Thursday, October 06, 2005

Two steps forward, one step back

I was all gushy and glow-y and righteously sore after my triumphant Army Eleven Point Four Ish Miler. I am Super Athlete Woman! Hear my roar!

Enter The Universe, stage right.

Naomi: I am SUPER WOMAN! All look on me and despair!
Universe: [Snicker]
Naomi: I can do ANYTHING. For my next trick, I will ride 100 mile—er… KILOMETERS—with absolutely no training, ON A CRAPPY TEN YEAR OLD HYBRID!
Universe: Hee!
Naomi: And then I will—hey. What? What’s so funny?
Universe: What? [Snicker] Nothing! Heh.
Naomi: Seriously, what are you laughing at? I am amazing. I can do anything. Did you see how well I ran those eleven point four ish miles?
Universe: Hee! Right. Totally saw that. You’re fantastic. Can’t wait to see you ride that Seagull Century. Gonna be a superstar.
Naomi: What? You don’t think I can do it?
Universe: Nah, you’ll be fine. When is it? On Saturday? You might want to put some air in the tires. And, well make sure the gears still work and stuff. If you have a minute.
Naomi: Whatever. I was totally going to do that this afternoon. I’m going right now.
Universe: M’kay. Laters.


And I was totally planning to RIDE my bike to the Georgetown bike shop, because that’s just the kind of athlete I am, but then I remembered that there was no air in the tires, and that I’d have to figure out some way to get home afterwards, and there’s no metro in Georgetown, and running the 5 miles back after eleven point four ish miles that morning sounded like a pain in the ass. So I found another bike shop in Silver Spring that had a parking lot, and headed out.

I should probably get a bike helmet, too, I reminded myself on the way. Ooh, and some of those biking shorts, so my butt doesn’t fall off during the 100 km. Oh, or maybe some tri shorts instead, so that I can use them for triathlons too. And maybe some… No, enough. Let’s wait to see if this biking thing sticks before investing an arm and a leg.

SCENE: Silver Spring bicycle shop. Repair section in rear. Snotty bike shop repair guy, tatted up and in bike lifestyle gear, is working on a bike.

Naomi rolls her fuscia fuji over to SBSRG, who lifts it on the repair-lift-thingy and snickers.

SBSRG: What do you want me to do with this thing?
Naomi: Well, the tires need air. And the gears are kind of wonky. And, you know, whatever else needs doing.
SBSRG: [Starts spinning the wheels and gears, inflates the tires, plays with the breaks with a look of bemused disgust.] Okay. It been sitting around for a while? [Naomi nods] And, what were you planning to do on the bike?
Naomi: Well… My friend is trying to talk me into a bike race next Saturday. (A convenient fiction. I’m as keen to try it as she is.)
SBSRG: [Looks at Naomi with unabashed derision] A race? What kind?
Naomi: 100 km.
SBSRG: The Seagull Century?
Naomi: Does that one start in Salisbury? [SBSRG nods] Then, yeah.
SBSRG: On this?
Naomi: Well… yeah. Bad idea?
SBSRG: Yeah. Bad idea.
Naomi: I know, it’s not a great bike. But come on, it’s not that bad.
SBSRG: If you want to tool around town or whatever. You want to do a century on this? Have you registered already?
Naomi: No. Should I have?
SBSRG: Sh’yeah.
Naomi: Oh. Well then I guess we won’t be riding that race.
SBSRG: Uh, yeah. Anyway, we’re scheduling repairs into next week. Which means the week of the 11th? Because today? Is Sunday? [He gestures at the bike themed calendar on the wall.]
Naomi: Right. Well if I’m not doing the race, then I don’t particularly need the bike for this Saturday.
SBSRG: Well, I can give it a tune-up. It’ll cost about $60. [Undertone: but it’ll still be a piece of crap]
Naomi: How much would a basic new bike cost?
SBSRG: [Rattles off some model names, confers with colleague] around $260.
Naomi: So yeah. I’ll just do the tune up.

Naomi exits the story. Universe sidles up next to her as she walks to the car.

Naomi: I don’t want to hear it.
Universe: What? What did I say?
Naomi: I’ll do another race. And I’ll have some time to train.
Universe: Cool. Good plan.
Naomi: I’m still fantastic. And tomorrow morning, I’m going swimming. I’m getting so much better at that.
Universe: Awesome.

And so, bright and early the following morning, I met K2 at the Y to practice swimming. At which point we determined that I? Don’t know how to float.

Floating? Come on! I vividly remember doing the “dead man’s float” when I was a kid and just learning how to swim. It wasn’t hard. Seemed like basic physics. Rocks sink. Styrofoam floats. Lead sinks. People? Float. I mean, what’s the dead guy doing that I can’t muster?

And so when I started swimming with the Ks, and they suggested we start with floating, I confidently told them that we could skip that step because I? Could float. (Internal check list: Am I a rock? No. Made of lead? No. A person? Yes. Cross-reference: People float. Therefore I? Float.)

But as I watched everyone else in the pool relaxedly crawling through the water, and compared that with my flailing, sinking, and rising, I had to conclude that I was doing something wrong. K2 suggested I practice floating for a while.

Despite my insistence that I certainly could float when I wasn’t doing anything else, it was just all that swimming getting in the way, I acceded to K2’s suggestion that I just try it already and see what happened.

Yeah, I totally don’t float. Especially my legs. Sink like a rock. But a lot of the rest of me sinks too. Dead men? Float. Naomi? Sinks.

Which means that I need to start all over again from the beginning. And learn how to obey physics.

Universe: [Snic—
Naomi:: Shut it.


Blogger Scooter said...

Go to the local bike club's beginner's ride. Act like you know nothing about bikes and biking. I predict you'll have four guys offering to help you with the bike. They can likely fix most of the little stuff, and you may even wind up married. My first century was done when a buddy told me, "Yeah, you can do it, just get on the bike and ride." Aside from running out of fluids and sugars, he was right. If you can ride for four hours, you can do the metric century.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Mica said...

Your blog is hilarious. Great posts.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Robinson said...

How are they trying to teach you to float? My husband is a sinker too and I can not figure how to help him fix that. I, luckily, float like a lily pad.

Good call on not doing the bike ride. If you haven't been riding in awhile, that is a butt ache waiting to happen.

6:10 PM  
Blogger a.maria said...

love it.

i'm kinda thinking the whole bike thing? divine intervention.i could see how that coulda gotten a little outta hand!!!

though i'm loving that your bike is bright pink. classic.

9:17 PM  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Great post! I did a 42-miler on a mountain bike once, with no training. It can be done! But, I did have air in my tires. I had bike shorts, but my butt still fell off!

9:57 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

You are so funny, I love your blog. I am also learning to swim in the moment, am a sinker and after reading your post think I need to learn to float first. At my first swim class last week no one asked me if I know how to float so I never considered it. So how are they teaching you? Quick before the Universe hears us talking ;-)

3:17 AM  
Blogger tarheeltri said...

Very funny! Reminds how I got into triathlons last year... couple of road races, then "I can do anything!" Same saga at the bike shop, though I spent a bundle getting my mountain bike fixed up and only did a triathlon with 15-mile ride. Anyway... great post!

6:58 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'm guessing you're a sinker because you're such a low body fat hard body woman of the Universe.
There's no float material except what you carry in your lungs.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

This is seriously funny! Keep it up! I'm still giggling about the Universe and you.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

great post. i love your style!

9:16 AM  
Blogger Wil said...

LOL! I've so been here with the bike craziness. On a hybrid, too, if you can believe it. Hilarious stuff m'dear :)

5:01 PM  
Anonymous BD1 said...

So very funny!

I really dislike it when the universe doesn't cooperate with my plans.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

I've found there is very good carryover from running to cycling, but not necesarily vice versa. The hardest (so to speak) adaptation is learning to sit in the saddle for so long.

Great writing, keep it up.

5:48 PM  

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