S - 12,500 yards
B - 266.2 miles; TSS of ~1000
R - 60.4 miles
Time - 25.08 hours
The main thing I've been thinking about this week is how awesome it is to drive a minivan. I had the great pleasure of driving my mom's minivan back in high school when I first got my learner's permit and then (oh the joy) my intermediate license. In Louisiana an intermediate license allowed you to drive by yourself but not during certain times (or something like that) and was my first taste of "freedom" and "independence" (or at least what I thought those terms implied). At the time - the tender age of 16 to 17 - I was much too young to fully appreciate the beauty that is a minivan.
Times have changed, however, and so has my life in a great many ways. I thought I was built for speed but am now built for comfort. I demand practicality over sprightly. I ask for more volume and less trendy. Is it too much? Some would say yes, but I staunchly believed that no, twas not too much. My answer came in the form of a unique situation that arose over Christmas. I was talking casually on the phone with my mom and asked if she'd be interested in trading cars: my 2006 Mazda 3 for her 2006 Mazda MPV. It was one of those times where I was playing the "half-joke" game (everyone plays this game but many fail to recognize it's awesomeness). If she said "sure" then I'd be all over it and if she said "no" then I'd say that I was kidding and didn't REALLY want a van anyway. My bases were covered. She seemed mildly intrigued by the possibility but the conversation moved on and all was forgotten.
My dad - who was listening to my mom's end of the conversation - did not forget, however. He called me from his office the next day and asked if I was serious. I responded that I thought I was serious, but why do you ask? Well, he had secret plans for Christmas and needed help with the execution. He had already test driven and picked out a Prius V and wanted to surprise mom and needed my help with picking up the car for Christmas morning and with the "disposal" of the minivan. I was able to help with both and on Christmas day my mom got an awesome surprise (it was really fun to watch her try and figure out what was going on when she got a key fob in a small box; she said "but no one in our family drives a Toyota!" It was great.
So that leaves me with a minivan and without my awesome car of the past 5 years. It was a great car and was in good shape for 80k miles and had nothing more than a few dents and some obvious signs that someone who partially lives out of their car and works out constantly used to drive it.
This was the most basic model MPV you could get as my parents just wanted to get a car ASAP off the lot (this was four-ish months post-Katrina and they were moving back to New Orleans after a stint in Lafayette) so there aren't a whole lot of features. One of those was a crappy stereo. Umm, not acceptable. If I am to be the PIMP I see myself as being I gotta have a badass stereo. Problem solved. The third row of seats (bench) fold down into the floor of the van and the middle seats (captain) can be removed easily and folded down and also are able to slide side to side. Amazing. I can just load bikes in the back completely standing up. I don't ride a very small bike so that's an awesome feature. The windows are tinted, further inducing the appearance of being a completely badass vehicle.
Long story short, the minivan is an amazing personal vehicle but ESPECIALLY for a triathlete and/or cyclist. The ability to transport people, bikes, luggage and crap (hopefully not too much of that though) is of paramount importance in my current life.
Oh, I trained kind of a lot too. It was awesome.