Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6/20/11 Where seldom is heard a discouragin' word

I may have spoken too soon. Because we finally had the kind of night I have been dreaming about this entire trip, except not with locals, with fellow cyclists. We met Matt and John in Austin. Matt, 26, has been teaching social studies in New York and is the first American cyclist we have met thus far. John, 25, is a chatty bloke from the UK. They are both delightful gentlemen. We shared pizza, beer, and stories in a cute eclectic cafe that appears to have been transplated from the east coast and dropped out of the sky only to land in the desolation of the desert.

John is the first truly eloquent amateur boxer I have ever met. With a buzz cut, rings on his fingers, vibram finger shoes, and a button down shirt, you would not guess he has been cycling today. But he has. Every mile that we have ridden. And the extrodinary bit is that he is riding a single speed bike. With a trailer. Across the country. Twice as fast as either Chris or I could ever hope to pedal. Did I mention he can't shift going up a mountain? For a person with 27 gears, who is quite accostomed to using every one of them in a given day, this is a feat of epic proportions. This man is either insanely fit or loony tunes. Either way, he is excellent company tonight.

Matt is fantastically sweet and has a cherubic face, which is suiting, perhaps, being that he plans to join the seminary soon enough.

So, here's how this pair makes it from A to B: Matt (the chap with gears) leaves early in the morning and pounds it out slow and steady. John eats nearly three rounds of breakfast, slinks around until 11 and blasts it at 20 mph all day long. Matt is in charge of the laundry and John is responsible for bike mechanics. It seems they have it pretty well worked out.

In a similar fashion, Chris and I divide the duties of erecting the tent and cooking dinner.

We are headed in the same direction and we must say, we are glad to have companions. Poor Chris. The first two hours of every ride consist of me belting out Frank Sinatra "Gold" and nearly every song from Sweeney Todd. After that, I le pant le puff up hills, swear at them like someone who has burned a casserole or stubbed their toe. The remainder of the day goes like this: 15 mph winds are going "wah wah" in our ears.
I yell, "LOOK, BONES!"

To have others along for the ride that are not only cheerful and full of zeal, but also versed in literature and history, is a welcome change.

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