Monday, 29 October 2007

The Vodka Bowl and Other "What Was I Thinking" Moments

What’s better than the team ride after an alcohol binge? The Marine Corps Marathon edition of the team ride, which starts an hour early, at 8:15. The night before had started off innocently enough, with the FPG and me headed to Lia’s, our friendly neighborhood joint, for a beer and some food.

Decision tree branch #1: 16, 24 or 32 oz beers? Mais, bien sur, le trente-deux, s’il vous plait! This is why America is so damn fat – supersizing is a value proposition for the consumer. A 32 oz delicious frosty Sierra Nevada IPA for $7.95, or a wimpy milquetoast 24 oz for a dollar less? America gets fat, I get drunk.

Decision tree branch #2: Hang with Charley, yes or no? We had decided to avoid a Halloween party that promised to be, how can I put it nicely, lame. Charley was avoiding same, but had the excuse that he was scheduled to have been out of town. Party host had never been clued in to the travel plan changes. Now, like guilty co-conspirators, we found ourselves gathered together in avoidance. The only issue is that there is no “mellow night” with Charley.

Decision tree branch #3: “You guys ready for another round?” Yup!

Off to Charley’s to drop his car off (point of disclaimer – the FPG and I were, at this point, on our way to hammered. He was not, ergo no drunk driving.) and have a quick cocktail (wherein Charley joins us on the road to perdition).

Decision tree branch #4 and #4a: The Russia House and a Gibson. I’d never been to the Russia House and I never drink vodka. I really wanted to go to the Russia House on Saturday, as I guess I was in the mood for a Budapest-redux kind of a deal. Also, I’d read something on Gibson’s and their origins sometime last week, so it was the first thing out of my mouth. And I have to say, not something I’d want to drink too regularly, but a nice piece of the strange.

Decision tree branch #5: “Come with me to this party, there’s a girl there I’d like to run into who’s a great American.” Now certifiably bombed, far from home, way past my sell by date, no idea where I am. All it did was make the cab ride home more expensive.

So here I am at 7:30 on Sunday morning, feeling like a cat crapped in my mouth, a full 5.5 hours of sleep in the tank, thinking “am I gonna do this or not?” And I did it. Not overdressed like every other ride I’ve taken this month, no. The cold, she was bracing, the vodka, she was rising, and the eyes, they were bloodshot (thank God for dark sunglasses). It was pretty much all on just to stay up with the much vaunted “conversational pace” for which this ride has become famous.

In slightly brighter news, I did manage to throw down an impressive kick at the hotspot sprint, preceded by an astonishingly aware move to get to the front at just the critical moment. My ability to read the play is now greater than zero, and far more importantly the likelihood of my responding to it is also greater than zero. Forcing myself to do the right thing even in friendly team rides will hopefully ingrain the habit.

The other item of note is that I can spin 124 rpm no problem at all whatsoever. Over the next several months I will be striving to marry the strength that I have and am developing with the leg speed that I surprisingly already have (you know, that whole ‘never let hard data get in the way of a good supposition’ thing) to produce the snappy acceleration that seems to be so key in racing.

Run flat tires are crazy expensive. No bueno. Project for boring week is to get my mountain bike running at 100%, which means installing the ‘new’ fork I got about 18 months ago. The FPG is all fired up to get out in the woods.

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