I went to get the cargo bike out this morning (I have errands this afternoon) and Stompy was sitting there, looking at me. I stared back, and a teeny tiny voice emiitted from the bike:
"I know you're nervous. You're out of shape, I'm too heavy to be a proper cross bike, and your belly doesn't believe that you love her. Whatever. Forget all that stuff. Sunday, we'll go out super-early, walk the course together and check things out. Then we'll hang out with your pals and people will walk by and admire me, and admire you for riding me (because, well, I'm a very cool bike). Finally, you'll do a little warmup, and then you'll line up at the start, chat amiably with the other nice ladies, the gun will go off, you'll ride through mud and dirt and grass, and do crazy run-ups up the zig-zag stairs -- remember to take the left-hand side! -- then you'll drag my heavy frame over the barriers, and you'll feel miraculously breathless, heart-thumping-in-your-ears crazy and on the verge of collapse for 45 minutes, and then you'll push hard over the finish line and it'll be over. And you and I will have a blast. End of story."
Believe it or not, Stompy said all that to me. And then Stompy winked at me. (At least that's what I got from the barely perceptible twitch of the hot-pink rear brake housing.) And I suddenly felt much better. I am less nervous and way more excited now.
I rode to work this morning feeling a blissfully cool breeze. The leaves are beginning to turn. As I pedal my bicycle, nervousness has been replaced by gratitude, and then excitement.
It's cross season, and I can't wait for Sunday.