Steady for a hundred miles or so
Summer Day Ride with a Slug, Snake, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Flights of Thought
My “epic ride” statuses on social networks are nearly out of legs like vacation photos or a video with an incredible ending that you won't believe. So what I'll share about this weekend’s miles was how steady Steve Gluckman is.
I realized this after a Range Rover crossed the centerline in a Mercer Island s-turn. The driver was on the phone, we both reacted instinctively and dove to the right, away from a two-ton metal projectile locked onto us. After coasting for a minute or so to regroup, we shook off what could’ve been tragic. We had another 80 miles to ride.
Then descending off the plateau near Sir Mix a Lot’s house, hit a drainage hole on the side of the road that neither of us spotted. Hip to shoulder, front to rear wheel, our bikes were unsteadied like an IED had gone off.
Cleared it with a “whoa!” And a couple shoulder slaps.
Shook that off too and continued steady on rural, Southeast King County roads. The transfer between pavement and gravel was punctuated by a slug I ran over. What was a slug doing on gravel, I wondered? Must be terrible to slime yourself over a rough surface and not dessicate in the sun. I swear I saw it flinch as the wheel approached. Later, up onto a path in Kent, ran over a snake. That one I felt bad about, but the slug I figured I sped along its way.
It’s not often in the Pacific Northwest that you can leave at dawn without arm warmers and the temperature stays below 80 degrees. Timing wise, and the alignment of the planet and moon, had us in tree cover for most of the ride. When we turned out of the trees into the sun, it was like the opening sequence of an action flick.
A cross-dissolve transition from shade to the sun and into a fast descent with twisties.
During a long push, recovering through the Green River Valley, Steve said, “It’s amazing really that you can ride a hundred miles and get back in time for chores, family time, and dinner.”
I’m not an endurance, ride-across-a-state-or-country cyclist or tourist, but every road season make sure to get a century in.
When ridden, I don't measure the miles, just the time on the bike. Paying attention to how it flowed, the experience, and tempo. After knocking a few centuries out, they don't seem like a big deal anymore.
Riding a century is like Rousseau’s walks; eventually, pedaling clears the mind to flights of thought, and a good story.
This story is a preview from Issue 15 of Bike Hugger Magazine that drops next month, like the hammer when we saw the curves ahead sign.