Part of cycling is the outfits. BIG part of cycling. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s for visibility on the road because it’s full on closet fashionistas dying to be unleashed on to a catwalk somewhere. This isn’t a high-profile enough stance to have as an athlete so we use terms like “body-mimicking fit” & “moisture transfer” when talking about our kit. We’re so full of shit. Anyone who matches their handlebar tape to their socks really needs to just let go and subscribe to Vogue Paris already. Allez! Allez!
This year for the July 4 long weekend, I left the outfits in Canada and spent some well deserved down time in New Jersey sans cycling. And fulfilled a teenage dream of going to the shore. Or shor-wah as they call it. I was expecting “Jersey Shore” Jersey; loud, obnoxious, orange and devoid of substance. Was wildly hoping for “Springsteen” Jersey; hearing a distant harmonica then looking up to see him parking a Dodge waiting for me to wander up barefoot from the beach. What I got was a peaceful, unexpected Jersey.
I get a little stressed when I take a weekend away from training leading up to the big ride. Was trying to Novel and Chill as best I could but ride anxiety was seeping in so I needed to move. I strapped a board to my wrist and headed into the waves with seemingly every American child on the eastern seaboard.
This was my first attempt at lay down surfing. With a bunch of junior Jersey girls. They were skilled at waves and also at pointing out what I was doing wrong. With a healthy degree of self-satisfaction and unconcealable smugness. It was the best time! My athleticism does not live here. These young Sandy’s and Mary’s dropped me hard on every wave.
Eventually they were done with me, as was my skin being on the front of my legs anymore. My eyes followed my new BBBFF’s (boogie boarding best friends forever) up the beach and to their families. Their huge and happy and complete families. As boisterous as they were collectively, I saw peace. No missing pieces, just togetherness. And sangwiches. So many sangwiches!
Being where my head was at, this reminded me of families I know who well up when they realize they don’t need as many hot dog buns at their picnic. That one of the beach towels stays in the linen closet now. That family day at the beach isn’t quite a day at the beach anymore.
When I left the shore I could see brightly colored beach umbrellas as far as I could look in either direction. In a couple weeks I’ll be looking out over a familiar sea of brightly colored teams of people helping families come together. To reconnect through pain and discomfort and fear over the Ontario equivalent of spending time at the shore. Camp.
Just like camp, we’ll go like hell until we can only stay awake long enough to eat and then we’ll get up and do it again. For three days. Dressed up like the fourth of July.
“When I come by to take you out to eat, you’re lying all dressed up on the bed baby fast asleep” – Bruce Springsteen
To donate to my ride: Tour For Kids