Monday, May 7, 2012

The Road To Reno

I get a message about a road ride in Havana. Treeman promises it will be "easy, easy, easy". I have heard it all before, and I am not fooled. Big Worm, King Cotton and Zak decide to join after some delicate negotiations. Thank (Deity of choice) they are coming, I am allergic to wind.

The tarmac leaving Gadsden county is pristine and whistles under our wheels. I sprint for several yellow signs to get the gold rush started. After chasing L.W.B. and Worm for a sign, I decide to hide for the rest of the ride. My legs hurt and it's going to be a long ride. The day turns hotter and the sweet pavement turns to a rough gravel mix. We stop to drink the holy water of Reno Baptist Church and head back out with full bottles.

I hear Treeman yell, "right turn!" and I notice the pavement is ending and it has been replaced with orange talcum and rocks. Big Worm howls with delight, and starts cutting three inch trenches in the fresh pow. Treeman swears he didn't know that this road was dirt. I can't help but notice he and his son are both running fat cross tires. L.W.B. is laughing his head off, as I ride like W.C. Fields. I find a ridge in the center and slow to half steam. I'd rather be lost in South Georgia alone, than have a re-broke collar bone. I am screaming like a girl at each soft section. The road comes back and we meander through the picturesque countryside, like we have gone back in time. The next downhill is a welcome sight, until I see the "Loose Gravel" sign. I thought nothing could be worse than the clay shavings we survived, I was wrong. Again Big Worm is bombing the hill with abandon, with Zak and Cotton on his heels. I squeeze my brakes.

Six miles from the car the rivets start popping. The coke from the General store (where the sweet rotund woman looked at me like a dessert menu) and the holy waters of Reno Church have all run out. My neck will not hold up the bowling ball any more and every turn of the pedals is agony. Worm, Zak, and Cotton, are a distant memory. L.W.B. and B. smell the stable and ride away,  like I am a stranger. Treeman stays with me, out of some misplaced obligation he feels for organizing the ride. The scenes become familiar again and we find the car. I hose off next to the small brick police station. Next door, the congregation is nearing the end of a song, as five soloists break free from the chorus. The cold water is the greatest thing I have ever felt.

We change, we eat, and speed home just ahead of a storm front, straight out of "Twister". L.W.B. passes out on the couch ten minutes after telling me the ride wasn't that hard. Week four of my comeback ends not with a victory or even a tie, but it doesn't feel like a loss.

These days, that's pretty good.