Things I’ll Miss

I’m back in Oregon and the season is over at last.  I don’t want it to be, but the legs aren’t willing to go any further.  It seems an impossibility that I won’t get to race again for half a year.  An eternity.  I’ve gotten pretty addicted to cycling this past year, and there are some things that I’m already missing.

I miss the smell of carbon break pads burning up on a steep descent,
the taste of mold in old water bottles,
the subsiding of pain in the last 500 meters, when pain no longer exists,
six-hour days in the rain and snow, followed by two more hours on the trainer back at home,
the relief of the warm Arizona sun in mid December after weeks of cold Oregon rain,
mom jokes during Monday night workouts,
rubbing the rear wheel of an angry Belgian through a tight corner,
bone-jarring cobblestones,
getting home and pigging out after six-hour days in the cold,
Nectar Way torture,
Clydesdales in European fields,
goggle and helmet strap tan lines,
the content feeling of hearing the clash of metal on pavement behind you in the peleton,
the pain of numb toes regaining warmth in the shower,
ice baths in January,
pulling through when you’re so tired it’s suicide,
long van rides with teammates through eastern Oregon,
explaining to Gilad why you didn’t win,
compression sock life style,
living out of a duffle bag,
jamming earplugs in as far as they can possibly go, attempting to blot out the snoring in a crowded room,
jam on bread, jam on bread, jam on bread, more jam on bread, jam on bread,
the loud squeaking, chipped paint, old tires, crap chain, and untrue wheels of a four-month old bike,
the intoxicating flavor of jam on bread with Nutella, after weeks of just jam on bread,
the cruel length of five-minute uphill intervals on Fox Hollow,
Wolf Creek in the rain, snow, sleet, sun, hail, but mainly rain,
High Rev. mochas at gas stations right before bonking, (try it)
the first week with a new chamois,
discovering new calf veins,
crushing souls,
all day breakaways,
the rare victory.