Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Pains of Anticipation

Think of waterfalls
Think of waterfalls
Think of waterfalls
Think of waterfalls

That is how the song goes that my kids sing to each other over and over again. This song is only sung when one of the kids mentions that they might need to stop at the next rest stop to use the restroom when we are on the road. “No hurry really just when we see one” is usually the tone of the conversation. Then the waterfalls song begins from all of the other kids which usually insights an immediate fit of bladder rage and panic and the emergency search for a bathroom is on by the driver. Of course all of the kids in the car think this is hilarious except for the bladder victim.

It really is amazing how the thought of running water or actual running water has such power over someone’s bladder. Luckily, this song has never been able to employ its super power over me and honestly I’m hoping that it stays that way. Recently though I’ve discovered a distant relative to the waterfalls song that has total power and control over me.

A planned cycling rest break.

I know what you’re saying, “Mike, how could this be”? I know it’s kind of weird but here’s how it works.

I’m a planner, I love to plan out cycling routes and when I’m in the planning mode I also try to factor in stops for natural breaks along the way. It's all part of the plan.

Last month I was on a training ride which included a stop at Marymoor park in Redmond WA. I chose this as the half way point for my training ride because it’s a really nice park and more importantly it has the nicest restrooms that I’ve ever seen in a park. That’s how good of a planner I am. These restrooms are very clean and most importantly they are designed in such a manner that each patron gets an entire restroom to themselves equipped with a fully locking door. It’s like the Holy Grail of park restrooms. Anyway, I think you get my point. They are nice.

As I got about 5 miles from this rest stop I started thinking about how many snickers bars I was going to eat and how much Gatorade powder I was going to add to my bike bottles. You know cycling geek stuff. I also took a mental note of how my hands and feet were feeling since they had been giving me trouble on earlier rides. Finally, I took a mental note of my need for a natural break which luckily was very low.

As I started thinking about the blessed Marymoor park restrooms and what a great route I had devised it was like my kids had started singing “Think of Waterfalls, Think of Waterfalls” only this time it was working! With each pedal stroke the virtual waterfalls song was getting louder and louder until I was considering if I was going to make it to the Holy Grail of park restrooms at all. I was in some urgent pain.

As I entered the park I spotted a blue port-a-potty over by the remote control airplane field and I did my best impersonation of Mark Cavendish sprinting for a stage win only there would be no talking on the phone at the end of this race. As I neared the blue structure I threw my bike in the grass and entered the port-a-potty as fast as I could. I was both relieved and saddened at the same time because I hadn't made it to my planned destination. Dejected I rode my bike another tenth of a mile to my beloved Marymoor Park restroom equipped with a fully locking door and ate my snickers bar just outside of it in shame.

At that point I decided that I would no longer tell myself (my bladder to be specific) of any upcoming rest stops or include grand rest stops in my route planning ever again. Obviously, my bladder just can’t take the anticipation.

It's the element of surprise from now on!


Big Clyde said...


Groover said...

Is it true that it is an unwritten male bathroom etiquette rule to never use the urinal next to the guy already using one? Since you mention the separately lockable haven of toilets ...

Mike J said...

Groover, you're absolutely right about that rule. Us guys try to stay as far away as possible. Us guys are a weird bunch sometimes.

V twin Motorcycle Tires said...

And why do you stay away? That's very weird. Rally weird of you guys. I love your story.