So, here’s the thing about the route I usually take when I take the bike out: it is tricky.
Not tricky complicated or even particularly hard.
Tricky in a mess with your mind sort of way. I usually ride on a nice wide path that goes from the small town where I work to another small town 11 miles away. It is lovely: shaded by trees, crossing over streams, no cars to contend with. It is also on a bit of an angle. Starting on my end it is just ever so slightly downhill. Not downhill enough that it really looks downhill, just down hill enough that it tricks you into thinking that you are faster and in better shape than you are.
So, I ride for 6 or 7 miles, going just slightly downhill, zipping right along, feeling studly about my ability to get in a good bike ride on my lunch hour. Then I turn around.
When I turn around I suddenly notice that I’m not so zippy anymore. I start breathing a little heavier. I fiddle with my gears (I’m still not totally confident I understand when I’m supposed to shift), I watch the mph on the bike computer drop and drop and drop.
The first few miles of uphill are okay, a little more work, but okay. And then, without fail, I get to within 3-4 miles of the end and I just kind of want to be DONE.
It is at this point where I find that it becomes helpful to pretend that I’m the lead rider in the Tour de France and that the peloton is gaining on me. I find that the voices in my head, who suddenly become British cycling commentators, really help.
Phil Liggett: You know, this is truly an amazing story. The lead rider is a 31-year-old American woman who has never competed in the sport of cycling before and here she is, leading the Tour de France.
Paul Sherwan: Nobody would have predicted this. The rest of the pack can only marvel at the fact that they are being beaten by a woman and one as inexperienced as this one. I really thought her race would be over by now but she has overcome so much to be here.
PL: True. People talk about what Lance Armstrong went through, but did he ever give birth to an almost 9 pound baby? Can he sneeze while sitting down and not pee his pants, just a little? Did he survive the hell of being a girl in junior high? Was he ever dumped because his boyfriend’s friends thought she was ugly*? Has he ever tried to wax his own armpits?** I don’t think so.
PS: Quite right. Let’s check in again with our leader. Looks like she is just 2 miles from the end now. Just needs to put a little more distance between her and the Spanish racer nipping at her heels.
PL: Oh, looks like someone just reminded her that she can have an icy cold Diet Coke when she finishes. Look at her put the hammer down now. I think that yellow jersey is going to stay safe in her hands tonight.
And the amazing thing is, I win every stage. Every stage! Nobody does that.
Suck it Lance Armstrong.
* True story. I was going out with a boy my freshman year of high school. After 6 wonderful days together his friend came over to me and said “We’re all kind of wondering why Marco is going out with you because you are kind of ugly”. Marco dumped me that afternoon. Bastard.
** Also true story. FYI: OUCH.