Exhuming the Evidence
unzipping my bike bag on Saturday
morning, getting ready to pack for the Iron Horse Trail, when I run
across a large foil packet I do not immediately recognize.
pull the package out
of the bike bag and poke at it experimentally. It's square and lumpy
and hard as a rock, yet surprisingly light in my hand. A brick made out
of styrofoam, perhaps? Cautiously, I begin peeling back the layers of
foil, one by one. A fine powder drifts to the floor, covering my
bicycle shoes like green talcum powder, and I catch a whiff of
something that makes me think of Grandma's attic in the summer. Inside
the packet, a revolting discovery: the petrified remains of a peanut
need to ride more,"
David says flatly.
have no idea how long
the sandwich has been in my bike bag. It doesn't even look like a sandwich
anymore, frankly: even the peanut butter has turned green and crumbly.
I vaguely remember tossing it in my bag earlier this summer, just
before we drove up to Fairfield and rode the swamps around Grizzly
Island. It was one of those mornings when we were out of Power Bars or
Fig Newtons or dried fruit -- our usual riding treats of choice -- and
I wanted to pack an emergency snack in case we didn't make it to a
store before the ride. Something light, something portable, something
easily washed down with lukewarm trail water. So I slapped some Skippy
Super Chunk onto two slices of wheat bread, cut it into quarters,
wrapped it up in foil and threw it into the bag.
How long ago was
that, anyway? I honestly can't remember. A month? Two months? Three? I
don't want to believe
that it's been that long.
the mummified sandwich in my hand doesn't
not like we've
completely blown off riding this summer. (Have
we?) There have been a handful
of short uninspired rides, mostly close to home ... the kind of rides
where we've rolled out of bed and hopped on the bikes and made the loop
around Bay Farm Island for a couple of hours on Sunday morning. It's
not like we've completely lost all riding cred. (Have
we?) Even so, the fact
this is the first Pack the
bikes up/Get in the car/Drive someplace interesting/Ride until
everything hurts excursion
we've been on since ... well ... since whenever this peanut butter
sandwich was created, apparently. I don't use the bike bag unless we're
going on a road trip: everything I need for the local rides usually
fits neatly into the back pocket of my jersey.
I take a picture
of it?" I ask David, as we stand there in the middle of the kitchen,
eyeballing what's left of the sandwich. It's really quite
fascinating, in a revolting/nerdy/scientific sort of way, I
it would make one heck of a *FootNotes* photo.
David says no, no
pictures ... just throw it away right now please. He actually looks a
little green around the gills as he says this. Is it possible that I
have developed a higher tolerance for mold than my big studly husband?
(Perhaps as a result of all those seepage charts and remediation
reports at The Dirt Company?) So I scoop up the whole mess and give it
a proper Christian burial, at the very bottom of the kitchen garbage
pail, and then I unsnap the bag from the back of my bike and dump the
contents onto the kitchen counter.
balm. Kleenex. A portable patch
kit. A spare bicycle tube. A little Zip-Loc baggie full of Tylenol and
Benadryl and leftover Christmas candy. I wipe everything down with a
clump of damp paper towels, even the the lip balm and the tissue packet
and the bag of candy, and I sponge out the interior of the bike bag.
Once it has been thoroughly fumigated, I pack everything back into the
bag and snap it onto the back of my bicycle, where it fits snuggly
right behind the Butt Deluxe. Then I begin looking around the kitchen
for an appropriate trail snack. My original plan was to slice up a
couple of green apples and wrap them in foil.
I'm thinking that
might not be such a great idea.
I grab ten
dollars out of my purse and stuff it into the back pocket of my bike
jersey. "We're going to stop at the store and pick up something on the
way," I tell David. He nods in wordless agreement.
with that, we
roll our bikes out the door and head for the Subaru, and for our first
*real* ride in god knows how long.
to throw a rock?