20140607-195312.jpgTHE DREAM

20140607-195359.jpgCLOSER TO REALITY

Mary and I have nursed a little fantasy for some time now. It goes like this: We return from a long-distance bike tour just in time to ride in the annual Seattle to Portland (STP) Ride. We’re buffed out from our just-completed tour and we finish the 200-mile STP in (for us) record time. We beat our old record by something like three or four hours.

Although Mary and I have ridden the STP four times, we haven’t done it in quite a few years. We figured this would be the year to fulfill our fantasy because we planned to return from our Sierra/Cascade ride at the end of June – just a week before the STP. Well, that big ride didn’t come off quite as planned (see May 22 post – “Fear For One’s Life”) but we did just get home from a 350-mile Selkirk Loop ride and we were feeling our oats so we drove down to Wenatchee this morning to ride in the 100-mile Apple Century Ride put on by the Wenatchee Rotary Club. We figured this ride would be a good proving ground for the upcoming STP.

Well, what it proved is our little fantasy of shattering our previous STP times is going to have to stay just that – a fantasy. If we didn’t finish last in a field of several hundred today, we were damn close. Even though these rides are technically not races, there is considerable pride riding on how quickly one finishes the 100 miles. Strong riders finish hours ahead of weak riders.

We have nothing to be ashamed of, of course. We are, after all, considerably older than most of the riders at 64 and 63 years of age. “Winning” wasn’t the point. No, the let down comes from knowing that I will not experience the joy of whizzing past hundreds of slower riders grinding their way between Seattle and Portland this July.

You see, I have never been an athelete. I have never known the joy of scoring the winning touchdown at the homecoming game. But I must admit that I experienced a mild jolt of euphoria each time I overtook another rider on the STP in years past. I was really looking forward to getting a thousand or more of those jolts this year (over 10,000 people ride the STP.) But it looks as though that path to glory is one I shall never tread.

As we were nearing the end of today’s ride, Mary and I acknowledged to each other that the dream had died. I think I was more disappointed than she but neither of us was shattered by the realization that our little fantasy is not to be. I joked that maybe we should try to organize a cycling group at the senior center just so we could feel that old joy of outdoing the competitiion. Why take a chance? Mary replied – recruit at a nursing home!