Yup! The guys are back again...it's that time of year...the cyclists are roaring through the French countryside on yet another epic adventure of sweat, pain, joy, misery...you name it...they'll experience it.
I've been a fan of the Tour de France for quite a number of years now. Number one son got me mad for the sport back when Armstrong was riding for The Discovery Channel. Since then cycling has exploded in this country...nice to know since many of us have become so sedentary. But today, as Lance and the boys from Radio Shack begin to hit the first of the mountain climbs, I'm thinking back to just how a male dominated sporting event can "move" a middle aged housewife off the couch and "onto" a bicycle.......well.......kind of!
Erick (#1 son) had set up Josh's bike (#2 son) in a "trainer" contraption in the game room so the two of them could "ride" in air conditioned comfort and still get their miles in......I vacuumed around the set up......yes I AM a saint! Anyhoo, so the morning rolled in....all the guys headed out for work and I dragged my tea cup to the game room and prepared to watch fresh faced bikers kill themselves in a fierce battle with The Alps. As I sat sipping and watching men flying past tiny villages and vast fields, I kept glancing at "the bike". After twenty minutes I thought "what the heck...why not ride with Lance and the boys today...no one but me will know!" So I hopped on and began peddling away...enjoying the back roads of France with the rest of my international competitors!
Ten minutes later, with sweat rolling down my arm pits and feet continually falling off the freakin' pedals, I determined adjustments needed to be made if I was going to make it through even half of the day's journey. I hopped off, stripped down to t-shirt and panties (I was alone...you'd do it too!), hit the AC to 66, cranked the ceiling fan to full blast and shoved my tootsies into Josh's cycling shoes (we're the same size). Whew! NOW I was ready for France!
Ummmm.....perhaps. I began my ride with an easy pace, keeping an eye on the rest of "the field", happy that a ceiling fan was whirring above my head instead of some free wheeling birdie the rest of the bikers had to contend with. But then THEY weren't bothered by pesky irritations like ringing telephones! Oh well....I'd just continue my ride after the phone call. WRONG! Upon attempting to get off the bike I hit a major snag...as in my feet were LOCKED in the pedals and they WEREN'T coming out anytime soon! No matter what I did I was unable to remove my cycle shoed feet from the pedals....twist, turn, yank, pull, push....nothing!
The phone had long since stopped ringing when, like a lightening bolt from above, genius struck....remove my feet from the shoes! So I grabbed the ratchet thingee that closed the shoe and began to attempt to undo the shoe...GAWD...what in blazes is wrong with good old fashioned shoe laces? The only thing the ratchet thingee did was to hermetically seal my foot into the shoe AND stab my thumb so badly that I was bleeding profusely down my arm. Not wanting to stain the game room carpet, I did what any woman would do....I shoved my thumb into my mouth....and in answer to the obvious question: NO I'M NOT A FAN OF THOSE VAMPIRE MOVIES!
I have no idea how much blood I sucked down....enough to make me VERY naucious though. As I laid across the top of the bike in a sweat soaked heap, choking back vomit and trying not to bleed on the carpet, the phone began ringing again. Sheesh! When it rains it pours! At that point my life began flashing before me...the only real regret I had was the fact that my family would find me six or seven hours later...braless, in panties, t-shirt and ratchet shoes clamped to a ten speed bicycle on a journey to nowhere. With tears rolling down my cheeks I glanced at the television screen....the cyclists were hitting the midpoint of the last mountain climb for the day....at that moment we shared a kinship....I knew their pain, I felt their sweat, the battle of the day had truly humbled me....please God I need a little help! And, like each of my international competitors, God answered that prayer.....my left foot miraculously fell off the pedal!
I had just enough strength to haul my aching buttocks off the bike to wrench my foot out of the OTHER pedal. I crawled on hands and knees to the telephone to attempt to contact Erick concerning instructions about shoe removal. Once his uncontrolled laughing ceased....I ruminated on nature's mothers who eat their young....I was finally able to completely free myself from the dreaded shoes. I collapsed on the couch as some of the last cyclists of the day crossed the finish line.
While I hadn't battled The Alps as Lance and the other guys did that day, I have to say I believe mine was an epic struggle that rates right up there....and NO I haven't been back on the bike....I leave such matters to those who know what they're doing.
just me...watchin' from the sidelines...jan
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