Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday blow

This came from the Dominion Post Monday morning:

An unexplained explosion Sunday left trees flattened for hundreds of yards just north of Mt. Morris PA. Windows rattled in buildings as far away as Waynesburg PA and Morgantown West Virginia. Airborne photography shows the area of downed foliage to trace out two spoked circles with an amorphous blob like shape between. Local fire chief, Dirk Dermol, said, “We don’t know exactly what happened here. We’re looking into it. About the only thing we’re sure of is that something blew up here, big time.”

The Tuesday Grimp was uneventful, just me tooling around through Preston county WV and coughing up quart after quart of mucous. It was a nice day and, aside from the copious discharge, it felt good. But who are we kidding? You don’t wanna hear all that lollipops and rainbow stuff. You want to suffer vicariously. Thus, I give you a bit of the Sunday supernova.

All had been going along just fine. The Cervelo was back on the road with her brand new Ultegra upgrade. Despite the fact that I had done the work myself, she shifted crisply. She was wearing her big Hed carbon shoes with a 23 bottom end because I hadn’t fixed her regular wheel yet. Even so, the hills didn’t pose any real problems. For forty miles or so I thought the pace was pretty laid back.

Then it hit me. It was really that sudden. Everyone was regrouping and I sorta drifted through and soft pedaled until they caught up. Trouble was, once I started, I couldn't stop soft pedaling. On the next hill, which is really of no note, I felt like an octogenarian on the freeway; everyone—and I mean everyone—motored on by me.

Again at the regroup, I rolled through and tried collect myself on the downhill. Sensing blood, the peleton took its serpentine form and flew by on the flat section of rt 19 before Mt. Morris Pa. Not quite willing to accept the bonk, I grabbed for the tail. After being dragged along like an unseated knight behind his horse, my foot mercifully slipped from the stirrup. I watched the paceline slowly pull away. All I had left was not enough. With 10 miles to home, it only got worse from there.

To backtrack just a bit—I did this to myself, almost by intent. Earlier that morning I had a bag of feed ready and in my hand. For reasons only known to God and one long haired fellow on a Tibetan mountain top, I put it on the counter and walked out. It may have been the weight loss kick I’m trying to be on or it may have been some inner need of punishment, I don’t know.

Back to the road. Rounding the corner and literally limping into Mt. Morris, I saw a line of bikes outside the grocery store. Ah, my compatriots taking on food and water. My mouth was a Saharan dunescape and my stomach was a gaping, groaning hole in my torso. So, what did I do? Thas right, I rolled on through.

The reasoning was that I had to get home, no time for stopping. I was so far gone, anyway. There was no way I could keep up. No sense in making everyone drag my heavy ass along the seafloor. I’d be like a guy on a recumbent going on a mountainous group ride. Better to just grope along on my own, without witnesses. They would probably catch up in no time anyway.

Underneath all that, though, there is a fascination with the bonk. Honestly, when it hits, I like to wallow in it. I like to blow out all my air and sink to its dark and rocky bottom. It’s fascinating really, one second you are rolling along and the next you can barely turn the cranks. It’s as though a cork has been pulled and the life blood funnels down and out of your body. In a time when men need not wrestle sabertooths, defend themselves in close combat with highway robbers or joust for a lady’s honor—what an opportunity to test your mettle!

A couple of miles later I could feel what little breeze I was generating whistle through the growling hole in my gut. I searched my jersey for any forgotten foodstuff.
A lint battered jelly bean, the shriveled rind of an orange, anything would do. I thought of sucking on the pockets for any trace remnant of melted Power Bar or the crumb of a Fig Newton wedged into the weave. However, I knew if I stopped to do it, there was no starting back up. I had become my old 1964 LeMans.

I passed myself countless times; sitting on the roadside, head in hands, off the bike, free the source of my pain. All I had to do was pull over, dismount, cry for mercy, and it would be granted. The inquisitor sorted through my innards and torqued on the rack. The bike wobbled towards the burm. The inquisitor lowered his ear to the gasping soul. “The prisoner wishes to say a word!” he pronounced. Head hanging loose on its tendons, foot half unclipped, bike nearly stalled, the last effort was summoned. “FREEEDOOOM,” rang out from scorched lungs. The spine stiffened with resolve, the center-line was taken up again. Once more into the breech, dear friends, once more— Well, I did say that I was hallucinating just a bit, didn’t I?

By the time I reached Morgantown, the wounds of the Stigmata were upon me. Palms and soles burned as though the centurions spikes had been driven home. Breaths came in short pants, even as I sat in the car. My only consolation was that I did not get overtaken by the group. They did not have to nurse me home. As I skulked down a side street, I saw the leaders shoot through town. Ahhh, nary a sole knew my predicament. Perfect.


Philmeaux said...

Ahhh, golf is my (and most men's) journey to the darkness of my soul. Biking is my fluffy bunny.

bluecolnago said...

when that happens to me i usually end up a half hour behind, rather than ahead of, the peloton.... good job! mediocrity breeds mediocrity and that certainly wasn't mediocre. definitly a valiant ride!