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Started out with @byronium deciding that we needed to get some distance under out belt, and not just hills, so he found a 47 mile loop that went through Petaluma to Tomales to Marshall and back to Petaluma again. The card said it was 'mostly flat' tho the hills shown seemed to be mostly at the first 20 miles or so.

I didnt recognize the road names, tho I'd just ridden some of them the week before.

We started a little late. 1 pm. but figuring 12 mph avg (my speed on mostly flat rides) we figured 4 hours was plenty of time.

First thing that happens less than 2 miles in was that I got a flat. My first real flat while riding. That was exciting feeling the back end doing things I wasnt expecting. Byronium was ahead already so I stopped, got out my cell, hoped he had taken his, called him, left a message, and then went ahead to take the wheel off. He came back and we quickly replaced the tube, filled up the tire, found a bike shop, bought new tubes and started our ride.

The first 20 miles were hell. I dont know what that writer was thinking when he said mostly flat, but it wasnt. I fell over once trying to get started pedaling up the hill. It didnt hurt but the ground was warm. Then I fell over on the other side trying to pick up the bike. Doh.

Even Byronium was starting to look discouraged. We finally made it to Marshall around 615 pm and the Hog Island Oyster Company was closed and we had no water to fill up. This was sad making. And a little nervewracking.

We rode another few miles into Marshall itself and stopped at Nick's Cove, and filled up with water, and stretched. We were only about half way, but the rest was supposed to be easier... I was sending emails to @llamaeyes to let her know where we were, as the cell / text coverage was spotty at best, and my fone would at least send emails when it could.

Maybe the rest of the way was easier, without the temps dropping and the sun going down behind me. But it was here, there came a space, where it stopped hurting, where my lungs were warm and working pulling air in and out, where I felt my heart beating powerfully and evenly, where my legs were tired but moving smoothly, almost effortlessly, where the bike was shifting just fine, and I was pedaling the big ring, where the miles seemed to fall away, even as the sun kept going down.

The bad news was that it was now 730, and we still had about 12 - 14 miles to go - but @byronium thought the park was closing at 8. I gave him the car keys, kissed him g'bye and watched him pedal away.

I was alone.

Normally, this would set me off into a panic - I was miles from civilization, I was on a bicycle, powered only by my often broken and not-working-to-par body, cell phones didnt work, and I was not nearly as well prepared for being stuck out in the middle of nowhere as I'd like to be (a light, and an emergency blanket at the least to include with all my cliffbars and water)

But it didnt. I was still in that quiet place, and kept moving forward. The getting dark part was a little scarey, but I could see, and the roads were really quiet.

@byronium came back to pick me up just as the sun had finally slipped out of sight, about 2.5 miles away from the finish, and I was never so glad to see his tired sweet face.

Lessons learned / reminded: make sure someone knows where you are. (@llamaeyes knew where we were up until about 8 pm and when we got back into cell range) make sure to carry equipment / clothing appropriate to weather changes. (I didnt have enough if we'd been stuck out overnight NOT back at the car.) and maybe consider mapping the route on software that has grades. Or at least start a HELL of a lot earlier.

I'm really glad we stopped at the bikeshop and got new tubes, etc. You know we'd have gotten another flat in the middle of nowhere otherwise.

I'm proud of my body. I'm happy it worked so well. I felt good the few days after too!

I'm glad that while it was scarey, I never let the fear take over. @byronium is one of the best people to get into crazy jams with, because he does manage to stay pretty calm. I'm grateful for my friends who where there when I emailed / texted (@llamaeyes!) and for those who were worried for us when they found out later we had an adventure but were ok. (That's a little weird to wrap my head around. Why be worried once we're already ok? but anyway...)


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May 2012

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