This is the story of a man, his bike, and a reluctant wife.
Brad and I spent all last weekend at Lotoja, the longest single-day road bike race in the United States. Men and women who feel the need to wear the first layer of skin off their asses participate in this 206-mile trek from Logan, Utah, to Jackson, Wyoming. They pass through three states and many, many PortAPotties.
My husband tried this race two years ago, but had to stop twelve miles from the finish line because it became too dark and too dangerous to continue. He decided to try again this year in hopes of finishing before dark and before the official stop time of 8:30pm. Brad trained many miles and many hours this summer, quite often getting up before 6am so the wrath of Piper following a 4-hour Saturday bike ride wouldn’t be so bad. It certainly helped me refrain from fleeing the state when he was home from his ride by ten in the morning.
See. I’M SUPPORTIVE, PEOPLE!
Ask him if you want.
Anyhow, this year, unlike two years ago, I agreed to be his “support” person for the race. This means that I followed him in the car for thirteen hours, stopping at each designated feed station and dragging over the correct food and drinks which he requested for each particular stop. It means following a crazy line of cars labeled “Race Support Crew” and “CAUTION” through roundabout dirt roads and small towns, often backed up for miles or at a standstill. I listened to a lot of music. LOUD. I got a nice tan on the left-hand side of my body.
The night before the race we stayed at an RV park in Logan, UT, with our awesome pop-up trailer, a.k.a. “The Clampett-mobile”. We were parked next to this insanely huge and pompous RV and its big plastic sewer hose. Proof:
It sort of made our tent trailer look like a homeless person’s cardboard shack.
While Brad set up the trailer, I had some dinner,
and then we went to a real dinner at this great Italian place with a group of friends who were also racing. By the time we arrived, I’d already had one huge cocktail and two beers, so I wasn’t feeling any pain.
That’s Brad in the picture above on the left. The one with the nice white teeth. This man here below, we call him the Gaylord.
You put the Gaylord on a bike and he becomes this crazy athletic beast who pedals madly and mows down anyone who gets in his way.
The lovely woman in the dinner picture below is his kind and supportive wife. She showed me the ropes for the first few legs of the race, which was greatly appreciated since had it not been for her, I might have ended up in Montana with my thumb up my ass.
Perhaps I should say that any wife (or husband) who endures a Lotoja rider is supportive. We should get a damn medal at the end, too.
See this guy below? The one on the right?
We will call him Doc Neurology, and he had the unfortunate luck of sitting right across from me during dinner. (I mentioned I was on fire, right?) He got plenty of inappropriate comments, questions, and stares from yours truly. I think I even picked food off his plate without asking permission. Luckily he has a sense of humor. Especially for putting up with questions from me like,
“If you had to choose between Janet Reno and Madeleine Albright for a session of hide-the-sausage, who would it be??”
He actually answered that.
This is the Piper you get when I haven’t escaped the house in awhile. Get a couple of drinks in me and I will attempt to feel some cyclist’s shaved legs while waiting at a crossing walk. Some cyclist I don’t know, that is. I will send my friends in other states insane text messages and bother them when they don’t answer me. I will walk around an almost-dry county in Utah with a red plastic Solo cup in my hand. Thank god Brad is used to these types of situations.
Here is my little stud muffin the morning of the race, 7:00am -
and here he is about 125 miles into the race, telling me THAT WAS A HARD LEG!
…and I was like NO KIDDING! Because if you would have tried to make me ride more than one leg of that race you probably would have found me hiding in the back of someone’s truck, hitching a ride to the finish line so I could totally cheat and ride across it after forty miles.
I was so extremely proud of Brad for keeping on when he wanted to stop. At one point he lamented, “I’m not having fun. This isn’t fun. I’d much rather be sitting in a bar in Jackson Hole with you, having a cold beer.”
And instead of saying, “HELLS YEAH, LET’S GO!!!”, I told him to eat a sandwich and just give it one more leg. He did not even mention quitting after that.
So here he is, after that tortuous last five miles, riding into Jackson with his crazy wife at the fence, PBR in her hand, hollering at him that he is a rock star and I want to have his babies:
I ran to the finish line and he gave me a huge, sweaty, weepy embrace even though I myself was a smelly, sticky mess with her hair in god-knows-what kind of updo on top of her head. We put his slippers on his feet and limped back to the car together, he with the sore ass and me with the bad back.
I was SO GLAD the whole endeavor was over and Brad finished what he started out to do. He’s done. And I’m pretty sure he felt the same way as he crossed the finish line. I would even guess he thought the same thing as I did when I ran the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon, which is, “THANK GOD I NEVER HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN.”
But who knows. Perhaps in seven months he will be breaking me the news that we’re doing it again.
So honey, if you do, I’m willing to hand you those turkey sandwiches again. Good job.