The ones I could see, I counted. 2-4-6. 15-17-19. 28-30-32. Wedged into the plastic bin on the pantry shelf, next to the liquor in the fridge-top cabinet, lined like stout soldiers in front of the cookbooks we possess enough water bottles to outfit a pro tour team for a Hors Category stage of the Tour De France. 44-46-48. With 6 more in the dishwasher and 4 on the drying rack, I can’t believe what my wife said the other night after a teammate kiddingly scolded her for not having team water bottles on her bike. Joe takes all the good water bottles. Who me?
Granted, I do have a habit of leaving two or three rolling around the inside of my 4-Runner at any given moment. Maybe there are 2 in the bedroom and another pair in my backpack. On a hunch, I bet there’s a couple on the workbench in the garage. Oh yeah, there might be 4 I left in the dumbwaiter…yes we have a tall house and a dumb waiter…and okay, I confess, she’s right. We have 55 or more water bottles in the house and somehow we’re still short on “good bottles.” WTF?
Having “good” bottles is as key to the bike outfit as a nice watch or matching shoes for a work dinner. She’s right. They’re not all “good” bottles. Some are leaky. However, I can never remember which ones. The blue ones look too patriotic on the red and white bike. A half dozen are still pristine, but not from our team sponsor shop BioWheels…can’t use those on group rides or we’ll get teased by teammates. Others are lame with flimsy tops. Small bottles are good for lap races, but not all-day rides. At least a dozen have mis-matched tops. The Hydrapak Gel-bot is cool and works fantastic, but if I ever start worrying about nutrition while riding the cruiser bike to the grocery store, please, hit me over the head with a garden shovel.
I’m on my tippy toes. I know there’s some on that top shelf that I can’t see and that shelf is at least 2 ½ feed deep. I’m up to 55. Enough bottles that, for the next month or two on any day-to-day two hour group ride, I could toss them like a pro tour rider over the hedgerows when I empty one. However, I don’t think property owners along Route 8 in Northern Kentucky would appreciate my souvenir.
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Hoarders is on TV. If you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen them all. Crazy old coot grows an emotional attachment to what appears to be garbage, crazy old coot’s family steps in and throws away the garbage, crazy old coot rebels but surrenders, crazy old coot and family cry and hug in the newly cleaned house. Dear Oprah, Tom Cruise and little baby Jesus please help me from being a water bottle hoarder. I’m still young. In ten, twenty or thirty years I don’t want people to walk by our house and marvel at the multi colored objects stacked 3 feet high in our window sills.
Still I can’t make myself part with them. I won that one for placing 5th in my age group at a sport level mountain bike race eight years ago honey! I’m protective about them. With my trusty black Sharpie, I label them with our last name so teammates, friends and strangers named Joe at races and rides don’t mistakenly take them. How absurd is that! You probably have more than us. No you say. Count ‘em up! Don’t be scared. See. See! Hoarder hoarder new bottles on order!