July 6, 2009

Pedaling; the newest wonder drug.

It was a big weekend. A lot of time in the saddle. The first 90+ temps of the summer. A load of emotional turmoil.

Life; when rubber meets the road and the only way to get it out is to pedal harder.

Pedaling; the newest wonder drug.

Good from your heart and your soul.

Smooth circles, for hours on end. You find the rhythm that has you moving along effortlessly, your breath controlled, your heart rate steady.

The tempo changes. You are working hard, digging to hold the wheel that always seems to be pulling away, your legs ache from miles logged on the previous two days; the brilliant sign of a long weekend.

The wheel fades back and it is your turn to pull. The road is flat, the gear is big, and 23 mph seems comfortable.

Amazing the energy you feel in the front; pulling along in silence. You know they are back there, focused, steady. It is your job to do the same. Take a drink, settle back in. This is going to be a long day.

The road turns upward, you are now only two. Holding onto to that wheel is your only train of thought. A single focus, don't let it go.

The road flattens, the wheel accelerates, you don't respond. It is gone. It was faster than you, it deserved to get away.

A brief bout with self-pity quickly fades. Head down, in the drops, you ride. 15 miles alone.

You turn uphill and see that wheel, clad in pink and black. They are slowing. You reach them.

Have any water?, I'm out.

Nope, Out too.

The conversation withers, mouths dry and hot.

The only thing you crave is ice cold Coke as you climb up crackling asphalt.

You can see the blue cooler, full of ice and red aluminum cans, sitting in the back of the van. Parked at Edison, 2 miles back, locked.

You don't mention the Coke, neither do they. You offer food. The offer is declined.

Food won't quench this kind of thirst.

2 bottles, 5 hours, not enough. Dumb.

The van whizzes by. Arm gestures are made. Panic, the van doesn't stop. There goes the Coke. Didn't even know I liked Coke.

One last climb and then it is downhill, keep thinking about the down hill.

A turn in the road, climbing, thirsty. And then the van comes into sight.

They stopped. The best teammates in the world. Water, ice cubes, and Coke.

With the sound of the can opening, I laugh. It goes down easily.

Instant energy – sugar and caffeine – powerful stuff.

I would have paid $10 for that 12oz can; that was all I had in my jersey pocket.

Thanks are exchanged, bottles topped off, the sound of shoes clipping into pedals means we are on our way.

We ride on, happy. The remaining red can is opened and shared as we coast by Miessner. Completely refreshing.

I mean commercial worthy kind of refreshing.

A few miles of flats. I pull in front. Legs tired, but strong.

We roll through town and onto Ogden Ave. Like visions of sugar plums; berry smoothies, a cold shower, a soak in the Deschutes dance through my head.

It is hot. I am tired. But I smile, the wonder drug prevails again.