PART 5: PUTTING THE SWIM BEHIND ME
ok, so this part is about the bike, THE LONGEST PART OF THE DAY, so consider yourself warned. does your wireless work in the bathroom?? you might wanna take the laptop in there with ya, maybe break this down into a few bathroom sessions...settle in folks, cuz y'all know how i like to be thorough....
out into the bike staging area, i run to the Powerbar banner and cut left heading for THE FUCKER. first order of business is to rip off the 2 extra gel flasks of Perpetuem and put them in the back of my jersey. for those of you who've been reading since the beginning, you'll recall that i experimented quite a bit with both sweet and savory flavors mixed into the plain flavored Perpetuem powder. i can't stand all the sweet, syrupy flavors for hours and hours, which means I CANNOT DO GELS, but alas the savory flavors that i liked the best required too much weight to ship in my bike case. i ultimately settled on two sweet flavors that i enjoyed enough and could alternate between flasks for a change in flavor from hour to hour. i brought the Mexican chocolate flavor of Abuelita that i was able to find in single serving hot chocolate powder packets. the second flavor was Chai Latte, also in powder form that i scooped into a small sandwich baggy for shipping in the bike case. it was a great mix between a Mexican hot chocolate drink and my very own Starbucks Chai Latte!! i'd also throw in some Luna Moons to mix up the flavor and consistency a bit more. if i don't, i'll get bored and quickly grow tired of getting in the much needed calories, and that would definitely spell D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R...
running with THE FUCKER now outta transition, i'm still stunned at my swim time, and i can't let it go. hands down my slowest swim EVAH. i'd been doing ocean swims since early March in all sorts of conditions, glassy, choppy, big ass surf AND strong currents. all swims indicated i could expect between a 1:15 and a 1:20 swim. this was the event i had in the bag!!! and i'm not the sort of cyclist who can make up time, rather, i JUST BARELY HOLD MY OWN, so there's no making up 18 MINUTES!!! now i'm running up to the mount line barefoot with my shoes clipped in the pedals, and there's a typical logjam of athletes all across the line and about 3 people deep. this just looks like a cluster fuck that i want no part of, so in my typical fashion, i run several yards past everyone up ahead and onto the bike course to finally mount off to the side. athlete's and spectators always look at me funny like i'm breaking a rule or something by running past them to mount. once again, remember, the mount line is only there to designate that you have to mount PAST IT. there's no rule that says you have to mount within 3 feet past it...
a'ight!!! THE FUCKER and i are now ONE. i slowly begin my pedal off to the side of the course as i put my feet into my shoes and velcro in. now it's time to keep it aero and spin at 85-90 rpm for 99% of the distance. once again, the laughter starts up. i'm smiling and laughing and just STILL CAN'T BELIEVE I'M DOING THIS!! hell, i'm gonna be here longer than most, the longest segment to my day for sure. who wants to frown that long??
the course is a two loop repeat that goes from the race village in Jurere Beach out onto the highway and towards downtown Florianopolis where we'll hit the 2 hills. at the far end of Downtown, we'll pass the one bridge that connects the island to the mainland. out on this point heading towards the south bay of the island, we'll do the crazy ass zig zag through two highway tunnels, then head back out of Downtown back towards the north bay and onto the 3rd section of the loop heading closer towards our hotel in Canasvieiras. this portion is more rural and while not the part of the course that has the 2 prominent hills, it's a long false flat that moves into an obvious gradual climb. depending on whether the wind picks up, this may be where i'll start to hurt.
down the main drag and over a few speed bumps, then a right turn out onto a small 1/4 mile section of cobblestones before we really head out onto the course. just as we're riding through the cobblestone section, a Team Disney racer comes by and recognizes my LA Tri Club top...
Team Disney guy: "GO LA TRI!!!"
me: " go Team Disney!! DO IT FOR WEDGIE!!!"
he turns around and grabs a glance at me:
TDG: "YOU KNOW WEDGIE??"
me: "who doesn't know Wedgie?? DO IT FOR WEDGIE!!!"
he chuckles and continues on past me.
ok, time to focus on my bike strategy. i've got my computer going and set to only show elapsed time, heart rate, and cadence. NO SPEED. my main focus right now is to watch my heart rate and relax enough into a spin to get it to come down after the excitement of coming outta the water and transition. nothing but water until my heart rate comes down to at least 140. this will be a sign that my stomach has calmed down and is ready to take in and digest calories. before we're off the cobblestones, a man points out that one of my bottles has just launched. wow, ok, that happened a little earlier than i expected. do i turn around a go back for it?? NO.WAY. too many peeps still coming at me on the cobblestones. again, another cluster fuck of a disaster waiting to happen if i turn around here!! i'd planned for this with extra baggies mixed with my Gatorade Endurance and Carbo Pro, and i still had plenty to get me well to the next aid station and beyond. NOPE. KEEP GOING!!!
first onto a short 2-3 mile stretch of rural road heading towards the highway. there are several of us leapfrogging around for position. i pass someone, two minutes later, they pass me, and this continues for a while, but i'm happy to let them all pass as i'm still wanting to spin easy and get my heart rate to come down. i'm careful to observe the drafting rules, as they warned that the referees would be strict. apparently IM Brasil and other foreign races are notorious for racers drafting, so if you're going for a goal like Kona, sometimes you gotta get in the game to hold your own. me though, not so much going for Kona, so i'll try to follow the rules. basically, you have to maintain a distance of 10 meters between your front wheel and the back wheel of riders in front of you. if you're gonna pass someone, you have 20 seconds to do it, and if you're being passed you have to stand down the 20 seconds and allow that person to pass you and reach the 10 meter limit before you can begin another pass. and just for good measure, all along the course, both on the rural roads AND the highway, there were several long strips of painted stripes spaced 10 meters apart. these weren't just for us to gauge our distance to other riders, but also a reference for the refs to quickly assess groups of riders and thereby penalize them with a yellow card if necessary. two yellow cards, and YOU'RE DISQUALIFIED. now i've never intentionally drafted off of someone in a race on the bike portion. i don't even like to train with others in a pace line situation. it just makes me too nervous, but here on race day, it's virtually impossible at some points to not be directly behind somebody just out of naturally being the same pace as them. did i wanna slow down to be out of their draft?? preferably not, especially when there's someone RIGHT ON MY ASS already. think they're gonna slow down behind me too?? not likely. and do i wanna speed up and try to pass this person in front of me?? can i keep up and STAY in front of them?? not likely. listen, man, i just wanna keep my spin going at 85-90 rpm and sit right where i am. this doesn't necessarily make me an intentional drafter...
now we're onto the highway towards downtown Florianopolis. we take the inside lane of the highway as traffic is open in the right lane. i'm spotting the shards of the plastic cones that have already shattered on the course. gotta watch out for these and not catch a flat, so im carefully steering THE FUCKER around the worst of it. heart rate is coming down, and i'm just about 20 minutes into the bike, so it's time to start taking in calories and continue taking them in until i'm done with the distance. i start with the Mexican chocolate flask. the full nutrition strategy is to eat and drink certain fractions of my flasks and drink bottles on the 15's and salt with one Salt Stick cap on the 30's. if it got really warm or humid or i started to cramp, i had extra salt caps and would bump up to two on the 30's. this was enough of an assignment to keep me focused for quite a while, but it was also time to start "THE SOUNDTRACK"...
THE SOUNDTRACK is a list of songs that show up in my big "workout" playlist on the ipod shuffle. in training, i NEVER listen to my ipod on the bike. it's just not safe, EVER, but i do use it quite a lot for the run as well as listen to my favorite triathlon and Portuguese related podcasts while driving or lifting weights or dreadmill running at the gym. on the bike, though, i like to keep myself focused and my cadence up by singing choruses of songs to myself over and over. thing is, there's a gamillion songs on my ipod, and when i'm on the bike, it's difficult to recall them outta thin air. so in the days before the race, i made a much shorter playlist of "The Power Songs," the tried and true songs with the choruses that just keep me going forward no matter what. i listened to it quite a bit during race week to ingrain the few songs i'd need out there into my conscious. i've changed the songs on the cassette player up top to THE SOUNDTRACK, and i'll share snippets of the verses and the choruses here and there throughout the rest of the report:
so we're gonna get this party started with a little Stevie Wonder, a little salsa/merengue/funk inspired ditty titled "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing."
Everybody needs a change
A chance to check out the new
But you're the only one to see
The changes you take yourself through
Don't you worry 'bout a thing
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, mama
Cause I'll be standing on the side
When you check it out...Yeah
When you get it off...your trip
Don't you worry 'bout a thing...Yeah
Don't you worry 'bout a thing...Yeah
and sometimes i'm not just singing my soundtrack quietly inside to myself. so i'm pluggin' along, holding aero pretty strong and i hit the first hill on the course. it's not too steep or too long, but when i come down the backside, i let THE FUCKER FLY!!! the roads are still kinda sketchy, with shards of plastic cones everywhere and clumped with crack seal in spots, so i'm letting loose and watching for crap in the road about 4 feet ahead of me. imagine how insane i must look to the others around me as i'm flyin' downhill and wailing my Stevie Wonder lyrics...heading up over the second hill which is a bit longer and steeper, i look down and realize that the metallic pen marks i made to set where my bullhorns go are misaligned and now my aerobars are sloping downwards. i must've not tightened the stem enough when i put THE FUCKER together out of the case. great, this is gonna cause some back pain if i don't fix it. i get to the top and have to pull over to the right, now standing THISCLOSE to the moving traffic in the right hand lane, to pull up on the horns and realign the metallic marks. damn, i hope this holds. i don't wanna have to keep stopping for this...
the course is marked with large, yellow painted icons marking the distance every 10k and 15k or so. luckily, i learned just before the race that 112 miles converts to 180k. you'd think that the number 180 instead of 112 would mess with me mentally, but when the markers come faster and more frequently, there's also a sense of major accomplishment!!! coming into Downtown now, the yellow icon reads "2ok," but first a quick out and back towards the University. there's activity on the streets, but there's really not a whole lotta cheering crowds anywhere. occasionally, i see a few clumps of kids, and it seems as though they're cheering for us, but soon i notice their collection of water bottles and realize they're just yelling out for us to throw ours to them. screw that!! i'm keeping these suckers for souvenirs!!
heading into Downtown now and this is where the road conditions are the smoothest on the entire course, so it's really an opportunity to stay fully aero and spin with no worries. the course is now winding along the Malecón waterfront. there are droves of people all out, but i get the sense they're more so out for their Sunday stroll than to really watch and cheer for anybody in particular. still, they look on with interest. lots of boats in the bay as well. lots to be distracted and inspired by, and still we're racing right along with the Sunday traffic which can get pretty heavy on this little island!!! the police and volunteers are doing a stellar job of keeping us all safe and in line with the cars, and at every aid station, every opportunity to wave and thank them, i do so with a beaming smile.
(thank you everyone!!)
Our particles are in motion
Sometimes we're not legible
but we're the same strange animal
Let them say our love is peculiar, don't care
There's only now, no ever after
we won't let this end in disaster
You are my twin, no, I will never go there
i'm now coming up on the second distinct section of the course heading past the Hercilio Luz Bridge towards the south bay of the island and the crazy ass maze of turns through the two highway tunnels. it had been explained to me on the course tour, and they even showed a powerpoint presentation with an animation of it at the athlete's meeting , but i was still confused as to how this was all gonna go down. once again though, the course was clearly marked, the volunteers were awesome, and i was making my way through the maze without much incident. this part is kinda fun because you get to pass others coming and going from opposite directions. i take a look at people who are now on the opposite side of the road, clearly behind me on the bike, and i get a new burst of confidence. there's dudes on way slicker rides than THE FUCKER, wearing aero helmets AND sporting disc wheels, and i know they're not on their second lap yet. no matter that soon they would pass me. right now, right at this second, I'M AHEAD OF THEM. all it really meant was that perhaps they're not the strongest swimmers, maybe they even had the unlucky fortune of catching a flat early on, but i'd held them off for more than 40k. right now, right at this second, I'M AHEAD OF THEM. i stop again out on this section to remix some more of my Gatorade Endurance and Carbo Pro, and soon i'm passing the 50k mark on the road and heading back towards Downtown. i start to get distracted with the marker i'd just passed. i start looking at my watch and trying to do the math.
"ok, so i'm roughly over a quarter of the way, and it took me such and such time to get here. so that time multiplied x4, well maybe i can get the bike done in under 7 hours!!! ok, so my swim sucked ass, but now if i can do the bike in under 7 hours, that still gives me just under 6 hours to come outta t2, run the marathon and come in under my goal of between 14:00 and 14:30. still, i have no idea how my run is gonna go, but i think i can pull it off in under 6. i can't remember the last time i ran a marathon in over 6 hours, but then again, i still don't know how i'm gonna feel, and i've never run a marathon after 114.4 miles of swim and bike first..."
back in Downtown, i start to see the lead pack of men coming in the opposite direction. now i'm distracted with looking out for Oli. i wonder where he is and whether he's on pace to his goal of breaking the 10 hour mark, but it's too dangerous to take my eyes off the road for too long. STAY FOCUSED!! next, i check in with THE FUCKER. yes, you read it right, i start talking to my ride...
"FUCKER you are so friggin' awesome!!! i can't believe how smooth you're riding after all we went through to get here. thanks for all the hours of training you've given me. thanks for hanging in today. please, let's just keep going strong, k?? no flats, let's just not get any flats, not today," then the laughing starts up again..."FUCKER, WE'RE REALLY HERE, AND WE'RE REALLY DOING THIS!! WE'RE DOING IRONMAN!!!"
now through Downtown and back up over the hills toward the 3rd section of the loop. i pass the 60k mark and my mind goes back to doing more math...
"ok, so now i'm exactly a 3rd of the way there. such and such time multiplied x3 and I'M DEFINITELY ON TRACK FOR A 7 HOUR BIKE!!! but can i keep this pace?? am i gonna hurt on the next lap?? and still 6 hours, 6 hours to come outta t2, run the marathon and come in under my goal of between 14:00 and 14:30. still, i have no idea how my run is gonna go, but i think i can pull it off in under 6. i can't remember the last time i ran a marathon in over 6 hours, but then again, i still don't know how i'm gonna feel, and i've never run a marathon after 114.4 miles of swim and bike first...STOP!!!! STOP WITH THE CALCULATIONS!! STAY.IN.THE.MOMENT!!"
from here on out, i refuse to do anymore math, barely look at my watch anymore. it's time to simply focus on my cadence, my heart rate, and make sure i'm still getting those calories in as scheduled. so far i haven't missed one feeding. ok, and it's time to get back to THE SOUNDTRACK up over these hills. let's move onto another song, shall we?? next up is a friend from my past, Jill Scott from Philly, with "Golden," a nice 70's funk inspired tune that inspires and brings out the inner afro in me...
Puttin' it in my song
Singin' loud and strong
Groovin' all day long
I'm takin' my freedom
Puttin' it in my stroll
I be high-stepping ya'll
Lettin' the joy unfold
Livin' my life like it's golden
Livin' my life like it's golden
Livin' my life like it's golden
Livin' my life like it's golden
Livin' my life like it's golden, golden
I'm holdin' on to my freedom
Can't take it from me
I was born into it
It comes naturally
I'm strummin' my own freedom
Playin' the God in me
Representin' His glory
Hope He's proud of me!
i'm GOLDEN for sure now, back up over the hills and onto the last leg of the loop. it's a false flat, wind isn't too strong, but this was the one part of the course we cut short on the tour earlier in the week. i just don't know how far this false flat goes before the turnaround, nor am i recognizing any of the people coming back from the turnaround in the other direction. i have no gauge of where i'm at in the pack or when this is gonna end. it's starting to mess with me mentally...
"FOR FUCK'S SAKE, HOW FAR DOES THIS GO?? WHERE'S THE FRIGGIN' TURNAROUND? I DON'T RECOGNIZE ANY OF THESE FOOLS COMING BACK. THEY ALL LOOK FAST. I MUST HAVE MILES TO GO!!! THIS SUCKS BALLS..."
ok, the mind is definitely playing tricks on me. STAY.FOCUSED.THIS TO SHALL PASS. NO.FREAKING OUT!!! i've gotta snap outta this. need to pull a doozy outta THE SOUNDTRACK to get me through this rough spot, and i've come up with the perfect answer. this one's by The Flaming Lips, titled "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)", and it does just that. it gives me POWER...
Would you do it?
If you knew all the answers and could give it to the masses
Would you do it?
No no no no no no are you crazy?
It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want
Because you cannot know yourself or what you'd really do
With all your power
With all your power
With all your power
What would you do?
along this leg, the scenery is more rural and people are out closer to the roads cheering. i get the sense that they think i'm a local Brasileira because they scream a little louder for me than they do for Mighty Whitey (he was French actually) who's just up ahead. i'll take all the local love i can get. it makes me smile again, laugh some more, and yell back..
FINALLY!!! i make it to the turnaround. turns out it was only about a 2 mile out and back, but without knowing where i was going, it felt like FOREVER!! and now it's the opposite of the false flat. i take this opportunity to use gravity and mash a little back to the turnoff off the highway. now, it's only about 4k to the halfway mark and special needs. i'm careful to watch out for more orange plastic shards and the HUGE BRICK SIZE REFLECTORS in the road. back over the short cobblestone section and getting closer to transition, the crowds are thick, and people are cheering in a gamillion different languages. on my left i hear a volunteer call out my number on a megaphone. i stop and wait for my special needs bag, but he ushers me along indicating that i still need to go to the end of the block, turnaround, and my bag will be ready on the return coming back in the other direction. DOH!! SUCH EFFICENCY!!! up at the end of the turn, the crowds are going apeshit, and I.AM.A.ROCKSTAR!! they must think i'm Brasileira, i'm certain they do, and then the announcer calls out my name and says i'm from The States, but i correct him...
the crowd goes apeshit again. they've adopted me, and now i'm one of them!!! coming around the bend i see the volunteers holding out several special needs bags, and i've already identified mine with the pink vinyl tape. sure enough, it's another HAWTIE who's got a hold of it. i grab it from him and slowly come to a stop to survey the goodies inside. i immediately go for the potato chips and the Snickers and damn they've never tasted so good!!! he walks with me, grabbing for THE FUCKER and tells me he'll hold my ride for me if i need to use the porta potty. YESSS!! my very own bike valet!!! so i hop into the porta potty, take a quick whizzz, and reapply more chammy butter to the bike shorts. so far no chafing, no fire crotch, but i'm already sittin' on the pot, so why not reapply for good measure?? outta the porta potty now and one last scan of the bag. i grab for more baggies of drink powder but leave the ton of other Luna Moons and Sports Beans in there as i still had a ton left in the bento box that i hadn't even eaten yet.
now back out onto the cobblestones for a short jaunt before heading out onto the highway again. i don't wanna launch another bottle here, so i slow down a bit and take this opportunity to check in with myself, see how i'm doin' physically..
ass chafe?? nope.
THE SASCROTCH?? holding up. nothing major.
feet?? cool and dry.
quads?? feeling it, but holding up.
hammies?? same as above.
lips?? could use some bert's beeswax back in t2.
miraculously, i'm still in good shape. could i hold up the whole way? was i gonna slow down on the second loop?? STOP IT!! STOP IT!! STAY.IN.THE.MOMENT.
heading back out for the second loop, i'm now recharged by the crowds. there's an advantage to the 2 loop format of the course, and even if i may start feeling the fatigue setting in, there's no mystery to this second time around. i know which parts are gonna suck more than others, and i know which parts i can rock on. i'm back out onto the highway now, and I SPOT OLI!!! he's flying, and by my calculations, has about 20k to go. at this point, he's well on his way to hitting his goal!!! but shit, he's almost done, and i'm JUST heading out for the second loop.
the pack is definitely thinning now, and i'm not passing anyone anymore. i wanna hit those downhills again. i need to coast a little. i also need to switch up THE SOUNDTRACK. seeing Oli has inspired me to channel a little Brit punk number from Ian Dury titled, "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll", a sly, Cockney pub-rock anthem that's such a nod to the old me and such the antithesis of the lifestyle i've adopted to get me to today...
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Is very good indeed
Every bit of clothing ought to make you pretty
You can cut the clothing, grey is such a pity
I should wear the clothing of Mr. Walter Mitty
See my tailor, he's called Simon, I know it's going to fit
Here's a little piece of advice
You're quite welcome it is free
Don't do nothing that is cut price
You know what that'll make you be
They will try their tricky device
Trap you with the ordinary
Get your teeth into a small slice
The cake of liberty
i've made it back over the hills and back into Downtown now, heading towards the University again. i'm now leapfrogging with a few women i've never seen before. they musta been way behind me and now they've caught up. WTF?? i must be slowing down. WTF?? i feel the sudden urge to challenge and surge past them, but i know what a stupid move that would be. along the Malecón again, and the wind has picked up a little bit. nothing too scary, but i'm definitely feeling a little more resistance. no worries. i just gotta keep my spin going, and that might require a smaller gear. i'm definitely letting these women slip ahead of me now, and it's REALLY MESSING WITH ME...
"i'm slow. i suck, and this whole thing is going south now... stop. stop. STOP.IT. you knew there were gonna be parts that sucked. so you're in one right now. it's not gonna suck forever, so JUST KEEP SPINNING!!! THIS.TOO.SHALL.PASS..."
i'm a little low now. i need some help. i need Jimmy Cliff and "You Can Get It If You Really Want." notice, i've changed up the spelling of the lyrics a bit...
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must TRI, TRI and TRI TRI and TRI,
you'll succeed at last I know it, listen
Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It's the sweeter the victory, now
You can get it if you really want - I know it
You can get it if you really want - don't I show it!!!
You can get it if you really want
so don't give up now
Jimmy Cliff is getting me through this. THE FUCKER is getting me through this. I AM GETTING ME THROUGH THIS. the two women are way up ahead and out of view now, and there's nothing i can do about it. gotta race my own race, and right now i'm not racing, I'M JUST SURVIVING. but i AM surviving, and i'm now at the crazy ass tunnels again. they give me a little protection from the wind, and i'm happy for the shelter. it's getting harder and harder to get the calories in, not because my stomach is rejecting anything, but i'm definitely sick of the Perpetuem. i switch it up to Luna Moons for a feeding, and it seems to break up the monotony a little. turning around at the first tunnel and heading towards the second tunnel, i happen upon another Team Disney racer. i recognize this guy now. i've seen him at some of the Wednesday morning ocean swims in Santa Monica and of course at Nautica Malibu where they dominate the entertainment industry challenge every year. it's Nabil, and he's here for the second year in a row, and he says the winds are nothing like last year which makes me feel a little better, but just a little, and then i feel like a total wuss. seriously peeps, I DO NOT LIKE THE WIND, not even a little breeze. i'd just assume ride straight uphill a 100 miles in the big ring only than have to head into any wind. we ride side by side for a little bit which is TOTALLY AGAINST THE RULES, but it's nice to have a conversation out loud for a second and not have to sing songs in my head. Nabil starts to move ahead and i wish him well.
he laughs and is on his way to the next tunnel turnaround. i'm not far behind him, and we wave now heading in opposite directions. i make the turnaround and head one last time in the opposite direction for home. this is it. i just gotta make it to the furthest turnaround, and then from here on out, i'm pretty much heading home!! just then i come up upon one of the women who'd passed me earlier, and she's throwing a water bottle. she's not in a designated throw away zone, nor does she notice the ref sitting on the motorcycle to the side of the road. OH SNAP. YELLOW CARD. she looks totally bewildered and tries to explain that she was throwing it to the kids, but the ref isn't buyin' it and continues to hold the yellow card in her face. now she's gotta sit and wait there 5 minutes...
THESE REFS ARE SERIOUS AS A HEART ATTACK!! there's no way i'm throwin' those kids any of my bottles now. almost to the turnaround and i see the other woman who had passed me earlier. i was certain they were both gone for good, but i can see that she's slowing down now too. maybe not enough for me to catch her, but she's not as far ahead as i thought. see how this day can switch up on you??
i'm at about the 50k mark of the second loop and heading for home. i'm definitely feeling the fatigue, maybe even slowing down a bit, but nothing worse than anything i've ever felt on any of my longest training rides. just gotta get back through Downtown and up over those hills ONE LAST TIME while keeping it spinning comfortably. i need a kick ass fast song right now. even if i'm not going fast in this wind, i need a song that makes me feel fast. i can't believe i haven't called on my boy PRINCE all day!!! nothing does it for me like Prince, and there's no bigger Prince fan than me out here today. i mean, i did faint at his concert and all. it's not one of his hit singles, but a kick-ass number nonetheless. the beat is super syncopated in layers of drums and hand claps that make me wanna dance across a room all crazy like James Brown. it's titled "Tamborine" and in true Prince fashion, it's straight up dirty, but it's makin' me feel like i'm flyin' even though i'm not...
Prettiest thing in life I've ever seen
Close my eyes what's it like,
What's it like inside your tamborine?
Oh my God, there I go
Falling in love with the face in a magazine (uh oh, not again)
All alone by myself
Me and I play my tamborine
Long days, lonely nights
Long days, lonely nights
"ok, here come the hills. come on FUCKER, let's just get this done. slow and steady, i don't care. let's just get this done, k??"
heading up the hills, the traffic is building up in the right lane. car after car all the way up. they look out there windows, some blaring some spicy tunes, some of them waving their hands, an occasional gratuitous honk, but most of them looking at us like we're insane and we're slowing their whole day down. i'm starting to catch up to a group of about 6 guys now. these are grown men with names like "Rodrigo" and "Paulo" and "Gustavo" on their bibs, and i am stuck in a clump with them going up the second hill. i'm tired, i don't wanna push it or mash up this hill, but i can't get out of this clump. we're still against the bumper to bumper traffic in the right lane, so i can't see that a ref is gonna come up on us. fuck it. i'm stayin' put right behind Rodrigo and Paulo and the rest of his hombres can sit on my ass too for all i car. can they really get us for drafting going UPHILL?? almost to the top, and we're now leapfrogging with a public bus in the right lane. there's a bunch of kids sitting in the back and they go NUTS when they see me. i think that they must see this woman who's hangin' in there with all these guys and they think i'm cool. at least that's what i wanna believe. hey, it's helping. they slide the windows open and halfway hang their bodies out the side of the bus to high five me. they start chanting my name. not Rodrigo or Paulo or Gustavo. MY NAME!!!
i wait to see if any of the boys will attack, and of course they do. these are LATIN MEN AFTER ALL!!! so i just fall back into the middle of the pack. i slowly begin trying to pass one or two of them, cuz, well, as hot as Rodrigo's ass is, i'm just sick of being behind it, and i'll be damned if i get a yellow card. but the boys are relentless and insist on challenging me at every move. really? cuz from where i'm sittin', it's pretty obvious to me that we're not in the contention for any Kona slots here. are you gonna get an award for beating this one girl?? FOR BULLYING THIS ONE GIRL?? this is stupid. i'm nearly done. i'm almost there, and i still have to run a marathon after this. I.DO.NOT.WANT.TO.BLOW.UP. JUST LET ME OUTTA HERE ALREADY!!!
this definitely evokes a new song from THE SOUNDTRACK. it's all i can do not to fly off the handle and throw something or spit at these macho fucks. really, I'M.THAT.PISSED... a little American Rock classic from Tom Petty from a solo stint without The Heartbreakers, but it still appears on their Greatist Hits Collection. it's titled "I Won't Back Down." it's not even a song that originally appeared on THE SOUNDTRACK, but the beat is mellow, slow, and steady, and the lyrics will help me calm down, help me find my resolve...
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down.
Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground and I won't back down
we're just a few miles from heading into the last segment of the loop, the false flat. nobody has moved, and i'm right in the middle. suddenly i sense something, a presence, to my right. i can hear the engine of a motorcycle and it's hovering within earshot. i'm afraid to turn my head, afraid to take my eyes off the road when i'm in the middle of the pack. it's so dangerous. but a few more seconds, and the motorcycle has not passed us. it's still hovering.
i quickly look over my shoulder and right into the eyes of the ref through the dark visor of her helmet. yes, i'm pretty certain it was a female ref. i gave her a look to say, "what can i do?? these fucks won't let up!!!" but the look back was something like "you better make a move or you're ass is mine..." and here i was in the middle of the pack looking like the worst offender. so i stand up outta the saddle for a few good mash pedals to ramp up the speed. then i tuck into aero, hold a big gear and pedal as fast as i can to get outta the soup. i'm pedaling for dear life now, and i'm feeling it. this hurts. it feels like a night doing intervals on the trainer at home. these stupid fucks are ruining my day with this macho shit. i fiercely pedal for about 10 more seconds and then look back to see if i'm holding my own, but THERE'S NOBODY THERE!!! SWEET BABY JESUS!!! back in the distance, i can see one lone guy, but then behind him the motorcycle is stopped with the other 4 guys and they're all flailing their arms. OH SNAP. YELLOW CARD. guess, when i took off, the rest of the pack didn't disperse enough. this makes me channel my inner Faye Dunnaway in Mommy Dearest...
now up onto the false flat, and i know i have to spin easy to let my legs recover from "the showdown" but i'm good. really, i'm good. what, maybe 20 more minutes?? a half hour?? 45?? no matter. i just have to spin spin spin and stay the hell away from anymore bullies. must keep feeding. time to switch from the thick pancake batter Perpetuem to all Luna Moons now for easiest digestion. gotta keep salting. keep drinking. don't lose focus now. what song do i wanna bring it in with?? somethin' feel good. somethin' fast?? no, instead i opt for a slower tune that i like to cool down with. it's time to cool down. it's time to calm the heart rate and get ready to be upright again. this one comes by way of England and another super fav of mine, David Bowie. it's titled "Heroes." it's got a slow, driving 4/4 beat i remember well as one of the first easy songs i learned to play on the drums in high school. the guitars and horns are classically layered like an early 50's rock tune. it reminds of something you'd hear during the rolling credits of a killer flick, so it's perfect as the rolling credits to the end of my ride. Bowie starts off kinda low with his voice, but by the end he's screaming and wailing with everything he's got. kinda how i feel now. i'm exhausted, but not too far gone, and i'm gonna scream and wail my way to the end of this bike course with everything i have left. but it's gonna have to be a slow drivin' scream and wail...
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be Heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day
I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes, just for one day
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
coming off the highway now, and i've got enough smile left to flash a sweet shaka for the camera. that's gotta be a good sign right?? really, i think i'm good. i think i've played this smart. just about another mile now, and the hardest part is done. at least i hope it's the hardest part...
i'm coming down the main drag, past the Endurance Sports hospitality house where all the friends and family are parked on the lawn and cheering with everything they can shake, rattle or roll. now it' just about 200 yards and up over a few speed bumps, so i start to sit up a little and take my feet outta my shoes. OH MAN THAT FEELS SO GOOD...
"we did it, FUCKER, we did it...but i'm so afraid to stand up..."