Peachy invited me for drinks on the Wednesday before her race. She wanted to give me a tee shirt to wear while she was racing, with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society logos and a picture of my son silkscreened on the chest. After a couple of plum mojitos she told me how she'd gotten involved in bike racing for charity. I'll try to repeat more or less verbatim here, but the quotations are more for reference than an indication of her exact words. Like I said, plum mojitos had taken place.
"I was walking through the Village with my brother, and a man comes up and hands us a flyer for the AIDS race to Boston. So I say, why not, and we go to the community center and I sign up. I don’t even have a bike.
"My brother buys me a bike, but says I have to give it back to him after the race. On the night before, I invite friends out and we are drinking and someone asks me how I trained. Trained? I didn't even get on the bike yet. So the next morning I show up at the parking lot and get on the bike. We don't know what the gears are for, but my brother watches some other people change theirs and he puts them in the same position. So, okay, I ride around a few times and I’m ready to go. And everything is just fine until we get to Connecticut, where there are a lot of hills. Everyone else is just speeding by” — Here she pantomimes a person riding uphill in low gear, then herself struggling in high gear-- “and I’m pushing and pushing and getting nowhere. This guy rides up next to me and notices my Romanian flag on my bike and he says, “How are you my Romanian flower?” and I say “I am not a flower! I can’t ride this bike and everyone else is whizzing by!” so he looks at my gears and says, “put it in low gear” and I say “huh?” So he tells me to pull over -- and I still don't know how to get my feet out of the clips, so I fall over. I somehow get my feet out, and he shows me how to adjust the gears. I get so involved I don't remember how to get the clips off next time.
"Now on the whole ride, other people are shouting, "Passing!" "Slowing!" "Stopping" and I have no idea what it means, but I say whatever they say. So when we come up to the light, I yell "slowing!" stopping!" then as I try to get my feet out of the clips again, "FALLING!" But finally I learn how to get out of the clips, I make it to Boston in a couple of days, and when I step on the scale, I lost 7 pounds!"
She told me her brother did in fact take her bike, so when she decided to train for the Arizona race, she had to buy a new bike -- and train. Team in Training seems to have a good coach and training program, because when Peach called me after the race, her first words were "I got the silver!" I was so proud of her. Jesse would have been too, and I told her so. When we got together last week for her birthday, Peachy wore her racing shirt, bright green and purple, with Jesse's photo on the shoulder. I don't think Jesse's brother or I will ever take off our purple rubber bracelets, Peachy. Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your victory. And please let me know if I quoted you wrong!