Tuesday, June 29, 2010

helper bee

sunday morning I woke at four-forty-something, dressed, prepared a to-go cup of coffee, grabbed the things I'd set out the night before and stowed them away in the car, then plunked myself behind the wheel and set off for Blacksmith Fork Canyon.
this was the most aggressive thing I'd done in at least ten days, and I was hoping I was up for the adventure.

this last weekend was the MS fundraising bike ride, which I had to sit out.
this was not easy.
saturday my bad ass cycling team met early in the morning at the fairgrounds in logan, rallying for the 100-mile ride that began at seven. they eased each others' pre-ride jitters, drank a bit of coffee, gathered for the team photo, then took off at the very front of the ride, a place of honor given to them for being the highest fund-raising team of the previous year.
saturday I sat on the couch and moped.

the bad ass team also sponsors a rest stop along the route, where they provide water and electrolyte drinks, fruit, snacks, temporary hawaiian-themed tattoos, spritzes of water, sunblock, bug spray, paper towels, sunglasses cleaning, and general cheer. their rest stop on saturday was in weston, idaho.
sunday dawns bright and early with another ride (just a 75-mile max this day), which many of the bad ass riders complete as well. on sunday the team sponsors another rest stop, this one located at the top of Blacksmith Fork Canyon, at the Hardware Ranch, 23 miles into the ride.

I'd decided earlier in the week that if I felt up to it, I'd like to help out at the rest stop, showing a little team spirit. by friday I knew I wasn't ready to be at the saturday event, but after hours of moping around on saturday I decided I would give sunday a shot.

thus, 7:20 am found me at the Hardware Ranch, ready to help the other bad ass volunteers set up the rest stop. let me just say, what a production. I think it's a given in the cycling-event circuit that not all rest stops are created equal; the bad ass team knows how to do it right.
our first cyclists arrived at 8:30, and for the next 3 hours I greeted and held bikes and chatted and cleaned sunglasses . . . and saw the backside of a cycling event.
these are just a few of the things I learned:

  • very, very, very few people look really good in lycra bike shorts.
  • a great many people like to hang out for a while at rest stops.
  • lots of people like to have their picture taken at such rest stops (my apologies to all, as I am not a fabulous photographer).
  • I don't like guys in short short cycling shorts.
  • I prefer guys to wear jerseys with at least some bit of a sleeve.
  • there are about as many different body types out there as there are people.
  • some cyclists are very, very proud of their bicycles.
  • apparently Breathe Right strips can help cyclists with narrow nasal passages have a more enjoyable ride.
  • I can survive experiencing envy.
it was good to be on the other side for once. I felt some sadness at not riding, but also knew that I physically couldn't have done it. these balanced out into a feeling of gratitude for just being part of something bigger than myself.

I left the Hardware Ranch at 11:40 that morning, passing the final handful of cyclists on their descent at different places on the way down. I gave them a wide berth and a smile and wave, and knew that I would soon be able to be just like them, out on my bike, heading down from the peak of a unique and beautiful utah canyon.
see ya out there soon.

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