Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Navigator

I cannot possibly tell you how much I lack passion for the moment when I wake up, alcohol fully processed and body wide awake with hours remaining before I and the rest of the civilized world need to be up and running.  And the remnants of a dream/nightmare bouncing around my mind like a squash ball.  So here I am with a CABCO mug of water and a keyboard.  I could run outside and grab the Raleigh and find a place to drown out these thoughts.  Or better yet, uncork that bottle of Stella, the Christmas edition, and enjoy 750ml of Belgium's finest Eurotrash skunk lager.  That one will wait.  I need water for it was a long ride today and I have things to do after the sun rise.

The alarm usually goes off after I become conscious.  I wake up and hear the heat kick in and ponder whatever dream just occurred knowing that in a few minutes the worst sound ever will require me to move and extinguish it.  My dreams are like random television shows, nothing to do with real life, mostly.  My dad sometimes will be in them doing stupid shit like driving the bus for Ragbrai or borrowing my Jag.  That is about as close to reality they ever come.  I will not discuss the nightmare I had sleeping at 10K ft.  Oxygen deprivation after intense exercise really fucks with my mind.

 Whatever the ride was in the dream I do not recall.  But things were not right.  I was driving a SUV up a snowy hill when it died.  We were going home after a bicycle ride.  Mary was noticeably absent.  Somehow the children were there and someone I used to got with many many orbits around the sun ago.

The vehicle stalled on a hill.  It was dark and snow was everywhere.  But I could not stop the car.  I could only let it roll backwards hoping for a place to pull off and get out and start Plan B whatever Plan B was going to be.  Of course another car was on the road and in my path and there was not much I could do about it.  Not much damage, if any, and their house was at the bottom of the hill.

They were a friendly older couple with a large warm house.   They let us in after their car slowed my dead beast down and out of the road.  They even let my dog inside.  It was not Heidi, just some generic perhaps border collie long fur dog named Navigator.  Wrong dog and wrong woman.

And these friendly people who somehow reversed time.  I watched everyone shrink as time went backwards.  Everyone was getting younger and my children disappeared because the time effect was going past 20 years.  And I was young again with someone talking about a Navigator and revealing what a selfish materialistic bitch she was.  Mary still was not there.  This was not the life I have nor desired.  Dead SUV, selfish bitch wanting a ride and snow outside.  Praise Jesus I woke up, Mary sleeping soundly beside me.  No SUV in the driveway, no snow on the ground.

I had ambitions and plans for this day.   But it was cold and the bed was comfy.  I rarely get to sleep in past 7 or 8 am.  Today I pushed it to 8.  We were going to ride to Martinsdale and split a Godfather's pizza.  Then ride back, hook up with Craig Lien and ride to Dallas Center.  This was my plan for getting 100 miles in a day in January.  A warm month with no snow.

It snowed last year on January 7th.  And the previous days of this date were not the best for riding.  Take advantage of it when it is there.  Seize the moment and squeeze it to the max.  There were and will be days when we have and will beg for 29F in the morning.  But today it felt cold so I brewed a pot of coffee played Panzer General and waited til the last possible moment before leaving the house.  Mary and I rolled to Urbandale to hit her credit union and then raided Target to use up the last of the gift card.  We needed charcoal for Sunday's pork loin.

Criag texted me shortly before leaving.  Via Latitude he knew that I had not stirred so he asked if Dallas Center was still on.  It was, so I thought.  I grabbed everything I needed for a night ride even though I did not use it all.  Safety vest, phone charge, head lamp and TurboCat Macho battery.  Be prepared.

Our next round of texting hit when we settled in Urbandale.  Craig and Kelly were at the Waveland for breakfast.  Strange being north of them but very easy to intercept on our way home.  60th something from the mall to Urbandale Ave and then a left on 48th.  This was the first time I rode on 48th after the repave.  Nice and smooth but whatever was reflecting the sun's light looked like broken glass.  I almost stopped.  6 days without a flat this year.  We had two by this date last year, both from glass.  They were not at the Wave.  The text said "bike issue" required them to go to Boulevard Sports.

Chris Mace was working.  Poor bastard.  A beautiful January day and he was stuck inside keeping the store just waiting for someone to bring in a wheel and admit that they lacked the ability to change a flat.  Kelly damaged the stem on her tube and Craig lacked the skill or desire, the latter really, to change it out because of the Schwabe tire.  The bead is a bitch and one needs professional tools to get the mofo off and on.  The curse of bike mechanics.  They can never ride when the sun is up.  No wonder my mentor taught me to ride at night.

Mary took the charcoal home along with the rest of the groceries and promised to meet us later.  DC was scrubbed in favor of the Cumming Tap.  She would easily catch up with us.  Children needed to be fed.  I swear, they are like little chirp birds in a nest, heads up and beaks open.  "FEED ME!"  We rolled to Water Works.

One quick stop on the Raccoon River bridge.  Many people walking and riding today.  Be outside when it is nice.  When the weather catches up with the calender there will be the devil to pay.  The devil is the polar jet stream which has not come down to bring us that wonderful Arctic air.  Weather people almost admit they have no clue why.  Probably climate change or global warming or pure luck.  All the snow is missing Iowa.  Enjoy it.  The farmers will get screwed if there is enough moisture or not.  I bet we will get hit sooner or later.

To improve Mary's chances of intercept, we moved east to the Fleur Viaduct and enjoyed another round of silver bullets.  At last she arrived, had 1 bullet and we were south bound.  Ben and his daughter were at the safety Shack when we arrived.  She was 17 and very cold.  Thanks, Dad. 

We got to Cumming about the same time as about 10 riders of the Me-Off colors.  This was the largest gathering of Me-Offs I have seen for many years.  We probably are on different orbits.  I remember fondly the last day of Ragbrai having spent the last of my cash on a 12 pack and watching this bike team play butt cheek quarters while waiting for my father to pick us up in my truck.  Had to been 14 or 15 possibly 18 years ago.  I think it was a $6 12 pack.

As if by design we got stools at the bar only to be punished with a dull NFL Wild card game.  Cincinnati v Houston.  No one really gives a rat's ass about these two teams who will go nowhere.  Maybe the people of Ohio and "Hootin".  But not us.  We were here waiting for the sun to go down.

Mary and Kelly took off first.  Craig was playing with his phone.  "We'll catch up," he said.  Craig does not understand that Mary can put a significant lead and punishment on people if given a head start.  Mary does not suffer slow riders fondly and often appears to ignore them.  The birds in the nest were chirping "feed me" again.  Taco night.  Game on.

We spotted Kelly's light's first. Generator hub.  Mary's Vista AA flasher was dimmer and further ahead.  It took two strong pushes to catch up.  After the first burn we appeared nowhere closer to Kelly than before.  Damn, Kelly is trying to keep up with Mary.  Had Mary not been on a Cannondale mtb with 1.9" low pressure tires we would have never seen her again.  There would not be a glimmer of hope unless we had road bikes but I doubt we would have been able to sustain the intervals required to endure in order to make up time, distance and speed.  Mary is very fast for someone who never raced.

Craig was breathing laboredly.  He is ill and probably should not have been out.  His cold will run a long course.  But after getting him caught up with Kelly I made my final assault.  Of the three touring bikes I had the widest tires and the lowest pressure.  I pump my tires up only when I notice that they are getting dangerously low or if I feel worried about a long ride.  Today I thought about it but they pasted the squeeze test.  Time for the pedalling test.

Circles.  Focus on circles.  Use the up stroke muscles.  Try to rip the cleats out of the pedals but do it smoothly.  Head down and hammer.  I am in great shape.  Last week I had 7700+ miles for the year.  I can do centuries if I wanted to.  My ass was broken in years ago.  3 days ago I made this same trip plus an extra half mile in less than an hour.  It can be done.  That is why I waited until sundown.  13 miles or so.

Mary passed the lean to.  I knew she would.  So did I.  I think I caught her before the tunnel.  She needed to use the restroom at Orlandos.  Motivation.  We stopped at an intersection and leaned our bikes on the wooden fence.  I would not make it that far.  No one is on the trail now.  The Me-Offs left before we did.  Craig and Kelly prolly stopped at the Shack.  Or did they.  I thought I saw a light every now and then.

We stopped at Orlandos.  Kelly needed food.  Non-animal protein cannot be consumed in ideal quantities for sustain riding and drinking.  I cracked open a silver bullet and had it about half done before I saw their lights.  They skipped the lean to as well and apparently rode hard.  I was impressed, then again, winter never hit and all four of us should be at the top of our game.  I never see Kelly drive to the bike trail.  And that is key.  If you can bike it instead of drive it you only get better and stronger.  Kelly knows that a bicycle is not a trunk ornament for the car.

1 beer later Mary and I were on the final 4 miles to home.  Ground turkey tacos tonight!  Seasoning provided by Grazianos, meat from B&B and fresh cilantro from Hy Vee.  The Stella remained in the fridge.  I foregoed the tortillas and made a salad instead.  Ranch dressing,  cheese, salsa and cilantro, low carb and tasty.  I used the entire bag of lettuce mix.  That's how I roll.

Then that dream.  It has been an hour now, sweat is gone.  Heidi has been giving an opportunity to fertilize the lawn,  Little Ewok came inside and both animals have been fed and watered.  my mug of H2O is nearly dry.  Funny how the brain works, showing me an alternate reality that for the love of God does not exist.  The person who I gave the ride to would have never hammered out those miles in the night on a heavy bagged mtb.  And who the hell names their dog so poorly or carries on about a SUV.  I am just glad it was not an Escalade, turd on wheels.  Mary had 50 miles, 43 for myself.  It was a good day.

No comments:

Post a Comment