Friday, October 3, 2014

A Word About the Albatross

I have an old college chum that I love dearly. For reasons that will become clear later, I will refer to her as The Albatross. The Albatross is a Badass. Please take note of the capital "B" on that word.

This is an actual albatross, not my friend The Albatross.

The Albatross is hardcore. At some point she discovered cycling and she fell in love with it, going on cycling adventure after cycling adventure, as well as any number of non-cycling escapades. My favorite is the solo cycling trip she took from coast to coast of Australia.

Yeah. Badass.

Her badassery is not the only fabulous thing about her. She is an all-around really cool person too, but that's not what this is about.

I had the good fortune of getting to crew for The Albatross more than once for what used to be called the Furnace Creek 508 (and now seems to be called just the 508). That race was a 508-mile bike race through Death Valley. Apparently the course has changed a little since the era my friend raced it, but it continues to run 508 miles through the desert each year.

The 508 is where The Albatross became The Albatross. See, the 508 doesn't assign numbers to racers, but instead gives them animal totems. I think my friend got the best one.

The Albatross killed her previous races, regardless of result, especially considering how punk rock her approach to them was—and trust me, it was. She also put up with preeettty unknowledgeable and haphazard crews with very little complaint. That is where the hardcore part comes in.

The reason I bring all of this up now is because The Albatross is flying again. She's racing the 508 this weekend, presumably with a crew who knows something about bike racing and bike repair. I don't know if she'll see this before she races, but I hope she knows how many happy, fast, flying thoughts I am sending her way.

Friend, you are amazing. Go get that 508. Fly, Albatross. I love you.

UPDATED: She did it!!!!!!!!!!!!! She crossed the finish line in 41 hours and 48 minutes. That is a hell of a lot of bike riding. You rock so hard, friend!!!


  1. What a great idea! Team MLC needs animal names for each of us. I call Dibs on "the flamingo!"

  2. You run and she cycles. I wonder what she'd say about you.

  3. Absolutely! I suppose I would have to be The Gerbil. Less majestic than the albatross and less graceful than the flamingo so, yeah, that sounds about right.

  4. She's super encouraging to me too. That's one of the reasons I love her so. :)

  5. As The Gerbil, you can alert everyone to danger, by stomping your feet. :)

  6. This made me laugh really hard, Karen.

  7. I think she might still be racing. It's a looooong race.

  8. Stimey, I am only reading this now, but out the window as I was riding the final hill, my crew told me that you were following (tweeting? facebooking?). You were still there, 100% behind me. Afterwards, I was actually in tears thinking of what an incredible and perfect job you did as my crew captain those three years. The way you supported me then, is actually a lot like how you treat people always-- backing them up, even if they are taking something on that others might find a bit strange. You are right now running in Kentucky. You go Stimey, you are the badass one.


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.