Sunday, February 26, 2012

Endless Miles

Proof that we were there.
120 miles was scheduled and thought about all week. Knowing the temperature was going to drop and the winds were going to pick up I worried about flat tires and head winds. I've done this ride a handful of times before and it's almost more of a mental test than physical. The route is not complicated. Leave the east end of Duluth and follow the water north east until you reach the sign pictured above, then turn around and go back the other way. The rider will most certainly try to remember the views, but mostly he'll look at the asphalt in front of his wheel for hours.

There was a good chance I'd be doing this ride alone, yet I offered it to fellow DBD members. I had one taker, Jeremy Kershaw. He had some work to do in order to not work - literally, but he pulled it off. The call came to my house at 5:30 a.m. as I made final preps for the long day. "I can go!" is all I needed to hear.

We met in the dark at an undisclosed location and without much fanfare. We did well to limit our stops, until we hit the not so impressive Silver Bay, Mn. Smoke poured from the mining factory and we wondered about the locals health. Light conversation over a few snacks at a convenience store in need of a serious cleaning, and we were headed back the other way. There were bouts of frenzied conversation, coupled with long periods of silence, but we were out there together, getting it done. There was no drafting, no surges, no strategies, just two guys slugging it out with the ROAD.

30 miles to go.

Our day ended with a fist bump, a "thanks", and a rise out of both saddles as we finally pointed our machines in different directions. I moved on alone through Duluth, tired and sore, but happy that it was almost done. I climbed the hillside in staggered efforts, only to pass one pedestrian who looked at me and said, "Movin' pretty slow". I turned my single speed over as best I could and simply replied, "I'm comin' from Silver Bay." I pushed on past him, hearing a muttered, "That's a long ride!"

It was the kind of ride that ends with a dismount that finds you stumbling a bit to gain a foothold on terra firma.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo Sir Eki....The fire in your ravaged loin-area drives you to greater feats of endurance...the upcoming season looks bright. Take no prisoners!