Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not REAL Women

There's a Wed night ride that meets across the street from an LBS nearby. It's a recreational club ride considered to be at a B pace: short mileage, relaxed pace, social, a warmup to the recreational ride that is scheduled shortly afterward (which is also considered to be a B ride).

This ride meets a couple blocks from home, has a late-afternoon start and end before supper; and it gets me outta the house during the week to socialize at a time of year that I don't much care about being social. It's a nice, easy spin that works out the kinks in the legs and the brain. This past week, we arrived back at the parking lot after the ride with about a half hour until the next ride started up. As we chatted, an LBS shop ride was beginning to gather across the street.

I always feel a few pangs when I see a spirited ride readying--a shop ride used to be an easy one for me. I'm still amazed at the fitness a racer has in comparison to Joe Average Cyclist...even the mediocre racer class that I fell into. I still had the fitness for a few years after I quit racing and, while on shop rides, I enjoyed watching the shop-ride guys expend a ton of energy on a training ride. Knowing when to bank energy, knowing positioning and how to subtly push a shop-ride guy out into the wind were advantages I had, and I enjoyed playing a few games on the unsuspecting. They tended to be a bit amazed that a skinny girl could ride so strongly. It was partly that, of course, but it was also partly riding smart.

I like to think I've still got the smarts, but the riding strongly part? Not so much these days.

One of the women in our group looked over to the readying shop ride: Oh wow, there are a couple women on that ride.

Those aren't REAL women a guy in our group quipped. Normally, I'd have taken offense to the comment and flung some shyte at him: the insinuation that women athletes aren't totally feminine chaps my hide.

Instead, I looked over wistfully.

- The not so in shape Old Bag kinda missing being "not a REAL woman" this season


LimesNow said...

AW, wistful OB ~ those women (and you) are about as real as it gets. I've watched them in action. I want to be that female. Alas, I am not.

You know that I'm more in tune with cycling and racing than the average Jane, although I'm only that way through osmosis. I don't do it. I drove the official vehicle at a race recently. It was like going to university! Watching the racers use their bodies and brains, but now with a race official giving me personal running commentary was exciting. When he told me the other racers were ganging up on the Badger because he was the highest threat perceived, I proudly thought, "Hey, that's exactly how I read it! I really do get this."

And now, as regards you, the bike, the rides, the races, I'm going to give you the gift of your own good words that you left on my blog last night: "It may take awhile to get used to the idea that a variety of experiences is as valid as honing and perfecting one thing. Personally, I'm all for it!" Ride on, OB.

Once Known as The Badger said...

What? Push some unsuspecting rider out into the wind while you conserve your own energy? For shame! Who would think to do such a thing... cough, cough. As for me, I'm waiting until the climb!

Bluenoser said...

I love it when those women "chick" some guy... especially on the hills.


Groover said...

What's stopping you? ;-)

The Old Bag said...

@Limes -- wise words :-) my friend. I need to listen to them!

@Badger -- gawd it was fun. They had no clue.

@Bluenoser -- yeah, I got into that as well...but only because I knew it was important to them they reach the summit first...I was just as bad as they were!

@Groover -- I miss the fitness, but don't miss the training...and knowing what I know about my limits I could probably pull-it-out for a ride, but the recovery would be forever!

WheelDancer said...

Having never raced I've not had the fitness advantage but with you as my coach (and uber real woman) I've been able to play those games as well. There are always voices of ignorance and distain but a real man is open to a woman rising to her best even when it cleans his clock.

wv - ockingling. Whereas in the past she would have shot back a comment to them ockingly, instead she enjoyed the knowing warmth of what it's like to compete on her own terms and not be rattled by the small man's utterances.

juancho said...

The guy who said that just misses the 70's. Don't we all?

rlove2bike said...

I must admit I sometimes lack self control...aka, not knowing when to keep my mouth shut. You have done well and you now have some incentive to kick that guys a$$ on the next ride. To be beat by someone sporting gazoombas...priceless:-) lol