August 20, 2002
Skimping on Details

miles to go: 798.39

On Saturday we rode my age: forty-four miles altogether, mostly nonstop, on a grueling combination of the Iron Horse and Canal Trails ... one mile for every year I've been alive.

It was almost the DEATH of me.

But then, you've heard this story already, haven't you? In fact, I'll bet you can recite it right along with me, can't you?  The ride was tough. It hurt. I cried and cursed. I wanted to quit. But I didn't: instead, I sucked it up. I made it over the hill. We finished the ride. We collapsed, in agony and triumph, and then we went home and celebrated in our customary Saturday night fashion, with candles and Ibuprofen and an extra-large Alameda Special, hold the anchovies.

End of story.

Except that this isn't the whole story, actually ... any more than the dust jacket is the whole novel, or a snippet of lyric is the whole song, or me telling the waiter "No wine, thanks" is the whole story of twenty years spent inside a box of Mountain Chablis. What you've got here is the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of Saturday's ride -- I rode, I sobbed, I conquered -- without any of the unique details that might distinguish it from the other 43,897,621 bike-riding stories I've told you in the past year and a half.

For instance: you didn't hear about the shape of my legs.

As in, I suddenly noticed over the weekend that I have some. All of this uphilling and downhilling and mileagemileagemileage seems to be doing interesting things to the shape of my legs: they're leaner, suddenly, and the skin on them fits a little better than it used to, and there are curvy places where there weren't curvy places before. "When did this happen?" I asked David on Saturday -- feeling a mix of girly embarrassment and athletic pride -- and he said You mean you're only noticing it now? It was a fine moment: maybe one of the finer moments I've enjoyed lately, mainly because it serves as visible proof that bike-riding is doing more than eating up all my free time. Even so, this is the sort of detail that gets overlooked when I'm hurling another abbreviated, slapdash journal entry off into the cybersphere.

(Which -- basically -- is the only kind of journal entry I seem capable of putting together, at the moment.)

I don't mention that the only time David and I come close to arguing is when we're on the bike trail ... and that it's always the same dumb argument, over and over again ... and that this past Saturday was no exception:

Secra: I can't dooooo this anymore.
David: Fine. Let's pack it up and go home, then.
Secra: (weeping) If you're going to be THAT way about it, we'll just keep riding.

I don't brag about all the amazingly groovy technical progress I'm making: the fact that I'm getting better at hills, both the uphill AND the downhill variety ... the fact that I can ride longer distances with fewer breaks (we blew off the bakery goods and the hand massages altogether on Saturday: just a quick bathroom break in Danville, and then a Jamba Juice at forty miles) ... or even the fact that I haven't had an accident -- not so much as a weave or a wobble or a near-miss -- since the infamous Bay Farm Island Bridge Incident. *

* of course, having said this ... it's a
pretty sure bet that i'll be broad-sided
by a gaggle of power rangers, next time we're
riding the iron horse trail.

I don't tell you what David and I talked about while we were riding on Saturday: the difference between short-term capital gains and long-term capital gains. (*He* did most of the talking, *I* did most of the pretending-to-listen.) I don't tell you what I was thinking about during the easy stretches (my upcoming trip to TicTac, mostly, and whether or not I should attempt to pack four days' worth of clothing into one carry-on bag) ... or what I was thinking about during the not-so-easy patches (do they make Icy-Hot in pill form?). I don't describe the way the eucalyptus grove smelled in San Ramon. I don't mention the weather that day: uncharacteristically cool and breezy, perfect Contra Costa County bike-riding weather. I don't discuss the way bike-riding has become this amazingly apt metaphor for my marriage (Working together to achieve a common goal) and my work ethic (Tiny increments add up) and my life in general (Focus on what's directly in front of you, Dumbshidt, and not what's down the road).

I don't even mention that during the course of all this we managed to break the 1,200 mile mark: a not-insignificant number that left us insufferably pleased with ourselves for the rest of the weekend.

I don't include any of these key details in my abbreviated description of Saturday's ride. But that's OK, because I have a feeling that you *get* the point of the story anyway, even without me overloading you with minutiae. Plus I know this is a story I'm likely to tell again. (And again, and again, and again.)  I'm going to have plenty of opportunity to bombard you with bike-riding details: at least another 798.39 miles' worth of opportunity, by my count.

And you're going to have at least another 798.39 miles' worth of opportunity to recite it along with me.

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dear banal boy:
bite me, ok?
love always,
brevity grrl