Wednesday, May 5, 2010

pick up sticks, ride fourty-six

I spent the morning working in the yard, had a little lunch, and jumped on the bike. I headed south and thought I would probably do a little loop of about 20 miles, but I got to my turn-around spot, turned east and just kept riding. I rode some roads I hadn't been on in a long time, and a section of one I had never seen. Sometimes I like grabbing a couple bottles, my cell phone and Road ID, and just going. It makes me think that if I can ride that far on a whim, I shouldn't have any trouble humping my way across Kansas.
One town I rode through for the first time was Bucyrus. And for a short time I was on the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Not one of America's finest hours. And certainly not as catchy of a name for a road trip as say, Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway. But, there it was.
I don't use headphones when I ride. I know some people love listening to music, podcasts, or what ever when they ride, but I feel safer hearing what's around me. One of the benefits of this is time to think. I think about the rides that I have planned, and remember the ones I have done. For some reason today I thought about some of the people I've met on bike tours. Dwayne from Brookings had his tent near ours one night during the TdK. He hung up a clothesline and let us know it was communal. We walked to the Lutheran church for a spaghetti feed with Dwayne. A couple years later I ran into him in the middle of nowhere when we were two of about seven riders to finish the century loop on a day when the wind was at it's worst. The next day coming out of a c-store I felt a jab in my arm, and it was Dwayne giving me a smile and a thumbs-up in acknowledgment of our feat.   
Then in Colorado I was riding alone in the rain from Twin Lakes to Leadville, the end of a century day that  included Independence Pass. After the main climb of the day the two percent incline to Leadville was minute, yet irritating. I passed another rider and said hello. Several minutes later, not knowing he was still behind me, I shifted to a higher gear and stood up to gain some speed. I heard a pitiful voice saying "Don't leave me". So I slowed down and we did the last 10 miles into Leadville together. At the high school I introduced myself, and he said "I'm Sasha, from Russia". Detante that!

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