I did it. I just biked what I think is the longest four miles of my life. OK, so maybe not my life. Perhaps the longest four miles that I can remember. Ok, well maybe not that, either. Definitely the longest four miles of THIS trip! Yeah, that’s it, the longest four miles of this trip. The longest four miles because of the Sisters Art Walk.
I knew there was some sort of parade tonight and I knew it started at 4:00. I drove to town earlier to hit the library, work on my web site, run some errands. All well and good. I got back to camp and got ready to ride into town. I did not want to park the Jeep in town all day so I drive back to camp after errands to safely park her in the shade. Fussing about getting ready to ride I was looking at my rear bike tire and saw something that looked like a rock. I will just remove that rock. Oh, shit, now there is a hole and air is leaking! Wait, that was not a rock, whatever the fuck that was left a hole and air is spewing from my tire. Hisss! I am helpless to stop it. Shit. Load up bike and take it to the shop I rode by a couple times. The bike shop that is by the fruit market where I am buying super awesome strawberries that I am putting all over my morning cereal. As long as they are a little sweetened, they taste great. I could use some fruit that is not a blueberry. I am really sick of blueberries. But, I digress.
Totally accommodating bike shop, fixed my tire and I bought a repair kit, one inner tube and some tools to get the actual tire on and off the rim. Sticker goes on the top case. Thanks guys!
I was still anxious about leaving the Jeep in town, given all my food and supplies and the sun and stuff, so I drove it back. Original plan commence – ride to town, see this parade, and get some beer. Cool, plan in place. Ride starts. Beautiful day out here, sunny and warm and full on 50 SPF for this chick. Loaded my pack with water, snacks, extra clothes in case it gets cold, first aid kit, bike lock, hat, etc. I am ready to take over the town.
I was a little early so I explored around a bit. There is a place with the word HOPS in it and I had been trying to stop in but they are always closed. Now, they were open so I stopped. I can barely write this without laughing. This guy has a spa where you take a bath with hops and malt. LOLOLOL Like you brew yourself. It is supposed to be good for you. What the FUCK ever!! What a bunch of horseshit. What a waste of malt and hops. I am still laughing. Good luck, buddy, I hope you stay afloat and that folks who do not drink beer will soak in wort.
A new world record for the shortest parade ever! Like, literally, it ended at 4:05. It was some artsy thing for the kids to march and play drums and wave streamers or whatever they were doing. It was cute and sweet and clearly important to the kids. Oh, and the high school band marched. I swear, in another life, that was my buddy Andy at the helm! Just shorter and heavier, but same haircut and basic features. I had parked the bike for the grand event and was walking around town. Parade started, and within five minutes, parade over. Cool. Small towns rock.
I stumbled into some female centric art shop that caught my eye. Nice paintings with cartoonishly shapely women in bright colors and smiles and laughs. Really positive images that I totally loved. The shopkeeper said something out loud about getting her chocolate and wine ready for Art Walk. My ears perked up. Wait, what? Free wine and chocolate? Please, oh knowledgeable shopkeeper, tell me more. Ends up, just after the five minute parade, an Art Walk event started as a way to feature local shops, artists, and auction items. There is a fundraiser Saturday night and this is the prequel. Yeah, whatever. That is fine and good. But, Michelle is interested in the free food and wine. Do tell. Oh, look, there is list of venues and there is music and food and alcohol. Score!!
I got my map and set out to cover the town. Me and my backpack and my biking clothes and my camp hat. Yup, all the fashion icon. Fuck them, who cares. I made my way around the town, getting everything from red to white to pink to bubbly wine, Crown Royal (oh yeah!), nuts to cheese to Chex Mix to some portabella thing, from Snickerdoodle cookies to brownies to chocolate tarts to some melted chocolate glob. Nobody here needs dinner or drinks, no way, no how, not me! I had scored and was having myself a ball eating and drinking my way around this little enclave. I did enjoy the art and actually saw a couple pieces that moved me big. There was a musician that totally rocked my world and she even did original songs. Lovely, to say the least.
I was not greedy and did not load my plate. I was polite and appreciative and made pleasant conversation when and where appropriate. In the end, I went back to the original female art place and let the worker person know how much I appreciated her guidance and suggestion and what a ball I had. We talked a few more minutes and I told her I had to bike home. It was just about four miles. She questioned my ability. Ha! No biggie. I got this. I have biked farther. Famous last words.
I hit the louvre and set out. I knew it was relatively flat and there would be little traffic. The sun was in my face, which thankfully was mitigated by the brim of my bike helmet. I was fully loaded with the 50 SPF and ready to ride. Yeah, all well and good while under the influence. But, it did not take more than 15 minutes and my ass started to hurt, my legs burned, and my HooHoo screamed GET ME OFF THIS THING. Yeah, it was not long and the road ahead was long and empty. I have a video and if I can figure out how to post it, I will include it. I could not see the end of this long and straight and sunny road. But, my body wished it was at the end.
This is stupid, I told myself. I had biked 3X this many miles before! WTF body? What is your problem? A few free appetizers and some alcohol and we go to hell? Come one, now, you can do this. I mean, you got out here. You did it already once before. Time for intensity mode. Head down, looking at the road, mind focused on each movement, not on the discomfort or rubs or what hurts. We have only the motion of the pedal, the arm movement that can help each rotation, and the breathing that we shall keep under control. Not looking ahead, not stressing how far, not feeling the weight of the backpack, just here and now and in this place and making the bike move. It does not have to be fast (and it was not) and it does not have to be pretty (maybe a little weaving), but we have to get there. One foot in front of the other, one rotation and then another. One breath and then another. You got this, you signed up for this, you earned this with all that free food and alcohol. What a score that was, huh? Smiles and momentary distraction. Ok, wait, bet back into athlete mode. Focus!
Yes, I made it. No, I did not die. Yes, my ass and my HooHoo are a little tender. My back is sweaty and I am sure my feet stink. But, I did it! I got all the way home and I had a great time eating and drinking my way around town. Score a fun evening, score free stuff and score enjoyable music and conversation and visual pleasures. It was a great ending to a good day. Organic, mostly unplanned, and leaves me sated and happy. Sure, the alcohol and chocolate help. But, so does the random five minute parade, the super awesome local music and the great chat with the worker-bee at the female oriented art store. This. This is the shit I signed up for. This is it.