10 June 2010

Monday, May 31, I achieved another milestone in my life as a cyclist. I rode 42 miles a day for three consecutive days - one of them mostly uphill.

And I only hurt myself twice!

On Friday, May 28 - Mom's 82nd birthday, by the way, and sorry I missed it, Mom! - I met my kid brother Bob in Cumberland, MD, for a three-day ride. Made it safely, in spite of heavy rain - and a rainbow that stood still long enough for me to get pictures, which to my mind cancels out the whole "bad weather" thing. The bike rack went in the car and the bike in the trunk about halfway there; the straps on the rack kept getting slack, and I was having scary visions of Nellie Belle flying off in the middle of I-64 and causing a wreck, thereby getting me sued and ruining my weekend.

Item #1 on the birthday list: a Saris bike rack. Don't need a 3-bike model like Bob's - a 2-bike model would be fine. Even a solo would do nicely.

We had dinner at a little Italian place just north of exit 40 on I-68. His lasagna looked yum. My spaghetti and meatballs was good, except it wasn't spaghetti. I know cappelini cooks up faster, but let's face it - something commonly known as "angel hair" just isn't substantial enough to stand up to a hearty meat sauce. That's okay - the sauce was really good, and I got what I was after, which was a healthy load of good carbs and protein.

Saturday morning was the beginning of a good lesson in packing light. I went through everything I'd loaded for the trip and pared it down by a quarter. My panniers, handlebar bag, and seat wedge already topped out at a total of 20 or 25 pounds, which Bob granted was remarkable - especially given that I hadn't really tried to keep it light on the first pack. Among the items I eliminated getting it under 20 lb:
• Two small notebooks (I usually carry three on trips - one for work-related flashes of genius, one for personal brilliant insights, and one for lists)
• About half of my first-aid gear - a major leap of faith
• And two bottles of Magic Hat "Wacko" summer brew, which I'd planned to wrap in my towel so they'd travel safely - just a little reward each evening on the trail

Things that made the cut:
• The current crochet project (cotton mesh cycling gloves, my own design)
• The "lists" notebook
• Two changes of non-cycling type clothes
• Paperback copies of books-in-progress:
o The Cider House Rules, by John Updike
o Blessed Unrest, by Paul Hawken
o and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
• My towel (refer to Hitchhiker’s Guide if you don’t get it)

Okay - technically, the towel is an oversized washcloth – about 9” square – but it turned out to be quite adequate.

Breakfast at Roy Rogers – I kept the tray liner for the guy in the next cube at the office, who has fond memories of breakfast at Roy Rogers when he was a kid. Roy Rogers now has wi-fi, as advertised on the tray liners. Ol’ Roy may not be spinning in his grave, but he’s mystified, I’m sure.

BTW, I’m not wild about Roy Rogers’ burgers, but I definitely recommend their breakfast menu. They have real eggs, not something out of a milk carton-looking thing. And their breakfast fries are recognizable slices of honest-to-goodness potatoes. With skins on. The croissants aren’t bad, either - all the way ‘round, if you’re looking for good carbs and protein, Roy definitely works.

Found our way to the trail head, parked and registered our cars, and then Bob convinced me to duck into the cycling shop and get a pair of gloves. (I have no idea where my old ones are.) He was right – it was worth the $30 in the long run – but I wasn’t expecting to spend that before we ever took off. I could’ve gotten a perfectly serviceable pair in Louisville for less than $15. Oh, well. Guess I need to crochet faster.

Leaving the cycle shop, we ran into a guy who’d been at RR earlier – Larry Brock. He’d been at the Del McCoury concert at the Cumberland fairgrounds the night before and was going back that evening. He was wearing socks with the Grateful Dead skull and lightning bolt emblem – fit right into our little family, he did. He assured me I was going to love the trail between Cumberland and the Eastern Continental Divide - coming back...

Right after that, I took a little spin around the shopping center and sustained injury #1: hit the loose gravel under the bridge, braked too hard, lost control, and tipped. As my feet came down, my left shin connected with the splash guard on the back of the front fender and made a not-so-neat 1 ½ inch gash right over the shin bone. Flashback to July 2009 ... But I knew exactly where my first-aid supplies were, and there was no fat or bone showing through, so no panic. Patched myself up and pedaled on.

(Definitely not pretty, though. It’s going to leave a scar.)

A bit past noon – later than we’d planned – we hit the trail.

To be continued ...

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