This morning as I ate a hastily thrown together peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and threw back a large gulp of Starbucks® K-Cup® coffee (don’t judge!), I was hit with a memory from my time doing endurance mountain bike races, many of which required overnight stays.
Until I got too soft and started opting for crap hotel rooms–often given the “Cuckhold Room®'” against my wishes, even though I explained that my buddy’s wife was only there because we were too
cheap poor to get our own rooms–most of the time those overnighters meant camping; either in a leaky, crap tent (why did it ALWAYS rain???), or the back of my [insert your choice of boxy, imported vehicles I’ve owned here].
The taste of peanut butter and jelly, and coffee cavorting in my mouth like lovers in a sappy Elton John song instantly took me back to those pre-dawn wake ups on race day. Sitting in the back of a cramped vehicle, surrounded by stank bike gear, and trying not to knock over a plastic milk jug full of my urine, as I quickly ate a peanut butter and jelly bagel, drank bad instant coffee, and held back the first of two to nine pre-race dumps.
The air surrounding the camp site at the venue would be laced with the scents of mud, body odor, wet fart, chain lube, bacon (there was always some jagoff that had enough time, and skill, to be up in time to cook a full fucking breakfast), and the all too familiar smell of spent urinal cake and shit wafting from the porta-johns that you were sure you parked far enough away from to avoid. Stupid wind change!
Between the pre-race nerves, the smells, the fact that the PB & J bagel I was eating was made anywhere from 12 to 24 hours earlier, and like eating a dry peanut butter flavored sponge, and that I was pushing brown (with asscheeks clenched) eating that PB&J was anything but enjoyable.
I would choke down that bagel (or two), gulp the coffee, and hit those smelly porta-johns multiple times before stuffing my ass–now bloody from the sandpaper-ish porta-john toilet paper–into my kit, prepping my bike, getting my bottles filled, double checking drop bags/pit, and yet another trip to the toilet just to make sure that my chamois would be nothing but one giant, blood laced, skid mark by the end of the race.
Soon enough I was standing on the line with a bunch of other smelly men and women, waiting for a race that would have me in the saddle anywhere from six to twenty-four hours, with no real chance of ever winning, just competing.
Oh, memories. They’re OK sometimes..
Typing all that was very therapeutic. I miss racing, I had a lot of great times, with a lot of great people, but I don’t miss it THAT much! I don’t know if I can ever stop riding (my back begs to differ), but not racing is easier than I thought. If anything, I miss “training” for racing. Meaning I miss long rides, and being skinny. I’m now into my second season of just riding my bike, and it feels pretty OK. Not to mention, if I want to smell shit, and turn my chamois into a bloody, skidded up mess, all I need to do is have a six pack and three burritos the night before a ride (OMG! I did that tonight!!).
I love watching, photographing, and talking about bike racing (especially in the dirt), and I’m not ruling out racing here and there again someday, but right now, I am pretty OK with riding to ride, taking some photos, and making time for other stuff, like watching my kid play soccer (he’s better at soccer at age 12 than I EVER was/will be at bike racing), and hanging out with the buxom redhead I call Wifey.
I’m lucky enough to have done what I did, and to have kept multiple shit blogs since 2005 to capture all the misery (and fun) that I got from racing and riding. I have no plans to stop riding or blogging (sorry), but I have to admit, eating that PB&J, and drinking coffee in my kitchen while I decided whether I wanted to ride or not, felt damn good. I might even be a jagoff and make some bacon tomorrow morning, just because I can. It also felt good to use some REAL toilet paper. We can put a man on the goddamn moon, but we can’t make porta-john shit paper that doesn’t rip up your ass, and have it looking like an episiotomy on steroids??