The Big Four-Oh
me I've got my forty miles," I plead breathlessly, as we coast into
the Iron Horse Trail parking lot and brake to a stop in front of the
looks at the
odometer and winces. "Thirty-nine point seven," he says ... clearly the unwilling bearer of bad
We've been riding since 8:30 a.m., almost five hours ago,
in brutal Contra Costa County heat. I've taken not one but TWO
spectacularly ridiculous falls, effectively wiping out my right knee.
Plus my right arm has been asleep for about forty minutes now, both of
my hands are permanently twisted into claws, my shoulders and the tip
of my nose are fried to a crisp, and I've got to pee like a
three-year-old full of Hawaiian Punch. And now you're telling
I'm .3 miles short of my forty miles??
two minutes is
all it would take," David says encouragingly. "One minute up the trail,
then we turn around and it's one minute back."
gaze with frank and
unadorned longing at the Subaru. The car is so close, I could literally
reach out and write "S.O.S." in the dusty rear window. I desperately
want to load the bikes into the trunk, slide my battered and sweaty
body into the passenger seat and head straight for the nearest
air-conditioned restaurant for a nice long tinky-winkle, a jumbo glass
of ice water and a fistful of Aleve ... more or less in that order. (You
know, whispers The Bad Angel sitting
on my left shoulder, You could
just lie and SAY
you rode the whole forty miles. Who the hell is gonna know the
we're just going
to have to ride for another two minutes, aren't we?" I reply
matter-of-factly. And I blot the blood off my knee with my
painfully reposition my claws on the handlebars ... and wobble back up
trail, ahead of David.
can I tell you? I
may want this particular bike ride to be over, more than I've wanted
any other bike ride to be over, ever, in the entire history of
I want my forty
miles even more.
in 2002 index