Saturday, July 18, 2015

Team Sloth, the ramp up to RAGBRAI

The last time I did RAGBRAI, aka the crazy-ass bike ride across Iowa, was the year that has become the stuff of legends. The year that’s whispered about in hushed tones. THAT year.

Yes, dear reader, yours truly managed to bring RAGBRAI to its knees in 2012. Because 2011, my first RAGBRAI, was until then one of the hottest on record. As Ann put it, “It couldn’t possibly get any worse than this.”

2012 was worse.

People were dropping like flies. That year had the highest drop-out rate ever, the most SAGs, I think the most deaths as well. It was like riding a bike in an oven that was attached to a wind tunnel. I remember clear as day riding one day into a fierce headwind, and telling myself I’d just ride another mile, then would join the other walking wounded collapsed in the sparse shade on the side of the road. The year after Hell Year 2012 was apparently the first year in forever that RAGBRAI didn’t sell out. I’m not surprised.

The result was that the next two years, 2013 and 2014, were gifts from the RAGBRAI organizers, in that they were some of the easiest years on record. As short and flat as they could make them. Easy-peasy. A couple days in there that were a mere 40 miles.

I mention all this to note that this year, of course, when Miss Tasha is back, the organizers decided fuck that shit, we’re going hardcore again. So tomorrow, Sunday, is the hilliest day, at 60,0000 feet of climbing, and 213 miles. Okay okay, maybe it’s just 4,000 ft of climb and 82 miles, but still, that’s ridiculous enough. It doesn’t get much better the rest of the week. AND, after an entire summer of cool and rainy, it’s now in the 90s in Iowa, with 99% humidity. Because of course it is.

And Team Sloth’s start has been less than auspicious. Sloth Mary Beth woke up last Tuesday with horribly swollen knees, her arthritis acting up, so she’s out. Me, after one of my ramping up rides last week, I could hardly walk afterwards because of my lower back. For some reason it’s fine when I’m riding, but when I try to actually be upright, major pain. This could be a problem. Ann has plantar fasciitis. So far only Sloth Michelle is unscathed; hopefully I haven’t jinxed her. Oh, and we were thisclose to running out of gas on our way to Davenport yesterday and limped our way in to a gas station finally, telling the girl working that “you have the best most wonderful gas station I’ve ever seen in my life,” and her responding that “yeah, it’s a LONG way between gas stations, we hear that a lot”, so there’s that as well.

Tonight I had a sno-kone for dinner, and because I hate Huey Lewis and the News with the burning fever of a million suns, we’re not going to that concert here in Sioux City. Tomorrow we rise with the crack of dawn, and, onward.

Here’s hoping we got all of the bad luck out of the way already……

Friday, July 17, 2015

A little life in me yet

A few weeks ago I went to see the illustrious Dr. B., to get some final stuff out of the way before BFU transfer in August. Of course, the SIS and mock embryo transfer went as expected.

Dr. B.: Okay, so everything looks good…….except…….we have a polyp now.
Me: WHAT? What the…..where the hell did that….that…FUCKHEAD come from??
Dr. B.: Unfortunately they sometimes just pop up.
Me: Shit! I can’t believe this!
That meant I needed to get Fuckhead taken care of via ANOTHER hysteroscopy before leaving town for RAGBRAI, because otherwise the timing of everything would just not work. I’d have to have the hysteroscopy in August, then wait a month, then that would put me in October and my beloved Dr. B. would be on maternity leave. Nay! So I put the full court press on Dr. A. in Silverton, along with the Sad Cancer Face, and lo and behold she squeezed me in to get this taken care of.

Of course, that surgery went without a hitch, with all the usual accoutrements. The perplexment (yes this is a freaking word!) at my rejection of Versed, my insistence on referring to the polyp as Fuckhead (yes, I’m done with the cutesie names, going right for the jugular now), the ensuing witty banter, me bouncing out the door post-surgery into the 102-degree heat to be picked up by Most Excellent Friend and Neighbor Laura so that I could go home and take Kone to the rezzy. Again, the usual.

So now it’s all over but the waiting. Well, waiting for the Frozen Embryo Transfer, or FET. I waver between thinking this has to work, and that it doesn’t have a chance in hell. I’d obsess over statistics, but quite frankly, there aren’t any. Nada. Zip. There are no numbers to pore over of women my age and their success or lack thereof with FETs. There isn’t even an ORM precedent, because I’m the only woman my age who’s wound up with an actual normal PGS-tested embie on ice.

By all accounts this should work – most miscarriages are caused by a chromosomally abnormal embryo, and BFU is definitely not that.

But what if it doesn’t? This is my only shot. My only chance to give Kone a sibling. It crushed me when on my third IVF cycle, my slacker embies only made it to the early blast stage and not full blast, and I wound up with nothing. That was beyond devastating, and it’s fortunate that Most Excellent Friend Sarah came over and dragged me out for Tiki Tuesday at the Creekside and tropical drinks.

I don’t think there are enough Tiki Fucking Tuesdays in the world, if this doesn’t work.

My BFU is already a little person in my mind.

He has a name, one other than Badass Fucking Unicorn.

I already picture him outfitted in old-timey clothing, toting a scythe or helping me and Kone pick berries or being held up to reach the highest apples on the apple tree (even babies have their uses).

Me yelling at him when he’s a surly teenager and telling him “And to think YOU were the lone embryo that made it!”

I do way too much thinking as it is, and I fear that if this doesn’t work, my brain will never shut off.

I will have sold my house and moved for nothing.

I will have spent $70K on nothing.
I’ll be witness to my hopes and dreams crashing down around me into incomprehensible rubble, never to be put back together again.

I’ll rethink and regret every single decision I’ve ever made in my life that brought me to this place.

I don’t know if or how my fragile soul will come through this, as a culmination of all the other shittastic things that have happened in my life.

I might just pack up The Kone and the bike and head off for parts unknown.

I do some of my best crying on the bike.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thoughts in my head while cycling

Oregon cyclists, wtf? At first I thought it was a fluke, this female cyclist who didn’t acknowledge my friendly wave in any way. That tended to happen sometimes in the Huntley environs as well, with the women cyclists more likely to ignore others than the men did. With her, I figured that she was such a newbie cyclist that she was too scared to let go of her deathgrip on the handlebars in order to manage even a small polite wave.

But then the other day I saw a guy on his bike headed my way from the other direction. Aha! Surely he would wave! Aaaaand…..nada. Wth? Even in IL when I or the other person was hammering along on our tri bike, we’d manage the head nod or slight wave, or something. But here I get nothing? Don’t these people know the laws of bicycling etiquette??

* * * * * *

“…cause the rain don’t care.” Milli Vanilli may not have been all that great at actually singing their own songs, but their lyrics were clearly the precursor to Honey Badger.

* * * * * *

It’s all about the pie. Imagine my surprise when the route I so carefully mapped out wound up taking me directly past…..the Willamette Valley Pie Company. At right about the halfway mark. Now, I know they’re not donuts, so this doesn’t quite compare to the donuts in the bucolic town of Sharon, WI, but still, pie. Mayhap I can even time it right to get there for Pie Happy Hour in the morning. Of course, this would just be in the interest of diligent training for RAGBRAI and all the homemade pie that that entails – I am nothing if not devoted to my craft.

(Note: the above was written while I was still in OR, and I am now in IL, i.e. land of the evil town of Capron, turkey vultures hovering overhead, tornadoes, and crayzee white trash crackheads trying to run me down with their car. I shall report back.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Petal pedaling away.....

First off, yay for the ACA! Yay gay marriage! Yay four out of five SCOTUSes! And I have to say, whatever Justice Scalia is smoking, I’d like some please. Anyone who makes up shit like “jiggery-pokery” and then uses it in a Supreme Court ruling is definitely on the good stuff, ifyouknowwhatImean.


Last Saturday was the classic Heatstroke 100 DeathCycle 2015 Petal Pedal ride, which I felt obligated to sign up for since it started and ended right here in bucolic Silverton, at the Oregon Garden. Anticipating being on top of my game, I naturally signed up for the 100 miles. Which pretty quickly became 50 miles on the day of, as temps were going to be in the 100+ range. Did I really want to recreate the RAGBRAIs of 2011-2012 and all their accompanying hot misery? No. That would be a no.

I set off on Saturday with some trepidation, given that this would be my longest ride this year. (Still in the ramping up phase. The science here is sound.) I almost immediately felt the need to start writing letters in my head to various constituents involved in this ride.

Dear Petal Pedal Organizers:

Thank you for organizing such a lovely ride. A small note, however: a mile-plus climb of 14% is NOT a “gently rolling hill.” Please make a note of it. Thank you!

Best regards,
Miss Tasha

I soldiered on, to encounter more hills but none as steep, at least not yet. But really, why the hell does Oregon have to be so damn hilly? Couldn’t they take a cue from the beautiful flatness of north-central IL?

Soon enough, another letter just randomly came to mind.

Dear Petal Pedal pushers:

I know that numbers aren’t supposed to be exact and all. So when you write that the rest stops are “approximately every 15 miles,” one understands that that could mean anywhere from 13 to, say, 17.5. However, even my not-so-mathy self knows that 20 does NOT equal 15. Nay! It does not! So when we’re slogging along and wondering where the hell gosh darn heck that next rest stop is, it would be great if it were actually closer to the rumored 15. K’thanks.

Miss T.

After a quick stop, I continued on the bucolic country roads, but couldn’t help noticing something that bugs the crap out of my cycling-perfectionist self.
Dear Oregon cyclists:

Why? WHY you all keep your seats so low? Pro tip: if your knees are jutting out to the sides as you ride….your seat is too low. Stop it now. This is what a multi-tool is for, to make these all-important adjustments.

Miss Tasha the Cycling Goddess

I contemplated riding up to these people and asking them “Hey, how ‘bout I work on you with my multi-tool?” – but not only did that sound a bit strange, I also would have never gotten anywhere.

The ride meandered over to Bauman’s Nursery, a place I know well, where we could contemplate the kids’ petting zoo/jungle gym area they have there. Quite frankly, at this point I didn’t want to move. My hotfoot problem was flaring up something fierce, my butt hurt, and a headwind had picked up (of course) as soon as we turned the corner to go to Bauman’s.  This damn ride was miserable. And yes, another letter came to mind.

Dear Miss Tasha:

Why? WHY you keep doing this to yourself? You know, getting into great cycling shape – to scale the Alps! To almost careen off a cliff in Morocco! To rule the roads around Annecy even after renting a bike from the Roll the Chicken bike shoppe! – only to then let it all go to hell? To then have to start from scratch all over again. Why? So fucking stupid. Starting up cycling again after a hiatus is just as bad as it is when doing this with running. Dumbass. Enough with this jiggery-pokery once and for all.

Miss Tasha the Slug

I petal pedaled on, knowing that we’d soon be hitting the Gallon House Bridge, and then the end. We actually rode past my street, and I briefly contemplated pathetically asking Most Excellent Neighbor Laura if she’d just drive me back the last half mile to the Garden. Because I knew what was ahead, namely two big-ass hills. At this point though, I just said fuck it, let’s get this shitshow over with.

We of course all wound up back at the Garden, where a lovely lunch awaited us, with chicken and steak and orzo salad and beer and cake. And a side of bitter regret. So much regret.

I know this comes as a shock, folks, but it doesn’t always pay to emulate yours truly. Still, as they say in vaudeville, the show must go on. Onward.