|Ride 11: Dupont to Poolesville||Saturday, May 15||Distance: 70 miles|
There's so much about today that was a first.
Today was my first ride over 60 miles long.
Today was my first time taking my bike on the Metro.
Today was the first time Charles and I had any kind of argument. It was my fault.
I've spent the last two weekends out of town, one of them biking, the other visiting and biking. Charles asked me well in advance if we could set aside Saturday evening so that I could meet his good friend Justine and her husband Hyuk. When he asked me when I though I'd be back I overestimated my skill and said that the ride was around 60 miles, so it should take me about 6 hours to do... I didn't roll into Dupont Circle until 6:30 or so, two hours after I had said I'd be back home.
I forgot that I've been a faithful defender of the rear on every
ride till now.
I forgot that my average speed is 10mph only when the terrain is flat.
I forgot that food must be eaten and water imbibed.
I forgot to call when I was late.
I pretty much botched that one.
I didn't get home till 7:30. I couldn't get in touch with Charles untill 8:30 PM, two minutes after I had said "oh well, he went ahead without me" and had called my friend Carlos back to go eat something. I wanted to get together with Charles and give him a hug and tell him all about my day. However, Charles was not happy, nor should he have been. I had never heard him so... saddened. As if some kind of crystal dream had been shattered by the shrill sound of a phone that did not ring. He wasn't angry, just disappointed. Frustrated. He would have done other things if I hadn't said I'd call. He would have been places, met up with people, done something other than wait. As it was, Justine and Hyuk had opted for Dim Sum on Sunday rather than something on Saturday night, so it wasn't as if I stood all three of them up... but in an odd way that seems to make things even worse.
Now for the riding part. All I can say is that I felt definitely mighty at the end of the ride even though I was dead tired and humbled at my slow speed. It was a definite comfort that I had made friends with Allison Wakenite, another rider who I met that morning, and we had both joked that we'd be faithful to the tail end of the ride. We both were, along with another rider, Jeff Krulak. The three of us had a good time cheering each other on.
I wish I could say I was stunned by the scenery, that the sights were gorgeous and that I'll never forget this ride.
Frankly, I only remember snippets. I remember that we biked up a very steep hill towards Great Falls park and that it felt much shorter on the way down. I remember there being lots of horse farms on either side of the roads. I remember dodging 14 dozen caterpillars making their way across the shoulder of the road. I remember drinking a lot of water, eating Cliff Bars, and scarfing down a sandwich at a 7-Eleven in Poolesville. I remember that there were too many cars and too many SUVs and many many bikers. I remember that Poolesville seems to be little more than a few suburban-style developments and a couple of streets with a strip mall somewhere. I remember being at Dupont Circle all too early in the morning and sitting on the grass catching my breath and thinking "I need to find a payphone."
The pride I felt in completing the 68-mile ride (plus 2 miles to and from the Metro) is somewhat eclipsed by my taking Charles' time for granted. I can always try to excuse myself by saying that I was too busy grinding away at the hills to think of anything other than completing the ride. I could try to pull a "pity me" job, saying that I should be excused because I was out there training for something I'm wondering whether I'll be able to complete. But these things won't work, because there's really nothing that hits me quite as strongly and bluntly as the knowledge that no matter how creatively I may try to rationalize it, I know that I messed up in a big way.
I need to watch out and make sure that the next five weeks of training for this three-state tour don't end up damaging my first relationship with someone I love dearly. I can handle the pain I feel in the knees after a long ride, and I can handle the funny walk I have to perform when my legs feel like jelly. I don't think I could handle emotional pain at this point, nor can I bear the thought that I could be inflicting any.
70 miles. I've learned to pedal, but I've forgotten common courtesy. I'll have to work on that one. I don't fear for our relationship right now, because I know this not significant enough to end something as good as what we have. But it scares me to think that I've got this level of control and that I could so easily cause major mishap in his life by not being forthright.
We'll meet Justine and Hyuk for dim-sum tomorrow. Sleep will be a good thing. It is not good to be emotionally wrought when tired.
PS (Sunday): Things are good. Dim sum was fun, Charles and I went to the zoo and played chess while eating ice cream and fell asleep cuddled in each other's arms. I need to figure out a good way to both get my training in and be with Charles. This will be an interesting ride on its own.