There I was, me (a girl) and 5 boys. Something I'm used to, the reciprocal of a Morman marriage - my male harem. All between 38 and maybe 50yrs of age. Not sure high end of spectrum.
Anyhow, our tradition that my husband and his alleged twin (same year and day but opposite coasts born friend John) is to ride the same number of miles as we are old. They are turning 47 soon, and this was the weekend to accomplish the "task". Seeing as it is not MY birthday - and coming off 3 weeks of sickness, and months of lots of work and no working out, I gave myself the out of turning around before they did on their projected path.
The plan: From Johns house in Almaden - through the neighborhood - to McKean (not to be confused with McCain) - along the reservoirs to loop a "lollypop" loop around Uvas Res. in Gilroy then back.
I was feeling great and wondered if I could go further than I predicted. We meandered through short steeps in the neighborhood, and I quickly fell off the back on any incline steeper than 5%. Hrmph. My husband was obviously strong, he did some training cramming the last weekends, and extended rides to almost the 40 mile mark, with a good hill sprinkled in. I don't mind being off the back on such rides I know I've not been training for, and am just beginning a new phase of fitness. 2 spin classes that week, then this ride, and I'm excited to jump start this wintery season with some consistant challenging workouts. The boys don't seem to mind my speed, one threatens to turn back with me, but after a while, it's obvious he can keep with the group.
One particular fellow, riding a traditional steel frame (deRosa) with an absurdly phallic seat bag that projects back in an embarrissingly erect manner chose to hang back and give me a little push up the largest of our climbs. Cinnabar Hill I'll call it. Wild Turkeys on the side of the road provide some fun commentary as we encourage them to go hide from the doom that could await the end of this Thanksgiving month. Somebody brings up a sarcastic comment to start an "anti-prop-8" conversation - that though winded - I cannot help but pipe in and let them know how bewildered I am and mad - that so many folks thought it was necessary to vote in such a hateful - right banishing proposition. Said deRosa riding fellow appears to be a conservative in the political spectrum. Just as I'm stating that I felt elitest to be in the category of being able to be married - and it changes my feeling on my own legal bond to my wonderful man - he states simultaneously as he starts to push me to help me up the hill... "Welcome to the elite"... with a smirk. Wow. I think. This guy was pro-8. I brush it off as I can't speak anyhow, the hill has risen to beyond my ability to pedal well - and the 5-10lbs he's taking off me by pushing - create a fun game where I get sling-shotted past birthday boy John, to pass him, keep trying to sprint up to the top - totally spent - anaerobic and done. I don't even past the summit to where the rest of the group is waiting just past the crest, as the thought of climbing back up is too much for my then, pounding heart trying to catch up! I wave my goodbyes and good-lucks. My honey pedals back up to meet me and kiss goodbye and queries why I didn't go further to join the group... and he see's I'm too tired - and happy and fine to return early on my own.
Well... off they went... and back down the hill I gleefully roll. What awaits me is that sluggish feeling on what I thought was a flat or downhill return... but feels like a slight incline... and serious headwind. Wow... on my own... pedaling into the wind is creating a pace that looks like I should be towing a trailer and have panniers on each wheel, and perhaps weigh-in another 20lbs heavier myself. My little spritely carbon bike is of no help, and I simply keep the cranks going around. Did the flat tire visual check... what gear am I in check... and have to resort to simply self propelled persistance. Wooosh... suddenly a guy passes me on the left - no warning, and with just a cruel speed. Woosh, another passes by, this one in race gear. Woosh... silently a woman passes me with no word... then another... then another. None of them saying "On your left" nor even a short "Hey". That would be nice. Just a "Hey there". What ever happened to ackowledging your other 2 wheelers on the road? How about a lone female - in solidarity for our minority numbers - why didn't the gals say "Hey"?
I decide it's a carrot for me, and windy as it is, I may not even have heard anybody if they had hollared out. I try to keep them in sight, so I try to pick up my pace on these final miles back to the food, shower, car and couch. Once the small dispersed peleton of what I think must be strangers reaches the end of McKean and heads for the elusively long but flat blvd. of Almaden Expressway - and the ladies sit up. Apparently they must have been pushing themselves to the end of their workout and now they are going a slower pace than I'd like to be doing, but I'm stuck behind them. As they are 2 abroad - and I know that after I pass, they'd pick up, and I don't feel like pulling them, or having them follow me the pressure wasn't where mentally I felt like being.
Strangly at each stop light, I'm directly behind the 4 ladies, but no acknowledgement as I try to nod a hello. Triathlon gals it seems, as 2 have aero bars, all have pretty nice bikes and the gear to prove they are serous enough and spend money on gear and most likely entry fee's. My mind competitively goes there... that keeping up with the Jone's attitude of elitism... looks like my bike is more valuable than any of theirs. I like my jersey design better than theirs... huh... is that cottage cheese on that one's hamstring area. I quickly slap myself away from these high-school thoughts that are revenge for them not wanting me near their group. I decide to bail out of this train, as they caught the 2 guys ahead of them, and start friendly chat immediately. I swerve 3 lanes left and take a turning lane to be back in my solo bliss. Camden to... shoot... what was that road I was supposed to take back to Johns house?
I start my own little tour through Almaden. Wow! Nice Library! The architecture of the modern library has me yearning for more renovation and green ideas for our own home. I pedal some more and see what appears to be the worst architecture around, house built in the 70's that look like a pizza hut with a garage. I laugh at the thought that any architect was even involved on some of these atrocities. I'm seeking something beautiful... looking... looking.. oh... cool - solar panels!... looking... pedalling... wow nice tree... intersting cacti... oh hey... looky there... a cute boy is at his driveway selling all his stuffed animals. I realize I don't have any cash and can't encourage his entreprenurial enterprise. I ponder... maybe they aren't his... and he's cruelly selling his sisters furry friends. Naah... he looked too motivated and organized. Yikes... there is a hill in front of me... I veer right onto Meridian. My spin is coming closer to it's end, though the wind is dieing down, and the sum feels warmer... and I for a short moment think I should lengthen this almost 2 hour affair with my own thoughts and my bike.
Redmond! YAY! I found it! I make a weird across, u-turn then right to get onto the street I needed to get back to Johns. My plastic bike didn't trigger the turning signal, so such things are necessary at times. All legal, green, etc. Moments later I'm back. After I put my bike onto the car I think... I could have ridden longer. That is a good thing. I'm leaving rides and work-outs now... thinking maybe I could do more. Only months ago (Spring/Summer) I was not ending rides soon enough. The Metals Cleanse and body balancing I was doing, had taken all minerals away and I was one bonked cookie. The fun factor, the energy factor - all depleted before the ride was over. Now I'm making better choices for me. Ending before I'm on empty!
I have John's house to myself, and take it like a vacation. Shower, tea, and Men's Journal October - an article on Lance Armstrong written by a woman. Great Article! She follows him all day on Livestrong Day in May of 08. A little dated, as the article doesn't cover that he announced his return to the sport of Cycling.
I moved chairs around to be in the sun, his kitty cat comes to say hi, and I simply read and relax for the next hour and a half, till the boys come home. Yes the thought that I could or should have driven home and taken care of some chores passes in - but then out of my brain. Why waste precious fossil fuels to do that?... it's Sunday for Christ sake (pun intended)... relax and read about America's "Alpha Bachelor". Magazines all over the house with men, cycling and exercise. What more would a girl need. Sun, Furry cat, Good Earth Tea, satisfaction of having ridden for 2 hours.
Yes it was supposed to be about my honey and his twin, a Birthday ride. I'd say letting them go off and hammer the ride with out me, was gift enough. I'd say it was okay to selfishly enjoy this day for myself too. Riding bikes can be the best therapy ever! No iPod necessary. I'm looking forward to the next entertainment from my internal dialogue as I go for a nice solo spin again!