How do you take your Stone Fruit



I was asked once in a speed date setting what the optimal super power would be. I chose teleportation because I spend so much time traveling I get tired of removing my shoes and belt, taking my computer out of my backpack, watching people forget their water bottle is somehow a hidden explosive and having to go through security twice, me walking through the scanner machine and waiting for the authoritative half-nod from the quasi security team that, yes, I can proceed with my day.

You therefore know I’m waxing poetic when I’m now thinking of going through airport security with a touch of, dare I say it, fondness. See, I returned to Europe three days ago with French races on the horizon and when catching up with friends here in Girona, my European home for six years of the past ten years, I was asked what I would miss in my retirement. I started by casting a broad swath over it and said I’ll miss everything — the excitement, the euphoric highs, the adventure, the travel; then I delved a little deeper and talked about the nuances of each of these things that I’ll miss, like the searing pain of doing intervals, or the constant feeling of being on the go, and then I surprised even myself when I said, yup… there’s even something I’ll miss about airport security. (Although I think it’s people watching more than the security process itself.)

Peaches and plums and nectarines, oh my! I’ve expressed my love of stone fruit before, and once again, my late spring return to Europe has stone fruit absolutely dominating it at the local market. It may sound a bit odd, unless you’re like me, but I like my peaches hard. I grew up a juicy peach kind of kid, but these days there’s nothing I want more than a crisp, almost apple-like peach. On the other end of the spectrum, I like my cherries sweet, bulbous, and bursting with juice. There’s nothing finer.

And why am I on this fruity tangent? Because among the other things I’ll miss about this lifestyle here in Girona is that I can walk out my door, saunter down to the local market, and my local fruit guy knows that I prefer my peaches hard and my cherries soft. He and his wife are fair weather fans of cycling, so they get giddy when the Vuelta Catalonia races through town. They asks me about training every day when I stroll into his shop and pick up some fruit or vegetables, or what race I’m heading off to next.

The “inefficiencies” of Europe are actually the charming nuances that I’ll miss. In Europe you have a fruit guy, you have a local bakery for fresh bread, your meat market is a one minute walk from your fishmonger (great word), and your local cafe serves cappuccinos that you’d pay twice as much for — they’re that good. Living in a medieval city from the BC era is uniquetly spectacular too.

Yeah yeah, I’m probably just waxing poetic talking about missing airport security. In reality it ranks very low on what I’ll miss list.

 



Comments

  1. Becky B

    You know, there are those little local places, where they know what you like, in the U.S. too. It takes a little more work to live that way, but you don’t have to give that up.

    Reply
  2. Becky B

    PS – now I want a peach, and they aren’t quite in full swing yet. Cherries will have to do.

    Reply
  3. Julie

    Having lived in the stone fruit capitol of California, I love when people use that term. I like my peaches the same way, my nectarines slightly mushy and my cherries firm. Enjoy your time in Europe.

    Reply
  4. Lee Hodsdon

    And my apples from Annie’s. Enjoy the remainder of your season, it has been a real treat following your racing and reading your missives. And I highly recommend retirement.

    Reply
  5. Frank

    One of my favorite things about Summer is a good, crisp peach. I was once sorting through the mushy peaches at a grocery store, when this attractive woman sidled up next to me, and also started looking at the peaches. She held one up, and gave me a quizzical look.

    “Yeah, I like mine hard,” I said.

    After a second, realizing what I had just said, I set down my peaches and skulked off, tail between my legs.

    Reply
  6. Charlie Barker

    Ted I’ve had Girona on my checklist since reading about the town after Lance and many others pulled into town. Thank you for providing visual clarity. Lovely place with the sheep, bakery, cafe and charming architecture downtown. No offense but I’m not all down the Orange IKEA looking blogs along the river.

    I’m from Georgia. The Peach State. The county adjacent to where I grew up is named Peach County (middle Georgia). Maybe an hour south is Jimmy Carter’s peanut spread. I love my peaches ripe. Slice ’em and put in a bowl, sprinkle some sugar and cover with milk. Let marinate in or out of frig for a couple hours and enjoy the peaches and sweetened milk. Grand combo.

    Glad to see your back in Europe. I’ve got to find out which races you’re doing. Still got my fingers crossed for TdF. Sagan is only one second down overall GC heading into today’s stage 5.

    Reply

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