When I realized it was pushing 70 and sunny this afternoon, I ran home, stretched in haste, pulled on a short sleeve jersey and got on the road. To facilitate my rapid departure I mixed part of a bottle of day-old lemmon-lime energy drink with cherry-vanilla powerade: a noxious combination which gave me hiccups by mile 7.
I was undecided about my route, so I wandered generally southwest on a stretch of good pavement to warm up, and then committed to a 29 mile ride up and over sugar hills. I found the magic gear as I began to climb. Stretching out over my bike with my palms resting on the tops of the brake hoods, the hills began to pass beneath me without much notice. I submerged into my harmonious detachment while the drive train hummed in the background – punctuated by the random explosive HICCUP.
I pulled out a banana around mile 15 and took a long pull from the now suspect bottle as I swallowed the last bite. It’s an odd feeling when you need to belch, but it won’t rise any higher than 2-3 inches above one’s navel. In this burp purgatory the gas bubble makes its presence known, but full utterance is not yet possible.
I turned onto a road with a delightful set of rollers – climbing and coasting with my hands in the drops. As I came to a stop at a highway junction, a fellow cyclist rode by and waved cheerfully. I almost never get to ride with anyone, so I took off in hot pursuit. I hit the Pokegama Lake bridge going 27 mph and began to close the gap. As I got nearer, the other rider looked over his shoulder at me several times with what I thought might have been a concerned expression.
As I pulled next to him we exchanged pleasantries. When asked my name, the fore mentioned gas bubble suddenly detonated. Now, I’ve never had the capacity to burp the alphabet, or anything like that – but my name came out astride a very respectable guttural croak. Since I have a one syllable name, it was [mercifully] over quickly.
It turned out that we were traveling in the same direction, so we rode and chatted side by side. There’s a harmony and economy of motion when equally matched cyclists ride together. We rode 18 inches apart at 20 mph in a perfectly straight line: maintaining speed and efficiently working through the gears as the hills rose and fell. For a few minutes it was something like the liquid motion of the pro peloton.
After we parted ways I found that I still had a fair bit left in my legs – so I found the magic gear, stretched out over the brake hoods and headed for home.