First you land. You’ve got to start by landing. It’s so important to land, it’s a total must. So you land, then you dock, then you wait for ten minutes, listening to I don’t know… BenZel & Cashmere Cat’s Just A Thought featuring Ryn Weaver, patiently watching the Bent Neckers and Aisle Jumpers jostle, then you disembark, then you buy a coffee (Starbucks if possible—the real question is, is it too early in the day and the race and the whole campaign to start burning your Emotional Mocha matches?), then you find the rental car counter, then you decline everything and initial all over the place, then you find 78B in which 78B is an Excelsior Blue Kia Rio with 6,783 miles on it, then you turn it on, then you fuck with the climate control system (if needed), then you search Gmail for your hotel reservation information—which, why don’t you ever just have that information as well as all your other informations in one fucking place? but that’s a different story, clearly—then you type your destination address into Google Maps, then the lady tells you to head north on Airport Roads towards Airport Road then turn right on Airport Road, then you find the exit of the rental car parking lot, which sometimes is easier said than done, then, FINALLY, you start fucking with the radio station.
And that’s when you know (sometimes for the first time), like really know, that you’ve arrived somewhere else. A new city! Sometimes you just turn the volume up and like, that’s it, you’re already there. Sometimes you have to scan. Sometimes you have to switch it from Satellite or AM to FM. YOU HAVE TO AT LEAST START WITH A LOCAL FM STATION. A.) Because it’s a ritual. B.) Because it’s the fastest most efficient way to immerse. Immersion is necessary unless you’re a barbarian; I mean how else do you take the temperature and get a read on just what kind of environment and culture you just landed into?, how else do you assimilate your surroundings and recalibrate based on various local particulars like colloquialisms, nuances, stupid jokes, news, and possibly most importantly, music proclivities? In this particular case, the first thing you hear coming out of your Rio’s stock speaker system in Chattanooga, Tennessee is:
When I wake up, well, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you
When I go out, yeah, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
If I get drunk, well, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver, hey, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you
Which what the fuck is “havering” anyway? Hold please. Okay I just checked. Apparently havering is to make a silly joke or talk foolishly. I think it’s like when you’re chatting-up somebody you’re attracted to but you’re still young, like maybe in middle school or something, and so you say goofy shit like I like your eyebrows, wouldn’t it be funny if you didn’t have eyebrows. I still think you’d look hot though!!!! Just gross too, lolz. Want to go to the rollerskating in my driveway?“So yeah anywhooooooo, The Proclaimers and Manual for Speed would like to welcome you to Chattanooga, TN for the 2015 USA Cycling National Road Race Championships: Where Dreams Are Reached.”MFS
Because of the whole Stars and Stripes nature of this bicycle race it feels a little bit like the Olympics-lite. It feels… optimistic and grand and pleasantly nationalistic, and naive, and like a place where DREAMS COME TRUE. Also, it’s Memorial Day!, which (kinda) fits… maybe????… it definitely helps with parking and street closures if nothing else so yeah. The problem is, it’s a dream come true for so few people; for most, it’s a nightmare. Okay, maybe not a nightmare, but close. Especially today, today was a horrible day, race-wise, for a number of people important to Manual for Speed. But listen we can talk about that shit, or not, at a later date. At the moment, let’s talk about dreams.
The best part is that it was a dream Manual for Speed didn’t even know it had. Firstly though, you know how EVERYBODY that doesn’t ride a bike calls your kit stupid shit like spandex, exercise bike outfit, singlet, biking costume, wrestling get-up, swimming costume, power suit, etc.?, well, I hate that shit. And it’s not that funny, except maybe it is. Who knows. The point is, over the years I’ve met several hundred (maybe thousands) of people, in both my personal and professional life, wearing a bike costume. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking wait, in this scenario is he wearing a bike costume, or are the people he’s talking about having met wearing a bike costume? Yes! The answer is yes, both. But most importantly, for the sake of this conversation, I’m saying that I meet a lot of people who are in spandex power suits. Head to toe. And more often than not, helmets and sunglasses too. That’s how I know them. For years and years and years, that’s how I see them. At races. On rides. At coffee shops before/after races/rides. In kit. Sometimes I may never see them in human clothes. Ever. And the thing about kit, especially team kit, is that everyone starts to look the same. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize people, even people that you know well and that maybe you like a lot, in kit. Because of the helmets and sunglasses blocking their faces and the brightly colored seal bodies all looking vaguely the same and shit, it’s hard to know who’s who.
Also, I’m super bad with names. I never remember names. Or faces. If you fill in the details though, if you like give me some context, maybe a snippet of conversation, I will get it and get it fast. It will ALL come back to me. The jokes you told. What you were wearing. The whole deal.
And maybe that’s why I didn’t recognize Abby Mickey at first. We were at sign-in, she was in kit, I was in a scarf, she was walking onto and off of the stage, doing the sign-in thing, I was standing around in front of the stage toggling between my venti americano and my camera thingy, and anyway yeah, I guess we made eye contact or something, and normally that’s when I should have said something like,
- “Oh hey, how are you!?”
- “Hey, haven’t we met!?”
- “Abby, nice to see you again, how are the legs feeling today!?”
But instead I did nothing, I showed no sign of recognition… because there was none! Until she smiled and said,
“Hey I'm friends with Becca and Kelli. Remember?, we met in the hot tub at Colorado last year.”Abby Mickey
And just like that, at approximately 8:45 AM, a dream came true. And thanks to Kelli Samuelson of LA SWEAT MFS is able to provide an audio reenactment along with our own proof of the initial hot tub meeting.