My Thermos gets the star treatment
When I decided to take up cross racing myself in 2009, my father's thirty-year-old Stanley wide-mouth thermos got a spot in my gear bag. I pedal my bike to and from local races because I live car-free -- which means that heavy steel thermos takes up a lot of room in my oversized backpack, alongside my racing gear and spare clothes.
This year I raced at US Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Portland and I was SO glad I'd brought along the thermos, because it kept my soup nice and hot while I raced in 30-degree temps on icy-slick mud. When I was done at around 9:30 am, I hosed off my bicycle, changed into dry clothes and settled down with my soup to watch my friends race. And that soup was as piping-hot as when I'd poured it into the thermos at 4:30 am.
There is nothing like exerting yourself to the point of pain in freezing cold for forty-five minutes, and then sitting down to eat hot soup. It's priceless.
Best part of all was asking the folks at the Stanley booth if I could borrow a chair to sit and eat for a few minutes -- not only did they happily provide a folding chair and let me park my bike behind their tent, but when one of them saw my dad's thermos he got excited, and asked if he could take pictures of it. And he took nonstop pictures of that thermos, from every possible angle and distance, for five solid minutes.
It's cyclocross. Anything can happen, including someone going just positively ape-happy all over a scuffed, dented, thirty-year-old thermos. I'm sure it enjoyed the attention. I know I enjoyed my soup.