While running this morning with my tempo buddies Lisa and Bill we passed a particularly smelly garbage truck. Lisa put her shirt over her mouth. I wasn’t wearing a shirt so had to hold my breath. After we passed I wondered aloud why trash was being picked up on Sunday. Then I realized it’s Monday. Labor Day. Wasn’t this day created to give the laborers a day off? Yet here they were working. Mind you, I guess if they took Monday off then Tuesday would become Monday and Wednesday would be Tuesday and there’d be mass trash confusion.
I’m confused enough already about Moveable Monday. According to the letter I received along with an entire paper-mill of other important notes from the first week of school, Moveable Monday is something LCPS Elementary Schools do to offset the disproportionate number of Mondays missed during the school year. So, for example, when the kids go to school the Tuesday after Columbus Day, it’s Monday. Or at least the schedule is. The same goes for Wednesday, January 4th, Thursday, January 19th, and Friday, February 24th. That’s gotta be the worst. Friday is Monday, then it’s the weekend, then it’s Monday again. Can you imagine? Two Mondays in a row…now that sucks.
When I was at school in England no-one gave a crap if we missed the same day every week. We missed a lot of days because the unfortunately-named NUT (National Union of Teachers), to which the majority of school teachers belonged, was constantly calling strikes. Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in power from 1979 – 1990, the majority of my school life. Thatcher took a hard stand against unions and introduced legislation to curb their power, so I guess that’s why they were always striking…although I didn’t really pay attention to the reasons at the time. All I know is that we frequently had days off school as a result of teacher strikes, most of them Monday or Friday so teachers could get a long weekend out of it, but I doubt anyone considered moving the schedule.
I frequently move my training schedule. Last week Tuesday was Monday, Thursday was Wednesday, Friday was Sunday, and to be honest I don’t even know where Monday went. Maybe it was moveable or I was on strike. Saturday was just about the only day that stayed the same. On the schedule was a 55 -70 mile ride and I was riding from Trailside Park in Ashburn with super-strong bikers Leanne, Wayne, Jamie, Renee, and Stefan. I’ve been biking well lately so I was relatively confident I could keep up.
The first few miles were unadventurous as we headed out on the trail to Leesburg. As we started up Dry Mill Rd I realized my rear brake was rubbing. Jamie noticed it too and told me he’d take a look at the top of the hill. Halfway up the hill the noise got worse and then my rear wheel completely locked up. So there I was, stuck halfway up a hill, watching everyone disappear into the distance, trying to adjust my brake. Fortunately a guy biking behind me stopped. His first comment was “this isn’t a good place to stop” to which I wanted to respond, “oh really? I always stop halfway up a hill because I really like trying to get back on my freaking bike on a steep incline with cars coming in both directions,” but I bit my tongue since he had actually stopped to help me. He got the brake adjusted just as Wayne came back down the hill to find me. I guess my group noticed it was kinda quiet and realized I wasn’t there blabbering away.
So we got back on our bikes. I had no problem getting going but my new friend was struggling to get moving on the incline and I felt bad for making him stop. Then he mentioned he’d just had surgery and I felt really, really bad. Especially when I got to the top of the hill and saw not only my group waiting for me but his group waiting for him! I’m sure next time he sees some idiot who has stopped halfway up a hill he’s gonna just keep riding…
So we continued on and soon I had no clue where we were. When I realized we were in Waterford I almost freaked out because Waterford is, like, an hour drive from my house! I am still not used to these long freaking rides where you actually go far. After Waterford we rode some really nasty hills around Lucketts, the ones where you run out of gears when you’re still at the bottom, and after that we rode through Taylorstown and started hearing thunder. Yippee. I’m an hour in the car from my house and there’s thunder. Awesome. We rode some more and stopped at 7-11 for water. I asked Leanne if she could buy me some water since I had forgotten to bring money (good trick) and she agreed. I was glad she did because when she came out she said the women working in the store are total (rhymes with) witches. We guessed they don’t like bikers because we smell and are always looking for the bathroom and don’t buy cigarettes or (much) alcohol.
After refueling we rode through Lovettsville (still a long way from home) and then we passed Doukenie Winery (finish line and best part of Wine Country Half Marathon) so I realized we were in Hillsboro. Great. Still an hour from home. We stopped in Purcellville to use the bathroom and then started to head home. I was feeling totally out of gas and really wanted to get back at this point. It started getting really dark on the heavily shaded W&OD trail and then the rain started coming down.
At one point when I wasn’t really paying attention because I was tired and my butt really, really hurt, I noticed everyone was slowing. I braked a bit too late and too hard and started fishtailing all over the wet trail. Then I realized why they were braking. This massive raccoon was wandering all over the trail. Leanne was trying to avoid it but it was headed in her direction and she started screaming and the thing stopped right by her back wheel and looked at her and then darted into the bushes. I almost fell off my bike laughing, it was so freaking funny.
When we got back to Trailside after riding 62 miles – LONGEST RIDE EVER! No wonder my butt hurt like hell! – I had talked myself out of the 10 minute run I was supposed to do. I was about to slink into Stefan’s car unnoticed when Leanne and Wayne strolled up with their running shoes on and said, “going for a run?” as if we hadn’t just ridden 62 hilly freaking miles and it wasn’t pouring and we weren’t totally gross and wet and muddy. So of course I couldn’t say no to that, and off we went.
I didn’t care what was on the schedule for Sunday. After what I did Saturday, Sunday was officially OFF DAY.
Ever change up your schedule? Did your school teachers ever go on strike? Know why Margaret Thatcher was known as the “milk snatcher?”