Skipping the Chit Chat

Today I suffered. It was supposed to rain and I was not very excited to ride in it, because my new Argon 18 is only two days old. But everything new gets dirty at some point, and I am in prime Vermont riding country. There is also a rule about not riding because of rain which states that perhaps you don’t have the proper conviction to be a cyclist if you bail out, and I don’t break that rule. So I rode about 100k with two very nasty climbs in the middle, and it was hot, and humid, and there was no shade. 

It did not rain, but it’s the threat that counts.

I wanted the climb to be over long before it was designed to be. It was the last climb of the day and it felt like the mountain was growing beneath me. My jersey was open and my glasses were filmed with salty sweat and just as I crested, and was about to be rewarded with 4 miles of 10% graded downhill and 40mph winds in my face, I saw the shape of a young woman pushing her touring bike, full of gear, up the opposite face of the climb and then she yelled:  “Are you are at the top?”

Ditch the Travel Guide

If I don’t get to this straightaway, I forget, and then so much happens, and then so much more, until the pile is way too large to properly fold and put down on paper, so it just sits there, getting moldy. But that’s a disservice to myself, and tonight I’m determined to clean up, because if I don’t, it’ll never see light.

I had a long day on my way from Bar Harbor to Cavendish, P.E.I. My very first thought after driving across the island was that I might have made the same mistake I made by going to New Zealand; the only paved roads were the highways, and they had no shoulder, and they had 18-wheelers, and they had 100K speed limits.

Things got a little dimmer when I got close to Cavendish and pulled into the Fodors-recommended lobster shack in New Glasgow and it was full of fanny-packed tourists.

Dinner was great though, and so my spirits were lifted a little bit only to sink back down when I arrived in Cavendish at my accommodation, having passed glow-in-the-dark-mini-golf, a Ripley's Believe It Or Not, a Go-Cart track, and all kinds of uber-touristy shit I had not expected.

Bar Harbor, June 25th, 2015

Subtract the tourist trap of Bar Harbor (the town) and the rest is pure bliss. Keep in mind everything I poo-poo or praise is from a cycling perspective, and it’s almost always from a very quick observation, so don’t take anything I say as an absolute, except this absolute; if you ride a bike, you have to come and ride the loop in Arcadia National Park. 

Here’s why, for starters:
1. It’s short, relatively speaking. Even for a beginner, the 24 mile loop from the Visitors Center and back to it is not terribly tough. It’s close to 2,000 feet of climbing, but there are plenty of places to rest, hydrate, and break it up, if you don't have a lot of miles in the legs.
2. If you climb to the top of Cadillac, it adds roughly 7 miles and another 1,000vft, but a woman ascending yelled at me as I was about half way-up, that it was “totally worth it.” Bonus points if you go up on a…on a…I don’t even know what to call it, but a bike for three people. Never seen one before, and it looked ridiculous, and the descent in those cross winds with only one dude responsible for the steering, yeah, no, I would have shit myself.

Content is content.

Been reading through my travel journal lately, seeking inspiration, and I hadn't read much of it since I first wrote it. This is a bit I never posted from April 2012, just getting back to Los Angeles from Spain after three months out: 

I arrive in LA and pick up my baggage, and I get a cab to the hotel. The hotel is very beautiful and very convenient but the room is small and definitely not worth the $400 a night or whatever it is.

I can't smoke anywhere, and there is lots of noise and lots of rudeness and tons of skin. I failed to notice, although this is one thing I always forget and then am reminded of when I get back here, that shorts are not common in Europe. In Europe, they have these things called skirts, which apparently are only useful anymore in the States when at work or on a first date. 

So all the tits, short-shorts, and yoga pant crack-ass is a shocking welcome home. 

Annie, Are You OK?

I’m feeling very angsty. There is a cloud over me and I can’t outsmart it. I know the cloud is dumb and incapable of strategy but it keeps finding me, no matter how many hours I spend on my bike. It finds me even in my dreams.

Sometimes I give up the care that it is there, because I know that clouds will sometimes form, despite my protests, and that they will travel with the wind, and that the wind is always consistent in its pressing, pushing the cloud as it pushes me, but this wind is in my face, not so hard that I can’t breath, but enough to be annoying. I wish it would go away. But this wind is committed to something, and I can’t make sense of its persistence. I tell it that it is just a cloud, that no one cares about it, that no one likes it, that all of us would prefer that it not block out the sun, but it just dangles there and makes no offer to its intention.

The Slow Leak

Well, that girlfriend thing is over. Deep down, there was something fundamentally incompatible about us, to paraphrase someone else who worded it better than I could have. I was accused of walking away too easily, but I'm pretty certain that when a book ends, there aren't extra chapters lying around for me to find. And sequels almost never deliver.

There was a slow drip from the roof that I ignored but knew would bring the whole house crashing down someday. Afterwards, I looked at the carnage and didn't wonder "What the fuck?" I looked at it and I thought "Oh, so that was what that drip was all about."

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