Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Educating Lizards, and why Tri Bikes are Not Cyclocross Bikes

This was certainly an interesting day.  Both from the priest side and from the tri training side.

Among other things, I was sitting in Spanish class learning about conjugating the verb "comer" when the lady who sits next to me said, "Ooo, my lizard is missing."

Lizard?

Yes, lizard.  She had caught a lizard in her garden, and her grandson is "wild" for lizards, so she decided to keep it for him.  She had it in a large basket, in a little "critter" mesh container, and she was misting it now and then.  Because that's why you bring a lizard to school, to keep him misted.

Yes, I asked.  Personally, I don't bring lizards to school, but obviously I come from a different world than many Eugenians.

Ultimately, the lizard was caught scampering across the classroom floor, and he was returned to his basket.  Hopefully he is a little wiser and can now conjugate the present tense of "comer".

Then I went on the bike ride.  After the shenanigans of yesterday, my ribs were feeling back to normal this morning.  I was still feeling tired.  So I came home from work and ate an all-protein sandwich.

Stop reading if you don't like vegetarian over-sharing.

I had two thin slabs of tofu with a sprinkle of cheese and some pesto.  It's like a KFC double down, but without chicken or deep frying.

I really, REALLY love tofu, OK?  And it made me feel better.  So I loaded up on water and headed to the shop.

Before the ride, as I was putting my seat bag together, I put my cell phone in.  That was a little odd, because I usually don't ride with my iPhone.  I have a cheap Go Phone for the sole purpose of calling emergency numbers or M for a rescue.  But I had a funny feeling... like if I was a little tired, that maybe I'd want to cut it short and should have a way to call home and bail out if I burned out mid-ride.

Fearless Leader took us out on a bike path.  To our collective dismay, we discovered that the path was being repaved.  (Okay, that is ultimately good news.)  All of us were on funky bike shoes which are not good for walking.  Fearless Leader hesitated for a moment... and then took off CROSS-COUNTRY, on his CUSTOM TRI BIKE!  Not to be outdone, we followed him, all of us riding on the grass on skinny racing tires.

It was kinda wild.  Maybe there's something to that cyclocross thing, after all.

We finally made it back to pavement and the road and kept riding.  Around mile 7, disaster struck.

Fearless Leader pulled up abruptly.  At first, I thought he was letting us all regroup.  I was lagging since I was on the slowest bike.  But then I noticed his chain was off.

And then I noticed his rear derailleur was missing from its usual spot.  The rear derailleur is the thing that holds your chain and clicks it into different spots on the gears.  No derailleur means no bike ride.  It's like knocking half your wheel off.  It's sort of critical.

Half of his had sheared right off.

None of us had ever seen anything like it.

To the credit of Fearless Leader, while he did look a little frustrated (he made some significant frowny faces), he said a LOT fewer swear words than I would have in the same situation.  He let just one slip.  I'm sure he was thinking of a lot more.  But if it had been me... well, you guys don't think I know that kind of language.  He's a nice guy, Fearless Leader.

It turned out to be rather providential that I had that phone.  Fearless Leader called his wife, picked up his bike, and started hiking to a rendezvous point.  And M got to call me and drop a big hint about dinner! The rest of us kept riding.  I was still the slowest (I love my bike, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting ready for the next stage of bike... a real serious, custom fit, high tec roadie this time).  But the tiredness and soreness had left my legs, and I got to go fast on the hills, and it just ended up being a really nice, cool, lovely sun set ride.

And then I got home where M had gone ALL OUT and made this killer amazing fabulous wonderful stunning vegetarian sushi, with this achingly beautiful sauce and fresh wasabi.  It was so good that after I ate what he had made, I actually made a sushi taco with the leftover pieces.  (I think it's called a "hand roll", looks kinda like an ice cream cone.)  Ees so lovely to have spouse who is killer cook.  Num num num!

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