Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pizza Paddle Training Redux....and memories of hard-core Eugene

My hands smell like degreaser.  My eyes water and burn - from the chemicals (supposedly biodegradable and eco-friendly) wafting up from my fingers as they type on the keyboard.  Making things worse is the fact that I have a blister in the web between my thumb and index finger, and my eyes were already irritated from the hours in the wind and salt water this afternoon.

I sit in Daniel's guest room, surrounded by a pile of clothes (more in the wash).  Just outside sit our three race bikes in various states of (dis)repair.  Recently cleaned chains and drivetrain are almost put back together.  Next to that are a pile of sandy wet paddling clothes and drysuits.  Next to that, a bundle of three foul smelling slacklines hang in hopes that they will dry too, and maybe stop stinking like they were once actually living and now deceased and rotting.

The slacklines turned out to be the culprit in the multi-hour search to discover why the back of our truck had such a pleasantly strong "long roadtrip" aroma.  We thought it was clothes, rotting food, socks, muddy bike shoes, or something of the sort.  But it turned out to be the last place we looked.

The slacklines from the workshop we'd taught last weekend in Eugene Oregon - where it was cold and raining and really muddy, but the whole class stayed out in it to get more time on the line.  Spectacular falls into the slosh pit, and for the really unlucky, parts of the ground were covered with super spiky chestnut shells.  Vicious.  By the end, our slacklines were soaked with a mix of rain, mud and blood - hence the smell a week later when I discovered the bag buried in the truck bed.

Daniel's home has become sort of a switching ground in the last year.  A place of flux.  We seem to pass through here between almost every phase.  A bit of everything here.  Bean and egg breakfasts with coffee, some yoga, liver smoothies, piles of gear everywhere,  Ween on the radio, headlamps charging in every corner.  Some nights we watch a movie projected onto the wall.  Some we do acro into the wee hours, inventing new moves with names that I am embarrassed to repeat.

Some days we do big training sessions that make some of our actual races seem like they are only training sessions....(here is a video of our first Pizza Paddle training)

Today we paddled about 2 hours down the coast to a little pizza joint on the beach.  We nearly capsized as we surfed a wave into the shore, and ended up soaked, cold, and exhilarated.  An hour later, belly's full, we paddled back out to sea.  During our feast, the weather had taken a turn, and our way home was rough.  The 10 knot headwind and choppy swells made it hard to stay synchronized in our strokes, but all the better as we know that the Patagonian Expedition race is only three months away - and we'll be lucky if we see seas only this rough.

Home just before dark, I hesitated to start back in on the half done jobs all around.  Daniel's shower beckons, and I give in for five minutes of bliss under one of the best shower heads I've ever felt.  Definitely not a "water saving device" but once in awhile I have to take the proverb - "moderation in all things, including moderation" - to it's logical conclusion.  A little bit of excess once in while is a good thing.

But now it is time to stop procrastinating.  My hands have almost stopped smelling, so I should probably get back to the grease.  Maybe I'll pour a beer and pretend I am a mechanic and know what I am doing.  I guess I pretty much pretend I know what I am doing all the time.

Memories are a great thing, as they seem to let the bad parts fade over time, and the good ones morph into even more vivid greatness.  At least in my head.  I hope yours is the same.

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