Every once in a while, people ask me, "What do you think about during those long rides?". Admittedly, sometimes it comes out sounding more like, "What were you THINKING???", which might or might not be the same question.
Either way, on my last stupid-long ride I did my best to record my thoughts, as they occurred, for your reading pleasure.
The ride was Sandy's Neighborhood 200k - 150 laps of a 0.79-mile loop. It's the longest route that you can take through our immediate neighborhood that (a) keeps us off main roads, (b) avoids most left-hand turns, and (c) goes conveniently past our house. Astute readers will note that it would actually take 157 laps to make a true 120k. I cut it off at 150 because it's a convenient number that's arguably close enough.
This is ALWAYS a night ride, because I want to do it with as few vehicles on the road as possible and during the daytime there's no reason to stay so close to home. Bill and David often join me, but this time I was solo. David is winding down for the upcoming STP, and Bill had a full day of climbing ahead of him on Sunday morning (yes, he's one of those guys who CAN get a full day of climbing in before noon...) in preparation for Furnace Creek.
I started at 0100 and finished just before 0630, with 11 minutes of downtime.
Here we go.....
Lap 0: Whoof. Strong odor of skunk. Hope Cog is inside.
1: there's a cat.
2. there's another cat.
3: whoopsie. further outside on that corner. Pothole.
4: hope that was a cat.
5: better. take the line through the black mark on the pavement.
6: cat is crossing my path. Hope it isn't black. REALLY hope it isn't black and white.
7: THROUGH the black mark, not inside it.
8-13: mu-mu-mu-mySharona (didn't bring iPod, singing to self...)
14: wonder if cats get sprayed by skunks? Everyone talks about dogs and skunks. Probably not.
15: THROUGH the black mark, doggone it! (quick stop to readjust light, which is now aiming straight up courtesy of the pothole).
16: speaking of lights aiming up - the searchlights are still going strong at the Eureka waterfront carnival.
17: only 33 laps until my first planned stop.
18: love the new seat pad.
19: nice cornering! Did that one with ONLY countersteer. Cool!
20-24: Hey, Soul Sister!
25: halfway to the planned stop. Guess I should drink something.
26: OK, seriously need to get on a schedule here. I'll take a drink every time I pass the little motorhome on the left.
27-37: Here's the motorhome, take a drink.
38: That's too often. How about every OTHER time we pass the motorhome...
39: OK, if the lap is about 3/4 of a mile, I'm drinking every 1.5 miles. On a 3/8 mile lap that will be every four laps.
40: ten laps to a potty break.
41: I don't think I'm going to need a break, wonder if I can make it to 75? Then I'd only have one stop.
42: bar traffic is heading home. Watch yourself.
43: I swear that every youth in Arcata is issued a black hoodie to wear when they're wandering at night.
44-49: bring pace up slightly. Smoooooth in the corners.
50: Nope, I don't need a pit stop. Nearly done with one bottle. Start in on an energy bar soon.
51: Really wish I'd have opened the bar ahead of time. This is a pain.
52-60: I love my bike. I love my bike. I really...love...my...bike.
61: Whoa! I've blown the same stop sign 61 times in a row. Wonder what the record for that is?
62: Car parked by side of the road, motor running. Clumsy sex, pot deal, or both?
63: cats are active again. There are a LOT of cats in this neighborhood.
64: I wonder if I'll have to stop at 75, or if I should push it on to 100 laps? So far, so good...
65-69: mu-mu-mu-my Sharona.
70: I am NEVER doing this ride without an iPod again.....
71: Oh, yeah! We were going to put reflective tape on that fire hydrant to mark the turn. Wonder how long it would last? I've got leftover pink from my wheel pinstriping.
72: and while we're at it, we should paint the line THROUGH the black mark so I don't go into the pothole.
73-75: hey, I'm going to keep going. Switch the bottle over and let's shoot for 100 laps.
76: more road traffic. Wonder where they're going.
77: drunk kid in requisite black hoodie and miniskirt walking a chihuahua while smoking a Swisher Sweet gives me a thumbs-up. Arcata make its own hallucinations...
78-80: Let's see how close I can shave the corner at Frederick.
81: there's the skunk!
82: there he is again. Wonder how many people leave out cat food? Hope Cog is inside.
83-87: Born to be wi-i-i-ild!
88: Hey, I could probably ditch this stop and keep going all the way to 150.
89: No, you can't, either.
90: French press coffee hits the kidneys faster than espresso. Wonder why that is?
91: that's 91 times I've blown the same stop sign.
92-100: nothing particular, just counting down to 100...
(11 minute rest stop; bathroom, pet Cog and remind him not to mess with skunks, refill bottles, discover a chafed spot on my back. Originally thought it was due to a tag, which didn't seem reasonable since they're old shorts. Nope: for some inexplicable reason a sliver of plastic film got in there...like a piece of a plastic mailing envelope. How the HELL did I not notice that??? Quick first aid over the raw spot, get on with it...)
101: pick up the speed, pick up the speed, pick up the speed...NO. THROUGH the black mark, not inside it...
102: adjust the #$*( light, and while we're at it, let's run the high beams since we've only got an hour or so until light.
103: wow. high beams make a big difference.
104: wonder where all the cats are, now?
105: owl overhead; maybe the cats are on to something?
106: hm. Maybe they're onto the skunk?
107: wonder if that's the same skunk? It's halfway across the course...
108: won't be that much longer until there's some light.
109-12: nothing much.
113: when was Ride the Rogue, again? Would it be good training for Bill, or should we bag it?
114: this is one sweet bike. Love the way it corners. Correction: love the way WE corner, this bike and I.
115-119: I could do 200 laps before the Latte ride, no problem....current lap time is about 2:10, let's see...that's, what, three hours? Yeah. No problemo. 200 laps would be almost 160? New goal.
120: Wonder when Bill is getting up? Saw the bathroom light on a while back Surely he's sleeping in...
121: Car! Stopped in the middle of the road....now rolling slowly...grrrrrrrrrrr.
122: Same car. Stopped in the middle of the road AGAIN. AUGH. It is too late in the day to be coming home drunk, dude!
123: Same car, further up the course, driving slowly, veers into cul-de-sac and gets out. OH. Newspaper delivery. Maybe a substitutue? It would be faster on a bike, dude!
124: Bat overhead, getting the pre-dawn bug bloom. Should see some light before too long.
125: Car on Janes' Road. Need to start slowing more for that stop sign...
126: Almost a hint of light to the sky.
127: cats are getting scarcer. Still can't believe how many cats there are out here!
128-130: should I find a good mounting point for the big battery or should I see if I can get Bill to splice a longer wiring harness and run it where I've got the smaller battery? I am seriously loving the high beam and I can run it all night with the big battery....eat another energy bar.
131: there's the skunk AGAIN. That little guy sure gets around. Glad he's staying away from our house!
132: ok, it's starting to get light.
133: it's getting lighter.
134: ...and lighter.
135: Hey! I can see the display on the computer! Reminds me that I might want a headlamp for that.
136: Cars each way on Janes road. Didn't "quite" stop, but close.
137: It's light enough to see. More cars. I will have to start stopping at the stop sign.
138: Funny thought: This is exactly what dogs feel when you throw a ball for them. Driven, happy, driven, happy, tired, driven, happy, happy, happy happy. Woo-hoo!!!!!
139: I just realized that I am stopping at 150 laps because I won't be happy having to stop at the stop sign, and traffic is going to pick up, and I don't want to piss off the neighbors.
140: OK, if this is it, hammer down....
141-149: Counting down, no particular thoughts besides "Ten - Nine - Eight..."