Many times in my marriage to Toby, I have thought, "What has he gotten me into now?" This weekend I had that thought several times as well as a few other similar thoughts. We rode our bicycles 25 miles in the Byers Bike Bash. Byers is a small town just across the Red River between here and Wichita Falls. We had been planning on riding in this event – sent our money in a month ago. I was looking forward to it since I had such a great time riding the HHH last August. Although I have not ridden my bike much this spring with all of the rain, cool temps, and hellacious winds, I have ridden some – like the 16 miles into town last week. Byers has more hills than the HHH, but less than the hills around my house where we ride all of the time. I’ve also been nursing a cold, but I still thought the ride would be a cinch.
We had thunderstorms on Friday evening, but the storms past, leaving cool temps and some rain. The ride was on. At the last minute, Jesse decided to ride with us, which turned out to be the best part of the ride. We started out smoothly and Toby left us to pursue his own record. I was soon struggling. I mentioned my struggle to Jesse who was riding along on her dad’s mountain bike as if she rode all of the time. She didn’t seem to think it was so hard. Me, "Jes, I feel like I am just dragging." Jes, "You are just not warmed up yet." Me, "Is this road particularly rough?" Jes, "Not to me; I have shocks." Me, "Well, it is just pretty darn rough. Hey, take a look at my back tire." Jes, "Yep, it is flat."
I pulled over to wait on the SAG (?) truck and sent Jesse on so that she would not be at the end of pack of riders. A man from Texoma Cycling soon stopped and changed my flat tire. We do lots of business with Texoma Cycling and appreciate those guys. He had me on the road in no time, but I was one of the last riders – in the back with the kids and moms and old ladies. Eventually I caught up with Jesse who had slowed way down and was riding along with a little 8 year old girl named Nat Nat. They were laughing and having a good time when I caught them. Jesse didn’t have to ride with Nat. She could have been long gone. Once again, I appreciated her for waiting on me and for taking care of Nat Nat until the little girl’s grandparent’s picked her up. Then Jesse and I worked to make up time. Jesse, "Now we are cooking with grease." That made me LOL. Jesse, "Oil?" I laughed harder. Jes, "Gas! I know it’s gas."
After the flat tire, my bike began having gear problems. Toby and I disagree on what is a "low gear" and what is a "high gear." But when going up a hill, I would shift to an easier gear. Unfortunately, my gears would start slipping, which sounded like the gears were changing on their own accord. Jes, "Your bike seems to be possessed."
Toby, being the wonderful husband that he is, waited on us at the first rest stop. His cell phone had quit working, and he had not gotten my message about the flat tire. Now all three of us were at the tail end of the pack of riders, but riding together was much more fun. For some reason Toby tends to sing old country-western songs as he rides – which cracks me up. At this point the weather was cool with light rain falling, but the ride was nice. I was having some charley horse problems in my legs, but I figured it was the new bike shoes that clip to the pedals – I got the shoes and pedals for Mother’s Day and was not used to them. Maybe it was just being out of shape or lack of some essential element, but I kept riding.
The last rest stop was in Petrolia, and then we turned north to ride the last leg of the 25 miles into Byers. We turned into the wind, which seemed to pick up, as did the rain. This part of the ride was on a busy highway with lots of trucks and vehicles passing us, splashing us as they blew by. The highway shoulder was wide, but filled with road kill. I bet we avoided at least four dead armadillos, one rabbit, one skunk, many turtles and one coyote whose teeth still showed although he was flatter than a flitter. The zipping traffic and the road kill did not give us warm fuzzy feelings. My thoughts turned pretty sour. We were all riding side by side when Toby said we were like the Cartwright's on Bonanza. I started singing their theme song. Our laughter really lightened up the ride especially when Toby reminded us of watching Bonanza while we were in Italy years ago. You haven’t seen anything funny until you have seen Hoss and Little Joe conversing in Italian.
We managed to pass a few people on the last leg of the ride so that we were not dead last. We were soaked to the bone, cold, and hungry when we got to Byers. Changing out of my bike shorts in the port-o-potty was like peeling off a swimsuit in a contortionist’s chamber – Houdini has nothing on me. When we got home and had a hot shower, I slept for several hours. Jes went a motor-cross race. Ah to be young and full of energy! The Tour de Meers is coming up this weekend - can I do it? Jesse probably won't appreciate my posting this pic, but it shows the mud up her backside.