Friday, August 24, 2012

That Damn Hat

I've got this straw hat. It's big and ugly. Some might say it's obnoxious. See for yourself:

My straw hat taking it to the Botanical gardens sunflowers

I don't know what style it is. It's some sort of garden hat hybrid crossing a sombrero with something you'd see in southeast Asia. Whatever it is, it's effective at keeping the sun out of my eyes.

I got it some 25 years ago to protect my skin from the sun while life guarding. I'm not sure where I picked it up. It could have come from the gardening section of a hardware store. Or a neighbor's garage sale. Good Will's a possibility.

Anyway, ever since I've had it, I've busted that thing out just about whenever the sun has shined. After hanging up the life guarding whistle, I've worn it while doing yard work. My dog Emmy gets excited when she sees me don it because it often means that I'll be taking her for a walk. And the hat has also accompanied me to many cycling races. Like it or hate it, it often provokes comments from others.

So that brings me to yesterday's fourth stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. At nearly 41 years old, Jens Voigt was having a quite a performance, soloing away for some 95 of the 97 miles of a monstrous mountain stage that included 87 miles of altitude. After getting away, he built up a six minute lead while climbing Independence pass. He then climbed two more mountain passes and battled through a downpour before emerging in Beaver Creek without losing that lead. On the final climb, just shy of the 1000 meter mark, I could think of no better way to salute his effort than to run alongside him in my MWCC jersey and that signature hat, all the while encouraging him to keep those cranks turning, as the red kite was just over the final crest.

I tend to think that Jens like the hat. He won the stage after all.


  1. My first read of your 5th sentence didn't include the word "it." That's what I thought you implied and agreed with, thinking the same about myself.

    That's awesome about Jens. It's too bad he's retiring - so entertaining to watch and hear. My favorite quote of his, "Shut up Legs!!"

  2. dang--I watched the last 5k on TV last night and saw all the guys running near Jens--mostly the guy in the winnie the pooh outfit--I didn't notice you!

  3. Munson, I like your version better: I don't know what style is.

    Murphini -- I was running right alongside him at around the 1500 meter mark. At that point, it was just me and Jens. Although we were going uphill, he was still cranking out good power, so I was only able to hang with him for about 100 meters before I trailed off onto the shoulder to avoid being run over by the entourage. Here's a picture that Katherine took at the end of my run-- I'm on the shoulder, far left.