2002 in 2002
has decided that
we're going to ride 2,000 miles on our bikes this year.
you: he's not
talking about 2,000 combined *his-and-her* miles ... a thousand for
him, a thousand for me. He's talking about 2,000 miles EACH.
astonishing announcement on Tuesday night as we're
snuggled nose-deep in bed, watching FOX re-runs and listening to the
rainstorm outside our window. (And -- I would like to point out -- as
ONE of us is recuperating from a particularly flattening recent
encounter with The Steamroller Flu). "I think 2,000 miles is do-able,
don't you?" he says. And he gives me a big dopey hopeful smile.
talking to Graham again.
been talking to
Graham again," I say -- not a question, but a statement of fact -- and
he nods sheepishly and says yes, as a matter of fact, he talked to
Graham on the phone today, while I was in the bedroom enjoying that
third or fourth mid-afternoon coma. "Graham says he's going to ride
6,000 miles this year," David says wistfully.
has been David's
best friend since high school. During the halcyon days of their youth
they were two golden California Boys, riding everywhere around the Bay
Area on their Cannondales ... muscles rippling in the sunshine, long
hair flowing, tanned young faces glowing with the sheer joy of living.
(Or that's how *I* picture them anyway. David says that mostly they
were trying to pick up girls.) While David's life may have taken a
softer, spongier turn since then, somewhere along the way -- years of
dumping assorted poisons down your throat/up your nose/into your lungs
will do that to a person -- Graham has remained an athlete even into
middle age. Last year, at age 45, he participated in something
ominously called The
Markleeville Death Ride
... which, as I understand it, is basically a vertical ascent
43,897,621 feet straight up the side of a mountain. He completed the
ride in one day, then turned around the very same week and flew to
TicTac to attend our wedding. David has spent the last six months
ping-ponging back and forth between admiration and
gooey, roiling black envy.
should be doing stuff
like The Death
Ride," he mourns.
mind that Graham
is single and doesn't have
kids and has oodles of free time for things like training and work-outs
and riding his bicycle up the side of mountains. If Graham is riding
6,000 miles this year, then, by gods,
and Secra are going to attempt a comparatively ludicrous goal.
still waiting for my reply. Two thousand miles of riding this
"I'll think about it," I say very, very carefully.
And I do
think about it, for the next two or three days. As a matter
I think about it a lot. Here is what I'm
thinking that David
is insane, first of all. I'm thinking that I'm married to an insane
person, and that I did this to myself -- I stood there in front of
everybody and said "I do" last summer, without anyone pointing a gun at
my head -- so if I'm married to an insane person, I have no one to
blame but myself.
of all, I'm
thinking that two thousand miles sounds like one HELL of a lot of
bike-riding for a couple of flabby middle-aged recreational cyclists.
(Especially for a couple of flabby middle-aged recreational cyclists
coming off a chocolate-intensive two month *Hiatus From Fitness.*)
of all, I'm
thinking that this sounds like a HUGE committment
time. If I do say OK, let's
shoot for 2,000 miles, it's
going to come at the cost of a lot of other stuff that we like to do
during our precious non-working hours. Like sleeping. Or
laundry. Or writing *FootNotes.*
of all, I'm
thinking that I totally don't have the right bike for this level of
riding: that my beloved Addie, while sturdy and safe and reliable,
is way too heavy for the sort of riding David has in mind. (YOU
try carting 40 pounds of Schwinn up that stoopid Moraga hill.)
thinking that I'm probably going to have to go out and buy something a
lot lighter and a lot groovier ... and that it isn't going to be cheap.
of all, I'm
thinking that if I promise David I'll ride 2,000 miles with him this
year -- and then for some reason I'm not able to keep up my end of the
bargain: for instance, if I 'accidentally' drop a six-pack of Hires
Root Beer on my foot and break my three middle toes, making it
impossible for me to ride for two or three or eleven weeks -- I'm going
to feel like I'm letting him down.
not sure if I can
handle letting David down.
here's what else I'm
thinking: I'm thinking how absolutely amazing it is that one year ago I
didn't even own
a bike. I'm thinking that if you were to go back in time and tell One
Year Ago Secra that not only would she soon be shelling out a big bunch
of money for a bicycle,
of all unlikely things -- but that she would ride nearly 600 miles
before the end of the year, and would manage to fall in love with
riding, in the process -- One Year Ago Secra would have suspected that
you were mixing your medications again.
that if we're going to do this stoopid thing ... we're going to have to
get started on it more or less immediately. End of *fitness
in other words.
standing in the
grocery store check-out line, a couple of nights later, when I suddenly
leap to my decision.
it," I say.
asks, his face lighting up like a Zippo lighter at a Journey
nod. "While we're at it,"
I say -- proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that insanity is
contagious, especially between marital partners -- "
how about if we raise the stakes a little?"
And I suggest that we tack a couple of extra miles onto that goal,
making it 2002 miles. In fact, I say, that can
be our official *FootNotes* motto this year:
is all excited.
We're not home thirty seconds before he's got the calculator in
his hand, punching in numbers and figuring out riding schedules. "It
breaks down to five and a half miles a day," he announces. Of course we
both know we won't actually be riding every
day. There are all of the
customary variables to take into account: weather, work schedules,
family obligations, hormonal fluctuations, planetary alignment, "Tick"
re-runs. It'll be more like two or three weeknights after
Saturdays and Sundays, plus occasional holidays/vacation days/"sick"
days. We'll have to accumulate mileage in fits and spurts, the way we
did last year.
think we can do it,"
David says earnestly.
I'm not so
sure. The truth is: I don't know whether or not I've got it in me. It
seems so far beyond the scope of my personal abilities. But then again
... that's what I said about sobriety.
what the heck. I'm
willing to give it a shot.
designing the *FootNotes: 2002 in 2002!* T-shirts in my head. Get your
in 2002 index