June 23, 2008

My First Masters Class - or - (Not Really) A Race Report

I felt like throwing up.
I didn't know why I was there or what I had to prove by going through with it all.
Honestly, I just wanted to leave.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - I get really nervous about racing. I'm not that guy that is bubbling with excitement to get to the starting line. There's no pre-race bubbling for me. Sure, I may sometimes mistakenly say something like, I'm really excited for the race. But that's wrong. I'm not. In reality, I'm just telling you the abridged version of the sentence, which should really go something like this:

I'm really petrified of doing the race because I get so nervous and agitated and anxious and start to doubt myself and wonder why I'm doing it and wonder why I put myself in this situation over and over again so, no Mrs Buttercup, I'm not enthusiastic about it all, and truth be told, I might throw up on your ugly orange Crocs if you don't stop asking me about it though since you don't seem to be shutting your yapper there's one thing I can say for sure and that is that I'm really excited for the end of the goddam race when I'm on the other side of the finish line and all this feeling of self-combustion is behind me.

The real problem, though, is not that I don't like racing, it is that I love having raced. I try not to think about this dilemma too much because inevitably it just makes me question what I'm doing in this godforsaken sport in the first place.

If you really want me to be honest, I'll admit that I even get nervous for some workouts. If it's supposed to be a long or grueling training session, there's a good chance I begin to doubt myself. It's not that I lack self-confidence or that I'm a quitter - it's mostly that I have this profound inability to connect the past with the present. Though I can do Ironman races until my toes go blue, I'll still get to the starting line of a Sprint and question if I can even make it through.

It's like all the memories of my past are stored in one side of my brain and the entire present experience happens on the diametric opposite side of my brain. In-betwixt the two is nothing but a huge, empty, bottomless void. Death befalls he who tries to cross the void.

It's not normal. Nor is it based in anything that resembles reality. Logically, I know that I can get through the workout, the sprint, the race. I know it because I've seen myself do it time and again. Unfortunately, reality and logic have nothing to do with my athletic self-analysis.

So anyway, somewhere along the way I became a halfway decent swimmer. If I knew you a little better, I'd admit to you that I think the reason I'm a good swimmer is because I'm a Pisces. Us fish, we take up swimming very quickly. However, since you and I are not yet BFFs, I'm not going to say that, because if I did you'll just think I'm all weird and woo-woo, and you'll probably make fun of me when I'm not around. So let's just say I really focused on my swimming for a few years, paid very close attention to the fast folks out there and somehow figured out how to move my scrawny little body forward somewhat efficiently.

I'm no Michael Phelps or anything, but I tend to finish the swim somewhere around the top 20% overall in any given race. When I do my 100 yard repeats in the pool, I'm usually in the 1:18 to 1:25 range. I'm not trying to brag by any means, just trying to give you some information that may be important to know later on in this story, if I ever get on with the story.

* * *

I've talked about joining a Masters swim club for about 5 years now, maybe longer. I'm really good at talking about swimming.

I've always known that Masters would help me with my swimming, but I've always been a little intimidated. You see, when Catherine and I show up at our dinky little YMCA pool at 6:30 in the morning, it's just us and a Greyhound busload of geriatrics who can barely keep themselves afloat. Compared to that crowd, we are Olympians. It's good for the ego.

Masters, on the other hand, is an ego killer. I know that without even having to show up.

But, alas, Catherine and I have made a couple of friends with some of the "normal" folks at the gym. For the past year these guys have been telling us about the YMCA Masters class. It's more low key, they said. We only do about 2,500 yards, not some ridiculous 6,000 meter workout, they promised. It's a fun, friendly group of people, they continued. Sounds like fun, I'd respond time and again. We'll come next week.

But come next week, we didn't come. This has been going on for over a year.

You want to go to the Masters class? I'd ask Catherine

Not really, she'd reply

OK, I'd agree. And that was that.

Fast forward to this week and something apparently changed.

I'm going to the Masters class on Monday, Catherine said. Wanna join?

Are you serious? I said rather quizzically. If I had the gene that let me raise one eyebrow higher than the other, I would've done that.

Yes, she replied. I'm serious.

Have you ever been to a Masters class before? I asked her, though I already knew her answer.

No, she said. But we're going on Monday.

Oh. OK.

* * *

The YMCA Masters group starts at 6:00 pm. Catherine and I got onto the pool deck at 5:50 because, for some reason, we thought that was the right thing to do. I suppose we equated it to a dinner party. If dinner at Jimmy and SueBeth's house is scheduled for 6:00, it's only proper to show up a little earlier, maybe even with a bottle of wine, a box of homemade croutons or some other party favor to make them think you're really thoughtful.

But alas, apparently the same show-up-early rule doesn't apply to swimming groups. The clock hit 5:50 pm as Catherine and I stood awkwardly alone on the pool deck. We gently eased our nervous bodies into a lane and figured we should kill time by warming up, so we started swimming slowly. After about 100 yards we stopped on the edge of the pool and looked around. 5:52 pm. Still noone.

I looked at Catherine.
She looked at me.
We stood there. Swim caps on. Goggles on.

What are we supposed to do? I asked her, feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
I don't know, she said. I guess just wait.

I could feel the nervousness creeping through my veins. It was like that moment when they call the wave right before yours. The wetsuit is on, transition is put together, you haven't yet started but already there's no turning back.

The thought of me getting a butt-whoopin in my first Masters class awakened all the pre-race monsters that lurk in the murky waters of my stomach. Though logically I knew this was just another swim workout, for my body, this was race morning. I had that feeling of dread, the wonder-why-I'm-here-in-the-first-place feeling. Oy.

I think I might throw up, I said to Catherine. Maybe I should keep swimming.

After another hundred yards or so, I noticed the coach had come to the poolside and was closing off three lanes. Cat and I stopped swimming and stood around kind of awkwardly, both of us waiting for instruction. Isn't that what you're supposed to do in Masters class, wait until you're instructed to do something?

You guys here for the workout? Coach Andy asked, probably more out of pity than friendliness.

Yes! I blared in probably a more excited tone than was required.

He smiled the way you do at the annoying little kid who keeps stepping on your feet when you're in the grocery store line.

So why don't you two swim 300 slowly, he instructed.

Exactly what I need, another 300 yards. Since my dramatic decline in exercise over the past months, I can barely get through 2500 yards without my arms falling off and here I am doing 600 of warm-up before the workout even begins. But he's the coach, so we swam.

As we finished our warm-up, I noticed that about six other swimmers had appeared. I looked at the clock, 6:07. Mental note, apparently Masters swim etiquette is more like fashionably late cocktail party than pleasantly early dinner party.

Three people had gotten in the "fast" lane next to us and a woman who didn't seem to know much beyond the doggie paddle was in the "slow" lane. That left Cat and I with a lane to ourselves. I began to feel a bit more comfortable, knowing that, first, I wouldn't have to swim in circles and, secondly, that I can share my misery with Catherine in the quiet solitude of our own lane.

OK, everybody, Coach Andy said as he brought a whiteboard over to the side of the pool. Time to go. Here's today's workout.

At first I looked at the board and thought it was some sort of complicated physics theorem and our only hope of actually understanding it relied on our collective ability to channel all the intellectual energy we could from Good Will Hunting. There were numbers and X's and circles with division lines and combinations of words I'd never even heard before. And just as I was about to get out my abacus, Coach Andy began to explain the workout.

Truth be told, I'm not quite sure what he said, but there definitely were a lot of numbers. Three times one hundred done seventy five free twenty five back faster each twenty five faster each hundred on the one-fifty by the two-ten four hundred in fifty increments of twenty five with forty two fifty three on seventy five, hut, hut, hike!

Through the first five minutes of his soliloquy, I got pretty nervous. About halfway through I realized that there was no hope in me remembering it all, so I shouldn't even try. I can barely remember my age, the odds of me committing this workout to memory was somewhere between slim and nil - and Slim just left town. So I just shut off my mind.

We started with 100 repeats. Three of them. I hit 1:21 for the first one, which felt all nice and fine - until I started the second. The second one began to hurt. It's too early to hurt, I thought. By the time I got through the third one, my arms already felt like jello. Uh-oh.

Next up was a 400 swim that was broken up into these crazy, yoga-like drills that involved hip rotations and dolphin kicking and all sorts of gyrations that my body is just not accustomed too. The way I was humping the water made me feel like a lame extra in a porno version of Finding Nemo. The 400 was supposed to be the "easy" part, but by the time I got 300 into it, I felt like I was going to drown. I was focusing to try and keep my composure - or as much composure as can be kept while thrusting into an aquatic void.

Suddenly I realized that Catherine was no longer in my lane. Huh?!? At the same time that I see her over in the "slow" lane (she's not going to like that one) I notice two other guys have jumped into my lane. Uh-oh.

I get to the end of the lane, I realize that one of the people is Simon. The good news is that Simon is one of the "normal" friends that convinced me and Catherine to come here. The more challenging news is that Simon is fast. Really fast. Simon just came in 2nd in his age group at the World Championships. Simon kicks my ass so fast, he's done kicking before I even know I've been whooped.

As for the third guy, I don't know who he is and he doesn't seem to know us, but it's time for the next set of 100s, so enough with the pleasantries. I tell Simon he should go first, he does. The other guy and I look at each other and shrug our shoulders. After you, he says. And so I go.

I push with all my might for the first 100, for fear that the guy behind me is going to swim right over me. On every turn I notice he's back there, but not yet about to smack my heels. After I finish 75, I begin to do backstroke as fast as my tired arms would allow. I can see our reflection on the ceiling above us and realize that he's not exactly on my toes, but he's catching up. I finish the first hundred and my arms feel like rubber bands. My nose itches but I can't quite find the energy to lift up my hand and scratch it. That's OK, though, because it's time for another fast 100. And then another. At this point I can barely believe I'm still breathing, which means it's time to swim 400 with more thrusting and gyrating and other movements that at once not normal for human beings and not for normal human beings.

I somehow survive all of that and feel I've done well. I'm proud of myself for the three seconds that I have available for pride until I realize that we have to do the whole thing over again. Coach Andy looks over at Simon and says, why don't you do 1:15s for these next three hundreds. Simon nods. Then Andy looks at me and the other guy and says, ummm, and why don't you guys shoot for 1:20.

I laugh. The other guys look at me and laugh at me (not with me). Hows about I shoot for 1:20, I say to them, but actually finish in 1:30.

And just before we start, Coach Andy tells the third guy to go first, Simon second, me last. Next thing I know, we're off. And third guy? Apparently he's been holding back all the entire time because he was knocking off hundreds in about 1:10 like it was nobody's business. He was dropping Simon pretty quickly. And me? Well, I was the guy that they almost lapped every 100.

Another 400 later and we were done. We survived. My arms were so tired I could barely pull myself out of the water. But we survived. Just like a race, I didn't want to be there but I'm glad I was. I didn't necessarily love the workout, but I sure loved having done the workout. And I suppose this is what people have been talking about all along - that the only way to swim better is to swim with those that are better. I definitely pushed myself thanks to my lane mates. It was tiring, it was grueling, I couldn't wait for it to be done. But I suppose that's a good thing. And I'm going to try to remember this feeling of accomplishment next time I show up at a masters swim before it falls in the huge, bottomless void.

June 19, 2008

Carpe Child

The other day I read a quote from Mark Cuban (yes, Mark Cuban) that really struck me. It's our theme for this week...

Today's the youngest you'll ever be. Act like it.

June 13, 2008

Eye-Mon Ya Le'pt!!

Let's demystify the canker sore. There's really nothing embarrassing about getting one - it happens to the best of us. Getting a canker sore doesn't mean you've been eating kitty litter or drinking water from the toilet bowl. You can do all that stuff without actually getting a canker sore (You might die, but with no canker sores.)

There are many common, everday reasons why these little buggers show up. It could be from stress or poor nutrition. Food allergies often cause cankers sores and, believe it or not, so do menstrual periods. Heck, getting canker sores can also be genetic - one family may be more canker-prone than the next.

For some reason Catherine and I are canker sore magnets. I believe our mouths are the perfect storm of allergies, stress, nutrition and genetics. We're both a walking petri dish of canker.

Especially Catherine. She inherited from her family a long history of canker. In fact, I think the family crest has a canker sore in the corner.

Catherine gets canker sores when the wind blows. Granted, women are more prone to the canker sore than men, but when God handed out the canker gene, I think She must've tripped and spilled extra into Catherine's mouth. Oops, God may have said. Ummm..... sorry about that. Here, I'll make you extra pretty to balance that off. [poof!]

Complaining about our canker sores has become somewhat of a sport for Catherine and me.

Look at this!, one of us might say to the other on any given day as we pull back our lip to display the infection.

No, thanks, the other one will respond and quickly escape into another room. Unfortunately you can run but you can't hide from the canker. The infected one will inevitably follow you wherever you go, all the while pulling out their lip with thumb and forefinger to expose the sore.

C'mon! Look! Just look quickly!
(Though with fingers firmly on lip, that usually comes out as "C'ba! Loo! Jus loo kickly!")

There's only one way that this scenario comes to an end, and that's with one of us peering into the mouth of the other and confirming the hideousness with an "ewwww, that's disgusting". And then we go on with our regular lives.

I can't quite figure out the purpose of the canker sore and, apparently, neither can any doctors. It's not really known what causes them and they don't seem to play any particular role in human existence. Let's face it, the mouth is an important hole in the human body and adding any extra holes within the mouth are, in general, a bad idea. Holes in the teeth, holes in the gums - really, other than the primary hole that defines the mouth, there are no other holes in there that don't cause excruciating pain.

Which leads us to this past week. I got the canker sore to end all canker sores. It was ridiculously huge and enormously painful. It felt as big as a blimp shoved between my bottom lip and gum and it hurt like a mofo. When I was a kid, I once read about this old torture trick where the bad guys would put a weasel on somebody's stomach and cover the weasel with a bowl. Then they'd put hot coals on the bowl. In trying to escape the heat, the weasel would scratch and burrow into the person's stomach. (Disgusting, I know.) That's how my canker sore felt - as if a weasel was burrowing into my gums.

I could barely talk without wincing. Everyday my canker sore seemed to get bigger and more painful. Loo! I'd scream at Catherine as I pulled my bottom lip out as far as it could go. C'bon, jus loo at dis kickly!

Finally, by day three, I had grown a pretty serious speech impediment. It hurt so much to talk that I had to alter my pronunciation to avoid the pain. The word "left", for instance, normally a rather simple word to say, became excruciatingly difficult. For any normal person, in order to say the word "left" one has the top row of teeth barely touching the bottom lip to form the "ft" sound. But for me, that ever-so-slight pulling of the lip caused a searing pain that somewhat resembled the feeling of the sharp end of a spork being shoved into my gums.

The canker sore was so painful it even hurt to run. Still, one day I sucked it up and Catherine and I went out for a jog. I was grimacing and quiet for most of the time. As if the standard leg pain isn't enough during a run, now my face hurt. As we made it to the turn-around and proceeded to turn around, Catherine mistakenly began to move in front of me.

On ya le'pt, I said.

What? she replied, still veering onto my side of the path.

Le'pt! Le'pt!! Eye-mon ya le'pt!! I said with annoyance, hoping not to trip on her heels.

Huh? she said, clearly getting frustrated. As if I were purposely trying to confuse her.

LE'PT!!! I screamed as loud as my canker sore would let me. LE'PT!!! I CAN' SAY LE'PT - IT HURTS.. EYE! MON! YA! LE'PT!!!

Catherine turned her head and looked at me as if I were a circus clown.

Life with my canker sore didn't get better after that. Truth be told, I ended up straining my calf. I'm going to blame that on the canker sore.

Since I can't run, I've been sitting around trying to figure out the meaning of my canker sore. Because I know that success doesn't come without pain, I must believe that having endured so much cankerous agony, there must be some achievement that has resulted. I must, in some way, be a better person because of this canker sore. And then I figured it out.

It is my new mission, my one true goal: to rid the world of canker sores. We must free ourselves from the chain of canker. We must be able to retain our ability to eat, to speak, to brush all of our teeth equally without pain. If we can come up with a cure for lupus and herpes, surely we can tackle canker. I just did a quick Google search and there doesn't seem to be a Canker Sore Relief Fund in existence yet. I'm on it. Together, we will be canker free. Grab your Anbesol and unite.

Who's in?

June 11, 2008

For The Record

It's official, I forgot The Alamo.

June 08, 2008

El Poco Grande

There are some people out there - and you may very well be one of them - that have a tendency to give names to inanimate objects. Honestly, it's not something I've ever done, but I can understand why it happens.

As humans, when we love something it is in our nature to really want it to love us back. Unfortunately, for inanimate objects, it is in their nature to not really do anything at all. Inanimate objects have a tough time showing us love, mostly because their inanimate. Aside from a scary forest in the Wizard of Oz and a few other randomly documented instances, inanimate objects pretty much remain inanimate, just like they're supposed to.

Naming an inanimate object is a way for us humans to feel good about ourselves. It's about falling in love with an object that really doesn't have the ability to appreciate you or love you or tickle your toes when you're sleeping. And it's about giving personality and humanism to that which has none.

I have quite a few friends who have named their cars. One of my closest friends has been naming his cars since high school. Fat Amy was his latest baby. She's one of those old Land Rover's or something of the sort that was built in the 70s or 80s. She's not really that fat so I'm not quite sure where the adjective part of the name came from. She definitely looks like an Amy, if that matters at all. Fat Amy fell on some tough times over the past few years and had to be sold. I try not to bring her up in conversations. I don't like making grown men cry.

According to folklore, certain men apparently give names to their private parts - assuming these can be considered inanimate objects. I was never one of those people and, frankly, I'm not even going to get into this conversation because wherever it goes, it's gonna end up in a very bad place.

Apparently many people decide to name their bicycles. Once again, I'm not one of those people but my girlfriend is. Yes, Catherine named her bike immediately after she bought it.

You can't have a bike without a name! she said to me as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

You can't? I responded dumbfoundedly.

No, you can't, she said. And that seemed to be the end of that conversation.

Since naming is a way to humanize an inanimate object, most people usually select human-like names for their bikes and cars and so forth. Things like Eleanor and Herbert and LaQuisha. As for my Catherine, she decided to name her bike "El Poco Grande".

Granted, Catherine has always had a little thing for Latino men and that may explain why she's given her bike the name of a Mexican midget wrestler. Still, it seems kinda odd.

El Poco Grande.

Technically, it means The Little Big. It can also mean "The Little Great One". I suppose if you're a fan of 70s bands, it may translate to "The Great Poco", though I'm not sure that Catherine is a big enough classic rock aficionado to go down that road, and if she did I'd reckon she'd opt for something more fitting for a bicycle, like Pink Floyd. All this said, I can only assume that her original intention was to name the bike "the little great one".

Catherine stands at about 5 foot 4 inches (on a good day. In heels. Standing on a staircase.) Needless to say, El Poco Grande is very much on the "poco" side of things. He kinda resembles a clown bike in his miniscule size. I'm always amazed when I pick him up - he's so small and light that I can't help but envision a wee little gerbil pedaling around in circles on this thing. Apparently, though, the bike packs quite a wallop, which probably explains why I have a tough time keeping up with Catherine when we're riding at full speed. I reckon that's where the "grande" part of the name comes into play.

Catherine loves her Poco Grande like nobody's business. It's not uncommon for her to spend hours cleaning the frame, scrubbing the chain and shiny-ing the parts that apparently need to be shiny-er. Every once in awhile I look over at her and she's just sitting there ogling over the bike with a healthy loving glow on her face. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't feel jealous.

I once heard somebody ask her why she gave the bike a masculine name.

If I'm going to have something between my legs for that long, she said. It sure better be a man.

Which suddenly gets me thinking that perhaps the name El Poco Grande has another meaning. One that I haven't fully considered. But I already told myself I wouldn't go down that path...

June 03, 2008

My Bike And I

My bike and I are going through some tough times. It's gotten pretty ugly and, honestly, I don't know if we'll ever resolve our differences. I hate to air out my dirty laundry, but you probably should know that we haven't talked to each other for months; we haven't even so much as looked each other in the eyes/spokes. I'm scared that we may break up. Irreconcilable differences. Creative differences. I'm not sure what the press release is going to say yet. Whatever it turns out to be, you'll probably be able to read through the lines. Basically, I hate the bitch.

I was flipping through TV channels the other day and ran across a show on E! Entertainment called "The World's Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces". I'm not one for watching this type of over-dramatic hooey, but something got me to pay attention for a few minutes. At first I thought it was pretty ridiculous. I didn't even put down the remote control because I knew I'd be switching channels soon and why waste the extra energy to pick the remote back up off the table six inches in front of me. But it was somewhere amidst the Drew Barrymore saga that I realized what kept me watching: Every one of these cases was a reflection of my relationship with my bike.

We were a typical case of love, my bike and I. I had lost my previous bike in a freak accident when she was stolen from my locked garage. Though I had a short span of grieving, the insurance money sure helped me feel better. At first I felt a little dirty, how a few dollars in my pocket could erase all the good years of the relationship. But eventually I got over it and continued on with my life - as we always do.

sexyI wasn't looking to find a new bike, my bike found me. It was love at first sight. Her sleek black frame, her carbon fiber body - she had the looks of a goddess. She was too good for me, out of my league. Every time I saw her sleek lines I couldn't believe she was actually mine. These types of bikes don't happen to guys like me.

Strangers would look at her and say things like "wow, she sure is a beauty!" And then they'd look at me, my slight non-muscular frame, my chicken legs - and they'd mumble quietly to themselves "why the hell is she with him?" and justify it with, "he must have a lot of money. Or big gearing."

But it was more than her looks - much more than the physical attraction. We worked together, my bike and I. Like Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley in the good years, we were made to be together. Things just meshed.

I remember the first time I rode her. I remember the warmth in my
loins as I slowly stretched my leg across her bosom. I can still
feel the way the silky saddle caressed my inner thigh. You never
forget your first.

And the bond? It was like she was psychic, forever knowing when I wanted to slow down or speed up before I even figured it out. She quietly controlled the road and made me feel great about my cycling - it was if I didn't have to put in any effort at all. Like she rode herself. She made me a better cyclist. She completed me.

Those were the happy days. I was drunk with joy, floating in the clouds of amour. Just the mere thought of my bike would awaken the mass of butterflies otherwise laying dormant in my stomach. I had a new life and a new love. Most humans don't get to experience this feeling very often. I knew I was lucky.

We spent a few very wonderful years together. But, as things happen, life began to change. We rode a lot, some might say too much. Slowly her sheen began to fade. Dirt piled up, paint began to crack. I didn't dote on her as much. My riding style developed and I began to have doubts. Was it the saddle that began to hurt or did our bodies not mesh anymore? Did I really want a bike with this big of a top tube?

Still, we continued to ride more and more. So I tried dressing her up. New handlebars, new tires. I cleaned her meticulously like I used to do in our days of early love, scrubbing and caressing each of her tubes and crevasses. I doted in desperation.

All the while we trained for Ironman. Though we had some rocky roads on our way to Ironman Lake Placid, we did it and, more importantly, we did it together. I even thought it brought us closer. It seemed to rekindle a long lost spark. So we decided to do Ironman Arizona.

The training for Arizona wasn't nearly as difficult as Lake Placid. But, in hindsight, I realize it was just an indication of us falling apart. We had extremely long rides together. It was just the two of us - my bike and I - out on the road for hours on end. There was nothing to distract us from our own company. Sure it was fine, but that's all it was - just fine.

There were no moments of great joy, no laughing and blathering like we use to do. We were both in our own worlds doing our own thing. No longer did she ride herself, no longer did she seem to understand me or my body. We were two separate beings who happened to be together.

We didn't ignore each other on purpose, but we didn't make the effort to connect. Endless stretches of silence were interrupted by meaningless banter.

This hurts, I'd tell her, but she wouldn't answer.

My body hurts, I'd say a little louder. I wanted attention, I wanted her to care.

Oh, she'd reply and continue rolling down the street.

I swear she'd roll into the potholes on purpose. Oops, sorry, she might say. But I didn't believe her.

We made it to Ironman Arizona and things took a turn from bad to worse. It was the most challenging bike ride I've ever had. It was hot and windy and painful. Every minute was harder than the last. I didn't want to continue and, it seemed apparent, neither did she. We weren't working as one - we hadn't been for awhile.

I've lost the love and it's nowhere to be found. We didn't leave the love in Tempe, because thelove was lost long before then. We were faking it out in Arizona. Just going through the motions.

Ironman Arizona was a sympathy fuck - our swan song.

As I said, we haven't even talked to each other since then. In fact, I haven't told anybody this, but I moved out. It just got too difficult for the two of us to stay in one place so I have been staying at Catherine's for the past month. Most recently, my bike left town. She got shipped away for a paint replacement or some sort of physical overhaul. Honestly, I don't think I'll ever see her again. There's a good chance she'll never come back but will be replaced with another bike. A younger bike, one with more life and spunk.

I don't know what's going to happen. It is at once both sad and a relief. Though I feel guilty for saying this, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I just signed up for an aquathlon. It will be my first event without my bike close by. Maybe I'll miss her when I'm there, maybe I'll think of all those days of yore when our love was so young and free. But I doubt it. At this point, I'll be happy to never have to ride her again. My bike and I - we're done.