April 29, 2000

After four months, there was strain building in the relationship. I was looking for a house. I thought if Cathy and I married, I'd want her to have a house. My husband instincts come out when I'm in a serious relationship, and I become more practical. But most of my extra money was going to motels, gas, and food, over $400 a month. Besides that, Cathy didn't even seem excited about a house.

On April 19, she was hired at the Lowes Hardware Store in Charlottesville, and left her antique shop. The money drain had been fixed but then a worse problem arose. Now, because of her job, my job, and her not having a driver's license, we could only see each other perhaps two days a month. I insisted on teaching her to drive, but she said she didn't want to spend our little time we had doing driving lessons.

We'd go to the same motel every time (it was cheap) and there was always a pregnant Indian woman at the desk. Behind her you could see her kids and husband carrying on their lives--they lived in the motel too. We called it the 'pregnant motel'. The lady never cracked a smile, which didn't help Cathy and I because we'd often show up with a bad case of the giggles, and when the lady gave us that blank stare...well...Cathy had to turn around and stare at the back of the room. Cathy was still sweet. I'd say something funny and she'd lick her lips and her sleepy green eyes would turn away as she tried not to give in to my obvious begging for a laugh.

I bought her a bicycle and we tried to ride together, but she wasn't interested in it much. One day she decided she'd ride the Blue Ridge Parkway with me. I was nervous about that. Although my usual rides there varied between 40 and 70 miles, I picked a 3 mile ride for us. Even at that distance, it's a hard ride for a novice, but she was determined. We drove to the Afton Inn and set out on the first climb. It was all uphill for 1 1/2 miles, climbing up 524 feet to the first lookout. Her face was beet red. I thought she was going to die. I watched her and coached her all the way to the top and when she finally made it I was so proud of her! She collapsed on the grass, panting, and drank her water. After I verified she would live, I rode on for a few more miles alone. Back at the car, panting, she said,"That was really hard". I said,"It was a mile and a half up"...and Cathy, confused from heat and exhaustion said,"And a mile back". When she later told her family about this ride, they weren't necessarily proud--they thought she was nuts.

This is the Tour de Warsaw (top three photos courtesy of photo) in Warsaw, Virginia. I'm indicated by the pink arrows.
It was my first race of 2000 and I was sadly out of shape again. I awoke Saturday, April 29, drove 90 minutes to the race through beautiful countryside (I told Cathy if we ever married I wanted to live up there), did the 51 mile road race(I finished only 52nd place of 64 riders), drove 90 minutes back to my apartment, drove 2 1/2 hours to Charlottesville, surprised Cathy at work, drove us 90 minutes to Richmond, stayed overnight, then another 90 minutes to the race.

Cathy shot the bottom photos of me (in red) doing the 13.4 mile time trial. I was only 12th (out of 20)but had a very fast finish, passing many riders on the line, tongue hanging out, veins throbbing, but Cathy, confused, placed herself too far from the finish line to see it, or photograph it. She'd never seen me race and now she missed it! I was slightly upset, disappointed, but I couldn't be angry. I teased her about it, but her lack of interest was making me wonder if we were right for each other. She had no interest in the house, the race, or politics, religion, not much of anything but me and her.

It was allergy season, so I doped myself up real good, took her another 3 hours back to Scottsville, and then drove myself another 2 1/2 hours back to Grafton. Yes, we were very tired.

Tour de Warsaw staging area>>> Tour de Warsaw rollout>>> Michael getting humiliated at Tour de Warsaw>>>

More humiliation at Tour de Warsaw>>>