When we lived in Colorado, I trained for the Montreal-Portland (Maine) AIDS Ride–500 miles in 6 days–byriding about 200 miles a week. I was able to do that because I worked for myself as a web designer, which made my schedule pretty flexible; Mama had a steady job with a regular paycheck that actually covered our expenses; and we had no baby.
That was handy, because those 200 miles covered some pretty steep terrain. We lived at 6,700 feet above sea level, which was at the bottom of the valley. That means that every ride went uphill. One of my favorite rides was to the top of the rim above the valley via Rabbit Ears Pass, which goes from about mile 5 to mile 22 on that profile above, and yes, that’s 2,500 feet of elevation gain, so it ends up at about 9,200 feet. It was also possible to do the same amount of climbing in the summer by riding up the mountain bike trails that weave through the ski area, but then you couldn’t hit 50 mph on the descent, although you could catch some pretty good air in places.
Now, of course, that’s all changed. We aim for flatter terrain, and we depend on the kindness of our friends for babysitting services so we can go for rides. Since we don’t pay our babysitters, we try to compensate by feeding them or letting them use our washer and dryer or something, and we work around their schedules. This makes it a little harder to schedule rides, since we’re juggling multiple schedules: 3B’s many schedules–naps, meals, bathtime, bedtime–as well as Mama’s schedule, my schedule, plus the babysitter’s.
Despite the complexity, we’ve managed to get out on a few long rides recently, and it’s been nice to hang out with Mama, doing something that we both love. However, it’s been a bit weird walking away from 3B with Mama. I’m somewhat used to leaving to go to work, but part of what comforts me when I do is knowing that Mama is with 3B. When Mama’s next to me, it’s jarring, and I find myself asking, “Where’s our baby?” Once we get into the ride, however, both of us focus on where we are rather than where he is.
Several times, however, our schedules have conspired against us, and we’ve both end up taking our rides on the trainer in the living room. It’s a good way to catch up on Antiques Roadshow and 60 Minutes, but it’s not nearly as much fun as riding outside, dodging SUVs. In past years, I used to catch up on Le Tour while I rode on my trainer, but this year, since we’re getting by on one income in an expensive city, we’ve cut our spending to the bone, which means no extra channels on the Dish, which means no TV coverage of Le Tour.
What Tour? What other Tour is there, mes amis?
Le Tour de Fwonce, of course.
I am surviving this year without deep Dish coverage through the grace of the innernets, which bring live coverage via CyclingNews.com and plenty of other sources, as Brother #2 has explained. In fact, I’m sure that it’s better for me, and for my slowly failing eyes, that I’m not watching four hours of sweaty men in tights on TV every day for a month.
I do have to apologize to Sister #1, however, for getting her hooked on this crack, although I won’t apologize for getting her son hooked. I’m hoping that he’ll get so enthralled that he’ll become a bike racer, which will soon give me the excuse that I’m lacking to go to Fwonce to follow Le Tour with the rest of the caravan, which is sort of like a month-long Dead tour, with spandex replacing tie dye. As if I need an excuse other than to witness the joy of the suffering–this is not just a bike race, after all.
For now, as Mama and I train for our century–our 100-mile one-day ride–this October by taking long, air-conditioned rides to nowhere, there’s plenty of suffering in the house. In support of our efforts, 3B is cutting his first molars, ensuring that he’s suffering as much as we are. Although 3B might be drooling a bit more than I am, I think that I’m keeping up with him on the whining.