You may remember a post a few years ago when my family first rode on the Michigander. I met a tall handsome stranger, who rode a bike, somehow looked good in spandex, and had abs that were pretty much able to be eaten off of. He was so pretty – the only issue was that he thought I was a high schooler.
The next year, returning to the scene of the BikeGuy:
“I remember you,” BikeGuy tells me. “Not a newbie anymore.”
“Second time around,” I respond. I can’t stop staring at his face.
Last year, he was scruffy, with shaggy hair and a bandana. This year, his hair is a little more tame, but…
He has grown a fabulous beard.
“You’re tanner than last year.” He’s scrutinizing me. “And your hair is longer. And your kid is huge.”
I nod. “Yes. But You. You’ve grown a beard.”
He gives me a long stare. Maybe the beard comment was inappropriate somehow.
“You’re a hockey fan, aren’t you?” He asks.
I realized then, that I was known…I was remembered. It was the next best thing to being famous. Well, almost. Because it was only one person. But it was a step. And it was awesome.
That one moment where all of a sudden I learned to fly for a nano second…before learning how to crash, slide on my head, obtain armfuls of road rash, bruise myself, and have a bike crash into me.
You might remember this. Why might you remember this? Well, one, because I blogged about it last year. Two, because now, I’m not famous. I’m infamous.
I realized this again when I posted earlier in the week about the McKayla incident. You know, where she didn’t get the gold medal, and made a face, and now is not impressed with anything ever? Well, congratulations to McKayla, because along with winning a gold medal in the team competition and a silver in the vault, you have won notoriety on the interwebs for all sorts of face-making-meme-forming debauchery! Your prize has already arrived in the form of millions of people talking about your scowl.
Let’s go back to the Michigander 2k12.
We’ve just arrived. I’m determined to finish this year, especially after learning that the scene of my fall last year was only 10 miles from the finish line.
…10 miles that I apparently could have finished. Yes, I was bruised. Yes, I was bleeding. Yes, my bike was missing a few spokes and my brake was bent a little. But I could have finished.
So, there I am. I’m preparing to bike the entire trip, and not fall or injure myself or really anything that involves not crossing the finish line. Because, yeah, the Michigander has a finish line.
I’ve even gone all out. I am in spandex. I have my bike shorts on, my multiple Michigander wristbands. My bike and helmet are color coordinated, even though that kind of just happened in the past few years when I got my new bike. I’m so pumped and ready to go when another person on the tour sees me and stops me.
She grabs me by the shoulders and looks into my eyes. I remember this woman, but I can’t place where from.
“The last time I saw you,” she begins. “You were flat on your back on the side of the road.”
I laugh. “Yes, that sounds like me. Took a bad fall last year.”
Her eyes are huge now. “I know! I saw that fall! I saw the whole thing! I’m so glad that you’re back!”
…and then she hugs me.
Fast forward. It’s a couple days from the end of the trip and we’re about to stop at a SAG stop loading up with water and twizzlers. This SAG is run by a family that volunteers for the tour. I remember some of the them from the years before. We arrive and I’m filling up my water bottle by the family.
“Do you remember me?” the mother asks.
I nod. “Yeah, this is our third year now biking.”
“Yes,” she says. “But you were the one, weren’t you?”
“Um,” I shrug. “I’m the mom. It’s my kid in the trailer that’s getting pulled by the tandem.” I figure that’s what they’re referring to.
“No, no.” she clarifies. “It was you last year that we helped? You took that spill.”
“Oh,” I fake a smile. I’m pretty sure my face is purple from embarrassment. “Yup. That was me. I still have the bruises.”
Fast forward again. The family has stopped so Boo can take a pee break and I’m bitching about my new found fame. An older couple pulls up and stops with us and hears me complaining. They laugh at all the right points in my story, and laud me for not falling this time around.
“You can do it,” the woman encourages me. “Show them all that you are better than when you fell off the bike!”
“We will see you at the finish line!” her husband adds.
One last fast forward. We’re on the last mile of the trip. I haven’t fallen. I am team awesome. My dad and I are debating how to cross the finish line. We want to find a way to pull a Lance Armstrong and throw both hands in the air.
“-Downside being, that if you throw your hands up too quickly and get off balance, you could fall.” I reason this out.
“That wouldn’t be a very good way to end the tour.” My father tells me.
“It’d be a good photo opp though,” I say. “Especially if you throw your hands up. Because you AND Mom AND the tandem would all just go flying.”
“Don’t you dare go no handed,” my mom interjects from the back of the tandem.
We crossed the finish line. No one fell. As I was enjoying my piece of victory cake and my glass of awesomeness lemonade, someone else comes up to me and pats me on the back. Everyone is congratulating everyone else so I figure it’s just something like that.
“Hey, you made it!” The woman cheers me.
I give her a thumbs up as my mouth is full of cake.
“And you’re upright this year too!”
Oh, fuck you.