Thursday, March 18, 2010

Midday Encounters on the Keystone Trail

Force reps today. Blech. The Max Testa lexicon taught to me by Judd van Sickle at UC Davis called these kinds of intervals "SFR," which is an esoteric acronym for something in Italian. Basically, you climb a moderate hill (or ride against headwind while towing two small children in a Burley trailer) at a low cadence like 50-60 rpm. While pedaling, you maintain a heart rate below ME, or medium endurance / zone 3. I had to crank out about six of these, so I rode into the southerly wind on the Keystone.

During one of my recovery breaks, a guy in a Midwest Cycling Community kit rode by me going the other direction and yelled out, "E.O.B!" I'd never seen him before in my life.

That nickname has followed me since high school. I was on the editorial board of the schools nascent literary magazine. Yep, I was English dork and proud of it. We read a lot of submissions every semester, and attached to each one was a cover letter with three columns: name, yes/no/maybe, and comments. I used to initial my name as EOB, and the name stuck.

A high school friend also went to Rockhurst for college and imported it there. How it followed me into my early twenties life back in Omaha escapes me, but it was pretty common then, too. My theatre friends may have learned it from a girl I knew in high school. I thought when I went to Davis for grad school it would stop there, but the race director of the Davis Bike Club used to address emails to everybody by using their initials, and he used EO'B on a lot of correspondence that got cc'd to the whole team, so there you go. "E." "EOB." "Fat ass." I answer to all of them.

I also had a nice encounter with a group of folks who seemed to be savoring the first nice day of the year. As I rolled south and tried to finish a really hard interval, I came up behind a group of 10 or so pedestrians strung out all over the width of the trail. I gritted my teeth in frustration and reminded myself to be polite,  but as I rolled up to them, I saw that two of the group's members were wearing matching polo shirts and trying to shepherd their companions along. One looked back at me and apologized as she tried to steer everyone over to the right side of the trail so I could pass. I was going so slowly by then that I was almost in a track stand, so I told her, "No problem. I've got plenty of room and I'm in no hurry." 

The remaining eight pedestrians were so engrossed by the brilliant sky, the flowing water in the creek, the windswept grass, and the feel of the sun on their faces that they cared not a whit about moving to one side of the trail. I weaved between them, trying to let them know I was passing, but only one looked at me. Her smile literally extended across her entire face, and she waved with every muscle in her upper body as she did a little skip dance with her feet. After I rolled by, I turned and waved back over my shoulder before I accelerated away. I think I heard her say, "Faaassst."

The next time I hear somebody use the word "retarded' in a pejorative way, they're going to get an earful.

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