September 8, 2002
Forward Motion

miles to go: 734.8

Three weeks is one hell of a "hiatus" from bike-riding. Just ask my thigh muscles.

The delay has played serious havoc with our *2,002 in 2002* mileagemileagemileage accumulation: now we're going to be scrambling like madpersons for the rest of the year, trying to get caught up. Basically, I can forget about sleeping past 6 a.m. until at least January 2003.

Still ... what can I say? Sometimes these things just happen.

First there was my weekend in TicTac.  The closest I came to doing any "riding" there was sitting on my mother's exercise bike for thirty seconds. And then I came home from TicTac and I immediately got sick, and I'm sorry but I'm NOT going to climb aboard The Butt D-Luxe with a 101° fever ... three-day Labor Day Weekend or no three-day Labor Day Weekend. (So quit looking at me with those big sad Puppy Dog Eyes and fix me another Alka Seltzer Plus, wouldya?)  We did manage to squeeze in one pathetic abbreviated after-work ride last week -- a quick jaunt to The Hornet and back, hurrying to get home in time for the American Idol finale -- but that barely put a dent in the odometer. The rest of the week was a blur of nonstop family crises and assorted work-related nonsense, and we couldn't seem to carve out any time to ride in the evenings.

So yesterday, basically, was the first *big* ride I've been on in nearly a month.

I was fine for the first thirty miles, from Walnut Creek to Pleasanton and back on The Iron Horse Trail ... even with fewer stops, stiffer gears and a decidedly faster pace. (David has his brand-new cleated pedals and shoes, purchased while I was in TicTac, and I found that I really had to work to keep up with my husband The Speed Demon.)  I'm the one who said "I can probably give you a little more," when we got to the end of the Iron Horse.

It was that "little more" on the Canal Trail that nearly killed me.

I actually ended up having to walk my bike halfway across the Iron Horse Trail Bridge, coming back -- my left thigh muscle suddenly went into spasm, just as I was reaching the summit -- and even though there was nobody there to witness my humiliation except for David (and the 43,897,621 motorists passing on Ygnacio Valley Road below me) -- even though I could justify it by reminding myself that I was out of practice, and that I'm still recovering from Almost-Bronchitis, and that I'd already ridden FORTY MILES that morning, forcryingoutloud -- I could still feel my face bursting into flames as I pushed The Butt-D-Luxe over the crest of that puny little hill. 

The rest of the ride wasn't a lot easier. Somehow I managed to make it the rest of the way from the bridge to the car: another couple of endless, torturous miles. I probably rode .032 miles per hour, the whole way back: old people in sweatpants were passing me on the trail. ("On your left, dear.") I didn't care. By the time we got to the Subaru I was totally wiped out ... physically, emotionally, every way. I came home at 2:00 in the afternoon and went straight to bed and literally did nothing else for the rest of the day/evening except read and snooze and hint around about how nice another thigh massage would feel.

This morning we crawled out of bed at the crack of dawn and did our usual Sunday morning Bay Farm Island ride, sans the customary Noah's Bagels stop. (I'm finding that I actually prefer not to stop as much as we used to: I don't lose so much momentum that way.) I still felt stiff and sore and grumpy. It still seemed like much more work than usual -- "This isn't exactly what I would call 'fun,' " I garrumphed to David at one point. And this afternoon my thigh muscles still feel like they've been run over by a Frito-Lay truck. 

But that's OK. At least the odometer is moving in a forward direction again. Sometimes the hardest part of the hiatus is finding a way to end it, finally.

Let's just hope that the odometer keeps moving in that direction for the next sixteen weekends ... or I may never get to sleep late again.

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have i mentioned how nice
another thigh massage would feel
right now?