Monday, January 31, 2005

Crank Yanked and Bruised

It's day 2 of being a cyclist again, after last week's disaster (see here), I finally managed to lug my brand new bike trainer home Saturday. It popped out of the box all shiny and blazed with flashy neon arcs and assembled quite easily. (thanks to Logan's Dave for double-checking my oft lacking mechanic skills...even if he did forget a errant spring!)

With great despair, I discovered my riding skills were not nearly in such sparkling condition. I've logged a mere 14 miles....around 3/32nd of the grand total of my madness. (175 fabulous farmland miles) And these were heaving, sweaty, pass out on the couch face down so one might sip water of out a glass without moving a single muscle miles. With a mere 144 days of training left to go, before the MS150 Tour de Farms my mood is hovering between "What the hell was I thinking, I'll be SAG'd at mile 20!" to "Will the dirt kicked back on me by the 65-year-old man that just passed me wash out of my jersey?"

In honor of my decent into physical brutality, a cycling poem:

The Romance of Cecilia
from Legends of the Wheel by Arthur Waugh

Their wedding-day, they whispered, should be soon;
They'd bicycle one life-long honeymoon.
She praised his prowess (ah, that praise was sweet!),
She thought his whole equipment "very neat";
Then whispered, "Darling, -- nay, it must, must be,
"We'll cycle into Andover to tea."

They started: but Cecilia never knew,
While Robert learned, she'd been progressing too.
Down the first hill she led by twenty yards,
(Speed, Robert, Speed! What Fate thy wheel retards?)
Along the level flashed her silver bright,
Another moment -- she was out of sight;
A hill before her! Warming to the fray,
She pedalled (double action) all the way.
O ecstasy! O grand exhilaration!
She dreamt of nothing but the wheeel's rotation.
The sun was bright, the open sky was blue;
"Whirr" went the wheel; it hummed; it sang; it flew.
Swift as a bird toward Andover she fled,
And, for a moment, Robert left her head.
Then memory; contrition; and a stop!
She paused upon a difficult hill-top;
Down the valley white the roadway wound,
Two miles -- but not a sight, but not a sound.
She paused; she fidgeted; she stamped her heel;
She choked the rage she could not all conceal;
Then swung her wheel round with an evil grace,
And took that hill at a terrific pace.

"Ah, God of Love, what pains thy victims cull!
"As thou art strong, though shouldst be pitiful,"

Four miles away, back in the paling West,
She found her Robert, pedalling his best.
His face was set -- dead weary, past denying --
She thought he looked as tho' he had been crying,
Yet with determination brave to see
He panted, "Dear, we'll still be there to tea."
She bade him turn; she lead him up the lane;
slowly she rode till they were home again.
She passed the trysting-tree, nor stayed to tell
The parting secrets that they loved so well.
Into the market square, without one kiss,
She rode, and there took leave of Robert Bliss!

I think he knew his fate. I think that, when
a note was brought to him next day at ten,
With no surprise the words assailed his sight:
"I fear I cannot ride with you to-night."
I only know that from that fateful day
He locked his hard-bought bicycle away.

I also know that Miss Cecilia Brown
Was seen last week careering up and down
With Mr. Watkins, muscular and lank,
Who's bought a Swift, and manages the bank.


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