Saturday, June 9, 2007

Third Century - accidental Metric

It's my 33rd birthday, and I did the Ride for Autism in Jersey today. It got off to a rocky start. I was up at 5 after 4 hours of sleep, with no voice left after screaming my head off for the Bronx Gridlock at rollerderby last night. By 5:30 I was in the car and on my way to New Jersey. I somehow got myself ridiculously lost, taking the wrong bridge from Staten Island.

I have this thing about getting lost in New Jersey. Like one time, E and I tried to pick up our cats from Newark airport using the U-Haul truck we'd just moved to New York in. She got out of the truck to pick them up and I had to circle around the airport grounds and check back every now and then. I nearly slammed the truck into a bridge with low clearance, then somehow got kicked out of the airport altogether and had to turn around and make it back again. Bad news in so many ways.

Or this other time, on my 29th birthday, I blew off work and did a long ride bushwhacking my way south through the 'burbs from the George Washington bridge without a map, figuring I'd wind up in Staten Island eventually, or take the boat from Monmouth if I was making good enough time. I wound up by the Meadowlands stadium and couldn't figure a way homeward that didn't involve walking my bike along the shoulder of the freeway. Eventually I wound up hopping a tipped-over fence, bike in tow, and whacking through some marshy underbrush to get back onto the surface roads. I seem to be doomed to repeat the time in high school when my family got lost on our european vacation, trying to walk into downtown Paris from our hotel - all five of us wound up walking on the shoulder of Autoroute A4. But I digress - back to this morning:

After much fretting and 2 gas stations' worth of directions, I made it down to the community college in Monmouth where the ride started. I pulled my bike out of the car and pumped up my front tire, which promptly exploded with a valve tear. Somebody passed by and said "hey, your day's gotta go uphill from here!" Thanks!

I didn't get going 'til almost 8:00. I'd been planning to be on the course by 7. Oh well. I figured I could cut it short and do the Metric instead if I wasn't feeling it. Which is what happened, but not on purpose - I missed some turns and spent some time following someone who wasn't on the route. About 35 miles in I realized I couldn't figure out where I was on the cue sheet any more, though there were other riders ahead and street was still marked for the route. Finally there was a rest stop and somebody pointed out for me where I was - "I'm not sure what you did, but you're 20 miles from the end now." So I took the last 20 miles of the ride easy, heading into the wind at a leisurely pace, glad that my getting lost worked out all right for me this time.

Highlights of the day: a family of geese crossing the road - mama goose, papa goose, baby goose. Hooray for geese! After the ride: a nap in the back yard. Even when the riding isn't so great, I love the post-ride high, and the few hours of feeling content with not doing anything at all. Also on the drive home: lunch and cheap sunglasses at the Cheesequake Travel Plaza. I don't know why exactly, but I love travel plazas. Bonus: the travel plaza had a penny smasher! Unfortunately, since parkway travel plazas aren't so much destinations in themselves, they were all pretty generic, so my new smashed penny doesn't say Cheesequake on it, but what can you do?


Marjojo said...

Hey, happy birthday! And hooray to getting lost every now and then and the pleasures of finally finding/being found.

hareyakara said...

Ahhhhh!! Happy belated birthday!