But, on a cool and damp Saturday morning this weekend past, there she was. Deep, deep in the Eisengard Woods^W^WTilden Park, where the sun can't shine on account of the thick thatch of overhead Redwoods (1). This angel of mercy, garbed as she was in an understated, stylish collection of natural fibers (wool scarf and overcoat to you vizigoths and huns out there) was waiting for us at the corner of PineHurst & Canyon - and if you think I'm joking how deep & dark it is take a look at the image below:
Lori was one of our Stationary SAG people - Support and Gear - and she gave freely of her time - probably 6 hours when all said and done - to be there for us to stop, slake our thirst, quench at least some of our hunger: in a word, refuel.
There was just one jarring note in the whole event. "No bananas" she said, as she introduced us to the food and vice versa(3). "I don't like bananas."
Lori, as I've mentioned, is a wonderful human being - think of her and me as being on the opposite sides of the Human Condition Bell Curve when it comes to niceness and so on. But the way she said "I don't like bananas" spoke of generations of pain and suffering; a weeping and a gnashing of teeth more traditionally associated with dodgy cousins in the bible. It wasn't quite "Bananas=Being Turned to Salt" but it wasn't far off either. What on earth could she possibly have experienced that caused her to have such a loathing for what I had always believed to be a relatively benign fruit? Or herb, or whatever it is(4) , (5). She refused to be drawn on the subject, so this mystery will pass into yore, or wherever it is that mysteries go.
It was a strange old ride for sure - apart from the banana-apartheid (try to say that with your inside-the-head voice and see where you end up) the team was bedevilled with no fewer than 5 punctures, one blown tire (beyond even bootable - roving SAG to the rescue there) and 4 involuntary dismounts (I-Ds). The curious thing about it all was that this figure 8 ride confined its punctures to the first part (Pinehurst/Redwood) and its I-Ds to the second. In fact, all the I-Ds happened on the foot of Mama Bear (yup, we were back there) in the space of about 6 minutes. Fortunately no-one was hurt: they were the sort of embarrassing falls that happen when you're stopped and trying to start riding on a hill and you lack enough horsepower to get going before your balance leaves you.
Most poignantly of all, I saw a 4 YO girl sufer the same indignity outside my local store at 9am on Sunday morning - but in her case it was because her wee small 4YO legs couldn't propel her Barbie-bike off the curb and up to the crown of the road. Other than a boo-boo on her knee she was fine.
The net of it all is, I suppose this: my team, who dropped me like a thing that's easily droppable on the last climb, appear to have the motive power of a 4 year old girl. And I'm slower and weaker than that. AWESOOOOOME! We Rock It Hard.
For those of you who care about such things, the SQ on this ride was a respectable 80. Not quite as nasty as last week - and neither did we have EOS nor LRA. In fact, it was a great ride. One to repeat whenever the weather obliges.
And, if you'd like to play around with the Garmin recording of all this, check out the link here
This tale has it all - beautiful women,kind hearted souls, dire suffering, sweet small children, an abundance of alliteration. How could your hearts be as of stone, icy proof against this stirring story of endeavor and the best aspects of the human condition? Of course they're not. Good news: http://pages.teamintraining.org/sf/solvang10/dhk lets you indulge the best of your appetites thanks to the Interwebs of YouFace or whatever it's called.(6)
One final comment: if, like me, you're curious as to why half of this blog entry is in grey font, well, so am I. To round things out, here's a picture of the Small Brown Dog at the Louie Bonpua Memorial Triathlon. I'll write about that in a week or two.
(1) As opposed to the underhead sort, more usually found in these climes, right?
(3) She's nothing if not well mannered
(4) Apes (and whatnot) open bananas from the opposite end to us. Go ahead and try and open one (a banana, not an ape). You'll see that it's so much easier. What did our parents teach us?
(5) Yup. Bananas are, entomologically speaking, herbs. It's because of the lack of wood in the stems. (Believe it or not, that link is TSFW. [But if you're still reading, you're either in the comfort and privacy of your own home, safe from prying eyes, or Sufficiently Awesome at your job that you're immune to blandishment and recrimination. Good for you!])
(6) Did you know that the Internet is not actually a system of tubes? It is in fact made of cats. (In a dose of no small irony it's *this* link which is the teensiest Not Totally Safe For Work)