Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fried Clams

In some bike races, I suffer so much that I wish for a flat tire or mechanical problem–a shameless reason to quit. Today was not one of those days. Coming off a week of rest (that included a little relaxing, and not just buzzing around doing everything I don't have time for when I'm training), I felt strong and relaxed riding around the three-mile circuit at the Yarmouth Clam Festival. Coming into the hill before the last lap, I was excited to try to put myself in a good position to sprint like crazy, and finish in the top ten–undeterred by the funny noises coming from my drivetrain.

That drivetrain was my undoing. Crunch! Crash! road rash and a broken chain. The good, or at least not bad, news is that I took no one with me, and walked away (pedalling doesn't get you far without a chain). Ice cream, a Lime Rickey, and then fried seafood were some consolation.
I enjoyed the race (until my chain took me out of contention), the hokey carnival surroundings, and the excuse to spend a weekend at my uncle's harborside home in Maine; I hope for a better outcome next year.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lantern Rouge

I finished Fitchburg at the back of the train, swinging my red lantern. It was my first stage race--four consecutive days of challenging courses--and my first time in a field stacked with top-tier competitors from around the country. I finished.

I did not race well, stylishly, or competitively. I stayed with the field as long as I could each day, and then when I gave up on myself and got dropped, I completed the race to make the time cut and be allowed to race the next day. But I hope that finishing this time is a step towards competing next time, or the time after. I may never drive the engine of a high speed train, but I'd like to move up to a more comfortable car.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Triumph of Cupcakes

I almost gave up on my dreams in Home Depot. Equipped with some sketches and a handy friend, I had come with a lofty plan to construct a bike rack that could carry six dozen cupcakes. Their plywood saw was out of order, no one could tell me where to find and 8-gauge locking pin, they didn't have the right kind of hinges, I had only one day for this project–and I was really hungry. Overwhelmed and defeated, I weighed my options: sit down on the floor to rock back and forth crying beneath the buzz of neon lights and the judgmental eyes of strangers, or go home empty handed to eat pizza and take a nap. My friend looked also on the verge of meltdown. Yet somehow, against the odds, we gathered our strength and triumphed.

Could my dreamy sketches of a cupcake bike become a reality? What if I was wasting all that time and money on a foolish idea? So what if I was! Sawing plywood in my livingroom, turning an old mop handle into an umbrella holder, taking turns drinking beer and screwing down hinges, I dared to beleive it could work.

Days later I was pulling the last of 14-dozen cupcakes out of the oven, frantically frosting as I prepared to debut my cupcake business at the downtown bike race and then AS220's fundraiser ball. I baked in a bikini and apron to bear the blistering heat.

The cupcake bike's maiden voyage terrified me more that the most competative and technical criterium I've raced. If I let the back heavy bike wheely or tip as gravity wished it to, days of labor and six dozen cupcakes could scatter into mush on the pavement. Now I understood why vending bikes are invariably three-wheeled or front-loading (but not homemade fro $60). Miraculously, with my roommate guiding me through traffic, we made it across downtown to set up at he bike race.

It worked. I sold dozens of cupcakes at both events, glad I didn't let Home Depot defeat me, and that I followed through on my foolish idea.

hannah's cupcakes

hannah's cupcakes, originally uploaded by too many bicycles.

My new business

cupcake courier

really. no, really., originally uploaded by meghanface.