it. Because we love each other. Because we love the bike.
For the Love of Brubaker
Women can be finicky, right?
I struggled for years to find the ones I liked. They were universally strong-willed, difficult, and shit-disturbing. The pattern did not surprise me.
On this list are women who listen and reflect and engage and inspire.
And then there are women who also explode and light up the sky.
That’s Tina Brubaker, in case you were wondering.
Teammate and friend, local ass-kicker and kick-ass mommy, Grade A Human Joy Assault Rifle (BAM BAM BAM YOURE HAPPY) and general Aura of Amazingness… there is no one quite like Brubaker.
I call myself ten thousand shades of lucky just to get to be around the Tiny Attacker, let alone ride in her presence. She’s encouraging, hilarious, and fiery-licious.
Let this stand as my official testimony: Tina Brubaker is God’s gift to Oregon. Let alone the world. Let alone the universe.
Thank you, Tina – for being one million times rad-tastic. One million ways amazing.
We love you.