Sunday, February 17, 2013

Overheard on a 200k

Dawn, pink mist over the Golden Gate Bridge. It's cold, in the high 30s. Rob calls everyone together. The ride leader gets to make a speech. He starts with a few routine items, then asks if these people are present:
  • Jim Bradbury 
  • me
  • Todd Teachout
  • Paul Vlasveld
Jim is right here, Todd is signing in at the truck, Paul is frantically getting ready at his car. We raise our hands for Rob. Did we do something wrong?

"These 4 people are the ones with the most experience here today. They all have RUSA numbers under a thousand." The crowd gasps (not really but hey it sounds good).

Jim turns to me and says "What, you never heard the We Must Honor the Ancients speech before?"

Calling out the 4 newest RUSA members in the crowd, Rob says "If you're lost, don't follow these folks - they don't know where they're going!" Neither do I, so I'm following Jim...

At the end of the speech Rob tells us all to raise our left hand, place the other over our heart, and repeat after him: "I, Insert Name Here, promise not to do Stupid Stuff!" So that we all finish of sound body, anyway.

First control at mile 43, which this morning is feeling like quite a long way. Peet's Coffee, Petaluma.

On the sidewalk, Jack Holmgren is looking fabulously radioactive. He starts cracking jokes (so unlike him) and introduces himself. We've met, I know who he is, a lawyer with a biking problem. He recognizes my name and says:

"You're the one, the one who said in Brest when I asked what was wrong that you're over an hour slower than last time. Of all the stupid things to say! I just couldn't believe it... I mean, we're four years older and still doing this! Rode through a 12-hour lightning storm yesterday! Words I really can't say come to mind, like one starting with a......."

 Last time we saw each other was 18 months ago in France.
Jack Holmgren, you took this photo...
Why is it people always remember you by the absolute worst interactions? Not that they owe that photo in front of the bridge to you, not that you laughed at their jokes...

Riding out to Two Rock with Jim, mile 58. Massive holiday traffic out to the beach. Not much to talk about except maybe the recent psych test thrown in with the neuropsych exam. MMPI, the holy-cow full-fledged thing, like 600 questions. All variations of each other, asked every which way to confuse the liars and psychopaths.

Here's one: "I get really annoyed when someone interrupts me when I'm in the middle of something". To which I answered No even though it has happened once or twice. Then, "I get impatient standing in a queue". The answer could only be Yes. Pretty much 100% of the time.

And No to "I like to tease animals". Really! Anyone in their right mind can see Bella needs to play... it's not teasing if she's the one driving.

Jim takes all this in. Who knows what he is thinking.

Later we're standing in line at the market Point Reyes Station. Today it's not so much a town as a disorganized swarm of Northern Californians, all in one place. Seeking sun and water on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.  Turning to Jim I say "Did you know that I get impatient standing in queues?"

Kitty Goursolle and Paul Vlasveld fiddle with their bikes in front of the store in Valley Ford. Paul saying no, he never has figured out why he does these things. He's just on the automatic renewal plan... Kitty says "All the 1200k events this year are already full. I was looking at one in Siberia..." Paul starts to laugh. "What, it's probably beautiful!" says Kitty.

"Must be something going on in Marshall", says Jim. Marshall, population 400 or so. With approximately one business, the Marshall Store. A sometime control on brevets that also happens to be an oyster mecca. It's packed. And we're definitely in rush hour on Highway 1.

What's going on is a holiday weekend in February with extra-nice weather.

Mile 90, pushing toward Nicasio.

Jim: "Only 6 more hills to go! Those two in Nicasio, White's, Camino Alto, 2 hills in Sausalito. Then it's downhill all the way!

Mile 98, the first bump on Nicasio Hill. Thinking about that time, that 300k when Jim stood with me right about here in the pouring rain and darkness as I fixed a flat. He was in favor of just putting the tire right back on. Instead we stood there for 10 minutes while I diagnosed root cause.

The only time I've been wetter? That 12-hour lightning storm on the way to Brest.

Jim says "Remember that time? That was right around here somewhere..." It was so dark that night, neither of us can point to the exact spot. I offer to take a photo. But he does not want to stop. The memory is still painful 6 years later, and it's time to get on in.

The silence as I pedal across the Golden Gate Bridge for the second time in a day, despite past difficulties.

1 comment :

  1. Lyrical, melancholy, and sweet ...just what we all love in an SFR brevet! Thank you Elaine for your reflections and photos...BC