Inspiring while perspiring.

Tuesday, rather than enjoying a sweltering session grasping at plastic holds at the bouldering gym as planned, I found myself lying on my back under the kitchen sink living out my plumber fantasy. Remember when I successfully removed the p-trap to unsuccessfully retrieve a pair of body jewelry that I had dropped down the drain? If not, there’s a blog post about that.

This time my landlady requested that I grope for some pipes through a hole in the wall: a poorly placed access hole that did not line up with this purported handle. Also, being trapped under the p-trap meant I couldn’t peer inside the hole.

This looks the opposite of fun.

Do you see the valve? No. The answer is no. But, when your landlady, who is renting out a suite to you for much less than the market rate, asks you to stick your hand in a hole in the wall, you do it.

So, I did it. My fingers did not graze a family of mummified mice nor a cluster of silverfish eggs. I found glory within this hole, and water from the spigot on the other side started flowing! What a happy ending! (Mostly for the landlady.)

Honestly, bouldering would have been way more exciting. Alas, that was my Tuesday.

The temperature reached 39° C this past Sunday and Monday, which made them the two hottest days I had ever experienced in British Columbia. Truly hot days are few and far between for me, so these following heatwaves have been seared into my memory: Beijing, China 2010; Trelew, Argentina 2019; Lausanne, Switzerland 2008; and finally, Montréal 2018.

I’d been looking forward to spending my days off work cycling, preferably not alone. How was I going to find someone willing to brave this ridiculous heat? For Saturday, I found an eager riding partner in Andrew, another survivor of the 2008 Lausanne heatwave. But, we did not know each other back then: we were there for entirely different reasons.

I had travelled to France and Switzerland for the joy of sightseeing. The day I checked out of my hostel in Lausanne, I found myself cut off the most direct route to the train station because athletes from all over the world had gathered to see who could outswim, outride, and outride who. Being the best at one thing isn’t good enough anymore.

Now, Lausanne is a city built on a hill around a lake. This blockage resulted in a massive detour uphill–in the extreme heat, with a poor hydration situation. And hatless! By the time I reached Geneva, I was too ill to explore the final city of my 2008 trip properly.

Andrew is a former pro triathlete who has competed internationally, including in Switzerland that year. Upon learning that I had also been in Lausanne that day, he asked me why I’d gone there. My answer was: “Well, not triathleting, that’s for sure.”

I imagine he was taken back by the idea that some people travel without the intention to win races. Perhaps he was puzzled by my usage of triathlon as a verb. He did not tell me how he placed that scorching day in 2008, but there’s no question that he fared better than I did. The same could be said for our Sunday night ride. Yup, Andrew is thrice the athlete I’ll ever be!

Monday, I found another fool undeterred by the heat: Zack. Zack isn’t a former triathlete, but he’s cycle toured some unreasonably hot places such as Morocco and… I don’t remember the other locales he listed. Sodom and Gomorrah, maybe? His travels have taught him that the ultimate hot weather fabric is not Polyester nor Coolmax nor Luon®. It’s silk!

He was determined to show me that he could swim, and the place to do it was Elk Lake. Even though it’d only been my second time riding with Zack, I’ve observed his uncontrollable urge to cut through parks. Any park. Elk Lake is a mere 20 km ride from Victoria, yet he managed to take us through at least eight parks on the way. Many were so small that we were in and out in under five minutes. That guy is not a roadie.

Our dip in the unusually tepid lake wasn’t as refreshing as it should have been, a kid threw a cherry at me, and a dog pooped where we’d left our stuff while we were swimming. Other than that, it was enjoyable. The tragedy of the day was finding Ponyboy’s first real scratch. It happened because a bolt had come undone from one of the rack mount bosses, causing the rack stays to wear away at the paint.

The rack itself wasn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, so I’ve removed it for the time being. Anyway, I’d just finished customizing the handlebar bag that Yann sewed and wanted to make it the focal point.

Sweat dripping from my bag.

It matches the saddle bag I painted two years ago.

Also, note the silver bar tape, which is a flashy yet neutral change. It looks cool but not necessarily better than the black cork.

I tried my best to memorize Ponyboyd’s coral colouring before walking into a drugstore to buy nail varnish to touch up the chip.

My best try wasn’t that great: it doesn’t look worse than before, nor does it look better. Perhaps this could improve the appearance of my fingernails?

Nah, nail varnish isn’t for me, yet I don’t hate it enough to run out to buy remover.

Now, I would love for you to guess how I took the above photo. Hint: it wasn’t with my mouth.

PS- This post was nearly completed on Wednesday, but then I discovered r/dogswitheyebrows and went to bed late because of it.

7 thoughts on “Inspiring while perspiring.

  1. Hey it’s Dirtious J Dirt. I followed the link from your strava profile and I’ve read a bunch of your stuff over the last few weeks. I just want to say thanks for sharing your experiences here – it has been some enlightening reading. I miss working at the MEC shop and getting the chance to chat with interesting people about interesting things. Anyways, solid riding and I wish you the best!


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