One-Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels

One-Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels

by Jonathan Vaughters

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Overview

The new memoir tracing story of cycling since the 1980s, through the eyes of Jonathan Vaughters, founder of team Education First and one of the sport's most towering figures.

Jonathan Vaughters' story is the story of modern cycling. From his early years as a keen cyclist in his hometown in Colorado to his unflinching rite of passage as a professional rider with US Postal to his elevation as one of cycling's most resilient, ethical and intelligent team bosses, the highs and lows of his career have mirrored those of the sport itself. Vaughters has had a front-row seat for most of the major events in cycling over the past three decades. He was both a former teammate of Lance and a leading witness against him. And he went on to renounce doping and start the first pro cycling team to dedicate itself to clean riding, which has grown into one of the most successful teams competing today and started a movement that has swept across the sport.

This is also not simply a story of races won and lost: Vaughters shows readers how he navigated the complex, international business of building Slipstream into a world-class cycling team. Over the past decade, he has led the sport out of the scandal-plagued Armstrong era. By presenting the world with a team made of talented racers built around a rigorous approach to clean racing, he set a new standard within cycling that has since spread across the peloton. Written from the unique perspective of both a racer and a team manager, One-Way Ticket gives the complete story of what it takes to build a winning team and repair the reputation of a sport.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143134145
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/27/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 78,194
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Vaughters began his cycling career in Colorado, eventually racing alongside Lance Armstrong on the infamous US Postal Service team. In the wake of the doping scandals that have plagued the sport, he founded what has become the US-based EF Education First Pro Cycling Team, which he still manages as it competes at cycling's highest level.

Read an Excerpt

1
Dead Last
I’m not really sure why I signed up for my first bike race.
I was crap at school, and crap at sports. I had very little coordination, very small muscles, and was a good six inches shorter than the next smallest kid in my class. Athletic would be the last term anyone used to describe me. In short, I had the academic and athletic talent of a rain-soaked worm.
So how, or even why, at 12 years old, I decided to make bike racing my big adventure, I have no idea. But it happened.
On an early July morning in 1986 my parents drove me from beige, suburban Denver up to scenic, blue-skied Boulder. I was racing in the Red Zinger Mini Classic, a week-long stage race for kids, fashioned after the famous Coors Classic stage race.
The opening stage was a time trial. I wasn’t really familiar with the discipline, and wondered if just riding on a lonely road, all by myself, was really what I signed up for.
Noticing how nervous and focused my competitors were, I retreated to the back of my parent’s station wagon and wrestled with Angie, our cuddly Bedlington Terrier. Perhaps I was more of a bike rider than a bike racer? Sure, I loved riding my bike around to visit friends and girls I had crushes on. But racing to win? These kids looked bigger, meaner, stronger. They looked like hungry wolves to me.
I timidly rolled over to the start line, honestly not understanding what I was in for. It seemed simple enough: ride five miles, from A to B, as fast as you can. Yet, as is my nature, I’d overthought the whole ordeal, and feltlike sliding back to the family Oldsmobile and asking Mum and Dad to take me home.
But off I went, riding into the unknown territory of a solo race against the clock on Highway 36. Very soon after the start, some other rider went zipping past me. And then, soon after that, so did another. This bike racing deal matched the absolute lack of success of athletic exploits I’d experienced to date in my life.
I was slow. Very slow.
We had set off in alphabetical order, and a few riders behind me, was
Chris Wherry.
Wherry was a tall, handsome legend in 12-year-old Colorado bike racing folklore. He’d won just about every race he entered and he commanded respect, even amongst the other 12-year-old “superstars,” hovering in the dirt parking lot that served as the start line.
Of course, soon enough he came whizzing past me, on his way to winning another race.
As he passed me, he yelled out: “Come on, dude! You gotta try a bit
harder!”
It was quite embarrassing. Duly, I did attempt to up the pace and keep up with him, for all of about 100 feet. He left me gasping and wincing, half in shame and half in pain.
I dragged myself across the finish line. I knew I hadn’t done very well, but I figured I hadn’t been caught by Wherry too quickly, so maybe I’d finish somewhere in the middle of the 12 year-old category. I was being a bit too optimistic.
My parents had brought a picnic to eat in between the morning time trial and the afternoon criterium race. We sat with all the other families patiently waiting for the results of the morning time trial to come in.
I ate a Bologna and cheese sandwich and slurped down a soda, all the while secretly feeding Angie scraps of the sandwich that I wasn’t fond of.
Finally, they posted a sheet on the side of an outhouse in the park.
My father and I reluctantly strolled over to see how I’d fared. Over all the craning necks and taller heads, I finally spotted my name—at the very bottom of the list.
The very last spot.
I was crushed and embarrassed to even be there. I wanted to go home.
I wanted to leave, immediately.
This was just the same as everything else I’d tried. I wasn’t any good at it. Just like school, just like games on the playground, just like trying to fit in. I failed at all of them, and now I was a failure at bike racing too. I just wasn’t any good—at anything.
I spoke to my mother and told her I wanted to leave, immediately. I had no business being there. She was a sympathetic ear, just listening as I recounted how poor I was at bike racing, and that maybe I just needed to leave and go home.
Angie sensed that I was upset. She came over and started giving me little doggie kisses, trying to understand what was wrong. I gave her a long hug and hoped that we’d just get going, far away from this place and these people.
Meanwhile, my mother and father were locked in conversation about something. It was clearly a heated discussion and I watched as Dad waved his arms around.
My parents were never sports-minded. My father is an attorney with an acute love for the constitution of the United States, and a very strong sense of fairness. His love for reading and for justice was very strong and something he passed on to me. He loved helping people and going above and beyond to protect the rights of his clients.
He was well-liked and respected. Often, we’d be given firewood, chicken meat, or help around the house in lieu of payment for bills that his clients couldn’t afford, clients that he had opted to represent anyway. He was driven by the concept of equality for all, not by a love of money.
My mother taught children with learning disabilities and speech pathology.
She had wanted to become a medical doctor, but her grandfather, an MD himself, had convinced her otherwise, saying that medicine was no place for a woman. That decision, to not pursue medicine, never stopped bothering her.
Nevertheless, she managed to be very progressive for a woman who came of age in the chauvinistic 1950s, getting her master’s degree in speech pathology and focusing on her career, first.
She had married a younger man late in life, and didn’t have me until she was 38 years old. My parents were a formidable unit of intellectual horsepower, but their kid, competing in sports—particularly such an odd niche sport like cycling—was an unknown to them.
I sat on the grass, watching them argue, until finally, they agreed, which— knowing how decisive and combative my mother was—meant we were about to pack up the car and go back home.
Instead, my father walked over and firmly stated that we were staying, and I was going to start the afternoon’s race. I was stunned and protested to him with all my might.
Dad is a gentle soul, not predisposed to drawing hard lines about anything.
He has an uncanny ability to see both sides of any issue. He would cede mostly to the more decisive nature of my mother, or even myself.
But not on that day.
He sat me down.
“If you start something, you damn well finish it,” he said firmly.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re best or worst, you don’t just quit. You’re going to start the afternoon race, and you’re going to try your best.”
I was shocked.
“I paid a lot for you to do this damned thing, so you aren’t just quitting,” he said exasperatedly. “No way.”
My Dad was the ever-supportive bear that never pushed back on anything. It was the first time my father had ever forced me to do something. And that one decision of his changed my entire life.
Later that afternoon, I begrudgingly started stage two of the Red Zinger, assuming I would just get slaughtered and lapped very quickly. I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to race. But I did, frown and all.
That start gun fired, and I struggled to quickly get my loose foot into the toe clips and toe straps on my bike. I’d fought my way back into the peloton of puberty by the end of the first short lap. Somehow this wasn’t as terrible as I had thought, and going around the corners at such speed was sort of fun. I was actually enjoying myself.
Despite the fact I was the worst bike racer there, I liked it. It was a far cry from trying to play football at recess, and just hating every moment of it. No, this was different; sure, I sucked, but I loved it.
Screaming around the corners, right on the edge of losing control, fueled my adrenaline and made my heart sing. I focused hard on the wheel in front of me, and never let it go. That task became harder and harder every lap, but I gritted my teeth and refused to let go.
One by one, I started passing kids that couldn’t hang on to the back of the peloton. While they looked much better on the bike than I did and were, I’m sure, much fitter than I was, I was able to suffer—to tear my guts up just that little bit more—to hold on. Twenty minutes earlier, I didn’t even want to be there; now I was having the time of my life. And that was a new experience for me.
In the period of riding just a few laps, zipping around some anonymous office park outside Boulder, I changed my mind on sports.
I wanted to be an athlete.
I wanted to be a racer.
Racing absorbed me. It combined mental, technical, tactical, and physical aspects. Somehow, the balance of carving a corner on a machine worked much better than the eye to hand coordination of catching a ball. The circular motion of pushing the pedals made more sense to my overly cerebral brain than did the supposedly “natural” motion of running. I had fallen in love with racing a bike. I was still disgracefully slow and unfit, but I desperately wanted to be good.
That week, day by day, stage by stage, I got a little bit better at racing. I learned how to take a corner, how to draft closer, how to move up in a peloton. I wanted to fight as hard as I could to be a bit better, even though I was still very far away from winning anything.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t giving up when things got rough.
In school, in other sports, and in life, I had shown very little natural aptitude for anything beyond memorizing random facts about the American civil war. Until then, when things didn’t come naturally to me, I gave up.
Deep down, I was competitive, but I had never let it show. I just wasn’t that great at the stuff most parents, and most kids, wanted to be good at.
Football, baseball, basketball—anything to do with a ball, I was simply shit. I was very small and near-sighted, so most automatically assumed I’d be a good student, but my grades were miserable, too.
But then came cycling and that all changed.
At first, I still sucked at it, but somehow, instead of just feeling discouraged, cycling inspired me to try and be better. This was a new experience for me. I forgot about my lack of talent. I desperately wanted to figure out how to be good at this sport, even if I wasn’t the most talented.
By the end of the Red Zinger, I was occasionally seeing the front of the race. I’d learned during the week that I could get ahead of many of the kids that had more physical strength than I did by being willing to push myself further.
The second to last day of the race, there was another time trial, but this time it climbed a big hill. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to put that theory to the test and see if I could actually push myself to the limit, racing against the clock.
I started the time trial off with a snap in my legs and an excitement I had not felt earlier in the week. I wanted to see how good I could be if I just let go of that perfectionistic anchor.
It was so liberating to just try to be the best that I could be, without being paralyzed by the “what ifs” that had held me back until then.
“What if” I wasn’t the best or “what if” I was embarrassed?
So I focused on nothing more than getting the last bit of energy out of my body.
After one mile of steep uphill, I already felt I was about to pass out, or to shit in my shorts. My body wasn’t used to opening up the throttle, all the way. I had no idea how I was going to continue at such an effort for another three miles, so I focused on the next 50 feet, and then the next 50 feet after that, and so on.
Over and over, I dealt with a self-imposed agony that I’d never felt before.
About halfway, I spotted the rider who had started in front of me. I was about to catch him. Once again, I played games in my head, saying I’d push myself as hard as I could until I caught him, and then take a little break.
But once I caught him, I was like a kid who’d just eaten his first Pringle.
I was addicted.
I loved catching and passing this innocent victim. I now wanted the whole can’s worth. I continued, dead focused on finding more prey before the finish line. And I got my wish.
As I entered the last mile, half-animated bodies began to appear on the horizon. I caught them all before the finish.
I crossed the line and immediately started retching up whatever was left in my stomach, dry heaving like a cat with a massive hairball. This was something I’d never experienced before. It may have sounded terrible but it felt great. I was finally free from not trying. I was free from giving up.
Once again, Dad and I waited patiently by the outhouse for them to post the results. Unlike at the start of the week, the crowd wasn’t so thick. Most of the kids had gone home, knowing they wouldn’t be getting any reward, and feeling a bit tired from the week of racing.
But I was wholly invigorated. I was enthralled and just wanted the race to keep going for the rest of summer. Finally, they posted the dot matrix print out on the back of the porta-potty. I was in tenth place, in the ever-important top 10 finishers in a bike race.
I’d beaten 40 other kids, and wasn’t all that far behind the legends of the 12 year olds category.
For an odd minute or two, I felt pure elation and pride. Then, as we walked back to the car, I turned to my Dad.
“Next year, I’m going to win this thing,” I told him. “You watch, Dad, I’m going to win it.”
From then on, I began plotting how to make an athlete out of a geek— a winner out of a loser.
 
In the USA in 1986, there weren’t very many mentors or coaches available for kids trying to become bike racers. Colorado had a few folks here and there you could get some advice from, but on the whole, there was no one that was going to take me from a cute loser to a race winner through their brilliant coaching. This would be something I’d have to figure out on my own.
The one thing I did have a natural talent for was reading. If the topic was interesting to me, I could read for hours and absorb it all like a sponge.
Reading had always been an escape for me. It helped me escape from my problems making friends, escape from trouble in school, and escape from the loneliness of being an only child. Of course, most things we were assigned to read in school did not fit the bill of “interesting,” and therefore I rarely showed much of my reading horsepower actually in school.
However, for my newfound project of learning how to train for bike racing, I was ready to read hundreds of thousands of words. I went to the library, and to many bookstores, trying to source the best books on training and cycling in general.
The first American Tour de France winner Greg LeMond had come out with a book; the old Polish coach of the 1984 US Olympic team, Eddie Borysewicz, had written a book, a translation of five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault’s book, Memories of the Peloton was now available, and my favorite was Tudor Bompa’s Periodisation of Training. But I read anything I could get my hands on.
And so there, lying on the couch at my parent’s home, I read continuously.
I learned how to position my bike, how to choose the right gear, how to bridge to a breakaway, how to eat during a race, how much to drink, how to corner, and how to brake. I learned about strength training, interval training, endurance training, how to periodize training, and—a revolutionary concept at the time—anaerobic threshold training.
Within two months of finishing dead last in my first race, I had learned more, reading on my own, than I had in the previous six years in school. I was ready to begin my quest to conquer the 1987 Red Zinger Mini-Classic, and become one of the legends of 13-year-old Coloradan bike-racing folklore.
I began my training the first day of school in 1986. I figured it would take me a considerable amount of time just to build up to the level of fitness most kids had already achieved, just from being generally more active in “normal” sports than I’d been. Then I could start training harder and longer.
I’d learned, in my studious readings, that I most likely had predominantly slow twitch muscle fiber, and that if I wanted to build up the explosive power needed to actually win bike races, I’d need to increase my muscular strength, which would also take a considerable amount of time.
I started training for the next summer, before the previous summer had even ended.
At first, my training rides were fairly short and basic. My focus was on trying to build muscle mass in my parent’s basement with a second-hand weight set my father had bought for me. Squats, leg extensions, and hamstring curls were happening in abundance in the concrete cave below our home.
Right after school, every day, I went out for bike rides, whatever the weather. Heat, cold, rain, snow—I went out for bike rides, every day. Weekends, which used to be built around messing around with friends and very unsuccessfully chasing girls, became two days in the week when I could ride my bike all day.
Each weekend, I would explore the roads further and further from my parent’s house. The feeling of freedom was immense, as I was travelling to places that none of my friends could ever get to without begging their parents for a ride in the car.
I’d explore deeper into the nondescript suburbs, reaching further and further towards the city limits, towards the mountains, and beyond, to a whole new world. I would be gone for three, four, even five hours, pounding away on the pedals and exploring.
My parents had no idea where I was, or if I was safe, but they accepted that my obsession needed to run its course for me to grow up.
So, off I went in search of my dream, in search of my goal, and in search of myself. I cherished these long rides when I could dream of winning for hours on end.
But more than simply winning, I started to dream of being a professional rider. In everything I’d read, I’d started to learn about the mystical world of European professional cycling. And I loved it. I loved the heroes, the romance, the difficulty, the sacrifice, the pain, the fame, and the glory.
I was entranced by it, and searched for anything I could get my hands on to consume more of this world of legends. In addition to all the books,
I found some old videotapes, such as Sunday in Hell and some poorly recorded
CBS recaps of the Tour de France. Those VHS tapes became my most prized possessions, and I watched them over and over again.
European professional cycling was a completely unknown quantity to suburban America in the 1980s so my obsession appeared to be quite insane to my friends and family. I was working incredibly hard and spending all my hours dreaming of a career that my parents doubted even existed.
My friends sniggered at my little pipe cleaner legs dangling out of my Lycra shorts. And when I’d come home telling tales of how far I’d ridden my bike, they simply didn’t believe it. They’d laugh and go back to playing football. I was just an odd, nerdy little kid. They figured I’d somehow fallen off the deep end and chosen to ride my oddness away. Mine was a lonely dream to pursue.
But in truth, I had been lonely long before all of this.
I had never found friends that I truly related to in school. Being neither academic nor very sporty, I found very little respect. I was the smallest kid in seventh grade and I’d been pushed around, made fun of, and stuffed into my fair share of lockers and trashcans.
I didn’t look forward to going to school, at all. So, the loneliness of the bike was a welcome relief. On the open roads, no one judged my grade point average, no one judged that I couldn’t catch a ball for shit. No one cared that I wasn’t in junior achievement. Nope, all that mattered out on the road was how fast you could get to the top of the hill.
I’d acquired a ton of knowledge about training and racing through reading, but one thing that was missing was any expertise on how to dress for cycling. Now, this may not matter so much when training through a warm Coloradan Indian summer, but as the mountain winds began to whistle in November, my training plan was becoming more than a little uncomfortable.
As the cold set in, my paper-thin shorts weren’t keeping me anywhere near warm anymore. In a well-meaning attempt to fix this, my mother bought me a pair of bulky sweat pants, thinking that might be the way forward. I tried to put my cycling shorts over the 1950s grey cotton tracksuit pants, but it wasn’t working. I felt like I was sitting on a wet nappy halfway through each ride, with the legs of the track pants getting caught up on the chain. I also looked absolutely ridiculous. I needed to look like a real racer, even while just training. The sweat pants had to go.
The winter deepened. On ice-cold Colorado days, I would come home with blue and purple knees, hands stinging hands from the bitter wind.
My toes would go numb, my fingers could no longer move, and my private parts shrank away, trying their best to hide from this harsh reality.
Finally, before any permanent nerve damage occurred due to frostbite, my parents took me to the shop where we bought the bike, in the hope they might have some sort of special super-thermal kit that would prevent me from dying of hypothermia.
The shop was tucked away in a corner of middle America in a bland strip mall, next to a dry-cleaners and a Chinese restaurant. To me, it stuck out like a diamond in the rough. It was named, quite beautifully, A Bike Place, and was owned by a bike-passionate—and sometimes disturbingly maniacal—Italian family named the Yantornos.
When my Mum brought me into buy some winter kit, I think it was the first time they’d ever seen a 13-year-old who was asking about how to train in sub-zero weather. Despite his gruff, rough manner, you could see the twinkle in the eye of Frankie Yantorno, the eldest son of the family, when I revealed my crazed enthusiasm for racing. He saw a kid that was completely in love with cycling, just like he was.
But Frank could never openly admit that he even remotely cared about bikes or bike racing.
“Why the fuck you wanna go ride in this shit?” he said, pointing at the snowstorm outside and making my mother blush at the language.
“Because I need to train,” I said. “Gotta train to win—right?”
“Well, you ain’t gonna win shit in those stupid fucking sweatpants, kid,” he snapped.
“Goddamit . . . okay, hold on a few minutes. . . .” With that, he slammed the backroom door behind him.
While he was gone, I began to explore the shop a bit. It was heaven.
I was bewitched by the hand-painted gussets and lugs of Colnago frames, the polished Campagnolo crank arms, the smell of rubber and chain lube, plus the muffled arguments in Italian, emanating from the backroom. It was my gateway into the romance and glamour of European bike racing. I loved this place and I wanted to become Frankie’s pupil.
Finally, Frankie popped back out with a few packages of clothing.
“This ain’t ever going to fit you, kid, but it’s better than those ugly sweatpants—or freezing your dick off.”
I sheepishly tried on all these new items. They were very exotic, Italian labeled gloves, tights, and arm warmers.
Frankie was right: they didn’t fit at all. They were quite baggy on me and slid off my skin-and-bones frame. But I didn’t care—they were made in Italy, and positively reeked of European adventure.
Reluctantly, Mum and Dad had given up on the notion I might want a puppy or something a bit more normal under the Christmas tree. I’d told my parents all I wanted for Christmas was some clothing that would keep me warm while riding. Hesitantly, Mum handed her credit card to this angry man at the bike shop.
Before we left, I asked Frankie if I could come back and talk about racing in Italy, and maybe get a bit of advice.
“I don’t know shit about racing, or bikes, but maybe I can teach you a few things, kid. Now get out of here and go ride your bike in this snowstorm,
ya idiot. ”
That was when I knew Frankie was going to be my new best friend.
So I did. Armed with Italian clothing that made weather-related excuses obsolete, I rode in snowstorms. Once Christmas was over, it was time to double down on the hard work it was going to take for me to win. I also started to make a few new friends through the bike shop; and a few of them were guys who already raced. Frankie, who I would soon start calling Uncle Frank, noted that the only other person insane enough to train in Colorado in January was his ex-brother-in-law, Bart Sheldrake. Bart was Frank’s sister’s ex, and was juggling three jobs, raising a kid, and training for racing as a top-level amateur in Colorado.
Bart had gone to the Olympic Trials in 1984, and was a category one racer. Once in a while he would sheepishly come in to the shop to pick up his two-year-old kid from Frankie’s sister after school. Frank figured we should meet, so he invited me down to the shop one day when Bart was on co-parent patrol.
I zipped my way through the after-school traffic and headed down to the shop to meet Bart. I had a thousand questions about what it was like to be a real bike racer. He had the look of the racers I’d seen in magazines, gaunt in the face, long, lean, and leathery.
He was highly-strung and socially awkward, with this funny nasal laugh. Very reluctantly, he agreed to let me pick his brain about his experiences of bike racing for the better part of the afternoon. But more importantly,
Bart agreed to let me go on a training ride with him.
It was made clear, that if I was to join him on his Sunday morning ride, there would be no whining, no waiting up for me, no helping me if I got a flat tire, and no mercy on the pace. I agreed with a smile on my face, counting the minutes until that Sunday where I would get to ride with a real bike racer.
My mother panicked when Sunday morning came. I was going to go on a bike ride of over 60 miles with a man she’d never met, and who even if she had met, she would have been frightened of. Why would a grown man with a child be spending so much time riding his bike on the weekend in freezing cold weather?
Bart needed to ride early, so we met at the shop at nine. That was the earliest we could go and avoid running into too many ice patches on the road. Face frozen by the cold, he briefed me.
“Listen, I have to be back to make lunch for my kid, and I’m going to get in 60 miles. I’ve gotta do that in three hours,” he said. “If you can keep up, great. If not, tough shit.”
The pace Bart set was relentless. There wasn’t a moment when I was not suffering just to hold on to his back wheel. However, there was a lot riding on this outing for me.
It was my chance to earn his respect, to earn the respect of Frankie, and most importantly my chance to be invited to more real training rides and to learn from a real bike racer. I couldn’t get left behind.
My little 100lb frame squirmed in the saddle, my shoulders bounced, arms pulled, and my legs begged me to stop. But I didn’t let Bart get away from me. I think it annoyed him a bit that this pipsqueak of a 12-year-old was able to hang on his back wheel.
Despite leaving a little bit later in the morning, the roads were still icy and wet. As the freezing ride went on, the derailleur cables on my bike steadily became encrusted with ice and frozen into place. So did Bart’s.
There would be no more gear changes during the last hour of the ride.
I was nicely stuck in a 53 x 17 gear. I started to complain a bit about not being able to shift through the gears, but Bart, clearly used to this sort of thing, was dismissive and just kept riding.
“You gotta just clench your asshole a bit more and deal with it,” he grunted.
That was Bart’s way of life: more pain equated to more fun.
Finally, I unraveled, hypothermic and hypoglycemic, about 10 miles from home. As he’d promised, Bart didn’t wait, but I could hear him yell back to me as I was grinding to a halt.
“Good job, kid! See ya next Sunday!”
I knew I had earned just a smidgen of Bart’s respect.
I crawled those last 10 miles. I just wanted to stop and fall asleep in a dirty snow bank, and pray that someone would find me before nightfall.
But I kept turning the pedals over, achingly slow and square.
I had no money to call home or buy a hot chocolate. I had one working gear. And I had ice falling off my chin. I was so hungry, so cold, and so miserable, but there was no way to get home other than to just keep going.
That would be a valuable lesson to learn. Sometimes there is not a better option. You just have to keep going.
The look on my mother’s face when I walked through the door was priceless. You could see anger, disappointment, pride, and maternal instincts all fighting against one another in her head. She wanted to feed me, hug me, get me in a hot bath, while yelling at me for being such an idiot and all in one breath.
Normally, I don’t much like baths. They just seem overly indulgent, long, and boring. But there is nothing in the world like a hot bath after a bone-chilling day on the bike. The contrast between pushing your body so hard that it almost breaks in wet and cold weather, to sliding into the warm womb of a hot bath, is intense.

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