Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Group Ride!

Has it been awhile since I’ve been on a group ride with my fellow Seyboros?

This is a rhetorical question, which in this case means "a question I already know the answer to."

Well, I guess it has been awhile, because when I let it be known that I was going to go on the Memorial Day ride, I was counseled by Jörg to wear a name tag and was greeted with shouts of “Hey! New guy!” after I arrived.

I pulled my bike out of the back of the 2000 pound beast, only to notice that my computer sensor had fallen to the ground and my chain had come off. How appropriate.

It was nice to be greeted by people, even if they couldn’t believe their eyes.

Once we got moving, we had a great time, if a bit peculiar in spots. For example, I’m used to hearing shouts of “Dog left!” or “Car up!” but “Cow right?”

That’s a new one on me, and I thought it was a joke, but, no. There was a small cow trotting along beside the road. It was following the fenceline and sticking its nose into every crack in the fence, apparently trying to get back in where it hadn’t gotten out from and unable to figure out how to do so. (When we rode back by at the end of the ride, it had apparently found the way.)

I could hear snatches of conversation all around me. Triatheletes were trading battle stories. Roadies were talking of dogs of the past. Work stories, cycling stories, family stories, laughter, they were floating all around me, and I thought back to my first ride with the club. Somehow, I hadn’t known that cycling would be so social. I had this idea in my mind of everyone riding along, together, but each in his or her own world, and the nonstop conversation surprised me.

How do you tell if a hill is hard or if the pace is difficult? The conversation stops. But let the road level out or the pace slacken a bit and it’s back again.

We have a good time together out on the road.
I eventually found myself riding next to Lisa. While we were on terrain unknown to me, we were practically in Lisa’s backyard, and she had more than a passing familiarity with every dog on the route.

“Okay,” she’d say, “There are four dogs who live just on the other side of that bend, and they will run at you.”
She was right, too. Dogs must like Lisa a lot. They chase after her everywhere she goes.

There was one dog that got encouragement. It was a very small puppy, but it exploded into barks as we went by, and people began calling out, “Come on, dog!” This may, in future days when this dog is no longer so small, prove to have been a tactical error.

We passed a field full of cows, stately matrons all, who watched us go by, heads swiveling slowly to keep us on view. (I later passed these same cows in the 2000 pound beast, and they ignored me completely. Apparently they are only interested in cyclists.)

I was treated to the sight of a rider I didn’t know playing with her helmet as she rode. This seemed odd to me, and then a wasp flew out from underneath it! Apparently it had flown in through one of the air vents and she had been trying to get it out again. I'm sure both the wasp and the rider were happy that it succeeded.

We rode twenty miles out to the Bentonville Battlefield, which turned out to be closed on Memorial Day, go figure, hung out there for a bit and then pedaled twenty miles back home.
The talk ranged from theology to cloning to turkey nutrition to dogs I have known to what it’s like to work in a prison to cows to home life to…well…pretty much everything really.

I can’t guarantee that everyone had a great time, but I think they did. Even the rider with the (fortunately painless) wasp in the helmet, allergy rash, bug bites and, to top it all off, a bloody knee from a classic clip related slow motion fall in a parking lot. Hey, most of us have done it, and you guys who haven’t, there’s still time. Just wait.

It was great to do a group ride again. I was urged to do another one before next memorial day, and I think that’s good advice.

At the end of the ride, Jörg asked, “How are the legs?”
The legs are fine. I’m ready to go again.

See you on the road.

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