I'll try and keep the number of topics down on this post - limiting it to two across 3 short stories.
The First Brush (with greatness):
After one of my last workouts up in Redmond, WA I was just getting cleaned up from a final swim at the Pro Sports Club. As Microsoft employees we were given memberships to one of the nicest clubs in the country - if not the largest. Everything from marble tile, dozens of racquetball courts, numerous locker rooms and at least 3 pools. It was one of the best perks of working there - even better than all of the free soda, juice, milk and Starbucks coffee you could drink. The CEO of MSFT is Steve Ballmer who happens to be one of the top 5 wealthiest Americans and an avid basketball fans. After 11+ years of working there, I had seen the man once I think.
I always have hated the locker room - I'm not keen on all of the naked hairy men and worse are the ones who prance about wearing black socks and tightie whities around. It would figure that right next to me is one of those jokers getting their prance about outfit on with their rear end about 6 inches from me as I was sitting down. The prancing socks went on, the tightie whities went one and then right before the prance about - he turns around and it's Steve Ballmer.
The Next Three Brushes:
Living so close to Sausalito I thought it would be a crime to not catch the first road stage of the 2008 Tour of California. I was a roadie for years and steeped in roadie (NW style) tradition. Wear your kid, wave to those you know (with a raise of the finger off the handle bar - no more, no less) and NEVER say hi to anyone you don't know. Just pretend you don't see them. This is what they (we) do. If you want to freak a roadie out, say hi to them. Here in CA, they do the same thing but if you can sit on their wheel as they try and drop you going 27-30mph on the flats, they'll actually say hi at the next stop sign or light - even if you're a triathlete, you have to earn it (you actually can't unless you're on the same team in Seattle). I went to the TOC which started in Sausalito to see some of the greats and some of my favorites: David Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini and Mario Cippilini - to name a few. I saw the most of them and put my photos here. I also knew that Rock Racing had brought a full team but at the last minute they were not allowed to enter Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Babyface Oscar Sevilla- I was also fans of these guys but thought that because they were not allowed to race that they went home. I ended up seeing far more of the pros than I had anticipated and began to ride home. I actually jumped into the caravan for a mile or so in order to get home quickly. As I hopped on the road home I saw 3 tiny guys standing and looking pretty confused at the stop sign ahead. Being a good roadie I kept to the rules and didn't look (too obviously) and didn't say hi. As I passed them I thought to myself, who are those 3 posers wearing Rock Racing kits and on the team bikes? Turns out it was Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla who were lost as they tried to get in a ride around TIburon.
The Whoo Hoo Girls:
In the peleton in Seattle there were very few women and a LOT of guys. There were actually more than a few women, but very few you'd want to take out for a Clif Bar and a movie. All of the pretty ones were taken and you had to be a Cat 1 at the very least to date them (My friend Larry - Cat 1 and multiple National Champion - married one of them). As I moved to CA, I noticed there were probably just as many women as there were men who rode. They ride as singles, doubles and I hear even in packs. One thing I would never do is ever let out any sort of acknowledgement that the woman I just passed was in fact, a hottie (aka whoo hoo worthy). 1) I'm married and it would feel a bit inappropriate to do 2) seems sort of creepy 3) it might actually be creepy and she could mace you.
On Saturday after a 25 min pre-race run with a few strides, I ran into my teammate Andy's wife Beth. Beth was on her bike and we chatted on the side of the road for a few mins as we had never met, we just knew a few of the same people and there were volumes of stories to connect. 2-3 women drove by that she waved to and then began to tell me the story of the whoo-whoo girls. It turns out, they're a bunch of women (some are moms, some are single and some are divorced - I'm guessing at this demographic make up) who ride together and all they want is for someone to acknowledge them with a whoo hoo - letting them know that despite a few years and kids that they're still cute and worthy of a catcall or two (ok, they ride for more than just getting whoo hoos). I asked about whether or not it would be appreciated and she enthusiastically said it was. So, since at least >50% of the readers of this blog are women - is it really appreciated? What's appropriate to say? I know there is more to the story - but this is what I can remember and may in fact be a better story than the truth.