Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Bad Omens

Well, I have all kinds of things to say about this weekend’s Longest Day, but first, let me tell you about the comedy of errors that was pre-race day.

(1) Friday morning’s plans to load up the car, drop Brent off at school, and work at a nearby coffee shop for a few hours were derailed when Lupine decided to go after a squirrel.  As I let him out back, he launched himself off the deck, skidded on the slate patio, and flew off his feet.  He let out a loud yelp that Brent heard from the upstairs bathroom, stood up, and like a three-year-old who’s just realized he has a booboo, began to cry.  At first I thought he’d broken his foot, but it turned out that he’d split his nail open.  One vet visit, $93, and a bandaged foot later, he was ready for a weekend with my sister and Brent and I were ready to head to New York.

(2) We picked Bruce up at 2 pm and hit the highway.  Race registration began at 5:00 AM Saturday morning, so we wanted to get up there and settle in early.  An hour from our destination – the Super 8 motel in Kingston, New York – we heard a loud thump from the roof of the car.  I was driving, so Brent peeked his head out of the window to see what was going on.

“Pull over!  Pull over now!” he yelled.

Mind you, I was in the left-most lane of the New York Thruway in thickening rush hour traffic.

“What’s wrong?”

“The bike rack fell off!  Pull over!”

I managed to weave my way into the right lane and then onto the mercifully wide highway shoulder.  Bruce and I assumed Brent meant the trunk rack to which Bruce’s bike was affixed.  Instead, we all got out of the car to find this:


Turns out all of the bolts on the front half of the rack had rattled loose, so the entirety of the rack slid backward over the back window.  Luckily, the back bolts held strong, or we would have had a lot of very expensive roadkill to account for.  Brent and Bruce put the rack back together while I documented the process.  Twenty minutes later, we continued on our way.

(3) As is the NYARA custom, the actual race location for the 2011 Longest Day wasn’t announced until just a few days ago, but the race directors did offer up the names of a couple of the surrounding towns as lodging options.  We tried to reserve a room in the suggested Phoenicia or Shandaken, but couldn’t find anything cheaper than a fancy ski lodge, so we ended up booking a room at the one available motel in nearby Kingston, NY: the Super 8.

Between racing, road tripping, and commuting, I’ve spent countless nights in cheap motels, and I’m generally not terribly squeamish, but Super 8 has always screamed sketchy to me.

And this one surely delivered.

We checked in, unloaded the car, and went in search of dinner.  After an evening at the Dietz Stadium Diner (just as snazzy as it sounds), we came back and readied our bikes.  Since we didn’t have an extra padlock, Bruce pulled his into my backseat, and Brent and I locked ours to the refurbished roof rack.  We wrapped towels around the drivetrains to protect them from any overnight condensation, and went inside to organize our gear.

An hour later, Brent went back out to grab something from the car and was approached by – get this – a traveling chainsaw salesman, who warned him that the man across the parking lot had stolen our towels.

Brent walked over to find a rather rotund biker-dude buffing his u-haul with our beach towel.

“Um, I think that’s my towel,” he said cautiously.

The man paused and looked down at the cloth, now damp with his spit.

“Really?” he responded apologetically.  “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t realize it belonged to someone.”

“Well, it was on our car…”

“Oh man… I’m so sorry.”

This went on for several minutes.  The man tried to return the towel, and when Brent refused him, he attempted to send Brent back with a handful of little pink washcloths.  Worried that the guy might screw around with our bikes, Brent moved the car to the back of the motel, and came back inside to relay the exchange.  It was about that time that we noted the large XP etched into the ceiling.

(4) By this point, it was 9:30 PM.  We had to wake up at 3:00 to get to registration.  We turned out the lights and settled in, and though I’d been exhausted only minutes earlier, I suddenly found myself wide awake.  I tossed and turned for three hours, unable to shut off my brain.  Finally, around midnight, I got up to use the bathroom, and discovered that I’d gotten my period (too much information?  Sorry!).  Now I know this is a post about bad omens, and technically, this wasn’t a bad thing.  In fact, given that it had been inexplicably delayed for nearly two weeks and I was becoming increasingly anxious, it was a really good thing.  But while it’s perfect timing in terms of Costa Rica, it was about as annoying as it could have been for the Longest Day, where I’d be heading off into the woods for 30 straight hours.  But more on that later…

Finally, just before 1:00 AM, I fell asleep.  Two hours later, the alarm sounded.

It was time to race.


12 responses to “Bad Omens

  1. Laurie June 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Two words. The. Pill. No babies flying out unexpectedly and no periods during races.

  2. Jill June 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Oh man oh man….I can so relate to the no sleep thing when you’re over the top exhausted….so sucks. So gllad those bikes didn’t go crashing through your widow, yikes. Hahah@ Laurie above :). Can’t wait for the sleep-deprived race report (and I agree, something’s wrong with Super 8)

  3. Jill June 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Opps “window” 🙂

  4. Sarah S @RunningOnWords June 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Woah, I’m incredibly creeped out by towel thief. And the traveling chainsaw salesman is a little strange too, come to think of it. I have to admit, the one time we had our bikes on a rack on the car I was absolutely convinced they were going to fall off. They didn’t, but I still am afraid to drive with them.

  5. Kim (Book Worm Runs) June 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Oh no, Abby!!! This is like the beginning of a horror movie…creepy motel, some strange guy stealing your stuff, a TRAVELING CHAINSAW SALESMAN! I can not wait for this race report 😉

  6. pawsitivelife June 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Those are bad omens! I am so superstitious that I think I would have stayed home, saying something like “its not ment to be” and I would go to bed. Your a better person than me

  7. Kara June 7, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I’m so glad that you found my blog because that means I found yours now too! A traveling chainsaw salesman is the most epic job title ever. 🙂

  8. kari @running ricig June 7, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Good lord! That is completely ridiculous. I’m glad Lupine just had a split nail! The guy with the towels is hilarious, but also kind of terrifying, I’m picturing something out of Deliverance.

  9. Julie (A Case of the Runs) June 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Oh geez, I’d totally freak out if my gear was falling all over the road!

  10. Denise June 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    what a way to lead up to a race!! poor pups. my dog growing up did that multiple times and i remember her crying. it was so sad. as for everything else, so glad you didn’t lose the bikes and that you guys weren’t murdered by the “traveling chainsaw salesman.” what the heck??

  11. Julie June 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Oh man!! That bike rack – that would have been seriously ugly if it fell all the way off! I’m constantly worried about the one that hooks into my hitch. Every once in a while I’ll look back and see the bikes shaking more than usual and pull over to find the bolt almost shaken completely loose.

    The towel thing was just plain weird!
    Sorry about your period.
    Can’t wait to hear more of the story!

  12. Pingback: The 2011 Longest Day: Epicness Abounds « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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