Hey mon from the Hincapie Sportswear Team Camp in the Bahamas!
I can’t believe this is my 5th trip here and riding on the left side of the road still confuses me! Its just so gauche (look up both its english and french meaning to get that joke), strange, and reckless feeling.
Team camps are so much fun. Ride all day, new team kits, raucous dinners, meet new teammates, stay in hotels where there is cable and beds that are magically made. Oh and the breakfast buffet here is legendary. Fruits, eggs, french toast, pastries, oatmeal, bagels, yogurt, bacon, hashbrowns, orange juice. The only down side is that the coffee is not as impressive as Andy’s Jura. Hey, you can’t have it all!
I am rooming with Robin Carpenter. Never met him before Tuesday night. Last year he raced for the now defunct Chipotle First Solar team. He goes to Swarmouth college and is an Economics major. (I nearly fell off my bed when I heard that). He likes watching the news, mainly CNN, the cooking show Chopped, and Spongebob Squarepants. Real cool guy.
The riding in the Bahamas is not that great. Besides the whole left side thing, there is basically one loop on the island of Nassau with a few variations to it, as you can see from my Strava files. A few local cycling enthusiasts joined us one ride, along with Rich and George, and one of them took the group to a private harbor to see a some yachts up close. They were impressive! One had a million dollar Bugatti on the top deck. Another could go 70 miles per hour but used 15 gallons of diesel per minute at that speed. Imagine filling up that tank of gas…
Yesterday, instead of going on a bike ride, we hopped onto a sea plane and flew to an island about 50 miles from Nassau.
It was spectacular. A small beach with a volleyball net, some ocean kayaks, a few paddle boards, and some chairs staring oceanward. Blair and Joey Rosskopf didn’t even wait for the boat to take us from the floating dock to land and simply dove in to the clear water.
Paddle boards have fascinated me for the last year. I saw a picture of someone standing on one, just paddling along and have wanted to try it ever since. I grabbed one, dashed into the water, and gingerly stood up. Until the first little roll of the ocean dumped me from my high horse. After some more attempts, I decided to simply paddle on my knees like the rest of the team who had headed out to sea without me. When I caught up to them and realized that there were some huge sharks swimming below us, I put off mastering the paddle board until a safer time. After a little while of chasing the sharks around, we headed back to shore and straight into a volleyball game. Craven declared that the game would decide who goes to Redlands. As of right now, only the staff are going.
After lunch, we took a boat to iguana island to take some team pictures. Our boat captain produced a bag of grapes and began throwing them on shore to lure the iguanas from their rocky hiding places. Lo and behold, they waddled into sight much to our delight.
However our photographer’s amusement quickly dissipated when he found that the team kept turning around to make sure none of the little monsters were creeping up behind us to snap off our toes! A legitimate fright in my mind. The finished product did come out quite nice however.
I miss my little home in Greenville. It actually, kind of, feels like home. At the same time, I hate leaving places I have visited. Its an odd tug of war that happens at the end of a trip. All these moments go by in the blink of an eye but they remain with you forever. One day, in the next nine months, it will be rainy and cold and the general mood will be down. Then someone will smile and remember that time Craven got knocked over when a volleyball nailed him in the head. And then phones will be whipped out and pictures of funny memories will be passed around. While there are no pictures of it, I will smile and think of those glorious 100 seconds I spent standing on a paddle board.