More venerable than even an award-winning trophy designer.

More things than just my hair are now yellow. I realized yesterday morning that my hair had stained my grey-blue pillowcase.

Hard to see, but clearly not pee.

I’ve included a picture in case you were imagining something resembling a piss stain.

So, this is a definite drawback to having bright-coloured hair. Randomly staining things isn’t supposed to be a part of the regular human experience.

The best thing about having yellow hair has been the attention. I’ve mainly been in a good mood lately, enabling me to receive attention well. People drop what they’re doing to stare, including children during recess. Two weeks ago, as I walked by an elementary school, a group of kids ran up to the fence and collectively gawked. A girl with her two front teeth missing jumped up and down, waved at me, and said, “I like your hair!”

Had she not said that, though, I’d have assumed they were star-struck; after all, I am the Local Legend for the Strava segment that ends in front of that school. That means I have the most efforts on the given segment over the past 90 days. Hardly an impressive feat when the segment happens to lie along your daily commute, but the kids definitely don’t know this.

“When were you going to tell us about your secret Strava?!” –Zack

Not a secret; otherwise, I wouldn’t be mentioning it now. I didn’t have an account until recently because I had trouble syncing my phone with the GPS. Anyway, the six-week training plan I’d signed up for on Zwift meant I was doing most of my cycling virtually: through volcanoes, a transparent undersea tunnel, and whatnot. I was already getting the validation I was seeking from random people in the form of “Ride Ons!” in this virtual world. I don’t need Zack’s approval when I’m winning all these computer-generated jerseys, dang it.

I’d planned on cancelling my Zwift subscription once I’d completed the training plan with the expectation that I’d be too busy cycling outdoors. I am disappointed to say that I stopped four workouts short of the twenty-four workout plan and even more disappointed that my knee injury was likely exacerbated by over-training.

Strava was to replace Zwift so that I could keep tracking my performance. The syncing issue was resolved with a quick google search, and the creation of my Strava account soon followed. Then, Strava exported the data stored on the GPS dating back to March, and as I linked my Zwift account, my Zwift rides uploaded as well. To the untrained eye, it looks like I’d been snubbing my cyclist buddies on Strava for MONTHS. In reality, I’d only been snubbing them for about two weeks. I quickly realized that most of my rides were:

Morning Ride

Afternoon Ride

Evening Ride

Same route, same distance, same two segments–one of which produced an instant QOM upon the data upload. I am not an exciting person to follow on Strava. Feeling guilty that my co-workers thought I’d purposely snubbed them and not wanting to spam their feeds with trite excursions, I resolved to give all my commutes cute titles. The latest is Rush Hour (Starring me instead of Jackie Chan). I remember almost nothing about that movie beyond the title, Jackie Chan, and Chris Tucker. But that commute will be forever immortalized on Strava.

At work, I found a former Baker’s Cyst haver and grilled him on the healing process. He told me that as soon as his knees felt better, he resumed his usual physical activities and that it did not cause him trouble. Like me, he also did not find that the cyst caused him pain. It disappeared in a few months, he said.

Who’d have thought I’d find a conversation about a cyst uplifting? As long as my knees feel okay, I could resume my riding! That afternoon, I found myself energized enough to hop the trainer after a two-week hiatus to get a few workouts in before my account pauses on the 11th. Energized enough to tackle Alpe du Zwift, a 12.2km ride with an average grade of 8.5%? Sure!

If I couldn’t finish the training plan, I could make up for this failure by completing another goal: climb the AdZ in under an hour. And I did, with over four minutes to spare. Then, because it got uploaded to Strava, I got Kudos’d for my fake ride.

I am undecided on what gives me the biggest hit of dopamine: a Kudos, Ride On, or the adoration of real-life schoolyard children.

I generally like to make my avatars look as ridiculous as possible, but the personalization options on Zwift are limited to about ten different hairstyles in five colours. I have an aerodynamic white mohawk.

I look more ridiculous IRL.

That’s as extreme as I could get.

But my Zwift and Strava profile photo features my shark eyebrow’d cookie face.

My sweet, sweet face.

My goal on Strava is to spam my followers’ rides with strange comments that will have their other followers ask, “So you know this person?” They’ll then have to get defensive over their affiliation to me, “She’s not that creepy in real life, I swear.”

I’m going to bask in their awkwardness.

I may be creepy, but I’m also a reasonably strong cyclist. That has been my biggest revelation of the year thus far. Not only do I not suck at cycling, but also I suck a lot less than most Strava-registered cyclists in Victoria. I’ve been an active person for years, but only in mediocrity. I was alright at rowing. I’m average at climbing and an okay swimmer. Running? Good at running away from my problems, but literally running? Pathetic.

Little old me with my crinkly knees and a mild smoker’s cough*, a near-elite cyclist? What if I’d started cycling much earlier and hadn’t developed several chronic health issues? I could have… been so good that nobody would care if I left my Strava rides logged as Morning Ride, Afternoon Ride, or Evening Ride. Think about all the kudos that could’ve sustained me for the rest of my life. My god…

Instead, I am a washed-up has-been never-was!

In other exciting news, I continue to test my lactose threshold by progressively eating bigger portions of skyr. I’m up to four spoonfuls without ill effects. Go, me. Also, the mouse has not returned since its release at the park. I imagine the ordeal was terrifying enough for it to risk living among owls and snakes instead.

To make sure it was just a lone mouse, the landlords conceded to allowing the neighbours to see a pest control van parked out front. The exterminator did not find evidence of mice raising families upon families inside the walls and sealed the portal at the back of my bathroom cabinet shut with steel wool. I have a snap trap on the shelf under my towels. God forbid I’m confronted with a dead mouse the next time I reach in the cabinet for a fresh towel.

*Because you might’ve exclaimed, “You smoke?!” as a few of my friends already have: I don’t smoke cigarettes. I smoke the other stuff. Sometimes I inhale too much marijuana and get so high that I forget that I was planning on showering, like last night.

One thought on “More venerable than even an award-winning trophy designer.

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