The Great Guster Ride of 2014, Creme Brulee, and the East River Park

28 Jan

There ought to be a word or phrase for a weekend so good it keeps you smiling through Monday. I’m fresh out of ideas- anybody have a suggestion?

I skidaddled up to New York this weekend for a Welcome Back dinner for JetSet Kef that included several of the usual suspects, most of whom have been on the roster for more than a decade. The idea was this: JetSet Kef and I would convene a strange mishmash of the people who made our respective lives at the same college really fun, throw in some adult beverages in a chic setting, and watch shenanigans ensue.

Before I reveal if said scheme resulted in said shenanigans (spoiler alert: it did), I have to introduce today’s recipe: a playlist for an awesome spin session. Settle in kids, this might be a long post.

Last week was a tough training week with back-to-back BRICK work outs (long bike ride followed by a medium-long run). As such, I was not really feeling like going to the gym before taking the train up to NY and would have preferred to just sit around laughing at pictures from college on The Facebook that were posted when Facebook still used the preceding article. Then the solution came to me: I could drag myself to the gym and psych myself up for the night to come all at once by blasting the tunes of 2004 while spinning. Problem solved.

So began The Great Guster Ride of 2014. It was a big risk: my music collection in those days was marked by mostly indie pop (forgive me, Jean Grae), which is not exactly the music I listen to these days to do anything, let alone to get my blood flowing.  Plus, my relationship to the college era is a complicated one–let’s just say I had a lot of fun about a third of the time, but never really fit in with the vast majority of people at my school, most of whom probably still listen to indie pop. Enough said? I thought so.

ANYWHO, as I began my time on the bike I got really nostalgic–we crammed a lot of fun into some long nights and very small apartments.  I spent a lot of my ride thinking about what luck it is to keep in touch with people who knew you at some other point in life when you were a blurrier, less-sure version of your self, and what a joy it is to get to watch them become distinct, fuller versions of all the different selves we were trying on back then.  I left college on a very different track than the one I thought I came in on and, like many of us, my life has gone in directions my 20-year-old self could never have imagined. I feel so glad to know that there are people out there who still appreciate my humor after I decided becoming a heady, humorous writer (who would invite them to all the Vanity Fair parties) was no longer my path, who still come to visit me after I  discovered New York is not, in fact, the only acceptable place to reside, and who still love me after all those years of overwrought hand wringing about how I could balance the life I live and the work I do. Of course, there were thing that made me sad, too– friends I’m not in touch with anymore, people with whom things used to be easy but are now awkward, and missed opportunities. But that’s another ride and another playlist. Before I knew it, 26.2 miles and 1:04 had flown by.

Which brings us to the dinner. JetSet Kef and I are committed to eating at as many Tables for Two restaurants as our budgets and waistlines will allow (tellingly, he has the advantage on both counts). QueijoKef suggested Lafayette, which was an awesome pick — sophisticated without being pretentious, great service, and a menu that makes up in perfect execution what it lacks in innovation. I drank French 75s all night and JetSet and QueijoKef treated the other diners to Jay Z’s verse in “Heart Breaker.”


Two sets of siblings plus some other fun connections- and one is from Alabama. Volume turned, unapologetically, to TEN.

It’s amazing what ten years can do.

Just when it seemed the night could not get any better, our Joseph-Gordon-Levitt doppelganger of a server brought us a complimentary creme brulee that was the biggest we’d ever seen


Forearm inserted for scale.

and had the most PERFECT brulee, as tested by JSK and GeographicHegemony Kef.

photo-75Flash forward a cozy drink at a cool East Village bar and one fight about $3.00 soda water later, and it was 9:15 am and JetSet Kef and I woke up in his wonderful bed without having to snuggle with a sibling because he had the good sense to buy himself a grown-up queen-sized bed instead of using the twin bed he has had since he was ten.

We went for a windy run in East River Park, and I wish I had a picture of my brother because all the cold gear spandex made him look like he was auditioning for the Blue Men group.

Thanks to East River Runner for the picture!

Thanks to East River Runner for the picture!

After some spinach stew, I hit the road and was blessed with the quietest, most traffic-free Greyhound bus ride that has ever been. We left at Port Authority at 4:05 and arrived in DC exactly 4 hours later. Isn’t life grand?

So you can see why I’m still smiling. Now, for your listening and maybe spinning pleasure, I present you with a list of the songs that I thought were really cool/deep/fun during college. For the spinners in the crowd, I have noted the drills/intervals I used during each song. Don’t like how I used the music? You just go right ahead and do you.

An Uncharacteristically Indie Playlist to Spin to While Thinking of Hilarious Things that Happened in College

  • Caring is Creepy – The Shins (warm up)
  • Island in the Sun – Weezer (end of warm up)
  • Sound of Settling– Death Cab for Cutie (6/10 tension, 75-80% race pace/sprint during chorus)
  • Let Go– Frou Frou (seated climb/sprint during chorus)
  • Come Down Stairs and Say Hello – Guster (long climb- start at 5.5-6, add 1 full turn every 45 seconds, stand when you have to)
  • Happier – Guster (endurance climb- pace matches beat, maintain 7.5-8.5 tension)
  • Just for Now– Imogen Heap (recover until verse stars, maintain race pace through remainder of song)
  • Girlfriend – Phoenix (energy ride)
  • Hollaback Girl– Gwen Stefani (80-90% race pace at 6 tension for 30 sec/ 45 sprint at 7-7.5 tension)
  • Young Folks – Peter Bjorn (ascending sprints 30,45,60,75 seconds with 30 sec recovery between)
  • Two Points for Honesty– Guster (whatever steep standing climb you have left in you)
  • Don’t Stop– Brazilian Girls (endurance climb- pace matches beat, maintain 7.5-8.5 tension, seated during vocals, standing at instrumentals)
  • California – Phantom Planet (rolling hills- incline during verse, downhill sprint during verses)
  • Something Pretty – Patrick Park (cool down)
  • In the Waiting Line– Zero 7 (end cool down/ stretch)

3 Responses to “The Great Guster Ride of 2014, Creme Brulee, and the East River Park”

  1. QueijoKef January 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Amazing post! No wonder you were still glowing. Love, QueijoKef


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