to go: 1,153.01
their Fourth of
July brunch plans fell through yesterday,
and Secra -- faced suddenly with the prospect of an entire, delicious,
obligation-free day-off from work -- did what any two self-respecting,
middle-aged Americans would do on this day of national remembrance and
headed as FAR
AWAY from the festivities as
Iron Horse Trail will be practically deserted!"
they gloated, as they loaded their bikes into the
Subaru and drove in the direction of Alamo. What a perfect opportunity
to log an extra thirty or forty miles toward their goal! How
crowded could a public bike trail be on a holiday morning, anyway?
Everybody else will be out pricing propane or thumping watermelons.
parking lot at Rudgear Road was deserted when they arrived:
definitely a good sign. As they zeroed out their odometer and strapped
into their helmets,
and Secra congratulated themselves on their vast reserves of good
timing and incredible grooviness and stuff.
is going to be a perfect ride!"
they told each other.
weather was perfect. Hot but not uncomfortable ... breezy but not
oppressive ... no
jacket required, even at 8 a.m. The riding conditions were perfect:
they both felt well-rested and energized. Best of all, The Iron
Horse Trail was
practically deserted. They could ride as fast or as slow or as
side-by-side-in-the-middle-of-the-trail-holding hands as they pleased,
without a single dogwalker or jogger or annoying Good Morning Person in
and Danville, the first red flags began to appear. Or more
accurately, the first red, white and BLUE flags ... most of
mounted above training wheels.
and Secra weren't sure exactly when or where it happened, but all of
a sudden The Iron Horse Trail was crawling with people. Families,
mostly, from the looks of it. Families on bikes, swerving and careening
wildly all over the trail. Families on rollerblades and skateboards and
weird little motorized scooters. Families trudging along on foot,
carrying folding chairs and portable coolers and poodles dressed in
all of them heading
in the same direction
and Secra were heading: towards town.
smell a parade," said
Danville just long enough to use the bathroom -- and to verify that
yes, a parade was imminent: the roadblocks and the "Parade Route" signs
were a clue -- Secra and
immediately got back on the trail and continued riding away from town,
as hard and
as fast as their little feet could pedal.
not that they
don't love a parade. They do. And it's not that they weren't feeling
patriotic. They were as full of national pride and sentiment as the
next guy. But the fact of the matter is that it's JULY
already ... and they're still not quite to the halfway point of their
"2002 in 2002" riding goal ... and right now it's all about mileage
mileage mileage, baby. Anything that threatens to get in the way
acquiring that precious mileage -- like toddlers wandering
untethered in the middle of the trail, or flat-bed trucks festooned
with tissue paper and filled with beefy local beauty queens --
of a nuisance than anything. Secra and
figured that if they stretched the ride out long enough -- if they took
their time riding to Pleasanton and back, stopping for plenty of photo
opportunities and hand massages and cheesecake croissants at Ralph's --
by the time they got back to Danville the parade would be over, and the
crowds would be thinning, and riding the Iron Horse would feel a little
less like riding through the middle of a Moonie wedding.
the time they got
back to town -- two hours and 25 miles later -- the Oscar Meyer
Weinermobile was just beginning to wind its way down Main Street, with
the Alamo High School Freshman Marching Band hot on its wheels.
The streets of Danville were lined with bazillions of sweaty,
sunburned, flag-waving/hotdog-munching/Lee-Greenwood-singing parade
and Secra -- faced with all of this marvelously colorful,
life-affirming small-town festivity -- did what any two
self-respecting, loving, middle-aged newlyweds would do.
got into a Big Stoopid Fight.
custom of gallantly calling out for them both when they're riding -- "Two
bikes are going to pass on your left: one right behind me"
-- is all well and good when Secra actually IS
'right behind' him. It's
'right behind him' -- when she is, in fact, trailing him by 43,897,621
miles, only he hasn't noticed it yet -- that trouble occasionally
ensues. The people who are being passed hear the words "two bikes
passing," but then they only see one
bike pass -- his -- and they immediately begin closing ranks again,
right about the moment that Secra slams into them from behind. In this
case, she had nearly mowed down a toddler on a wobbly pink
"I love the way you
blithely zoom off down the trail and leave me to deal with your
messes!" she snapped at him sarcastically.
is the sort of
crabby, ridiculous, illogical Secraspeak that
would ordinarily brush aside, as tolerantly as he might brush a stray
hair from his forehead ... because he loves Secra, and he understands
her, and he sympathizes with her pain ... especially at certain
*delicate* times of the month.
solid weeks of
hormonal nonsense, however, have obviously worn his last few *sympathy
molecules* down to little pointy stubs.
he said curtly ... not
sounding like he was sorry at all. And he zoomed off ahead of her down
the trail, without further comment, until he was little more than an
angry white dot on the horizon. From her weepy vantage point,
43,897,621 miles behind him, she could see him gesturing with
humilating exaggeration as he passed other cyclists, further up the
trail. ("One bike, passing
your left," she could almost
hear him saying, "and
another one wayyyyyyyyyy behind me.")
After several miles of this uncharacteristic unpleasantness and
distance between the two of them, Secra and
eventually finished their ride -- and their argument -- at more or less
the same moment.
sorry," she said,
pulling up next to him in the parking lot. "I'm a big baby."
sorry you're a big baby too," he
said, kissing her forehead.
loaded the bikes
back into the Subaru, stopped for a quick burger lunch in Walnut Creek,
and then headed back to Alameda to spend the rest of their Fourth of
July in the one place where they knew they were guaranteed peace,
quiet, rest, relaxation, leftover pesto, a CSI re-run ... and all the
privacy their little hearts desired.
yes ... they even
enjoyed a few fireworks.
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