July 5, 2002
Accidental Celebration

miles to go: 1,153.01

After their Fourth of July brunch plans fell through yesterday, Ю僱êrvØ¡ and Secra -- faced suddenly with the prospect of an entire, delicious, obligation-free day-off from work -- did what any two self-respecting, middle-aged Americans would do on this day of national remembrance and celebration.

They headed as FAR AWAY from the festivities as possible.

"The Iron Horse Trail will be practically deserted!" they gloated, as they loaded their bikes into the Subaru and drove in the direction of Alamo. What a perfect opportunity to log an extra thirty or forty miles toward their goal!  How crowded could a public bike trail be on a holiday morning, anyway? Everybody else will be out pricing propane or thumping watermelons. 

The parking lot at Rudgear Road was deserted when they arrived: definitely a good sign. As they zeroed out their odometer and strapped into their helmets, Ю僱êrvØ¡ and Secra congratulated themselves on their vast reserves of good timing and incredible grooviness and stuff.

"This is going to be a perfect ride!" they told each other.

The weather was perfect. Hot but not uncomfortable ... breezy but not oppressive ... no jacket required, even at 8 a.m. The riding conditions were perfect: they both felt well-rested and energized. Best of all, The Iron Horse Trail was practically deserted. They could ride as fast or as slow or as side-by-side-in-the-middle-of-the-trail-holding hands as they pleased, without a single dogwalker or jogger or annoying Good Morning Person in sight.

For about fifteen minutes.

Halfway between Alamo and Danville, the first red flags began to appear. Or more accurately, the first red, white and BLUE flags ... most of them mounted above training wheels.

Ю僱êrvØ¡ and Secra weren't sure exactly when or where it happened, but all of a sudden The Iron Horse Trail was crawling with people. Families, mostly, from the looks of it. Families on bikes, swerving and careening wildly all over the trail. Families on rollerblades and skateboards and weird little motorized scooters. Families trudging along on foot, carrying folding chairs and portable coolers and poodles dressed in flag sweaters.

And all of them heading in the same direction Ю僱êrvØ¡ and Secra were heading: towards town.

"I smell a parade," said Ю僱êrvØ¡ ominously.

After pausing in Danville just long enough to use the bathroom -- and to verify that yes, a parade was imminent: the roadblocks and the "Parade Route" signs were a clue -- Secra and Ю僱êrvØ¡ immediately got back on the trail and continued riding away from town, as hard and as fast as their little feet could pedal. 

It's not that they don't love a parade. They do. And it's not that they weren't feeling patriotic. They were as full of national pride and sentiment as the next guy. But the fact of the matter is that it's JULY already ... and they're still not quite to the halfway point of their "2002 in 2002" riding goal ... and right now it's all about mileage mileage mileage, baby. Anything that threatens to get in the way of acquiring that precious mileage  --  like toddlers wandering around untethered in the middle of the trail, or flat-bed trucks festooned with tissue paper and filled with beefy local beauty queens  --  are more of a nuisance than anything. Secra and Ю僱êrvØ¡ figured that if they stretched the ride out long enough -- if they took their time riding to Pleasanton and back, stopping for plenty of photo opportunities and hand massages and cheesecake croissants at Ralph's -- by the time they got back to Danville the parade would be over, and the crowds would be thinning, and riding the Iron Horse would feel a little less like riding through the middle of a Moonie wedding.

They were wrong.

By the time they got back to town -- two hours and 25 miles later -- the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile was just beginning to wind its way down Main Street, with the Alamo High School Freshman Marching Band hot on its wheels. The streets of Danville were lined with bazillions of sweaty, sunburned, flag-waving/hotdog-munching/Lee-Greenwood-singing parade enthusiasts. Ю僱êrvØ¡ and Secra -- faced with all of this marvelously colorful, life-affirming small-town festivity -- did what any two self-respecting, loving, middle-aged newlyweds would do.

They got into a Big Stoopid Fight.

Ю僱êrvØ¡'s custom of gallantly calling out for them both when they're riding -- "Two bikes are going to pass on your left: one right behind me" -- is all well and good when Secra actually IS 'right behind' him. It's when she isn't 'right behind him' -- when she is, in fact, trailing him by 43,897,621 miles, only he hasn't noticed it yet -- that trouble occasionally ensues. The people who are being passed hear the words "two bikes passing," but then they only see one bike pass -- his -- and they immediately begin closing ranks again, right about the moment that Secra slams into them from behind. In this case, she had nearly mowed down a toddler on a wobbly pink three-wheeler.

"I love the way you blithely zoom off down the trail and leave me to deal with your messes!" she snapped at him sarcastically.

This is the sort of crabby, ridiculous, illogical Secraspeak that Ю僱êrvØ¡ would ordinarily brush aside, as tolerantly as he might brush a stray hair from his forehead ... because he loves Secra, and he understands her, and he sympathizes with her pain ... especially at certain *delicate* times of the month.


Four solid weeks of hormonal nonsense, however, have obviously worn his last few *sympathy molecules* down to little pointy stubs. 

"Sorry," he said curtly ... not sounding like he was sorry at all. And he zoomed off ahead of her down the trail, without further comment, until he was little more than an angry white dot on the horizon. From her weepy vantage point, 43,897,621 miles behind him, she could see him gesturing with humilating exaggeration as he passed other cyclists, further up the trail. ("One bike, passing on your left," she could almost hear him saying, "and another one wayyyyyyyyyy behind me.") After several miles of this uncharacteristic unpleasantness and distance between the two of them, Secra and Ю僱êrvØ¡ eventually finished their ride -- and their argument -- at more or less the same moment.

"I'm sorry," she said, pulling up next to him in the parking lot. "I'm a big baby."

"I'm sorry you're a big baby too," he said, kissing her forehead.

They loaded the bikes back into the Subaru, stopped for a quick burger lunch in Walnut Creek, and then headed back to Alameda to spend the rest of their Fourth of July in the one place where they knew they were guaranteed peace, quiet, rest, relaxation, leftover pesto, a CSI re-run ... and all the privacy their little hearts desired.

And yes ... they even enjoyed a few fireworks.

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[and is HE pissed.]