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T & A

16 June 2002

The song from A Chorus Line — "Tits and Ass" — was running through my head a good part of this morning. I spent a lot of time thinking about tits and asses.

It was the day of our Big Ride--well my big ride anyway. Haggie had ridden more than 20 miles on her bike before. I decided that it was time for me to up my mileage and we were going to do 20 miles on the Iron Horse Trail. This time without the stop at the Farmer's Market. I was pretty sure that as long as we didn't have the Headwind from Hell, I could easily make the 20 miles and was very stoked about that.

We met in the parking lot, like last time. Haggie was wearing her new sports bra, which lifts and separates better. No longer Uniboob, she now has Twin Peaks. We hopped on our bikes and rode over to the start of the Iron Horse Trail. This was my second time, and it was familiar territory.

"The first three miles are the hardest," Haggie said, encouragingly, as I huffed and puffed up the slight incline at the start of the trail. The whole trail in this direction is a slight incline, we discovered last time, when we saw how easy it was to come back in the other direction. But it's deceptive. You think it's flat. And you wonder why you are struggling so hard in only 4th gear. (I have a bazillion gears on this bike, but since I almost never use the left hand gears, I essentially only use 7 of the gears. 7 is when I'm being macho jockette, 2 is when I'm being a wimp. The first several miles of this scheduled-to-be-20-mile trip were done in 3 or 4).

I was again grateful for my wonderful camelback, in which I carried 2 quarts of water (and drank it all). As I sipped from the nozzle that hung around my neck, I was reminded of all the times when the kids were toddlers and still nursing and they would run in, climb in my lap, take a quick swig or two, and then go back out to play. I came to think of the camelback as a rubber tit that was slung over my shoulder and when I needed a bit of sustenance, I just took a quick swig or two and then continued playing.

By the time we hit Danville (where the Farmers' Market is), we had gone 5 miles and I was starting to get into the swing of it. I was determined to make it 10 miles, the first half of the trip, without stopping.

And then the wind came up. Not nearly as bad as last week, but enough to significantly affect my forward progress.

Haggie has gone way ahead of me in bicycle capabilities (well, she's 34; I'm nearly 60!) and as I began to go slower and slower, she asked if I wanted to stop at the park where we turned around the last time we took this ride. I said that yes, I did, but that I still wanted to go forward. I was determined that I would ride 20 miles today.

She said she was going to do a sprint and would come back for me. (I don't blame her; she had been hanging back for me but I know she is capable of a lot better than I am at this point) I continued to plod along and actually, by the time I reached the little park, I was feeling much better, so I didn't stop. I just kept on going. Slow and steady. I met Haggie coming back at about mile 9. She had gone to mile 10, our scheduled turnaround point and was now coming back to ride with me the rest of the way. She was pleased that I was doing well enough that I didn't need a stop after all.

As we approached mile 10, she said--"Mile 10 is up there, or if you want, we can continue on to the end, which is another 5 miles." What the heck. I was feeling OK by this point and decided--let's go for 30. Maybe those endorphins had kicked in. We decided we'd take a rest at the end of the trail, break out our Luna bars, and then head back.

The only problem I was having at this point was my rear end (am I too ladylike to say "ass"?). I thank God every time I ride this bike that I opted for the big padded old lady cushy bike seat because I think I would be a lot more sore if I had a standard bike seat. The seat is big enough that it allows me to move all over the place on it, including letting most of the aforementioned ass hang off the back when the tailbone area starts to really bother me.

We were now out in a section of the trail which was (a) pretty boring, scenically, and (b) not nearly as full of people as the previous sections of the trail were (I'm sure (b) was a function of (a).) When you share a trail with joggers, skaters, dog walkers, and little kids just learning how to ride, the experience is fraught with potential disaster. My particular dislikes: (1) people with dogs on long leashes who don't notice that the dog is on one side of the road and the people on the other with the leash across the road, just waiting to flip me head over handlebars; (2) little fluffy frou-frou dogs, who HATE bikes. The big ol' dogs--the Labs, the GSPs, the Dalmations--are all cool, but those little dogs really want to take a big chomp out of your ankles, no matter how sweetly you greet them as you pass; (3) mothers who let their toddlers run all over the road. Nothing more scary than a toddler up ahead because even if they are walking nicely on one side of the road and you are giving them a wide berth, they can dart in front of you in a flash; (4) groups of walkers who like to walk 6 abreast, oblivious that there are bikers, skaters, and joggers lined up behind waiting to pass.

(I've now been biking long enough to be able to bitch about some of the road conditions!)

It was at about mile 14-point-something when two familiar looking figures appeared to be heading in our direction. It was the unmistakable buttercup yellow jacket of David and the blue bike of Terri. They had already made it to the end of the trail and were headed back. We stood and talked for a very long time (and, of course, took pictures--we all have JOURNALS, after all!)

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Finally, David and Terri decided it was time to turn around and head back. Haggie and I decided we'd skip the last 0.5 mile and go with them. First stop was Ralphs Supermarket, a potty stop, time to drag out the Luna bars and watch Terri and David nosh gooey croissants.

When we left Ralph's, I told Haggie to just ride with Terri and David and that I would plod along at my own pace and catch up with her at the end of the trail. This worked out much better for all. Nobody had to hang back for me, Haggie got to go at he normal pace, and I had a lovely ride, where I was able to look around at the scenery and not be so intent on keeping up any certain speed.

I'm not saying it was easy. My lower half was doing funny things. Not only was the tailbone hurting, but my legs ached and my lower back ached. If I hadn't gone through menopause 6 years ago, I would have wondered if perhaps my period was beginning.  I wondered how many bikers develop hemorrhoids.

But a funny thing happened. I really was feeling better. The ride back is mostly a gentle downslope, which we remembered from last time, but even on the up grades, I discovered I was pedaling in 6th or 7th gear. I made terrific time on the last 10 miles or so and when I did catch the other 3 at the start of the trail, they told me they actually hadn't been there that long. So I guess I wasn't quite as plodding as I thought.

By the time Haggie and I got back to the cars, the odometer read 29.03 miles. If I were Terri, I would have biked another block or two to get it up to 30, but I was damn pleased--and proud--of having gone 29.03 miles. Best of all I didn't feel like a limp dishcloth this time, like I did after 17 miles on the American River Trail.

I'm not ready to go out and do another 30 miles tomorrow, but I sure feel good about today. I might do 10 tomorrow....

Quote of the Day
(in honor of Flag Day yesterday)

Our pride comes not from our flag or our history. Our pride comes from our future, from what we are committed to building. Our pride comes from who we are as a people.

--David Gerrold


Picture of the Day

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On the way home, I passed a field of sunflowers

One Year Ago
The Grand Tour

Two Years Ago
In the Spotlight

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