The plans have been made. My buddy BJ and I are going to ride down to the Hilly Hundred again this year. We have won the "Most Miles Ridden to the Hilly" award twice, in 1998 and 2000. Each time we spent a week on the road, riding with loaded panniers and camping along the way.
This year we have some potential competition for the prize. BJ's brother-in-law (we call him "Hardball") has announced that he will ride to Bloomington from somewhere in Ohio. If he makes it, he will better our distance by about 100 miles.
I've been doing some work to put my touring bike ("the Bike with No Name") in shape for the ride. It was serving as my main scoot while "Michelle Pfieffer the Carbon Fiber WonderBike" revisited the factory for a small repair and a fresh coat of paint. So, I had taken the racks off of my tourer.
I hung the racks back on the frame and replaced a bent handlebar. As long as I had the handlebars off, I strung new cables and housings for both brakes and derailleurs. Then I mounted a new handlebar bag up front.
Yesterday I threw a bunch of stuff in the panniers and strapped some more to the rack just to simulate touring conditions and went out for a 30 mile shakedown cruise. Everything worked well, though I decided to angle the handlebar bag upward a couple of degrees.
Yesterday morning my college student nephew emailed me. He said that he was listening to an MP3 of Limp Bizkit's cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." He knows that I'm a fan of the Floyd and thinks I should check out the Bizkit thing. Well, that put the song in my head.
I was lugging along through the old Ordnance Plant, alone, singing out loud. "Did they get you to traaaaaaaaaaade/ Your heroes for ghos....GACK!" I'll never know what kind of bug I swallowed. It felt like a June Bug or maybe one of those giant South American cockroaches when it hit the back of my throat. I mean it was huge!
It went in too deep to spit out and I had no choice but to choke it down. I had to chase it with half a bottle of water just to get rid of the sensation that it was lodged behind my Adam's apple and still crawling.
That'll teach me to sing.
The rest of the ride passed without incident until I was three blocks from home. I was riding legally, keeping safely to the right side of the road. I signalled my right turn and started into it when some young girl in a black Jeep pickup came around the corner behind me and cut me off. I grabbed two handsful of brake to keep from plowing into her. Her windows were open. I yelled, "Hey! HEY! WATCH IT!" Just to wake her up. She must not have liked getting yelled at. She turned her head and yelled back, "Hey! Hey! Get off the road!" Or something equally mocking and ignorant. It was amazing. She went from dumbass to smartass just by opening her mouth. I got her license plate but decided against calling the police. If I see her again, though, I may need to have a talk with her.
Well, I'm looking forward now to a week on the road. And yes, Hillyman, I will be at the Hilly Hundred Weekend in Bloomington, Indiana October 4, 5, and 6. You can quit nagging now.