My birthday weekend started with Mark and I driving towards Lake Oroville for a weekend of racing and houseboating, but we didn’t get further than to Fairfield before we panicked. What if we didn’t have enough food?! We stopped at Safeway where Mark bought loads of salmon, more coffee, and several cans of double-shot espresso. Phew.
Mark, Ariel, Menso, and I all arrived at our home for the weekend, a houseboat, a bit after midnight. Power and water kind of worked, slightly. As we were to discover the next morning when we got up at 5:30, that didn’t last for long. The gas stove wasn’t working either! NO COFFEE! And we were going to a race!
There was, however, a dancing bass that could sing “Don’t worry, be happy” which worked just fine, since it’s running on batteries. Clearly the owners of the houseboat didn’t get their priorities straight.
Fortunately Mark is a genius and I had a can of double-shot espresso, although the milk that they contain didn’t agree with all the houseboat inhabitants, though this problem was solved at a grocery store on the way to the race. Sadly, it was very apparent from the lack of words exiting my mouth during the drive that the canned espresso did not contain sufficient amounts of caffeine.
We arrived at my birthday party and I was still in my pre-caffeine daze at the start line, which I shared with all of three other women: Johanna Trueblood from Davis, Helen Casabona unattached with a better-than-Yahoo jersey, and Maggie Jones from Chico Corsa. With only four racers, I was certain we’d all finish in the T-shirts! Sweet!
The race started with a long, crazy bumpy descent, which fortunately was neutral the first time around. That was some seriously patchy paving, and not easy to handle since the bikes were only touching ground a fraction of the time – but it was pretty fun! Then we went around the course which was awesome with a hella fast descent, lots of climbing, and great scenery.
On the second lap my life nearly ended before my actual birthminute had been reached. As I was riding down the bumpy descent hella fast, a car suddenly barreled out right in front of me from a small dirt road. WHOA! I braked as hard as I could without falling over, started fishtailing, let up, just barely managed to steer the bike around the car that had now stopped in the middle of the road – no way was there enough distance for me to actually stop. That was fucking close.
And like any good racer, I kept going because, hey! I didn’t die! And the race was on! BAM! Uh-oh, apparently my rear tube did not agree and exploded, and my emergency stopping powers were once again about to be put to test. How do you brake fast enough on a descent where you’re just bouncing around, so that you’ve come to a stop before you’re riding on your rims and lose all stopping power? Oh, turns out you don’t. When I had stopped, significant amounts of aluminum had been shaved off my rim, the tube was hanging off on the side, and the tire was shred to pieces.
So I sat down in the dirt by the side of the road and only had to wait for a few minutes before a guy named Scott came by and picked me up, and I chatted with him and another victim of flats named Johnny (the victim, not the flats – no one names their flats) as we drove around the course. We stopped in the feed zone to drop Johnny off and say hi to Scott’s friends, and they gave me a beer. Sweet! Before my competitors had even reached the feed zone, I was drinking beer!
I didn’t get a T-shirt though, since I didn’t finish the race. 😦 But that’s ok, I’ll come back for one next year. Aside from murder cars, this course is awesome!
At some point back on the boat I turned 30 for realz.
Then I tried what kayaking is like at the age of 30, and what it’s like to have a barbecue at the age of 30. (It’s awesome!) Kaya and Josh arrived just as we were about to start dinner and poor Menso must have felt left out as he was the only one that wasn’t in his 30s and all mature and grown up and stuff.
Mark baked me a cake! And everyone wanted to help light the 30 candles in Metromint colors:
Everyone but Mark (who had fallen asleep on a chair) slept on the roof of the houseboat after watching a whole bunch of shooting stars. The very same roof came to good use the following day, too, as we jumped into the water from it.
The birthday weekend trip finished with a visit to Sierra Nevada in Chico, where we had lunch and went for a tour, and didn’t have any beer at all since we felt there had been enough of it the previous night. Despite my slight panic of turning 30 a couple of weeks before the fact, this turned out to be one of the best birthday celebrations I’ve ever had!
All in all, 30 seems really awesome so far. It seems like you don’t have to work a whole lot when you’re 30 either – Monday was labor day a.k.a. Giro di San Francisco day, and I had Friday off so I could go do the time trial that was part of the Folsom omnium. But that deserves its own post…