Pro cyclists and ambassador for all things Diabetes type 1 and 303cycling ambassador, Becky Furuta is great friends with Pat Mayben of Primal Wear and Captain of pretty much every event you see their clothing at. Like many great friends, they tag each other on social media, gather for rides and in this case, Becky sends Pat fun letters from her travels on a bike and through life. At least once a month you will get to read one of these, fun, funny and provocative letters. Becky is not only a great cyclist, competing in this year’s Colorado Classic, but she spins a yarn like no other! Enjoy.
It sounds really romantic, this idea of traveling the world and racing a bicycle. Sometimes, it is. Other times, the job of bike racing is about as unglamorous as being a fry cook at McDonalds. (I know. I’ve done that, too.)
Travel day 1. Goal: fly to Las Vegas and survive two and a half hour bus transfer to the Nevada desert for a little pedal contest with friends.
Seems simple enough.
United Airlines changed baggage policy October 1. It’s October 17th. Price tag to fly bicycle is now $283 each way. I have a toddler-like tantrum, culminating in me screaming about my diamond status like I’m freaking Cher or someone relevant until they waive all fees.
Board plane. Watch crappy movie with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker. Do not rent this movie. Nod off and miss getting my free bag of United Tiny Twist Pretzels. These are, in my mind, the best airline pretzels, hands down. Bummer.
Land in Terminal 3. Also known as “the terminal without the liquor store.” Meant to get a bottle of Cava for my friends who just got engaged en route to Vegas. No dice. Get my bags and my last Starbucks for the next four days.
Board bus for transfer. It’s hot. Like, as hell. It’s well over 100 degrees on the bus. We make repeated requests for our driver, Tony, to turn on the A/C. He says it’s on. He’s a fricking liar and his name isn’t really Tony. Turns out he CHOSE that name because no one can pronounce his real name from the country where he was born which, apparently, is ON THE SUN BECAUSE IT IS SO DAMN HOT IN HERE.
An hour in, and we make a random stop at a Walmart so everyone can load up on Gatorade and energy bars. Instead, we all buy tortilla chips and beer because cycling. I also buy the finest $10 bottle of champagne available at said Walmart to celebrate friend’s engagement.
Mate Ross secretly turns on the A/C so we don’t die. Ambient air temp reaches 95 and Tony-that’s-not-his-real-name gets wise. He turns it off.
I really hate Tony.
I’m sipping my now warm beer and getting nauseous both from the heat and the erratic driving. I’m seriously about to hurl. Ross is hand feeding me tortilla chips so I don’t puke. Someone in the back is now threatening to kill fake Tony.
Tony misses all signs for the hotel. We’re literally on a road to nowhere with warm beer and homicidal people who shave their legs. Ross forces Fake Tony to turn around, which he does by trying to make a sharp u-turn in a giant tour bus in the middle of a narrow road in the desert. He nearly rolls the bus. I’m definitely going to throw up.
Ross is now giving him turn-by-turn directions like a human Siri. I would now marry Ross and give him my firstborn. He’s like some kind of magical unicorn.
Cycling announcer Dave Towle walks up to me, bends down and whispers, “Oh, God. It’s hot.” Yes. Yes it is.
Disembark bus at the resort. My room is amazing, if by “amazing” you mean occupied by a GIANT SCORPION NEXT TO THE WINDOW. I’m pretty sure I’m just going to die at this point. I freak out, run outside and demand a full sweep of the room before re-entering.
Dinner is more beer, salad and some kind of bean mixture. Green beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans. Because we’re all too fat to be cyclists. So now, we have to starve. I sneak a cookie. My teammate steals it. I am sad.
It’s 8:40 in the Nevada desert. No high speed internet. No TV. We’ve been sent to bed in anticipation of a 8:30 start tomorrow. I’m afraid I’m going to be attacked by scorpions in my sleep.
I’m hungry. I get up and go to the vending machine. I watch one bagel spinning in the carousel of salmonella. I go back to bed.
The rest of the weekend gets on without much drama, save the long transfer back to McCarran International Airport which is as bad the second time as it was the first. And this time, I am also tired, sweaty, and slightly hung-over.
I rarely remember the races. I always remember the parts in between. The tired, travel-weary, exhausted moments where I’ve spent days at a time fueled only by coffee and adrenaline and strange foods and strange beds and people who have become like family when my family is miles and miles away. Long nights and early mornings and sticky bodies and the smell of stale beer. And oddly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. They are the unromantic, slightly epic adventures that have defined my time in the sport, and solidified my love of the bicycle.