2015 Cycling Team
- Recent Posts
thedirtfield The sheriff serving my neighbor was not amused when I yelled, "I DIDN'T DO IT."
thedirtfield No matter what joy this day brings, nothing will top how happy I am about carrying the dog to the tile floor just before he started barfing.
thedirtfield In honor of national dog day, I lost my dog and cried hysterically while chasing him through the woods until I caught him. Hooray for pets!
thedirtfield Just stole the crossword out of the paper on somebody's driveway and tucked it in the pocket of my skinsuit. So many things wrong here.
- Worth A Visit
Our host family in Redlands has a pig. A tiny, five-week-old pink pig. Her cuteness is almost too much to bear at times. She waddles around, wags her tail, grunts a lot, and always wants to climb into your lap and fall asleep. She drives us all to distraction: nobody rode bikes yesterday. I tried to do corework but ended up holding the pig for 90 minutes instead. If photographing the pig was a sport, I’d be an Olympian by now.
But then Courteney put her in my room this morning and stepped out for a moment, and the pig pooped aggressively under the bed. It was messy and disastrous and required a good bit of clean up. The pig wasn’t looking so clean herself and badly needed a rinse to be restored to her glowing pink self. Somehow I found myself holding the tiny pig in the kitchen sink trying to rinse her butt and tail while she screamed. SCREAMED. I did not think such a large noise could come from such a small animal.
Now the pig is hiding in her blanket (pig in a blanket…pig in a blanket!..pig puns never get old) and even though she exploded poop everywhere and shrieked at me, I miss her.
I’m sitting outside for one last sunset in Tucson before leaving for California tomorrow. From one perspective, this trip has been one long series of goodbyes: I said goodbye to home, goodbye to each new place I discovered along the drive across the country, goodbye to Andrew and many of my teammates at the end of camp, and now I am saying goodbye to Tucson.
This place has become home. It’s missing a few critical things – Andrew, my parents, the pets – but something about it has stolen my heart in a way that will never be undone. When I am alone on the side of Mt. Lemmon looking at the vastness of the hills and the desert while the wind blows, I feel the happiest and most alive. It’s not the coffee shops or the great tortillas or the other cyclists; it’s just the desert and the mountains and the way the sky is bigger here than anywhere else. I don’t feel ready to say goodbye.
But with each goodbye has come a new adventure that erases the sorrow of the previous farewell. That’s not to say I’ve forgotten the things left behind; I can hardly look at other dogs because the ache for my own furballs is so acute. I miss the kind lady I met in Canyon, TX and the friend I stayed with in Albuquerque, NM. But if behind me is a trail of wonderful things, then I have to believe that what lies ahead holds the potential to be equally awesome.
So onward. Courteney and I are driving to San Dimas, CA to race this weekend and will stay on to race Redlands after that. Other teammates will fly in to join us and then we will continue our travels together around the country. We’ll race, eat everything everywhere, laugh until I’m glad my chamois is absorbent, and then do it all over again.
But that is tomorrow. For now I have this sunset, this final evening, this glass of wine, and the sweet sorrow of this goodbye. This place has been wonderful.
Once upon a time, life in Arizona was so lovely and entertaining that I couldn’t find the motivation to write a proper post. So here are a lot of photos instead:
Andrew arrived in Tucson just over a week ago. I was nervously primping (because even though he’s stuck with me for life, I don’t need to make him regret that decision) when my roommate asked, “Do you have any clothes that aren’t for cycling or the gym?”
No. I have mascara and sweatpants.
When he arrived, it was a whirlwind of activity for three straight days. I wanted to show him my favorite places around town (Stella Java, La Estrella Bakery, Mt. Lemmon, Time Market, Le Buzz…hmm, this list is rather food-heavy) and we also had to get all of the team bikes ready for camp. By “we”, I mean “Andrew” while I spectated and offered helpful suggestions like, “How’s my TT bike coming along? Will you be done soon? When can we go eat?”
And then in no time at all, we were driving with Julie in a caravan towards the Phoenix airport to collect our people and kick off team camp.
Pepper Palace took over a mansion just outside Scottsdale for the week. The house was awesome; brand new, massive, and full of perks like a pool table and an arcade. The only thing missing was a refrigerator large enough to hold the colossal load of team groceries. You could have fed a small country with the first grocery trip, and yet we were back at the store in a day. Because cyclists.
It wasn’t long before we’d exploded all over the house in a sea of red clothes, sparkling waters, hot sauces, and Gu products. Did you read the article about the chick who generated only enough trash to fill a mason jar over a period of two years? Yeah, that was not us. Taking out the accumulated trash yesterday required multiple trips by six people, one of whom (GOKES!) had to jump up and down atop the dumpster to get the lid closed enough to keep the coyotes out.
Camp itself was exhilarating and exhausting all at once. It’s hard to be constantly surrounded by so many people and so much energy; team camp is a crush of new everything, perpetual motion, and unending stimulation. Sometimes it felt like Andrew and I were just passing ships, crossing as I’d dash from one thing to the next while he raced around in the garage building bikes, adjusting bikes, doing everything bikes. Each day was jammed from morning until night with rides, team meals, team talks, and endless chatter and laughter.
And then, just as quickly as it started, it ended. I woke up at 4:35am today to drive Andrew to the airport and head to Tucson to live with a smaller group of teammates and race the Tucson Bicycle Classic.
Saying goodbye to so many people felt like a punch in the gut. It was wonderful to be surrounded by my team; I love each member and cannot wait to see what we accomplish this season by working together and how much fun we will have doing it. There was not a single person that stuck out as a bad fit (….wait, what’s that expression about how if you look around the room and can’t see the asshole, it’s you? Shit). I have never been more certain that a group of people were meant to be together and never more proud to be part of that group. And to be able to share that with Andrew was wonderful.
I hate goodbyes (and pre-dawn alarm clock settings) but optimistically this is just the beginning of something new. Andrew will be back in a little while, I’ll see all of the Peppers again in time, and there are a lot of snacks waiting in Tucson. Huge thanks to everyone who made this past week enjoyable – Sarah for building this team, Julie and Amy for their non-stop efforts to pull everything together, Nicky for being our new director, Andrew and Johs for being our tireless mechanics, Jay and O’Neill for their support, our sponsors for providing heaps of cool stuff, and my teammates for being the kind of people you can spend a week with and leave wanting more. It’s going to be a great year.