August 27, 2001
Eight Miles Shy

[countdown to jaymi & joel's visit: three days!]

Over the weekend we managed to rack up another forty miles on the bikes -- a Moraga-to-Concord ride on Saturday, followed by our usual Bay Farm Island/Alameda Navy Base ride on Sunday -- bringing my total, for the month of August, to a whopping 192.

That means we're only eight miles shy of our goal.

"There is no way you could not hit two hundred this month!" David enthused in the car this morning, as we drove to work. "It would just be IMPOSSIBLE!"

I refrained from pointing out the obvious -- that if we're hit by a #51 at the corner of Broadway and 14th Street, for instance  --  or if I accidentally fall down four flights of stairs on my way to the coffee cart -- that we might not make "our" goal. Anything can happen. But I'm not about to rain on his parade, of course. I think he is more excited by this whole "Riding 200 Miles in August" stuff than I am.

He is clearly more motivated.

It's not that I don't enjoy bike-riding, because I do. I really, really do. In fact, for something that wasn't *my* idea in the first place -- the way marriage was my idea, or vegetable pizzas on Saturday night was my idea, or moving the snowglobes to the top of the CD bookcase was my idea -- I've found bike riding to be amazingly enjoyable. There are some days when I sort of have to be dragged onto the Schwinn, kicking and screaming  ... I would much rather hang out in front of the new computer all morning, drinking coffee and ignoring my overflowing mailbox ... but once I get on the bike and feel that sea breeze blowing in my face as we're rounding Crab Cove, I'm *there* all the way. I'm just not as goal-oriented about the whole thing as my partner is, I think. I'm not as obsessed with the details. He's got lists and charts posted, all over the apartment: total miles for the year, broken down by month. Total miles by date. Total miles needed to break two hundred. Total miles needed to circumnavigate the globe. He's got a map of California tacked to the living room wall, above the sofa, and he marks our rides in blue highlighter pen. Plus he keeps a running tally in his head at all times. "We shaved two and a half minutes off our best time!" he'll announce, as we stand gasping at the midpoint on Bay Farm ... or, "If we ride five miles each on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus two Saturday twenties and a couple of Sunday fifteens, that'll put us at 85.4% of our goal with 4.5 minutes left over."

It drives me nuts.

"Just tell me when we're halfway there!!" I want to scream. I don't need minute-by-minute statistics. But he clearly derives so much pleasure from tracking the minutiae of our rides that I don't have the heart to squelch his fun.

So I smile and I say "Wow, honey, that's great."

Personally,  I'm interested in the more esoteric aspects of bike-riding: learning proper riding techniques, for instance. Finding the right combination of seat height/pedal distance in order to minimize knee pain. Researching warm-up exercises. Building stamina and wind. Training myself to use the tougher gears. Conquering the fudking Moraga hill, once and for all.

And the most important thing of all, of course: how I LOOK while I'm riding.

Inch by inch ... four-channel polyester fiber by four-channel polyester fiber ... I am gradually morphing into this person who actually looks like she rides a bike (as opposed to this person who buys a bike and then uses it as a pantyhose drying rack). I have my riding gloves now, for instance. David bought them for me, while he and Graham were out shopping for bike shoes in San Francisco recently. (I stayed home that afternoon and scanned wedding photos.) They're a Size Extra-Extra-Tiny -- to accomodate my Size Extra-Extra-Tiny hands -- but they're real, honest-to-goodness bike gloves. I have to sort of twist the left glove around a little bit, so my engagement/wedding rings peek through the holes, but otherwise they fit me perfectly.  As we're riding I look at my hands, sheathed in these incredibly groovy bike gloves, and all I can think is ...

... Now I need a groovier riding outfit.

I'm just about ready for that Spandex, I think. I'm tired of denim leggings and baggy T-shirts: I want skin-hugging polypropylene fibers and fluorescent colors. Followed by a groovier pair of shoes ... followed by groovier sunglasses ... followed by a groovier bike helmet.

Followed by a groovier BIKE.

It's finally beginning to dawn on me that my little red bike  --  while sturdy and efficient and cute as a button  --  is probably never going to land me on the cover of *Incredibly Groovy Internet Journalers Who Ride Bikes!* Magazine. It weighs twice as much as David's bike ... it only has seven gears ... the tires are as fat as tractor wheels. Plus it's a GIRL'S bike, forcryingoutloud. Other riders look at me and I can tell they're thinking "Amateur." It's kinda like puttering around the island on Grandma's Schwinn: all I need are training wheels and a little wire basket in front, and the Spandex People will start running me off the road, just on principle.)

David of course finds this uproariously funny. "For somebody who fought the idea to begin with," he is fond of pointing out, "you certainly seem to be throwing yourself into the spirit of the thing." And I guess it's true. I guess that maybe I have more bike-related goals than I thought I did. They're just different goals than the ones David has. 

He's already planning our ride to Sacramento. *I'm* already planning that new Isis 650CL 21-Speed next spring.

But first things first. First ... we crack those last eight miles.

two years ago: waiting to be wired
[still waiting, two years later ...]

throw a rock