Sunday, June 24, 2012


Of course, there’s nothing like riding a themed bike race to celebrate the season, but a close second is participating in one as a checkpoint assistant; even if you’re not pedaling around town, you can at least enjoy the fun vicariously, especially if you’ve got a job to do that appeals not only to one’s artistic sensibilities, but also affords you the opportunity to pretend to be the main character in a dish soap commercial or, failing that, perhaps an immigrant from a country victimized by American imperialism in the 20th century.

The main thing that struck me was the vast variety of shapes and sizes in the fingers and nails of the riders: long ones, short ones, bigger and smaller, cleaner and dirtier, but each able to hold tight to a bicycle handlebar in a day that began all stormy and cold but ended up quite lovely and clear, albeit until after sunset when the drizzle kicked in again.

Our stop had a fishing theme: racers had to hook a cheap beer from the Lake Washington shore and chug it before getting their fingernail painted by yours truly as proof that they’d completed the checkpoint’s challenge.  Many, fueled by competitive fire, rushed through the experience, but others, more in keeping with the approach I usually take in such events, lingered and chatted a bit with me and the other two volunteers manning (literally) the stop.

We gave not particularly helpful advice on route selection and race strategy, most of which, reasonably, was ignored.  It was quite heartwarming, frankly, to see the independent spirit and intrepid attitude of the young ladies; further proof, should one need it, that girlz rule and boyz drool.

Although we were pretty confident that the two and quarter hours we spent at the stop were sufficient to provide access for every rider, there may have been one for whom we left early.

If so, apologies are in order, or congrats on DFL.


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