Archive for February, 2011

Friday Night Gym Posse

Gilligan's Island

Gilligan's Island

Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I live a very glamorous life. Friday night at the gym is a treat. The energy is rock bottom but a few people who, like me, decide to forego a happy hour or nice dinner, and opt instead for a couple of hours in a gym.

This group of like-minded folks are an unlikely grouping. It’s not as angst laden as the Breakfast Club or as one-dimensional as the castaways on Gilligan’s Island. This is a team of people who I cannot say with confidence could stand up and fight together as a team should the need arise.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club

The breakdown:

  1. Justin Bieber’s lookalike. All dictators and celebrities keep them on retainer for purposes of alibi corroboration, mass mis-direction and paparazzi hooliganism. The JB lookalike at my gym continues to work on his fitness. His hair remains unaffected by his efforts all the while he’s thinking, “put me in coach.”
  2. The mustache man on the elliptical wearing a polo shirt. He has it right with the trainers and the sweat pants, but the collared shirt is screaming “I’m not from around here.” This mustache man’s distinctive style on the elliptical looks like he’s riding a stand up jet ski. As if the elliptical has momentum of its own, he’s attempting to steer the thing and looks both elated and distressed.
  3. The very elderly woman on the treadmill in jeans. She’s not training. She is out, after dinner, getting a little circulation therapy and fighting the good fight against bone density loss. While I find the cardio loft to be just this side of intolerably hot when I’m wearing a tank top and shorts, she is covered, wrist to toes. Her shirt is tightly buttoned against her neck.
  4. The personal trainer. This guy is very personable. Naturally optimistic, he appears a little lost without a few people looking to him for guidance and encouragement. Already red-faced and soaked, I look away when he tries to catch my eye. As nice as he is, this socializing while dripping and panting just won’t work for me.
  5. The employee with Friday night plans. Our very existence offends this young lady. She’s mopping and cleaning and doing her very best to ensure that she will be locking the doors as she walks out the doors with those of us who clearly need to find a life.
  6. Me. Clearly someone trying to crush all the week’s frustrations underfoot. Red, sweaty and wheezing ever so slightly, I am exuding the don’t look at me, talk to me or otherwise be decent vibe. I’m fully submerged in my bubble in an effort to channel everything I’ve got into my legs. If anyone does dare to peep my way, they are overcome with internal conflict. Call for medical attention or run away?

It is now Saturday morning. I have slept on this and I’m a little disappointed I didn’t have an opportunity to organize this unwitting group into a noteworthy posse. Next Friday I’m taking down names.

February 26, 2011 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Brr Ride it’s just like RAGBRAI, only very different

34 BRRs & Still No Cure, Brian Duffy

Bike bike bike. I woke up too early Saturday morning to the sound of snoring and sore muscles. It sounds like RAGBRAI, but I realized pretty quickly that this was my dog, Murph, sawing wood. I was disappointed for a minute before remembering this was the day I was taking a road trip. Outstanding.

BRR is Bike Ride to Rippey. It’s a 24 mile round trip bike ride from Perry, IA to Rippey, IA that has now been running 34 years annually. More than 1000 riders were expected. I think that this was an accurate estimate. This ride has never been cancelled due to weather. As I’d been jonesing for some outdoor rides, I can’t think of anything short of the apocalypse that could have kept me from riding.

I had my loaner mountain bike loaded onto Team Wrong’s bus in Johnston by 8:30. Team Wrong’s bus was set up beautifully with a fantastic sound system, full bike racking on top and a cooler made out of a deep freeze that also was set up to accommodate a couple of kegs with the taps on the outside of the bus. Coolest part – I made new friends.

The ride was flat with a couple of turns. The ride started at 10 AM, but I think we were in Perry until almost 12. In true RAGBRAI style, I had no watch and didn’t pull out my phone. Because I was on a loaner, I had no bike computer keeping track of stuff. I did put lights on the bike, but was responsible enough to be back at the bus before dark. Kudos to me on that one.

The highway was clear, but the roads in town were a good reason to leave the road bike at home. The weight of the bike and the friction from grip of the nobbies on the pavement gave me a pretty good workout despite my slower speeds. I didn’t put my pedals on the mountain bike, so I wasn’t clipped in. It felt very strange to be untethered to the bike, but I somehow managed.

The turn at highways E57 and P54 are a traditional stop for many Brr riders. We took a break there with an old friend and even made time for a couple of pictures. The balmy 34 degrees gave us the opportunity to take our time and have a few laughs before arriving in Rippey.

Brr Ride 2011

Once we got to Rippey, Team Wrong had the bus rockin’ with a dance party. The Sir Mix-A-Lot may have been a little before my time, (ahem I’m way younger than that) but I managed to catch on and shake my groove thing with the 30-somethings.

We saddled back up for the return ride. My friend pulled out some ostrich jerky that I inhaled just before arriving at the turn to Perry. Once again, it was a full ditch of bikes and good times, hosted this time by Team Medium Pace.

There was a failed attempt at fishing a beer out of a stranger’s backpack on the road back to Perry. I couldn’t help but think an effort like this would only lead to some ugliness and scrapes on bikes and bodies. I gave up after about 3 minutes of pawing around. We got into Perry, loaded up the bus downtown and headed back to Des Moines dancing the whole way.

It’s always a treat to ride with my friends. A big thank you to the town of Perry, the Perry Chamber of Commerce and Rippey for such a cool ride. Team Wrong deserves accolades for the lift and good time. The two most important words I have regarding the BRR Ride or any future winter ride, ventilated layers. Zippered neck lines are brilliant, just sayin’.

To see more pictures, the Des Moines Register has some pictures from the ride that you can look at here if you want to take a peek.

February 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment


Tia Martinson

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