"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"
I took a short ride at the beginning of the week and came home soaking wet and covered in road grime.
That got me thinking – while I can’t stop the rain from coming down on me, I can stop it from coming up at me.
So I purchased a set of Bicycle Planet “Freddie Fenders” from Life Cycle in Arcata and quickly installed them. The old Freddie Fender pop song “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” went through my head.
Just for the heck of it, I also decided to try out some old panniers that I purchased back when I was in middle school a long, long time ago. How long ago? Let’s put it this way: The top record of the year was “Rosanna” by Toto, “Ghandi” won the Academy Award for Best Picture and there’s a good chance that I longed for a Members Only jacket.
Due to the rain, I juggled this week’s schedule around and planned my major ride for today (Friday). Originally I planned to pedal east, but decided against it after seeing all the snow on the hillsides. The new destination was somewhere to the north, depending on when I left the house and the weather conditions. Basically I would pedal as far as I could.
There was a mix of blue skies and ominous-looking dark clouds when I left the house at 10 a.m.
Fueled on oatmeal and V-8, I made my way to downtown McKinleyville for a canteen of black coffee at Sutter’s Mudd, which had some oven-fresh oat bran bread filled with apple. It was still warm. I was a happy camper.
I waited until McKinleyville’s Vista Point to consume my “fuel.” I drank hot coffee, enjoyed the bread and looked for whales. I didn’t see any, but all was well in the world. Plus, as you can see above, those new Freddie Fenders look sweet. They compliment the handlebars and give the bike a classic look.
Not long ago, pedalling to Scenic Drive, above, seemed like an epic journey. Now it feels like a warm-up ride. That’s good. The training plan is working.
I took a 7-minute break at Patrick’s Point State Park, located north of Trinidad. Patrick’s Point is one of the nicest parks on the North Coast. It’s a great destination for both short hikes and long hikes. If on a bike, it’s a nice and relatively safe ride from McKinleyville. Above is Agate Beach, where you can find agates.
North of Patrick’s Point you enter U.S. Highway 101 and things get ugly. There are portions of the roadway without any shoulders. You pedal like hell, pray to the gods and curse the people at Caltrans who managed to build a major freeway without even designating a measly 6 inches of shoulder for bicycles. At one point I heard a car coming, got scared, drove into a drainage ditch and almost fell over. Bastards!
After a couple scary miles everything was back to normal with decent shoulders. I went up. And down. And up. And down. And on and on...
I reached Freshwater Lagoon and felt kind of crappy. It was windy. I wondered whether I might have to stop and puke my guts out. I didn’t feel good. I was tired. Something was wrong with me. Big time.
I pedalled onward to Orick for my trophy photo, above.
I stopped, snapped the photo and turned around. Time to pedal back. There was a nice picnic shelter at Freshwater Beach where I could warm up and get my bearings. Once there I forced myself to drink water and eat some PB&J, even though I didn’t feel like it.
Oh man. This was turning into a nightmare. So far from home. Feeling crappy. Cold. Tired.
I put on a windbreaker, tucked my head down and started pedalling. It was slow going.
Little by little I made progress. I made my way over a hill and sped down the other side. My physical symptoms went away.
I suspect I just needed some nourishment. Once I got it, it was just me and the road.
Then I heard the word “Hello.” What the fuck? I looked to the left and there was a fellow I know from McKinleyville riding alongside me on a bike. Where did he come from? I hadn’t seen any cyclists on the road since Scenic Drive.
We chatted and then he raced ahead. Actually he zoomed ahead. He probably pedalled three to four times faster than me – at least.
I could have been demoralized by his superior athletic ability, but instead I was inspired. His speed and stamina are the result of lots and lots of rides like the one I was doing today.
No pain, no gain. He’s fast because of experience. I have a lot of catching up to do and maybe I’ll never be that fast, but I’m getting there.
I pedalled onward. I was tired and my legs hurt. When I reached McKinleyville, it started lightly sprinkling.
By 4:30 p.m. I was home. All told, I went at least 65 miles.