Friday, July 11, 2008

Wisconsin Fun

So last weekend the girls and I headed up to WI to do some intense bike riding – the kind of thing I do all the time, and for which I serve as a model to others. Oh sure, Annette, Bridget, and Colleen, did some little Ride the Rockies thing a few weeks back, but does that compare with my long-course, hours of riding in the flat and dusty Midwest heartland? I think not.

Anyway – on the way out to Madison, one passes all these signs that say “Wisconsin Fun – next exit!” – and I always wonder what such fun consists of. And is that fun to be had in all of WI, or just that particular part, off that particular interstate? I assume that pretty much all of WI is just one big cheese curd ball of fun, so off we go.

With Friday being the 4th of July, our plan is to ride for a while and then wind up in town to catch part of the parade. While I’ve developed the ass of steel due to riding on less-than-smooth roads, there are some complaints about “seams” in the road (okay, I hate those too – good people of Wisconsin, learn to put down new roads!), so we adjust our route, but still manage to wind up in Delavan, relatively near the parade route. This is when we run into the CHiPs contingent.

As we bike up, there’s a road that’s blocked off because 2 blocks away the parade route curves around, so the road is closed to cars. Now, most people wouldn’t have a problem letting us bike on through, but Mr. ‘Stache isn’t most people. He’s the Delavan Cop with an Attitude, oh yes, and he’s got the scraggly moustache and bad sideburns to prove it. Which means that I’m the first one to get to him, and as I’m biking up to the empty space next to him, he deliberately steps right in front of me so that I have to make a screeching halt so as to not hit him. I smile, but I already have a feeling this isn’t going to go well.

Me: “So, could we just ride up to where the parade turns up there?
Mr. ‘Stache, smirking: “This road is closed. According to statute 43 codicil 6, bicycles are to be treated as vee-hick-ular traffic and must abide by the rules and regulations thereof.”
Me: thought bubble – how long did it take you to memorize that, Mr. Smalltown cop on a power trip? Asshole.
Bridget: “I guess we’ll go around then.”
Mr. ‘Stache: “You can walk your bikes on the sidewalk, but try not to hit anyone.”
Me, voice dripping with sarcasm, which he probably doesn’t get: “Oh, gee, we’ll do our best. Mr. Officer.”

Colleen starts riding on the sidewalk, and ‘Stache yells something about walking, so I rather loudly point out to her that “Mr. Delavan Cop insists we walk,” which has Bridget thinking I’ll be hauled off in a paddy wagon. Just as I’m cursing and muttering the loser attitudes of cops from podunk towns who think they’re SO important, we get to the next corner. Where we suddenly find Officer Friendly. Who’s smiling at everyone and having a grand old time.

Me: “Hey, we’re late for our part in the parade! We need to bike on through!”
Officer Friendly, who looks at us, chuckling: “In the parade, huh? You almost look like you could be.”

He then turns around for a second to talk to people in cars who want to go through the closed intersection, turning to the left and away from the parade. And amazingly, Officer Friendly actually looks at the situation logically, unlike his cohort, and decides there’s no harm in letting the cars go ahead since they’re going left and the parade is going the other way. Who told him logic had a place in society? Who??

After chit-chatting for a while, watching the rest of the parade, and getting riding fuel in the form of Andes mints that I stash into my Bento box, we feel better about humanity and finally make our way to our actual destination in Delavan – the Mexican candy store down the street that has yummy ice cream. I suggest to Bridget that she might want to have the spicy tamarind candy instead, to perhaps give her a bit more energy for the ride (she was, after all, a mere 2 miles ahead of me earlier), but she goes for the ice cream instead. Fine, it’s not as if I don’t try to impart my triathlon wisdom – but with some people, they just don’t get it.

Anyway, afterwards we’re standing on the cobblestone street getting ready to go – out of the way of cars driving past, but right behind a parked car. A guy has just walked past us, seen us, acknowledge us, gotten into the car and sat there for a few minutes. And then he starts up the car. And as I’m standing there clipping in......he starts to back up. Into me.

Naturally, I do what anyone else would do – I try to pull the bike forward while simultaneously getting Sálome closer to the ground to lessen the chance that the bumper will hit her. And, I scream at the same time – which luckily stops him just as his car hits my leg but before he runs over said leg. Luckily, I’ve shielded Sálome such that she remains unblemished. With heart rate now through the roof, and the guy in the car grinning like he’s a few cans short of a picnic, we set off again. Disaster averted.

After the pig roast and fireworks that night, we get up the next morning and have the required breakfast at Millie’s Pancake House. I’ve informed the girls that just as with the Wisconsin Cheese Rule, no one leaves Delavan without going to Millie’s. I’m not sure, but I think the round of apple pancakes might have had something to do with the sluggishness of our post-breakfast ride. I speak of the girls here, who haven’t conditioned themselves as I have with the opportunistic eating of the Paleo diet. I could pretty much have a breakfast of nails and be fine, but them, without their oatmeal and berries, they’re a bit lost. What can you do when people don’t want to follow the same strict training/diet regimen as me? I shake my head, helplessly.

(to be continued)


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