I returned to the bedroom and pulled on my riding pants, sports bra and a wicking shirt. Frankenbutt met me with a plate of eggs and a nice smile, talking about how we could take both trailers out on the ride today and see which works the best for whom. Up to this point, Frankenbutt hauled the two wheeled, two seater enclosed trailer while the Beast and I usually road with loaded up pannier bags.
After breakfast and checking email, I pulled on my “Sock Guy” socks (love those!) and shoes and opened the front door to a gorgeous sunny day. I’ve grown accustomed to the weather in Florida and am truly shocked when it isn’t warm and sunny. I started pulling bikes and trailers from the garage while Frankenbutt prepared water bottles and the Beast finished up some early morning home schooling. FYI, the Beast has been doing great with working ahead in her studies and she is fully on target to complete this year’s curriculum by April 1st.
Frankenbutt was showing me how to latch the trailer onto my bike and when I bent over for a closer look, my head started pounding. Before we left, I took some head ache medicine, blew my nose and stashed a few cough drops. By now, Coco (our French bulldog) knows the routine and starts hovering by the front door in anticipation of going for a ride. She’s always loved car rides and has now discovered the joy of a bike ride. I tucked her water bowl into the side pocket of her trailer, helped her up and zipped the front screen closed so that she’d have plenty of air but wouldn’t get out if a squirrel caught her attention mid-ride.
As we started out of the driveway, I felt the difference of pulling the bike trailer and wondered if I really felt up to today’s ride. Within a few minutes, we fell into our standard formation: Frankenbutt out front, the Beast riding between our two bikes and me bringing up the rear. Although we live on a quiet unpaved road, it’s only a short distance to a two lane state road that we need to take in order to reach the Suncoast bike trail. We follow this route about 3-4 times a week and our non-verbal communication about crossing and turning has become like clockwork. What once was a scary proposition, now feels like, well … riding a bike.
In under a mile, I was already used to the trailer and quite honestly almost forgot it was there. As we made it up the steep hill that crosses over the Suncoast Parkway, I did feel the weight of it but I down shifted a little more than usual and made it to the other side. My fever was in high gear, my nose was running and the throbbing in my head was still present …BUT … when I crested that hill and started flying down the back side of it, I was 8 years old all over again! The wind was blowing in my face and cooling all the spots dampened by the sweat it took to climb the front side of the hill. There were butterflies in my belly and I was smiling. (I know I was smiling because a bug flew right into my front teeth.)
There is no feeling as fine as that.
We rode for quite awhile before my nose decided to “let it all out”. Unfortunately, I hadn’t packed tissues and I found myself resorting to an old ski trick: “snot rockets”. Basically, you hold one nostrel down while you blow the other side clear. I know that sounds gross but in the moment, out in “mother earth’s world“, it not only worked, it seemed fitting not to use up her precious trees just to clear my nose.
When we returned home, we all went about our tasks: Frankenbutt broke down the trailers and parked them in (the newly painted!) garage, the Beast gathered and hooked the helmets together and I pulled all the water bottles. I don’t how far into the ride I started feeling better but as I showered, I realized my head ache was gone, my sinuses felt better and the fever was manageable. I also realized that there will be days during our bike trip when we won’t feel like riding; when we’ll have to push ourselves through whatever body aches we have in order to reach the goals we’ve set. I got through today and I’ll draw on that when I reach that wall again.
At 5:30 pm, we hopped in the car and drove to our home track in Tampa, FL. Frankenbutt was excited to be renewing his old NBL license and getting to ride the cruiser he’s had since Christmas. When we approached the registration window, our track director, Art Heinrichs, greeted us with a smile and let us know that he’s been thinking about our ride; about the fact that we are launching this adventure from his track. He told us he’s working on some fun ways to send us off and we can’t wait to hear more. I’ll blog more about that as things develop.
In short order, Frankenbutt and the Beast were out on the track, challenging one another. Soon, two girl riders joined in the challenge as their parents and I watched and cheered, “Girl Power!”. While watching, we exchanged funny stories and swatted at the evening insects. We took notice when the riding stopped and our track director stood on the final straight with microphone in hand to tell us about the new Mentoring program at our track, the first of it’s kind in the country. He introduced the 4 riders who will be working together with new riders, showing them the ropes and riding side by side with them from day one. The stands erupted with applause and there was a lot of discussion about what a great idea it is. I don’t know what the formula is that makes a BMX track such an easy place to hang out, but I know it draws the best out of people once you are there.
I ended my evening at home with a phone call with a fellow BMX dad from Jersey who’s been brainstorming about keeping our electronic items charged during our bike trip. We passed the phone back and forth between us, laughing and missing all our old Jersey friends. I really can’t wait to get this trip started and I’m counting on seeing you all somewhere along our route!
More later; Til then, Feel free to weigh in with your shock, support, doubts, wisdom and your own biking experiences. You can post a comment or email us, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miles ridden so far: 0 (training miles don’t count)