The seven circles of hell-A

August 11, 2008 § Leave a comment

Dear Los Angeles —

I’m leaving you. Forever. And you know something? It’s not me, it’s you. All you.

I am such a norcal girl.

Since I’m still processing the big picture of my race at Nationals, I thought I’d stick to the highlights of the trip there and back. In case anyone is wondering, I did not come home with any pandas of the week; what with having only thirty-four hours away from home (roughly sixteen traveling, four on the bike, three feeding, three goofing off and eight sleeping) I just didn’t have a chance. We (for the purposes of this report, “we” refers to my teammate Amanda and me) did eat lunch at a panda-themed restaurant on the way home, though.

(This photo has nothing to do with panda-themed restaurants and everything to do with the fact that we ran into not one but two sherbet products with “reckless” in the name — which consequently became the theme of the weekend.)

Anyway, the highlights. Oh yes. I suppose the highlights technically started on Monday, when I had a massage at a place down the street with a therapist who has a very different opinion on draping than I do. I’m a big fan of having my bits covered with a sheet when I’m on the table, she seemed to have a take it or leave it approach. And unfortunately a language barrier prevented me from telling her my ass was getting a little chilly. Rather than relaxing into the treatment* I spent my hour wondering how I was going to communicate that I did not in fact want a happy ending, should the need arise…

The highlight of the drive down was getting stuck somewhere on the 5, realizing that there was no way we would possibly get to our hotel with enough time to do a pre-ride before dark. After a brief discussion, we decided to pull off the freeway at the next exit and see if we could find somewhere to ride. Where we were was one exit down from Echo Park. After stripping down in a Food for Less parking lot we rode for a questionable half hour (way too many attack-guard dogs for me to feel like anything other than food — and I’m always going to be on the tender and juicy side) before having a little chat with some police officers, during which they suggested that we get back in our car and drive away. Preferably right then but definitely before dark.

Yessir. Right away, sir.

The rest of the night was relatively uneventful. Got to the hotel after dark, didn’t get to see the course, ate peanut butter sandwiches and yogurt for dinner. Tried to sleep on the air mattress that had to do as our “second bed”. Four forty-five the next morning always comes waaaaaaaay too soon, don’t you think?

After rushing through breakfast and hurrying out to the course, we discovered that all the running around didn’t matter quite as much as we thought since the guy who was supposed to open the gate must have missed his alarm. Lucky bastard. The cops had to come cut the lock (not the same cops we met on Friday).

The race…well, the race was great for me. I came out with a lot of insight & confidence, which might not make sense considering my placing. Also a lot of questions, which probably makes more sense. I tried to continue an inside joke I’d had with someone at Redlands and fell really flat. On a hill in the second lap I spent a few moments tucked into the space between Tina Pic, Kat Carroll, Amber Rais, Brooke Miller & Mara Abbott. I saw the front of the race (which might have been a mistake) and the back of the race (definitely a mistake). I’m happy with the good parts and have made my peace with the bad parts.

Then on the ride home, this guy was riding a minivan into the sunset:
And if that doesn’t make your weekend, I don’t know what will.

*To her credit, it was a good massage and I could feel the benefits once I had a little time in which I did not have to worry about a stranger’s hands accidentally ending up in my… actually, let’s not go there. Suffice to say the massage did its job.

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