Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Guy

I wrote a series of articles for a prominent triathlon magazine awhile back for a column idea that my editor liked. Obviously, he and I were the only ones who thought a little light- heartedness was due in the world of Multi-sport publishing. The column went no where. Seems the big publishers believe that if its not about getting faster, going longer or getting stronger then its not an interesting read. I think its not all about the training. Here's one of the articles that I wrote for this series.
A really weird thing happened the other day. I was off on my regular Saturday ride with my regular Saturday riding folks (except Doug; he’s injured – Doug, we miss you) and about 10 miles into the ride, Nancy asked me if I had asked “the Guy” if he wanted to ride with us. I thought about asking “the Guy”. I had seen him and talked with him several times the day before. I even picked up the phone at 7am and started to dial his number. I thought about saying something like, “hey, the sun’s out so get your butt out of bed and meet us at Sunset and PCH at 8”. But I didn’t. I didn’t even finish dialing.

I told Nancy and Tim (who was riding next to me) that I just couldn’t ask him. It was a weird thing, I know, but I just couldn’t. I wasn’t ready for him to see me in that way. Of course, they all laughed at me like I was insane because they knew I’ve ridden with “the Guy” before. I said, “Yeah, but that was before … before I started to really, really like him”. What was I in middle school all of a sudden?! Tim said it sounded like a Sex and the City episode. And you know what? It did.

I went on to explain that something had changed. Sure we worked out together as part of the Zuma Sunday regulars from spring until October. Sure we’ve raced together. We swam together. The last time I rode my bike before Ironman Canada was with him. We even did the LA Triathlon as a relay team. But somehow something had changed. I just didn’t want to ride next to him and blow snot at the same time. Is that so weird? We all know, I’m the snot blowing queen (can hit the head light of a Mercedes going 65 mph on PCH with exact precision, over and over again. Really. Whenever I have one of those “bad days”, Doug always emails me the top 10 things I am good at. Blowing snot is always on the list). Actually, “the Guy” doesn’t know that about me and I’d like to keep it that way, at least for a little while. And I sure didn’t want him to hear some of the things we say to each other. Geez, were regular truck drivers out there sometimes.

I think I discovered that even with triathletes, there exists a kind of courtship ritual. You meet usually while training or doing something tri-like. Then you begin to regularly see each other at workouts … maybe even plan workouts to make sure you run into your “Crush”. Then there’s that moment when you see each other in real clothes for the first time at a party or a tri club function. This is an important progression. It can also be a deal breaker. Everyone pretty much looks the same in workout attire. But seeing someone in real clothes for the first time can either perpetuate the crush … or crush it completely.

If you make it passed the seeing someone outside of working out and they don’t dress too geeky stage and you continue to hang and train together ... the next step is planning something socially. This is an interesting moment. It can mean everything. Lunch, dinner, drinks, coffee … it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are hanging out together in real clothes doing something that’s not tri related. The dynamic of the relationship, whether is moves towards romance or remains friends has completely changed. You have reached the next stage. You start thinking about things that are important to you: Can he/she talk about anything other than triathlon? Are they funny? Smart? Is there chemistry? When the crush gets to this stage, the stakes are higher. And that’s when you can no longer ride next to them and blow snot or joke about how Tom’s shorts are see-through from wear or, in my case, ride like one of the boys.

All of us on the ride that day did talk about how great it would be to have a boyfriend/ girlfriend or spouse to ride with. How cool would that be! But “the Guy” and I are hardly there. We’ve never actually had a real date. I’m not even sure if he has similar feelings, let alone if he’s “the one”.

You know, Tim is right. This does sounds like a Sex and the City episode. And along those lines … I really do think I would look exquisite in Prada. And … have you ever tried on a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes? Seriously … I tried on a pair at a designer resale store near my house that, slightly used, were more than my car payment and rent (in Santa Monica) combined. But they were beautiful and … I could run in them. No really! They were amazingly comfortable for 3 inch heels. I can just picture myself crossing the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin next year wearing a pair of vintage Manolo's … ones that match my bike, of course. But, unlike the thousands and thousands of dollars I justify spending each year on the sport of triathlon, I just couldn’t buy the shoes. Hmmm …maybe someday … after I make it as a writer?

A funny post script to all of this: the Wednesday after that particular Saturday ride, I saw “the Guy” riding south on PCH as I was riding north. I was quite sure I had escaped unrecognized and continued on completely enraptured by the beauty surrounding me and the surprisingly fast pace my body was able to keep after being ill … until I heard yelling from behind. I turned to see that it was him. I stopped and let him catch me. We ended up riding together and yes, I did blow snot while riding next to him. I was also covered in sweat and mud, soaked from the rain and my hair was a mess. Yet, I was in one of those incredible moods that you have when being out on your bike, with the ocean sparkling on one side of you and the wildflowers blooming on the other side, reminds you there’s no place you’d rather be. Except, perhaps

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