June 11, 2002
Little Time Capsule

miles to go: 1,331.07

Dear One-Year-From-Now Secra:

Don't panic. I'm not writing to borrow money.

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 say hello.

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 reads:

"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 through Kryptonite?) 
  • Did you ever get used to the $&^% toe clips, or are you still taking twice-weekly nosedives on the trail? 
  • 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 those 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 2002?

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:

1,331.07 left to go!
YTD: 670.93

We're 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.

I'm thinking it might actually be an actual achievable goal.

David 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.

I 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.

I'm 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.) 

Or 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 in 2003!

(In which case ... I'm quitting RIGHT NOW.)

Either 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?

And at least I've given YOU something to feel smug and superior about.

Your pal,

p.s. i've changed my mind. if by some chance you do happen to find a way to send a message back in time to me ... who DOES win "survivor: thailand?"

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or maybe we'll just ride to HILLSBORO!