Like Bess Said, It's Summertime
One of those fantastic Summer Storms that hit Florida at this time of year is raging outside the trailer. All the windows are open and cool gusts of rain-cleansed air blow into the room like the laughing breath of Baby Gods. The Yellow Dog cowers beneath my table, for she likes not these frightening aberrations on our steady Dog Days of Summer; flashing lightning and banging thunder are not her Favorite Things.
But me, I love it. For whatever reason, heavy weather has always enraptured and delighted me, sometimes on Long Rides and sometimes when caught at sea, the Blast and Crack of Mom at Her Best (Or Worse) has always been a welcome break in the Old One Day After Another Deal. The reminder that there are powers beyond our control is somehow a comforting one. It seems to take all the responsibility of the Burden of Power away from my mortal self and for that brief period of The Storm all we have to worry about is Staying Alive.
Blame It On Radio
And don't despair, my friends, I too realize I am ending paragraphs with the titles of songs. After well over thirty years in the construction business spent listening to radios on job sites it is inescapable that I would inadvertently insert musical references into my writing. Please bear with me while I'm Ridin' the Storm Out.
Anybody Been Riding? Not me. But some other guys have, it seems. My Buddy Wayward Home has a pretty good description of a Real-Life Century on his Blog recently.
If you are like me, you have read with fascination about these seemingly effortless 100 mile rides being done by People Who Never Sweat and seem to dash about the Wine Country in immaculate cycling garb while chatting about the stock market. I want to be like those people.
But alas, I ain't.
I sweat and I bonk and I cuss and the sweat pours out and I seek Beer and Shade and I try to think up ways I can talk somebody into giving me a ride and maybe I can get them to buy my bicycle and then I ride some more. Then I ride some more.
Then I ride some more. Listen, it's a Hundred Miles. That's a lot. But Ol' Wayward Got It Right in his description and I encourage everyone to read it and if it convinces any of you to Stay On the Porch, good for you. How much for the bike?
You can do like I did, and ride Metric Centuries, then go around casually mentioning “I rode a Century today” and get confused looks from the other people in the Trailer Park who don't understand how anyone can ride a Hundred Years on a Bicycle in one day and then you explain that a Century is a hundred miles in Cycling Parlance and it is OK, because by then they have stopped listening and even if they were still listening they won't believe you. So that ain't exactly a lie and it gets you accustomed to thinking about Centuries and by the way, while a Metric Century is a typically effete Euro-wimpy Century it is still 60 miles and I rode a hell of a lot of them before I got my John Wayne On and busted out a Real Live Daytona 100.
I bet the Duke would have tore 'em up at the Tour de France.
A Girl Duke
Another cycling Blogista I follow is Riding A Century of her own and like the Trailer Park Cyclist not all of her Writing About Riding is just exactly about bicycles but this Lady Lays It On the Line and I have been meaning to mention her to you guys Just In Case. Of course I am talking about the redoubtable Judi over at Miles and Madness. I won't bother telling you about her, just go see. She is another Real Person and talks like one and I always get excited when I stumble across a hero and here one is.
Oh No, Here He Goes Again
Cycling for me is a metaphor for a Larger Truth and as a Normal Human, (which I someday hope to become) I don't get all the details. But while the sore butt and the mechanical oddities and numb hands and other numb parts are a constant reminder that cycling is also a Real World Experience, there really does seem to be something else going on here, and it is a good thing. Cycling writers like to mention the word Zen now and then and that is all right with me. As a Trailer Park Master of Budweiser Zen, I am amused and delighted that my fellow scribes attempt to capture the Elusive Clydesdale of Serenity when describing what is actually Exhaustion and Dehydration and an Approaching Physical Breakdown.
Then You Get A Flat.
But be that as it may, Long Rides are the the Real Deal and I love them. Go out and get some punishment, you will be glad you did.
I Can't Believe I Made It All the Way
The Storm Has Abated, as they say, and so has the Muse. Not that good of a Muse tonight, anyway. I mean, WTF is this "laughing breath of Baby Gods"? That I even dare to type such a sentence tells you a little about what riding Too Long can do to your brain.
But I wanted to drop in and say Hello, I wanted to keep in touch, so to speak. The Voice has been Silent for Lo These Many Days, which is as it should be: his job is Advice, and right now I don't need any. Right now what I got to do is Storm around this Trailer Park and Fix-It. I gotta do what I gotta do and then I will Ride Long and Hard and then I will come on here to complain about it.
Until then, My Friends, Saddle Up the Palomino...
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Juke Joint