Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's all about the teacakes

Friday the 14th

The WWDD (Wisconsin Weekend Dairyland Dare) started off with an odd sense of déjà vu, which, given how last year unfolded, wasn’t really a good thing. First, after having practiced ALL WEEK my My Cousin Vinny lines appropriate to use in a small town courthouse (“dat yoot over there”), I was dismayed to receive a call from the DA’s office on Thursday, telling me that we had gotten a waiver for this first preliminary hearing. Damn! I have hopes for the future, though, that Perp will plead not guilty and so we’ll get future opportunities to shine in the Eagle, WI courthouse.

Then I wound up taking Kona to the same dogsitter from last year. You know, the ones who had him for a few extra days as I was in the neuro ward in Madison and probably not remembering I had a dog, even as I was insisting that I had an Ironman to do in 3 weeks, while I was wildly gesticulating with my broken collarbone side. This according to my friends, since I don’t remember a damn thing.

Then, just like last year, Deanna and I set off for Dodgeville, where we picked up our packets and I noted that this year on the maps they had marked the stretches of road that really sucked and where a bunch of us crashed last year. My particular stretch? Had “bump” and “BUMP!” written all over it. Hmm, not that this was sounding ominous or anything like that.......

After the requisite WI fish fry dinner, we turned in at the same Springside Cottage place we stayed at last year. That is, after Deanna mixed up her powder packets and numerous bottles with Infinit and Gatorade, and I threw some peanut butter M&Ms in a jersey pocket. Hey, is it my fault I’m not training for anything? This is a beautiful thing, in case I haven’t made that clear enough.

Saturday, the Big Day

Again, in Groundhog Day-esque fashion, we go to the Quality Bakery of Dodgeville at 5AM, so that I can get my teacakes. Then Deanna sets off for her ride at 6AM sharp, while I putter around, fueling up with coffee and a teacake. Ride food of champions, in other words. Finally, onward, and I have to say......when the hell did they add all the HILLS to this ride?? I mean, I know I have a brain injury and all, but I don’t recall things being quite so bad right from the start. Okay, not Spud bad, but still pretty damn hilly. Oh well. That’s what’s nice about being a “tourist”, i.e. just doing your own thing, no agenda, no training miles that need to be done. I can take my sweet time out here, oh yes.

Okay, so maybe spending 45 minutes at the first rest stop was a bit much. But I was chatting with people, and then Annette came along so I waited for her to refuel and fill her water bottles, and the next thing you know, oops! A shitload of time had gone by! Hate it when that happens.

Annette and I decide to ride together for a while, even though she’s planning for the 100K and I’m doing the TashaAdapted 200K. What does this mean? This means that when they attempt to make us do the torture that is Roberts Road with its 22% grades not once but TWICE, I’m having none of it. As I always say, my momma didn’t raise many foolish children. Of course, this causes a slight problem when I signal to Annette that we’re taking a bypass route, and when I look behind me as we go past the turnoff, I see a whole slew of CuteBoy cyclists who have clearly been so focused on following my Triathlon Goddess self that they’ve totally overlooked the big yellow arrow indicating a turn. After much yelling and waving of arms, I finally convince them that they can NOT be my usual entourage today, that I’m marching to the beat of a different drummer: the Not Crazy Person.

Of course, this theory is soon tested, as is always the case. After the Tower Hill rest stop, at which we’re served brats and hot dogs (have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE this ride??), Annette decides to head back via County Road Z, because it’s about 90 degrees and blazing hot and the sun is beating down on us and she’s way more intelligent than me, while I forge ahead towards Clyde – basically because I want to see where I crashed, even though the last thing I remember is thinking “okay, just a few more miles to Clyde.” So I don’t know where I actually crashed, but surely there’ll be a plaque or something marking the spot? You know, like they do with other famous people: “This is where Samuel Adams once rested his weary head in slumber.” Stuff like that.

But since there are about 20 miles between rest stops, I have a ways before I get to Clyde – and in the meantime, there are more hills to contend with. Yes, long climbs up, and there are downhills with gravel or otherwise crappy roads that I’m excessively cautious on – but then there are the smooth paved roads, and on a few of these I find myself hurtling down so fast that I don’t dare look at my Garmin to see just how fast I’m going. Whee, fun! This thought then pops into my head, unbidden:

“Just how much of a fucking idiot am I??”

Because I’m sure that LAST year, I was probably doing something similar, speeding down a hill, having a blast, when I hit an unseen bump which is kind of hard to avoid when you’re going 40 mph. And since my sole goal for the ride this year is to Not Crash......I brake a little. Not to slow down necessarily, but so that I don’t speed up any more, which was where I was headed.

The rest of the way I ride with a bit of sanity, all the while looking for the patch of poison ivy into which I was carefully placed, as well as for the plaque. Hmm. No plaque? I’m sure they’re still having it made or something. I also realize just why I crashed last year – not because the road sucks, which it does – though it’s marked very well this year – but because the HILLS on the last few miles are a PAIN! I’m sure I somehow intuited what was coming up, and said to myself, fuck it, I’ll take the hospital over more of these hills. Maybe?

Anyway, I ride into Clyde, victorious, and then press on, gasping my way to the last stop, Pleasant Ridge. All. Uphill. Why again do I sign up for this ride every year?? Just wondering. And while I’d love to just finish up at this point, ride back to Dodgeville, noooo, I have to do a home visit for IDR, the Doberman rescue group I volunteer for. You see, there had been a debate within the group about a couple from Spring Green who had applied, about their dog door, and about just how “remote” their acreage was. At which point I piped up and said hey, that’s close to basically nowhere, but I’ll happen to be in the area this weekend and can do the HV, check things out. Which was how I happened to wind up going “off the grid” yet again, toodling along to this home not too far from the route. If that’s not efficiency, I don’t know what is.

So while my ride time for that last stretch may look like I average about 2 miles an hour, that’s because there was an hour and a half HV thrown in there, with these lovely people with a beautiful home and a clear love of animals and so much land that I told them that Kona and I would be showing up soon, just to wander on their vast acreage. They seemed to accept that.

I finally make it back to Dodgeville, having completed my Adapted200K consisting of about 110 miles and no bike crashes, and find Deanna, who’s all giddy about how great her ride was. Which is excellent, until we wind up having the following conversation:

Me: Yeah, I finally looked at my Garmin, and my max speed was 45 mph, which felt crazy fast. That was the point at which I started braking.
Deanna, bragging: I didn’t touch the brakes even ONCE the entire time!
Me: What was your highest speed?
Deanna: I don’t know, my computer wasn’t working. But I’m awesome at descending. You need some lessons in descending.

This was the point at which I reached over, snapped Deanna’s head off, and stuck it on a carbon-fiber pike right there for all to see, as a warning to anyone who would even think about denigrating my bike handling skills.

Okay, maybe not. But I did shriek something to the effect of “I know how to fucking DESCEND! I was going 45 mph without a problem, but maybe I just didn’t want to CRASH again!”

And then I felt the need to explain the laws of physics to Deanna, with lessons on velocity, weight, accelerated motion, all to make the point that there is no way that her tiny wee self could pick up as much speed as my own fat-assed self on a downhill, so maybe she should see what 45 mph feels like before commenting again. Duh.

As a final highlight to the day, I go into the pavilion to hand in my timing chip, and they have a big gumball machine whereby we all get a chance to win something. If you turn the knob and get something other than an orange gumball, you win. Mine? Green!! I picked out one of the few things left, a gift certificate for Road ID – something you can never have too many of. Boy, you know, it’s stuff like this that makes me think I really need to get a shirt that speaks to my life:

The next day dawns to pouring rain, so we head back to Chicago without too much dallying. I have the Kone to pick up – I’m sure he’ll be traumatized as usual, at being away from me for several days. Indeed, when I go to pick him up, he hurtles himself at me, gives me hugs and kisses, and then in what I view as a clear sign that the trauma runs deep, he grabs a toy and runs back up the stairs of the house he’s staying at, acting as if he wants to stay and play some more but clearly hurting inside. Then the dogsitter comments:

“You know, everyone who met him said that he’s the most well-trained and well-behaved big dog they’ve ever met. You must have done a LOT of intensive training with him, huh?”

I think my laughter is still echoing through the man’s backyard.....


t-odd said...

"a" teacake!? As in singular? I find that hard to believe. Sounds like a fun ride. Glad you didn't crash.

D said...

I think it's bullshit that you'd let anyone but me dogsit Kona. You suck.

Tasha the Triathlon Goddess said...

T-odd - the teacakes are bigger than they look. And yes, that's a picture of actual teacakes! I know, will wonders never cease?

Plus, I didn't want to spoil my appetite so early on for later brats and popsicles and so on. No fool I.

D!, anytime you come to Chicago, you can dogsit for the Kone. Come on down! :-)