On Sunday I went on a bike ride. And came home with slightly less dignity than before. Here’s the story:
Let’s say for the sake of argument I started on Sunday with a dignity score of zero.
I met up with a local club for a ride. 10 am start. I leave home at 9, to ride the ten miles to the start. I repeatedly get lost. I ride through neighborhoods with my glove hanging out from under my chinstrap so I can operate my phone to get directions while riding.
I arrive at the ride start at 10:02. Everyone’s there and waiting. [Aileen note: Because in Germany, you arrive exactly at the time asked, or five minutes before. No other options.] They say hi, and I spit out…German word-salad because…well. I’m not entirely sure if you know how it goes functioning in a foreign language. But for me, most interactions require a little bit of preparation to go smoothly. You have to dredge up the words and phrases you might need from your hard-drive and put them into RAM, as it were. I hadn’t done that. Boom: word salad.
Start riding. Don’t crash into anyone. Hold appropriate distance. Make the right hand signals for (frequent) potholes. Generally act like I know what I’m doing while riding a bike.
Introduce myself to a few other riders and hold halfway decent conversation auf Deutsch for ten-ish minutes. They seem to like me! They might even be impressed with my German!
After what is termed a “Pinkel-Pause” I get engaged in a conversation with a lawyer at United Technologies who wants to tell me about the 6 months he lived in Manhattan. We’re having a good time chatting so I fail to pull off the upwind side (where you work harder), despite the fact that both the wind and the pace are getting faster. So basically I’m fatiguing myself, without really noticing because I’m so busy chatting.
Hit a 2% uphill grade. Suffer complete and utter explosion. Try to shift to little ring, realize my fingers are numb because I only have light gloves on and it’s 37 degrees outside, and I can’t feel anything to try and shift. Nice guy called Marcus has to come back and pull me along back to the pack. I last another 10 minutes desperately hiding out of the wind behind the biggest guy I can find.
Completely lose every last semblance of energy I ever had. All I can see is the wheel in front of me. It’s Marcus. Everyone else is long gone. I think we’re going about 10 mph, but I don’t know for sure. Eventually he pulls over, and pulls a marshmallow out of his pocket and hands it to me, explaining five times that I’m to split it half and chipmunk it into my cheeks but DON’T CHEW!! This works shockingly well. I limp along at a slightly increased pace the last 5k to the start.
They point me in the direction of the train station, and tell me that I have to come back again next week so that I can get faster. They’re very nice and pretend that I haven’t made a complete fool of myself.
So…uh. Let’s be honest. My dignity is demolished like this every time I leave the house. This was only a little bit worse than usual. So, of course, I’m sharing my shame with you, because how else to make it better?