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June 03, 2002: Joining

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Now that we've been doing this bike-riding thing for a few months and especially now that we've invested significant money in bikes and accessories to support the habit, we decided to check out some other alternatives. One of the issues we're started to run into is that we're running out of interesting ways to ride long distances, plus we realize that there's a lot we still don't know, but probably should learn at some point before we fly off to Ireland next year.

So to this end, tonight we attended our first meeting of the local bike club.

I wasn't sure quite what to expect. I was half afraid we'd show up and be surrounded by a room full of poster children for California fitness - all tan and muscled and lean, dressed in their neon-colored biking outfits with perfect white teeth and perfect smiles. Since the club is in Davis, home of a large university and also home to several thousand bike-riding college students, I also assumed that the majority of the club members would be younger than us as well. Either way, I just knew that we would feel positively amateur and dowdy beside them all. I figured we could lurk quietly in the back of the room and if it just didn't feel right, we could sneak out the side door before anyone saw us and demanded to know who had let the rabble in.

As it turns out, it was a room full of perfectly ordinary people. Okay, so there was probably a greater percentage of them who were fit and trim than in a usual gathering of people, but still, not one of them was wearing anything neon, and what was even more astounding was that we quickly realized that we were two of the youngest people in that room.

This was both encouraging and embarrassing. On the one hand, there was nary a college student to be seen (so we didn't have to feel like the out-of-shape old people). On the other hand, there we were, surrounded by people who were up to several decades older than us and yet obviously in much better shape.

We're glad we went, though. I ran into someone I knew from my years as a graduate student, and she filled me in on all the gossip (and boy was there a lot of it) of who was sleeping with/divorcing/back-stabbing whom in the grand political arena of nutrition research. We also met a couple that happened to do just what we are hoping to do next year. They biked all over Ireland in the space of three weeks and got rather excited when we told them our plan to do the same.

They seem like a nice, comfortable group of people. I'll admit that it's a bit daunting to realize that a majority of them happen to think that a 50-mile ride is just a quick trip (tales of the most recent century (100 miles, for those of you who were clueless, like me) rides abounded). But they were open and friendly and encouraging. And we left feeling a bit more proud of ourselves for what we've been doing, even if meeting all those people and hearing their experiences only underscores how far we have yet to go.

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On a completely unrelated topic, a few weeks ago I submitted my journal to a review site, just on a whim. I figured it might be interesting to get feedback from someone who doesn't know me, and so wouldn't feel obligated to tell me that everything was lovely.

My review came back today, and I'm actually rather pleased with what was written. I'll even agree with her on my complete and utter inability to come up with clever names for my relatives (but then, considering that I have now been working for The Company To Be Nicknamed Later for seven months and I still have yet to call it anything but that, this should really be no big surprise).

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