Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SaddleSore 1,000: The True Story

First, let me say that this story will be a jumbled mess. I'm sure there will be quite a few dangling metaphors, misspelled pronouns and a lot of whatnot, but that's all that I have in me for now. SaddleSore 1,000 drained me of all ability to do anything today, and possibly tomorrow as well.

On paper, SaddleSore 1,000 looks like the greatest adventure any motorcyclist can have. Ride 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours, get home before dark, grill a steak for dinner, and get up raring to do again on Friday. But let me tell you what, was NOT fun!

Bike in Galveston
I thought riding a motorcycle all day (it ended up being about 22 hours time-in- saddle) would be a grand adventure that I would talk about for ages with anybody who would listen, and it will be. I'll probably even "tweak" a few of the little details. But for now, let me tell you the TRUE story.

The first few hours out on the road alone in the cool dark were pretty much okay. Then somewhere around Houston my butt started to hurt (really? like you didn't know THAT was coming?) By the time I got to Galveston, I was ready to get off that bike -- for the rest of the day.

I had some breakfast at IHOP On The Beach (two eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and a glass of water) and thought for sure when I got back on the bike, I would be rejuvenated. Instead, my butt screamed out, "Again? You've got to be kidding me!"

The ride from Galveston to Corpus Christie was a nightmare. Strong headwinds, one lane, bad roads. I didn't really know where I was going, and every time I saw a mileage sign (Palacios 15 miles), I wished it to be for Corpus Christi -- and it wasn't!

And then my legs started to hurt.

Bike in Corpus Christi
I tried every which way to stretch out my legs so they would feel better -- straight out, propped up on the passenger pegs -- and it would work for a few moments, and then it would be back to hurting again.

I thought about taking photos on my way, to help document my ride, and I did get a couple, but after Corpus, I really didn't care about it that much. And then my back started to hurt.

When I finally made it to San Antonio, I was wishing for Scotty to beam me up and over to my house. But wishing never gets you very far. Not only that, but I reckoned that at the pace I was traveling, I wouldn't make the ride in 24 hours. And I vowed that if I didn't, I would NEVER try again. It would be just one of those things that never got done.

So I did what any idiot motorcyclist does when it looks like they're about to face defeat -- I rode faster. And by this time it was dark. Fast and dark. Stupid.

And then my hands started to hurt. I could feel the blisters through my gloves, and I kept trying to relax them on the handlebars, but I couldn't. Fast and dark doesn't help you be calm and relaxed.

Anyways, I made it though Austin and eventually Waco, and I determined that if I could make the 1-20/635 loop before midnight, I could make it home in time. No stopping for bathroom breaks, no stopping for food -- stopping just to fill up and go. And it worked. I finally stopped in Rockwall to "use the facilities" and to get a bottle of water, and I knew I'd make it home before time ran out.

And then I started to fall asleep. Not really nodding off with eyes closed, more like an awake going to sleep. The road disappeared into wavy lines and flashes, like a dream but not. I would be thinking of a book or a movie or a song, and then I'd see it in my mind's eye, and the road would disappear. I only "came back" when a car would pass, or when I'd think, "Wake up, or die."

In the end, I made it home with time to spare. About 60 minutes worth. I left Mt. Pleasant at 2:41 a.m. on Tuesday, and I got back to MP at 1:37 a.m. Wednesday. And then, as I was driving up my driveway, I saw the FERAL HOG that had been eating up my neighbor's yard for the last two weeks.

I'm gonna kill me that hog. That's my new mission. Like Ahab hunting down the great whale, I shall be Tracy hunting down the great hog. I'll write a story about it someday and call it, "Moby Pig."

But that is for the future. Today I'm in pain. Today I'm resting, and not sitting (I have actually typed this story standing up).

Oh, and I will NOT be mowing my yard this week. Sorry, good neighbors.

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