Self-bruising bikers, unite….
1. I “disorganized” this year’s Santa Cruise. The last five years or so, the saintly Cora Haselbeck, Jain Light and Joan Murakami provided tea, stoves, kettles, munchies galore…made it a party, etc…all I needed to do was write the press release and relax until it was time to drive down there. Santa Cruz is about a hundred miles south of us. No one else comes from the county anymore.
2. Yes, drive. Thermoses and cups clanking in the back seat, bike shoved in with little thought to the kinked cables, frost scraped off the windshields, whitened knuckle focus on the road, praying to stay awake
3) This ride has always been a memorial to my mom. I have told the story a couple of times, but a muddy parking lot with freezing riders is not the time and place to orate. What was rattling around in my head while driving was how sad it was that, because she was an ‘upper middle class’ (they always stressed that, as if it were a desirable rank) inmate of an appallingly vicious household, she had no available resources for support. We kids had school for a blessed eight hours. The neighbors wondered (or knew) but never said a thing.
After all, it’s no one’s business.
In our paper this last week, a sixteen year old child, lost in the foster care system, escaped from a tract home owned by a very bent couple with four kids, an unrelated roommate, and this whipping boy, I’ll call him Cinderfella since he slept in the fireplace. It is making the tired little community of Tracy look hard at itself.
A gorgeous sunny, low-angle winter gem of a day-shame I had to drive 190 miles rather than hop on some train–and a dozen or so riders, notably Joan and Jain, veterans for the past ten or so…helped out with the munchies (thanks to Beckmann’s bakery).
This year I even recognized Greg Lydon, who’s another annual stalwart in recent years. He brought his mate Lisa for the first time.
Rode up with two different clumps, Troy & his matching bike team pals who bolted up the hill, then resumed riding with Joan and Jainj. And I met a doctor at the top of the hill, well, actually I met a friendly rider whom I convinced was the missing link in fat tire history story-cycle. THat’s another blog for sure.
What I’m aiming to get at is the scary part of this ridin’ idyll…
A quarter century ago, a woman either took her own life or was killed, and we will never know which. The coroner’s report was incomplete. I have no energy to try to dig up the truth. It’s possible that her husband got away with murder.
And since she was my mom, I decided to do a little something about it.
The pun (“Cruisin’ for a bruisin” is a nice euphemism parents and spouses use to imply that the victim-to-be will ‘earn’ their punishment by doing something ‘to’ the abuser. Like….looking at him wrong? Whatever) was hard to resist. The old teeshirt featured a Santa Rat on a bicycle..
Anyhow, it has always been the first Sat in December since that’s around when my birthday is, but earlier, since holiday things will be happening the actual week of my birthday…and I’d hate to compete with them!
So…what I wanted was a kind of secret b.d. ritual, where the comers wouldn’t really have to know that was what it was.
To the people attending the ride-qua-fundraiser for Women’s Crisis Support of Santa Cruz, it was an excuse to ride w/JP –in 1983 that meant bragging rights for hangin’ with a champeen of Barely Anything (remember, fat tire bicycling was a fringe activity then) . But I’d make ’em pay! So, surprisingly they did .. I thought it was cause I’m popular, but someone (probably someone in search of a tax break) confided that there are people who NEED to peel off some dax tetuctable dollars and hadn’t gotten around to it, and now it was the end-0f-the-year . Sure pal, what ever helps you feel a little better about paying a check for a scarcely organized ride with a scatterbrain. Here, try my tea. EAT something. You’re shivering.
Reader, I promise you many Americans have not had properly steeped hot black tea (I say “hot” because in restaurants, esp. in the non-urban areas, they assume ‘tea’ = iced tea! The horror.
Verily, now I am comin’ out of the closet about what my idea of a birthday party is.
Those of you who have my calendar (see margin)…there are about seventy of you–know exactly when to send me a hello…the rest, here’s the hint: WEDNESDAY IS MY 53rd birthday.
And I’m very glad to be here, scathed only by gravity and bicycle-inflicted incidents….feeling damn fine, sleeping well… here, feel my nose.