Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A long day's journey into Stupid

I finally decided that yesterday was the day to do my long ride, aka the Jug-O-Water route. It was looking like it was going to be a bit headwindy, but, at some point you have to pull out your suitcase of courage and do the stupid things that others are too fearful smart to do.

I did realize in the morning that for my PB&J that I planned to make, I only had boozy jam. Rage Cow Raspberry Chipotle, to be exact, which was of course perfectly appropriate. Ech, what’s a little booze on a long, dehydrating bike ride, amirite? Onward!

The first hill to climb on this route was, well, an actual hill to climb. But at least I knew it was coming, having done part of this ride last year – so I knew it would be 10 miles of unrelenting hellish annoying climb that went on and on and on. And it was, yet again. Somehow in the last year, the Public Works Crew hasn’t figured out a way to flatten the damn thing, alas. On the bright side, getting to the top was lovely, and the ride to Silvies was enchanting: no serious hills, scenic open country, few cars. Then I got to my turnoff, 35 miles in, and it was fish or cut bait time. Did I really want to venture into uncharted territory like this, where if something happened they’d have to follow the turkey vultures hovering to figure out where I was?

Of course I did!

And yes, the first thing I encountered was a hill. Fine! What’s a hill or two between friends? But then, my dear readers, just a few miles in, on an uphill no less. I saw it. Off to the left, attached to a fence. I felt a rage I did not anticipate, especially given the weekend’s news of Nazis marching on Charlottesville and wreaking havoc and spewing their hate and killing someone and basically all the shit. Rage.

Now, there are benefits to riding on roads where there is no one else, ever.  In this case, that meant I didn’t even have to be stealthy. I put my bike down, walked over to the side of the road, went down and through the ditch and as I did so realized there was water in the ditch and my shoes were now wet but I didn’t even care because NAZIS and fuck it, and did what I could to crush the sign. It was attached to a barbed wire fence so I had to be careful so as to not bleed to death this early on in the ride, but I think I got my point across.

And I have to say, if you support trump STILL, then you’re okay with white supremacists. Maybe you don’t believe you’re superior, or maybe you do, but regardless, by still going along with him, you’re throwing your lot in with the Nazis. ACTUAL REAL Nazis carrying swastikas and saying Sieg Heil. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. You’re no better than the Germans who looked the other way when their Jewish neighbors were being taken away. NO. BETTER. Whatever lies you tell yourself about why it’s okay to still support trump – religion, tax breaks, who the fuck knows – sure. Isn’t it pretty to think so.

The next part of the ride can be summed up as (and pardon the rare salty language I use here): fuck you and fuck you some more. And here I have a question:

WHY oh WHY does my ipod play the SAME STUPID SHIT OVER AND OVER??? Why?? I mean, god FORBID it should ever play Shinedown or AWOL Nation or some other kind of actually bike-appropriate music. Oh NO, of course not! This is why I wound up yelling the following at frequent intervals:

Oh FOR FUCK’S SAKE why Pink Floyd AGAIN??
Seriously? This song AGAIN?
Fuck you ipod!
No seriously FUCK YOU.

And naturally, the classic:


My ipod hates me.

It occurred to me at one point that with all the intermittent loud swearing, I was doing a seemingly good imitation of someone who had Tourette’s.

The other issue here was – again, cue infrequent salty language – THE FUCKING HILLS. Sure, I expected some. I didn’t think I’d have to deal with 10% grades that went on for MILES. No really, MILES. Oh sure, I can hear you all now – “But Miss Tasha, then you get glorious downhills!” Sure, that’s one Pollyana take on it. To this I have two words for you:

Cattle guards.

Yes, the grates over the road that are just far apart enough that I’m pretty sure a wheel could easily get stuck in there and send a person flying. So as I’m going down one hill and hit 40.4 miles an hour, I have this thought:

If I hit a cattle guard at this speed, I’m dead.

Yes, I slow down a touch. Let’s be real – the only time one should go bombing down hills like that is when a) you know the roads well (hello IMWI loop) or b) there are other people around in case things go FUBAR (hello RAGBRAI). Neither is the case here.

In addition, when I get almost to the bottom of one hill – and have to stop and get off to walk over the cattle guard – I feel dizzy, disoriented, like there’s no fixed point on the horizon. I think to myself, self, we know you’re an idiot, but it’s probably not the BEST idea to go bombing up and down hills when you can’t see straight. This is likely due to dehydration, since even though I technically have a Jug-O-Water out there, I don’t know I have a jug of water for sure. It might not be there. What would happen if I drink all my water and I get there and…nada? Yes, I would be, in a word, royally and totally screwed. And not in the good way.

I walk up the next hill. Shrug. It’s scenic, quiet, there’s a strong scent of pine in the air, and it’s very tranquil, and it helps me get un-dizzy, since I think part of the issue was also the wind (headwind, as always) rushing into my ears as I was flying downhill.  Then I toodle along until I get to the 50-mile mark, and the moment of truth: is it there??

To which I say, I’ve never been so happy to see a jug of warm, plasticky water in my life. Lunch consists of part of my PB&J (it seemed to get baked in my back pocket) and said jug of glorious water. I could stay there forever, except that it’s now the afternoon, and I have another 50 miles to go, so I set out again to tackle the gravel part of the road. Which shouldn’t be THAT bad, right?

I slip on the fucking gravel and almost wipe out within the first 30 feet. The gravel is inches deep, and yeah, riding on it isn’t going to happen. I recalculate my times and figure that with walking the couple of miles, I’ll be getting back into Burns oh, probably around midnight or so. Hopefully the Shifty Pastimes bar will be open so I can get a hard cider; already planning that that'll be my reward after this clusterfuck of madness. I’m trudging along, when lo and behold, what’s that ahead?

(to be continued)

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