Solvang Autumn Double Ride Report

My eyes can’t tell my brain about anything it reads that sounds right on the cusp of being a dumb idea, because that’s JUST the kind of thing my brain goes for. Case in point: My eyes stumble across the words ‘double century’ somewhere – on the twitter wire maybe – and Brain plucks the fruity words off that silly tree and plants their idea seeds deep in some juicy grey matter in a corner behind a filing cabinet. There they fester and grow until one day PING! Brain says let’s do it, skin tube! That’s how I ended up riding …

100 Miles of Nowhere: Vehemence of the Suckage Edition

I’ve been told I’ve crossed a line. Matador said it. I heard it. And then I watched it sail by my ‘how will I interpret this’ radar toward the ‘just ignore it’ trash receptacle. Sadly, I pick shit out of trash bins if they still look shiny, so it took barely a nano-smidge to realize the Matador meant the line between sanity and insanity. That while riding100 MIles on Rollers was something that could be overlooked, riding 45 times up Thomas Grade was not. Gone too far. Too. Damn. Far. Speaking of radars, there was a blip of ‘shit-idiotic-bad-idea’ green …

The Insanity of Suffering

I am rolling down a fast, long stretch of wooded downhill on Smith Grade. Flying. Air, chilled by the shade and eager to flash by my ears, whistles through spokes and dries a salty sweat crust on my face. Empire Grade put that crust there, with its long slog of sun-baked grade and its home-court advantage. The ‘not-knowing-what-to-expect’ rube-ness of the first-time rider who was testing her legs on an unexplored road. A rider who did not know how far the climb stretched on for, and whose only option was to keep her head down and focused, just kept slogging. …

Day 48. The Cow Poke Day

Cheerios right outside my door. The breakfast nook is there and people are quietly pottering about with their sticky mini-muffins and 2% milk. I sit and scoop the yellow wheels from the white pool and gaze into my coffee. Bagel. Jam from a silver-topped packet. Cream cheese. Orange juice. “Where are you headed?” The woman is sitting with her husband at the next table, eating her flakes and examining my curious attire. I tell her. “Oh, that sounds wonderful.” She begins to share the story about her own bike tour. When she was in her twenties. Through Colorado. “Though I …

Day 47. The Grintonium™ Day

In the cool morning air, the girl draws deeply on her cigarette. A lung absorbing beat, then a smoky, tired sigh as she exhales directly into my face. It’s an accidental discourtesy and she catches herself immediately. I blink with it, as she waves her hand between our faces to shepherd it away. “I’m so sorry,” she says, with the wrinkle of brow that holds the proof of her apology. Then, in a moment of apparent self-loathing, adds, “I’m so unhealthy. Not like you.” So quick to put herself down, I think. She doesn’t know what she’s capable of. She …

Day 46, The Ticker Tape Day

I’ve experienced the arctic chill of a cold look. The pyroclastic shiver of cold, hard cash sliding between the seams of my jeans pockets. I’ve heard tell of folks with cold, dead hearts, frozen to all including the docile faces of puppies. But lemme tell you this. There ain’t nothin’ colder in this world than chamois cream applied to the nethers at 30 something degrees Fahrenheit. Now that. That is too much information. The little girly squeal in that moment. The face all clenched and wincey. But this is the mountains girl, and in the mountains you’ve to be all …