“I gotta do a real ride tomorrow, ” Charlie said hopefully.
He’s been working 10 hour days on the custom brakes, with an added hour of “farm work” yesterday, beefing up the fencing in the treehouse.
We had two baby coonyuns under the bed, playing with his workboots, and flashing light in their eyes didn’t scare them. They dropped the boots and came right up to me, face (upside down) to face.
I had pet baby raccoons in the 60’s when it was not considered Incredibly Stupid to sell wildlife in pet shops, so I’m not afraid of them any more than they are not afraid of me.
In fact, several years ago, a pair of very young ones climbed onboard my shoes when I was shuffling up to bed (in the dark, we never use flashlights). I let ’em ride a few feet before flipping them off, since momma coon would probably chew my leg if she noticed (she was fishing in the pond, oblivious to her babie’s activity).
So, rather than slaving ten more hours while the unseasonably balmy spring unfurls its rich display, he (and I) went a-ridin.
I “only” had my single speed DeSalvo, since my other bike’s in the shop. CC didn’t think I could keep up, or at least he WONDERED if I could, with only one cog, but since that bike weighs nothing, it was a piece of cake.
I just pretended I was in the wrong gear for all the climbs, and that I was on a track bike on all the descents.
Our route: past a couple dozen Novato H.S. boys (only one girl! No woman coaching, gasp) to Five Coroners, then out Bofax road to the ridge, right at the ridgetop for a very lumpy five miles in the beautiful redwoods, dozens of which seem to have fallen over, then gotten chopped and chipped.
The surface felt like the bottom of a rat cage, fragrant chips a couple inches deep, w/lots of flippin’ sticks trying to hang up the rear wheel.
Overtook a man on the 6th hour of an 8-hr run (his route was unbelievable–half the county). Being Saturday, we saw many other riders… among ’em Abbie and Bill Durkee. They looked vaguely familiar, and seemed to know more about me than vice-versa.When I reached into my bag to give them my card, Abbie said “we’ve got one” and I was so flustered, I handed it over anyway. (Psst! Cardstock makes great pooper-scoopers!)
Speaking of which, every trailhead we passed had those foolish blue plastic bags with dog feces within…some placed right on the fencepost, like the way foxes lay their turds in the most prominent possible place… We saw no fewer than twenty such bags.
Supposedly someone picks them up?
The last five miles or so were on flat Sir Francis Drone,w here I met still more lively, fun riders (in pink and black DFL kit, me want!) to banter with.
Charlie complained of “reluctant leg syndrome”, and contrary ol’ JP had to do several 30 second bouts of 100 rpm spinning to blatantly demonstrate surplus prowess.
We know we’re old now, cuz four hours used to be our Normal Ride, and now it’s about a once-a-year thing.
Luckily some things never change: the smell of the bay-trees in bloom (intoxicating), the warm air, and the legions of hopeful bike racers out there, putting in the miles.