September 20, 2006

Lurnin' the Hard Way

Things I’ve learned recently:

If you put a bag of frozen corn down the garbage disposal, it’s probably not necessary to wait until it has thawed out to run the disposal. In fact, it’s probably best not to, because you’re likely to forget about it and then the next time you walk into your kitchen you will briefly believe that someone has just stepped barefoot out of a swamp and jammed their unwashed toes up your nostrils.

If you’re screening potential renters for your newly constructed basement apartment, you might want to ask them if they raise snakes. Granted, this might be a bit difficult if they happen to be deaf, but trust me, it’s worth the effort to write it out.

If you’re going to participate in a mountain bike race held on a ski hill over a period of 24 hours, get your flabby ass in shape first. And if you’re not going to do that, if you’ve failed to prepare yourself in any other way whatsoever, at the very least try to avoid eating a can of Spaghetti-Os just prior to the first lap.

I rode the 24 Hours of Afton mountain bike race for the first time in 2001, and I distinctly remember putting on a pair of cold sweat-and-dew soaked biking shorts and almost simultaneously promising myself I would never, ever, ever ride in that race again. I like riding and I like racing, but the 24-hour thing just ain’t my cup of tea. Unfortunately, I am an idiot, and an idiot with a short memory at that. And so, at the end of last month, I found myself once again pulling on a pair of very uncomfortable shorts and wishing I, a) was in better shape, b) wasn’t riding the 24 Hours of Afton, c) could get the taste of Spaghetti-Os out of my mouth, d) all of the above.

It’s d.

To be fair, I appreciated this race much more than the one I did in 2000. The trail was pretty sweet, the weather was decent, and our team wasn’t pretending to compete, which is good, because we’re not even remotely capable of it. But it’s still nice to ride well, to ride a fast lap now and then, and I like to put forth an effort. But something besides my beer gut was really slowing me down: a cramp in my left ass cheek.

It wasn’t one of those full on cramps that totally debilitates you, but rather one of those dull almost-ready-to-go cramps that might actually get worse if you stop pedaling and fully straightened your leg. But still . . . ouch. I was pretty uncomfortable until the cramp migrated from ass cheek to lower back. That’s when I decided to skip a lap or two in favor of lying very still and occasionally gulping fistfuls of ibuprofen. It’s amazing how a cramp in your lower back can really dampen the fun of going without sleep for a day.

Anyway, eventually my back loosened up and I rode a couple more laps. And I’m fully aware that my ass wouldn’t have cramped if I were in great shape. But I’m not, and it did, and I can only hope that this particular pain in the ass sticks in my memory long enough to keep me from doing it all over again next year. At least the riding and not sleeping part. The Spaghetti-Os weren’t really that bad.


karla said...

I hear ya about the cramping -- I got off my bike after 12 hours at 9-mile, and I couldn't stand up straight. Then when I did stand up straight, I couldn't bend over again, and my whole lower back was one huge cramp. It was really really difficult to shower, not to mention even sit down. Schnikies. But I'm sure I'll do it again.

Chadley said...

Funny, isn't it? Even when I was posting that entry I was thinking that if my buddy asked me to do it again next year I probably would.

Something tells me you were a touch more competitive at your 24-hour event than my team and I were. Maybe it's the part where you spent 12 hours on your bike before suffering. My suffering started at 12 minutes! So? How'd the rest of your race pan out?