February 25, 2002
Temporary Cool

God, I'm cool.

Did you see how cool I looked just now, whipping down the south side of the bike bridge? Did you see how fast I was riding? How strong I looked? How steady?

How impossibly, magnificently COOL?

That bike bridge used to be the worst part of the whole Bay Farm Island ride for me  ... my own personal Mt. Everest  ... but on this sunny Sunday morning I crested that hill as easily as a toddler maneuvering her Big Wheel up and down the driveway. And I did it in fourth gear, forcryingoutloud, without feeling winded or flushed or praying for the mercy of sudden gear failure. I even passed a couple of slower riders on the trail. Did you see me do that? "Passing on your left," I announced magnanimously,  allowing them plenty of time to make way for a superior rider. 

Now I'm cruising along at a nice brisk pace, with my husband at my side, our buttercup yellow jackets gleaming in the sunlight. I feel strong and sleek and fleet of foot (or pedal).  I am a gazelle. I am a zephyr. I am a high-tech/low-maintenance riding MACHINE. I am a Wheaties box, just waiting to happen.

That is, until The Perfect People pass us.

I don't even hear them approaching until they're right behind me. "Passing on your left," says Mr. Perfect Person, in that courteous but vaguely condescending tone of voice that says Outta the way, Rookie.  Two seconds later they're gliding past us, Mr. and Mrs. Perfect Person, in matching purple jackets and black Spandex and those weird misshapen helmets that look like they've melted in the microwave, both of them riding bikes that probably cost as much as my first car. (Hell: they probably cost as much as my first AND my last car, put together.) They're riding side by side, in perfect synchronization: two lean, limber athletes at the top of their form. As they pass, they nod politely at David and me.  Nice day for a ride, isn't it?  They seem to be expending no energy at all, yet within seconds they've passed us and are a hundred feet down the trail. 

And the most galling thing about it? They look about ten years older than David and me. If they were ten years younger than we are, I could at least console myself by hating them. As it is, I'm stuck both hating AND admiring them.

The bastards.

Two minutes ago I was the coolest person on the bike path. Now all of a sudden I'm sweating like a refrigerated banana, my nose is running, both of my shoes are untied, and my nimble red Schwinn looks -- and rides -- like a little old lady's bike again. 

Plus I look like a clown in this stoopid yellow jacket.

God, I suck.

OK.  I don't suck as much as I did a year ago, maybe. A year ago, my idea of 'exercise' was taking the stairs instead of the elevator, twice a month. (More often if we had a fire drill.)  A year ago, the Schwinn wasn't even a twinkle in David's eye yet. A year ago, the only difference between me and a big inert lump of flab sitting in a computer chair was ... well ... there WAS no difference between me and a big inert lump of flab sitting in a computer chair. My suckage level has definitely dropped a few points since then. But as I chug along the bike trail now  ...  watching The Perfect People zoom down the bike trail ahead of us until they're little more than two purple dots on the horizon  ...  I realize that I have a long, long way to go to achieve that level of cool.

1,913.6 miles, for starters.

Still: just for a minute there I was pretty darned cool ... wasn't I?

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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

yes, but do THEY have 'hello kitty' stickers on those weird misshapen helmets?
i don't THINK so.