Saturday, June 9, 2007

Kicking it Olds School

A few months ago, while I was chained to my desk, longing for summer cycling weather, I agreed to represent my firm on a client team at the MS bike tour. It seemed like a good idea at the time - it's a great cause, I like cycling, I could get to know some clients in a non-work context. What was the downside?

As this weekend approached, I began to question my decision - was 90km/d enough mileage? Who was going to talk to me? And wtf I was going to do in Olds on a Saturday night?

To address the first question, I decided to carry my gear the whole way for some added challenge. Then, I added a few miles by riding from my house to the starting point in Airdrie and by tacking on some more once we arrived in Olds (seemed like a more responsible choice than going directly to the beer garden - which, incidentally, is a school gymnasium and looks nothing like a garden, but does serve beer). Unable to surpress my competitive tendancies, I insisted on passing as many people as my legs could handle, adding another dimension to the challenge. At the end of the day, 160 intense self supported kilometres. Beautiful weather.

The social question worked itself out quickly, as there was no shortage of others in the same situation. I was surrounded by hundreds of happy and sociable cyclists - what was I ever worried about in the first place? At a rest stop, an elderly hutterite woman extended a friendly gesture - in the form of a roast beef sandwich, rather than conversation. While waiting line for the showers at the end of the day, I made a friend, who later turned out to be my roommate. A 22 year old world class speedskater from Minnesota studying chemical engineering at U of C, she had nothing in common with me. But that didn't stop us from becoming instant friends.

What is there to do in Olds on a Saturday night? We are staying in the dorms at Olds College, the dinner was in the cafeteria, and the 'after party' was in the gym. Sounds fun, eh? Well, it was. Let me review the highlights:
- getting narrowly beaten by Johnny Roast Beef and the Mexican Hay Ride in a challenge involving a jumping rope, a hula hoop, a beach ball, a bat, and a jigsaw puzzle
- meeting and talking to a 55 year old man whose wife left him in February, right before he left on a trip to Australia and Asia. After visiting the Philipines, he decided to move to Manila, where he now has a 21 year old girlfriend. Beats the usual 'office talk'.
- seeing two grown heterosexual men kiss on the lips (no toungue)
- chilling out on a bench outside on a calm, warm evening, with the muffled sound of the band playing in the background.

That's the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding extra mileage, carrying your own bag and challenging Johnny Roast Beef? That is hard core! Tori, you are a machine…

June 14, 2007 at 7:56:00 AM MDT  

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