Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Girona- Jan 28, 2006

Girona, ESP
TIAA-CREF Apartments
January 28, 2006

There’s nothing “romantic” about Spanish. To me, it sounds like that of gibberish. Truthfully, I could care less what they have to say, I mean, there Spanish right? So how important could what they have to say be? I guess it depends on who’s saying it, Heras…
But, really. In Spain they’re so important that they’ve enacted these strange hours of business & leisure. They’re open from 9- 12 in the morning, then 5-10 at night, “siesta-” they eat at 10:00 at night- tell me if that’s not messed up… what happens between 12 & 5? Maybe they work? For 5 hours? That’s 25 hours a week, the hard life!

Off the subject of Europe bashing though, I do have a certain respect for some of their customs. First, they prefer to leave the modern way of life in America. Here a lot of the structures are the same as they were 100 years ago. The apartment “complex” that we live in has to be at least 80 years old, its 6 stories tall surrounded by the same and separated by a cars length of cobbles. It’s everything I ever expected in Europe, but it’s a whole different animal to actually experience it like this. I’ve always said that you’ve never in fact been somewhere until you’ve raced there. If you’re racing you’re forced to get to know the whole culture and start to operate to the beat of the surrounding culture, whereas a tourist has this whole false community thing going that never actually lets them get to know how the culture actually operates. It’s quite unique really.
So far, in my travels, Spain has no big supermarkets. I’ve only seen the little co-ops. In my little region (500 meters) there are at least 3 different co-ops to choose from. The nearest one the team joined for 3 euros a month (if you don’t join, the price is on average 45 euro cents more per item). They sell only natural stuff, the eggs aren’t in the refrigerator because they’re so fresh, & there’s always a fresh vegetable and fruit area in the stores.
My favorite locale so far is the country. Outside of the city there are farms and little roads that wind around the countryside. Every five miles there’s a little town. It’s the picturesque European countryside that you read about in the books. Quite charming really. For biking the roads are perfect, they’re super-smooth like riding on glass, and the cars actually know how to drive around cyclists. In fact- I had to give up my hobby of ridiculing mean motorists; I just didn’t have enough customers…