Monday morning after Valley of the Sun, I had a bike fit scheduled at Cyclologic in Scottsdale. My appointment was with Steve Merz, Lead Cycling Analyst, but Paraic McGlynn, founder and Chief Technologist, came in to provide input (and make dry, delightful comments like, “Hm. You have Bont-shaped feet.”). The session was awesome; they made a lot of adjustments that already feel like improvements. I also got to hear phrases like “bony protuberance” and “labial abrasion” all day, and the guys were polite enough to ignore my inability to stop giggling. We didn’t have time to start working on my TT fit, so I’m going back this upcoming Monday for another visit and to discuss the updated state of my bony protuberances.
I love elite athletics because instead of seeing the body as a thing about which to be shy and modest, it becomes merely a machine that we analyze and discuss openly. Having two men I met hours earlier talk about the chafed state of my girl parts should be awkward, except that by this point in my cycling career, it seems like talking about the weather.
Now I’m settled in Tucson for two weeks to train and eat tamales. I’m living with a retired psychiatrist, something I didn’t find out until we started talking my first night in her house. When she mentioned it, I thought, “okay, be cool, she is your roommate, not your MD,” and vowed to not bring up any of my issues. Then like 40 seconds later I was talking about feelings while thinking SHUTUPSHUTUP this poor lady does not want to psychoanalyze you in her kitchen at 9pm.
She’s been a great housemate; quiet and clean with a penchant for healthy eating that puts my habits to shame. She also recycles and composts, practices which bring into stark relief how much trash I actually generate in a day. I’m a tidy person by nature, so it’s not like I’m exploding all over her house, but the trash and dirty dish output has quadrupled since my arrival. Her regular dishes are also too small for the vast quantities of food I pack away in a single sitting, so I’ve taken to using her mixing bowls to eat my meals. She doesn’t bat an eye when I’m eating breakfast out of a bucket or flopping around on the floor doing corework in my snowman boxers, so this arrangement seems to be a success.
I’ve spent the past three days riding Mt. Lemmon, which is great for training and measuring the size of my penis against all of the other male cyclists on the mountain. Yesterday Coach Sue had me doing interval repeats from mile 0-5 of the climb, and on my first set, I passed a group of cyclists and collected three that sat on my wheel for an extended stretch. When I slowed for the rest between intervals, one of the men pulled around me and said, “Hang in there! Good job!” I didn’t have a hand free to punch him in the nuts, so I settled for saying “THANKS” and then promptly dropped him when the next interval started.
Pro tip, boys: try to keep your patronization in your pants.
The mountain is a beautiful place, both because of the scenery and because of what it allows you to find in yourself. There is no hiding on Mt. Lemmon; the grade is almost entirely uphill for 20-something miles. The suffering is lovely and every time you think that surely you cannot climb another foot, you do anyway. And by the time you finish descending the mountain, it seems like doing it all over again wouldn’t be that bad and possibly even fun.
It’s like all of bike racing rolled into one ride. Beautiful, painful, and an excellent excuse to eat everything ever.