Monday, 22 November 2010
of toupes, Tucson and bacon
I'm back from a surreally great trip to Arizona, the team had organised a week of athlete days, rides, bike expos and even something approaching a race. Quite the feat in the middle of November and the week before thanksgiving. Especially when many of my other teammates are in Rwanda doing fantastic work there.
Arizona is (geographically) a short hop from California which of course facilitated massive complacency with regard to my travel arrangements and led to me making a mad dash home from school 2 hours before takeoff riding flat out carrying a bike box and trying not to blow over sideways. I managed to cram my much abused training bike into it's carboard confines, pad it out with lime green lycra and make it t the airport in time to sit on my arse and wait for the delayed flight - smooth.
Whilst we were in Arizona we had various sponsor events scheduled, our main sponsors are the insulin manufacturer Sanof-Aventis. this week gave us a pretty cool chance to actually visit their research facility in Tucson, I was not so excited about getting up at 5.45 AM to be there in time, or with the petrol station coffee we got en route! expecting to discover professors of science int he grey haired, moustachioed saftey spectacled mould i was presently surprised to find a group of guys waiting outside for a brisk ride on our arrival. the ride was great, not only did we move along at a fair clip but the guys we met were genuinely great people. It always baffles me when someone is pleased to see me (unless it's my dog, she goes largely unappreciated in that regard) but these guys were excited to ride with us, even though what they do every day (inventing the compounds which keep me alive) is far more amazing than anything we do in Spandex ( with the exception of any superheroes who happen to be reading). over the course of the week we formed some great bonds with our sponsors out there, they took us out to eat in the best local spots. supported us in the race and made evrythign about our trip perfect. Sometime i wonder about the diabetes "industry" but everything about the guys at sanofi was reassuring. They were, put simply, good people and i'm proud to be able to represent them.
my non sponsor time was split between visiting hispanic diabetes groups (very rewarding, question of the day "cual es lo mejor cervesa para nosotros diabeticos" answers on the back of a postcard please) and riding around the desert outside Tucson trying not to get lost. we got to visit some doctors at a hospital and my teammates had a highly emotional but totally positive visit to the paediatric oncology ward. I actually had a rather emotional cancer related experience myself but that'll wait until part deux.
I also got to hang out at the expo a lot, this was fun, i met lots of cool bikey people including the guys from the Mavic SSC who proved to be another group i'd like to add to the "good people" directory: they were there with snacks in times of crisis and provided genuinely interesting conversation all week and fantastic support during the race. Saldy the whole expo experience was ruined by the revelation that, in our sponsor material SOMEONE HAS PHOTOSHOPPED MY HAIR! im pretty sure there are laws against that kind of nonesense, screw "don't touch my junk" how about "keep your mouse away fro my locks". Not only did they have the temerity to "comb" my hair, they've somehow switched the parting over and "pouffed" it so i like something out of "happy days".
when i wasn't being sartorially humiliated, I spent the mornings and evenings with my teammates from team type 1 and team type 2, in the mornings we rode to coffee shops, drank espresso and posed in the way that only skinny men in lycra can do without looking silly (hang on, apparently everyone else thought we DID look silly, arse). We ate some fantastic meals, and drank some great beer. Above all though i enjoyed spending time with my teammates, we all get on really well. There's never any friction and there's always someone to ride with. i love our mixture of deep conversation and ridiculous banter. Of particular interest was our debate on the acceptability of dipping fries in a chocolate shake, once again i'd love to hear your opinions, but only if they're in agreement with mine, which i wont be revealing until after you share yours.... at this point 47 scott in Tucson deserves a special mention. Our post - race dinner there was fantastic, great food, good portions AND a cocktail based on whisky and bacon - check it out 47scott.com. Honourable mention goes to el guerro canelo - once again bacon was involved, this time wrapped around a hot dog and smothered in, well everything really.
having gorged myself on enough beef to secure a positive test for clenbuterol any time int he next decade and visited Tucson's only 24 hour bike shop in order to make some last minute preparation i managed to sleep a recoverytastic 5 hours the night before the event. But if you want to know more about that you'll have to wait for the next installment.....