Finally, I was cleared for unrestricted bike riding from my physical therapist. My hamstring injury was 80% healed and riding was not going to hurt it. In fact, at that point it should be therapeutic. Yeah!
So my riding buddy Barb and I planned a 50 miler….with hills. It was my first long ride in months! I was really looking forward to it!
So we started out and I felt slooow. I had been working out three days a week with my physical therapist and two days a week with my personal trainer. So it’s not like I was going in after several months of sitting on the couch. So I figured I just needed to warm up. That, plus the wind was really bad that day. On top of the wind, we were planned a route with a lot of hills. (I was ready to ride after being restricted for awhile and I didn’t want to take it easy).
About an hour into the ride, Barb called for a drink break. I was ready!
I took a huge slug from my water bottle and asked Barb, “So how you feeling?”
“Man!” She said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I feel so sluggish. Like I have rocks in my pockets!”
So it wasn’t just me! I think it was the terrible wind. It was one of those days when the wind is in your face no matter which direction you’re headed! What weird physics law allows a head wind in every direction????
So we plugged on. We were heading out into wine country; the scenery was so nice. At one point we needed to cross a bridge over a riverbed. My husband had warned me that the section of road might be being worked on and he thought it might be closed. It was a holiday. So I thought we’d take the chance anyway. We wouldn’t change the mileage of the route much if we got to the bridge and had to turn around. So who cared? Might as well try.
So we turned onto the road that crosses the riverbed and I could see about half a mile up the road blockade. I suddenly felt a little annoyed. For some reason, I wasn’t in the mood to turn around. So I thought, ‘Let’s see if anyone’s there. If not, we’ll just walk the bikes across the dry river bed to the road on the other side’.
So Barb and I rode up to the blockade. We saw four workman about a quarter mile past the blockade and they had already seen us. I said to Barb, “Let’s go see if they’d mind if we walked our bikes through. Maybe if we ask nicely they won’t mind us going through.”
“Ok,” Barb says. So I walk my bike up to where the workmen are (thinking Barb is following me.)
As I approached I smiled and gave a little wave to show I wasn’t coming with any attitude. I chirp, “Hi! We were wondering if anyone would mind if we walked our bikes through the riverbed?” This is when I noticed Barb had stayed back at the barricade. Thanks Barb. Perhaps she didn’t feel as confident as I that they’d give us clearance to pass through.
They seemed to pause a beat too long before answering. One guy gave me a long odd look as he pinched the top of his cigarette between his thumb and fore finger and took a long drag. I remember thinking, “Do people still smoke these days????”
They were staring at me like they were trying to figure out what I was. Like they hadn’t seen my species before. I started to feel conspicuous standing there in all my spandex glory. (I look like the Michelin Man’s little sister in my biking spandex. NOT flattering at all!) They were probably thinking I reminded them of some one but couldn’t put their finger on it.
One guy said, “Well, I don’t think you’ll want to do that.”
“Yeah,” workman #2 said, “There are big trucks flying though the riverbed right now.”
“Yeah, like that one right there,” workman #3 said pointing behind him to the riverbed.
I looked where he was pointing and he was not kidding! There was a semi cab attached to a flatbed loaded heavy with materials and it was literally ‘flying’ through the riverbed! I’m pretty sure the tires were not touching down. I didn’t think a truck that big could move that fast! And the truck was so big it would be hard for the driver to see us in the riverbed.
“Yeah,” I said, “I don’t think I want to tangle with that!”
“Besides, you wouldn’t be able to get up to the road on the other side. It’s all block off right now.”
I nodded my head. “Good to know. Well, worth a try. Thanks for the information guys.”
We stared at each other for another few seconds.
“Well, take care guys, don’t work to hard!”
They chuckled and all four wished me well on my way. I turned and as I was walking away I heard workman one exclaim, “The Michelin Man!!!”
Workman #2: “Oh yeah!!!!
“Yeah!” workman three said, “I couldn’t put my finger on it. But you’re right she looks like the Michelin Man.”
“Not the Michelin Man,” workman 4 said as he took a big pull from his cigarette, “But maybe his little sister.” …….