So I stepped in some human poo. Lots of it — a big, soft mound. We were at our SAG stop — where kind volunteers offer us food and beverages — and I needed to pee. I saw one of your garden-variety skinny cycling guys emerge from a path that led into the nearby woods and I thought (not unreasonably), Hey, that’s probably a good place for me to pee! So I headed down that path, which was pretty narrow, and my focus was on some dicey-looking plants along the side: I was remembering my wife saying, “Leaves of three, let them be.” So I’m looking left and right, worrying about leaves of three, when I stepped in something soft and gushy. And big: my cycling shoes sunk in almost all the way. And I thought, Please, dear God, let this be mud! Only, it hadn’t been raining. And when I re-emerged from the path, all my teammates started exclaiming (not unreasonably) that something smelled really bad. I mean, it was epically awful. People thought it might be from a nearby farm or something. And I couldn’t get the stuff off my shoes! The poo had glopped into all the nooks and crevices of the cleats, and up from there. It was Biblical! And I still had, like, 30 miles left to ride with my teammates!
I’m sure you stopped reading this disgusting account a while ago, so now I’m probably just re-living this horror to my own self … but, wow!! I tried riding behind everyone else, but sometimes we all bunched up (like at a stoplight) and people would start yelling (quite understandably) that something smelled just awful. And that something was me! And there was nothing I could do about it! (I mean, I’d used up a whole bunch of diaper wipes, and everything, on the damn shoes — it was hopeless.)
And now, because you’re not actually reading this, I’m going to tell you what happened when I first went to day camp. I was, oh, I don’t know, maybe five or so? And having grown up in Manhattan, I’d never been in nature before — which is to say, away from a normal bathroom. And as I hiked with the other kids and our counselors, I realized that I needed to poo. But there was no bathroom! Finally, we got to this ancient Port-a-Potty type thing, and I was terrified to go in there. But I really, really needed to go! All the other kids were going in there, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. Till finally, well, I just relaxed my sphincter and … you know. … As we headed back to the bus, people started commenting that something smelled like poo. I agreed, suggesting that it was perhaps from a wild animal. This diversionary tactic became totally ineffective once we were actually back on the bus. A counselor asked me why I had done what I’d done. I don’t remember what I said in reply. But I was, as you might imagine, quite embarrassed.
And then … 50 years went by, during which I never smelled strongly of poo (my own, or another’s). Fifty years! That’s a pretty good stretch of poo-less-ness. But all good things must come to an end, and some bad things come from an end, and these two vectors of fate intersected on Saturday, because of a really, really inconsiderate cyclist with an impressive capacity for poo production (especially considering his overall skinniness).
At the end of our ride, there was — wait for it — a team cookout! And no, I didn’t attend the cookout, of course. Meanwhile, I noticed that sprinklers had gone on in a nearby field, so while everyone else was cookout-ing, I ran over and held my soiled cycling shoes up to the nozzle of a sprinkler. My goal was to de-soil the shoes, but what this ended up doing was distributing the poo molecules throughout the entire shoe. So I went over to where there was a dispenser of plastic bags for dog-walkers, and I took a bunch of them and totally wrapped up my drenched, poo-ey shoes (I had been offered a car ride back to BART, and I wasn’t about to inflict these shoes on anyone else!) and walked, barefoot and sad, back to the parking lot. There were sharp things in the parking lot — splinters, and such — but what I’m telling you is, I just didn’t care!
Well, when I got back home I threw out those shoes. Yes! — even though I’m broke-ass! And I bought a new pair — because, well, POO!! I know this was extravagant on my part, but before you cast the first stone, try riding a few miles in my old bike shoes.
And hey: otherwise, it was a lovely ride! Here’s the map, which you can click on for all kinds of cool details (none of them, thankfully, olfactory):
And here are my two previous training rides:
This coming Sunday, June 1, I’ll finally be doing the big event: “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride,” a 100-miler, in Tahoe, with my teammates from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. Thanks to everyone who donated towards my ride — it means the world to me, and to cancer patients and their loved ones! (You can still contribute, if you want, by clicking here.)
I’m really sorry about the disgustingness of this blog entry, but I just had to write it, so that the healing could begin.
I mean, yeesh!