Thursday, July 8, 2010

Knowing when to pack it in

I wake up this morning with my usual verve and vigor, ready to head out for the 80-mile ride I have planned for today. Though there are thunderstorms already, and more predicted all day. Bah. I spit in the face of thunderstorms! Okay, I check and lo and behold, a mere 5 minutes later the storms have apparently cleared out from the forecast, and it’s just going to be cloudy and humid all day. Sweet. Off I go. I take enough supplies with me for the predicted LAR (Long Ass Ride), including some bars from Trader Joe’s that I’ve decided to try – all in the name of bringing valuable information to you, the little people. That’s just how I am.

So I’m on my usual Huntley-Capron-Sharon route, and am about 15 minutes in when it occurs to me that I forgot to attach my seat bag with my spare tube in it to my saddle. This doesn’t concern me too much though, as in all the thousands of miles I’ve ridden, I’ve never once gotten a flat. Even though on every ride I have all the necessary tire-changing stuff. Except this one. (Note the clever and subtle use of that literary technique known as foreshadowing here.)

I’m going down yet another tranquil, bucolic country road, when a car approaching from the other direction starts sidling over into my lane. Sidle sidle sidle. I get as far over to the right as possible, as now it looks like they’re planning on running me over. As they start pulling alongside me on my now tiny strip of pavement, an arm starts waving out the window, and then out of the window pokes the head of a gap-toothed lanky-haired skank who’s probably 25 but looks like she’s 50, and as she’s grinning like a complete moron, yells “What the fuck are you looking at???” This, as she’s on the wrong side of the road with her car an inch away from me.

Now, as we all know, the first rule of cycling is to not get engaged with idiots, but to just respond in a cool and collected manner, so as to not risk an altercation. So in this vein, I don’t take the bait by answering her, but merely respond with my own question: “What the fuck are YOU doing trying to run me over???”

She’s now stopped the car and is yelling expletives at me for some reason, so again, I respond in my usual calm manner: “Fuck you! Drunk much? Meth much? WHITE TRASH MUCH???”

As I continue peddling along and yelling back at her, I keep looking back, and her car remains lurched across the road at a drunken angle, and she’s gotten out of the car and headed to the back of it. Probably either to pull a shotgun out of the trunk, or to pee on the road, or perhaps both. I keep trying to look back, and since I’m not sure if she turned around to follow me and run me down, I pull over into a farm’s driveway, ready to go screaming for Farmer Assistance if needed. These people are the salt of the earth – and even better, they probably all have their own supply of guns.

After a few minutes, I see no one coming along, so I head off again. Then as I make one of my turns a little while later, yet another car coming from the other direction pulls over. What the hell, I think to myself – is this Pick On Tasha Day? Not this time though.

Sweet older woman: Excuse me, have you seen the garbage truck go by?

Me: Nope, not at all.

Woman: Thanks!

I swear, even I can’t make this stuff up.

I continue on, and turn onto 176, a busy road that I stay on for about 3 minutes. Or usually do, before I make another right-hand turn. Right away, there’s (yet again) a car trying to pass a truck in a no-pass zone, so I get further over to the right, on a concrete bridge where there’s actually plenty of room, but the pavement is pretty crappy. Suddenly I hear a loud whistling/popping sound that sounds like a car has blown something and is going to veer over and flatten me. Of course I pull over, only to discover it wasn’t car, it was me with a flat tire. Of course! I put in a call.

Mom: Hello?

Me: Hi mom, it’s me – what are you doing?

Mom: Having breakfast.

Me: How do you feel about picking me up when you’re done? I have a flat, and no way to change it.

Mom: Where are you?

Me: It’s simple. You know the road that goes past the garden and then you hit Harmony Road?

Mom: You mean 20?

Me: Umm, no. You get to 20 if you keep going on Harmony. This is just turning left onto Harmony Road.

Mom: Marengo, the road that goes to Wisconsin?

Me: Umm, no. That’s if you go right, to the high school. Just go left. Left. On Harmony.

Mom: Okay, left on Harmony.

Me: Yeah, and then the first right onto Seeman. Then you follow that all the way to the end, to the T-stop. Then go left. And then the first right. So basically you just keep going to the end of the roads, then go left and turn on the first right. Going constantly north and west.

Mom: Okay, so a right on Seeman…..

Eventually I think my mom’s got it. It’s really pretty simple. Go to the very end of these roads – to the T-stop – then turn left and then right. Piece of cake, yes? I hunker down, figuring my mom will be there in about 15 minutes or so….

(to be continued)

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