Planes are landing a half mile away from me at like 5am. I’m still on a New York State of time zone; I’m up and out of bed as a Delta airliner descends in an overcast sky just above the little courtyard I’m in. I mean just above. I hope the next one ain’t the one to interrupt me chugging a liter of water by landing a bit short. It does not. Damon and I connect thoughts over a large pot of coffee. His YouTube research pays off and he’s devised an adjustment allowing him first and second gears! He feels confident to head out. Candy’s friend Janice arrived yesterday. Only two of us are leaving on bicycle, but everyone’s up and at em… Hello lunar new year. You’re the motherfuckin new year that counts, and we all know it.
My previous typical bike tour morning ritual goes something like this: Awaken. Caffeinate. Poop. Pack. Roll. Today’s rendition includes some photos and goodbyes sandwiched around what won’t be the last utterance of “you guys are crazy” that Damon and I will hear in the coming months. I wonder if “Same Same But Different” T-Shirts are still a thing on the streets of Kathmandu.
We hit a Whole Foods on our way out of town… and I now hate myself more for typing that. But peanut butter and oats, yo. It starts to rain fairly solidly and I have reason to believe that Tony! Toni! Toné! — despite their excellent stage-name curation — are shitty weathermen. I was told California has been in a drought for 20 years and it’s pouring on my head. What’s next? Is the Earth not round?
Lets science our way back to this climb out of Saint James City presently colonizing my legs. Shit is no joke, especially on a first day of a first winter tour. Rubber legs. I check my back tire every five minutes thinking that it’s gotta be flat. My cardio is there but my muscles are feeling like it’s mile 55 or 60 on a usual first day, and it’s only mile 30. I’ve previously averaged 77 miles on first days of my last 4 tours. And I’m not shitting you. 77 miles is my actual average. Right here, on this site, one can scroll through and verify 74 mile, 77 mile, 63 mile and 94 mile totals respectively. And then one can do the required math. But that person that does all that would be a real asshole, and that is why I did it.
We gain more elevation. The rain has given way to a partly cloudy 55°; still even the level sections now feel like we’re ascending. First gear for hours. Straight six mile an hour steez. I’m making Slow Roll look like Tour de fucking France here, people. Excuse my French. My legs start to cramp as we take our break in Alpine CA and hit a Rite Aid in search of electrolytes.
With two hours of daylight left and only another 16 miles of climbing to Pine Valley, our designs on spending the night there are fading. Having run a half marathon together, Damon and I agree to call that this to coast jaunt is not a sprint. We call it a short day. We’ve got another day or day and a half in these mountains and I don’t wanna feel like totally drained shit the next or the next. If you’re setting you VCR to record this, the next five hours include such highlights a motelling, stretching, mapping, hydrating, and some bomb ass Chinese food. Head. Pillow. Buenos noches, bitches. If you’re keeping score at home, my mile-to-luxury ratio is way off the chart compared to what it used to be. Slum Village’s Raise It Up blares out the Boombtix and I remember that I’m taking every advantage I can get this time around. Thank Dilla, you saved my life again. Bonus nachos.