on friday i had a two hour bike ride on my schedule. i did olympic distance training all year so i didn't spend a ton of time in the saddle, at least compared to what i was used to. over the past five years i have traversed the pacific coast highway and all the canyons that branch off of it untold times. i have found everything on the p.c.h., from my cycling legs to my love.
with that in mind, j. and i set out on friday to spend a little time along the coast.
i first met j. when i was looking for a bike box to rent ... in order to visit a fella i was seeing in minneapolis. j. and a friend of his owned a bike box and would rent it out to members of our triathlon club. he and i exchanged a few emails about the specifics. a little witty banter was thrown in along the way and like the good internet sluether that i am, i googled and queried and found a few pictures of him. he was cute. the guy in minneapolis wasn't serious and what was a little harmless flirting?
i went to pick up the bike box (in my best cute outfit that was supposed to look like i wasn't trying to look cute ... that i just naturally looked like that all the time -- yeah right!) j. was as cute in real life as on the internet and in email, but alas as we chatted, he mentioned his girlfriend and where their place was and all i heard past that was blah, blah, blah.
i went on my way ... no harm no foul ... i've got a plane ticket to minneapolis.
fast forward a few months when j. and i run into each other on a club ride ... along the p.c.h. see where this is leading (painfully slowly) to?
we talk, i mention a coach i'm working with, this and that. we part ways. we run into each other on a couple more rides. he emails me about the coach i had metioned, etc., etc., etc. by this time i have a new l.a. boyfriend. j. and i start to ride together. i'll never forget one ride (again along the p.c.h.) where we played that game "friend, f*** or marry) where you pick three people and the other person has to designate if they are someone they'd want to be friends with, have sex with or marry (something like that). we named people in our triathlon club, celebrities ... anyone we could think of. the conversation somehow got on to kirsty ally and while i no longer remember what was so funny, suffice it to say i was laughing so hard i almost learned how to pee on the bike that day.
time passed, we continued to ride together. we were friends. we were training buddies.
i went to italy to race at duathlon worlds that spring and again, i used j.'s bike box, but by now he was my friend and he gave it to me gratis. what a guy! i did well at worlds and i swear my friend j. was more proud of me than i was!!!
fast forward, again, a few months when everyone (of the two of us) is now single and whamo! we weren't anymore. i'll spare you the details ... but will mention that there was a pivotal moment when j. impressed me with his mad craft skills by making me a rose out of a cocktail napkin.
two months later j. and i decide to train for ironman lake placid. fun, great, exciting ... what an adventure. new love, new challenges. okay, i don't know about you, but training for an ironman with your significant other ... while convenient ... is also like pouring miracle gro on any issues that may be between you. endless 7 hour rides in the cold, the heat, the hills and yes, along the p.c.h. is bound to bring out the best and worst in a person. just watch out when it brings out the worst in both of you ... at the same time!
in the end i was impressed with how we managed to navigate such uncharted waters for the two of us. neither of us had done an ironman before and we were so newly together. we experienced everything along the p.c.h. we endured heat, hail, bonks requiring immediate consumption of mountain dew, water buffalo (well, that was off of the p.c.h, but still), untold flats, numerous arguments about pace and heart rate. i was more immature about that stuff than i care to admit. i was scared out of my mind to be training for an ironman and i wanted j. beside me.
we trained and trained and trained. we had fun, we laughed, we were challenged. we made it through the training and finally to lake placid. our final bike splits we TWO SECONDS apart. i kid you not. clearly we were well suited ... on and off the bike.
so as we spun along the p.c.h. on friday, after a 7 month hiatus (j. raced another ironman last april and hasn't wanted to touch his ass to the saddle since) i relived all those times together. i looked at j., his helmet slightly askew, the curve of his back when he was in the aero bars, the back drop of the ocean. i remembered all the times i nearly ran him off the highway as i shouted "dolphins!", i remembered how many times we laughed heartily and cried pathetically. i remembered how he would tell me that he believed in me and that i was gonna do great at ironman.
as we rode along, the day after thanksgiving, i thought about how much we have shared and about how grateful i am for that day, 3+ years ago, when i inquired about a bike box for rent.
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