On Saturday, you learn that a five-year-old can chew the nozzle-end off your best water bottle while watching morning cartoons and pulling the heads off every action figure in the house. Further, you relearn that mother nature does NOT care that you have to be at the meet up in ten minutes, nor that you’ve already put your jersey on over your bibs, zipped it up and added a vest.
On Saturday you learn you were less than attentive with you application of chamois cream, that you actually missed a spot and that it was an important spot, and that every bad thing you ever said about anyone has created a huge karmic debt your chamois is anxious to collect from the underside of your most sensitive parts.
The guy at work you’ve never ridden with, who doesn’t look like much, is a hammer, but not one of those cute little hammers people keep in their kitchen drawers for hanging pictures with. No. He’s a roofing hammer. Long wooden handle. A head like an anvil.
You learn that, despite agreeing to keep it cool, your buddies are going to pound away from you at every town line and at the base of every climb. You learn that their words mean nothing, and that you’re not mature enough to ride within yourself and just catch them on the descent. Also, that if you’re honest with yourself, you would have attacked them first if you’d thought of it.
You learn that, contrary to your inflated concept of your hidden talents, you are not a natural climber.
On Saturday, you learn that all those people in their cars who make your weekly commute into a bizarre gladiatorial contest have somewhere they absolutely have to be on the weekend too. And that they still hate you.
You also learn that, no matter how far you’ve agreed to ride with your companions, it is one mile too far. You learn yet again that you have to start drinking water much earlier in the ride and that toast isn’t really performance enhancing in any way.
HA! Toast! Good one!
The embrocation (it seemed like a good idea at the time) you slathered on in the morning, when it was cold, will come back to life in the shower, and you will, in your calorie-poor fog brain, forget not to wash upward. See previous passage regarding chamois cream and karmic debt.
On Saturday you learn that your wife/husband doesn’t care how many miles/kilometers/climbing feet/watts you did. You still have to walk the dog, wash the car and do the laundry. Your kids don’t care either. They still want to play basketball, wrestle and then go to the park to hit baseballs. Cold pizza isn’t recovery food, and there is a pretty hard limit to the miracles even massive doses of caffeine can perform.
Despite all the flowery prose we generate to try to convince each other of the contrary, that long Saturday morning ride doesn’t really make us better people, at least not in the short term. It makes us tired and grouchy on Saturday afternoons. We’ll probably snap at the kids for being kids, and we probably won’t make it through the movie our spouse has selected for Saturday night entertainment.
By this time, Saturday will have taught us that we should NEVER plan Sunday’s ride before we’ve ridden Saturday’s ride, and above all the words, “Yeah, I’ll do hill repeats with you,” should never exit our lips again.