Little Time Capsule
miles to go: 1,331.07
Dear One-Year-From-Now Secra:
Don't panic. I'm not writing to
I'm not interested in lottery
numbers or Super Bowl winners. I don't need to know who wins
the million bucks on "Survivor: Thailand" next fall. I already know
what I'm going to be when I grow up.
Mostly I'm just writing to
Here's what put you in mind. On
a whim, this past weekend, I dug out my little leather-bound diary from
last year -- the hand-scribbled diary I kept in 2001 to record
wedding-planning details and weight-loss statistics -- and I checked to
see where David and I were, exactly one year ago.
My entry for June 9th, 2001
"Well, I did it -- I
rode my first 20-miler this morning! South Shore, Bay Farm Island and
back, Alameda Navy Base. It was amazingly tough, and I'm probably going
to spend the rest of the weekend in bed recovering ... but I did it!"
My first thought when I read
that diary entry from a year ago was Awwwww. Isn't that cute?
I remember that ride. I remember
that I was coming down with a cold when I woke up that day, and that I
desperately tried to get out of riding. I remember that David was
having none of it: he all but dragged me out of bed and propped me up
on the Schwinn and rolled me down the sidewalk. "You'll thank me
later," he said. And of course he was absolutely right: as
soon as I
hit the trail, I felt better immediately. I remember that after riding
the twenty miles, we went to the mall to pick out our wedding rings,
and then we met up with our pal Bev
at Noah's Bagels for coffee. I remember how proud I was of those twenty
miles, and what a huge accomplishment it seemed to me at the time. I
had never in my entire life done anything even remotely so athletic.
My second thought, after
reading the diary entry, was Twenty miles?? That's kid stuff:
I can ride TWICE that much now! And I
felt all smug and superior for a couple of minutes.
My third thought was I'll
bet that one year from now, the forty miles we rode last Saturday
are going to seem just as 'cute' and puny and laughable as that twenty
mile ride seems to me today.
At least ... I hope
that's the case.
You may or may not remember
much about this past weekend. It was pretty uneventful. I'd injured my
wrist on Thursday night, taking a nosedive off the Bay Farm bike
bridge, and we weren't sure if I was going to be able to ride at all
... but when we got up on Saturday morning everything seemed to be
more or less in working order, so we headed out and did our usual Iron
Horse Trail run (Alamo to Pleasanton and back). I had to stop for more
hand-massage breaks than usual -- plus I was absorbing Gatorade like an
O-Cedar Power Strip® Plus, which meant more bathroom breaks
than usual -- and all of that stopping and starting tacked an extra
couple of hours onto our normal ride time. But I made it through the
ride in one piece, and we celebrated afterwards with
sausage sandwiches and pasta salad at Mel's in Walnut Creek. After
lunch, we went to a bike shop in Alameda and bought some handlebar tape
for David's Cannondale, and then we went home and watched the house
across the street burn down. Saturday night we sat in bed and ate an
entire tomato-and-feta-cheese pizza. Sunday morning, we got up early
again and did our usual Bay Farm Island ride, minus the extra six or
seven miles we sometimes ride around the Navy Base. I spent most of
Sunday afternoon sitting in front of the computer with the ice pack on
my wrist, typing a little one-handed e-mail, while David was off doing
his usual Sunday afternoon family stuff. Sunday night we whipped up
some pesto for a makeshift supper, did our laundry and fell asleep
watching the irresistibly execrable "Bachelorettes in Alaska."
Like I said: not the most
memorable weekend in history. I don't blame you if don't remember it.
Still, I guess that this is
what has prompted me to write to you today: reading that diary entry,
realizing how much progress I've made in the past twelve months ... and
wondering how far I'm going to be able to take this bike-riding stuff
in the next twelve months.
Naturally, there are a
bazillion questions I wish I could ask you.
- Are you still
riding Max, one year from now in June 2003 ... or have you upgraded
some more? (Or did the Shidthead Bicycle Thieves find a way to saw
- Did you ever get used to the
clips, or are you still taking twice-weekly nosedives on the
- Do your hands still go numb,
fifteen minutes into the ride?
- Are hills
getting easier for you?
- Did you swap out the red
lollipop for a
groovier melted blue?
- Whut the hell is "high
frequency laser channeling," anyway?
- Have you morphed into one of
snooty *Calling Out When I Pass You Is Optional*
Power Ranger cyclists?
- And -- maybe the most important
question of all, because this is what's really on
my mind today -- did you and David make your goal of riding 2,002 in
Lately this is something I
think about a lot. I've got a Post-It note attached to the top of my
monitor at work: this morning it says:
left to go!
not even halfway to our goal yet, but for the first time since this
whole thing began -- ever since we first came up with the crazy idea of
riding 2,002 in 2002 -- I'm starting to think that it's more than just
a gimmicky ploy for ratings.
thinking it might actually be an actual achievable goal.
certainly seems to think it is. He walks around the apartment with the
calculator in his hand all the time these days, punching in numbers and
scribbling notes on the mileage chart. "At this point," he says,
"there's almost no way than we can NOT make our
goal." I admire his confidence. I guess that *I* would just like some
assurance that if I continue making these huge personal sacrifices of
time and energy and attention for the rest of the year -- if I forfeit
all of my precious writing time and *FootNotes* goes right down the
tubes, if I blow off social commitments and housework, if I endure
unspeakable pain, if I drag myself out of bed at 5 a.m. on perfectly
good weekend mornings just so we can accumulate mileage, mileage,
mileage -- that there will at least be the reward,
somewhere down the
road, of actually crossing that imaginary finish line.
wish that there were some way you could send a message back to me, here
in June 2002 ... just to let me know how things worked out.
sorry, Secra, you could say. You and David give it
your best shot. But on the Fourth of July, you're mowed down by a
thundering herd of snooty Power Rangers, in the middle of the Iron
Horse Trail, and you spend the rest of the summer in traction.
(In which case ... I'm quitting on July 3rd.)
else maybe your answer
would be more positive: something along the lines of Yes,
Secra! You and David DO reach your goal -- about a
week and half ahead of schedule, as a matter of fact -- and afterwards,
David publicly announces that the two of you will be riding to SEATTLE
which case ... I'm quitting RIGHT NOW.)
way, I'm still the one with the questions, and you're still the one
with the answers. That's the way this time capsule stuff works, isn't
it? But at least it's been nice chit-chatting with you for a few
minutes, hasn't it?
at least I've given YOU something to feel smug and
in 2002 index