R11: The Black Friday Christmas Miracle

So here it is, month eleven of a twelve month commitment, and I am not feeling anywhere near 100% health-wise. Various work and other commitments have prevented me from fulfilling my November ride until nearly the last weekend in the month. Then, an impulsive decision to ride to Point Reyes Station on a weekday before my 200k was scheduled (to test out the road resurfacing in Samuel P. Taylor Park– which was indeed smmoooove) turned out to be a very bad idea. I knew it was going to rain that day, so I have only myself to blame, but the ill effects from that ride linger even still, two 200ks and a full month later. Ugh.

Having followed through 83% of my goal, what was I to do? Luckily (and I attribute my thus-far success with the R-12 to favorable luck as much as anything), I had scheduled this ride with someone willing to take an easy pace, a solid rider with a lot of miles under his belt and someone with whom I’d done a few rides with previously so there would be no surprises in terms of pacing, mechanicals, or personality conflicts! John P.! John had already done two 200k rides in November (one of them being the sopping- wet Davis Dart), so it was very sweet that he kept his commitment to ride with me at the near-end of the month.

One other great thing in terms of a lack of surprises was that we would be riding the Jittery Jaunt, a route I had already completed twice successfully. Oddly enough, in spite of it being Black Friday, ringing in the Christmas shopping season, the roads were peaceful and relatively car-free. We also had fantastic weather– the thermometer at the Valley Ford store read 70 degrees!

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We really lucked out that day in other ways too, finishing with about forty minutes to spare. I’m not kidding when I say I was sick that day! I have never ridden that slowly, even on my very first brevet. Of course, since John had just done the Davis Dart, he was used to taking the entire allowed time for a ride, but it made me feel more than a little nervous at the penultimate control with so little time in the bank, and having a cracked rear fender to boot. Thanks again John, for stopping in Black Mountain Cycles and braving the testosterone- laden atmosphere to get me some washers so my fender would not make goose-honking noises all the way back to town. (I should add that the fender was still under warranty, and Gabe at Box Dog replaced it for me the following week. I should also say that for the amount of tough mileage I have put on my Pelican, only a fraction of it reported here, my bike has had very, very few mechanical problems in its first year. And in fact, I probably would not have wanted to keep up with the R-12 if it weren’t for my sweet, sweet ride, all thanks to Gabe and Box Dog Bikes, really.)

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my sweet, sweet ride, only a week old!

I don’t usually like to spend (waste?) a lot of time and word count tooting my own horn about how great my bike is, but hey, this is my blog. If you don’t want to read it, you can go read someone else’s! But seriously, I’m not kidding now, my bike is so dope. It is always ready for adventure, it even cheers me up on rides like this one when I’m not feeling my best. Before you suggest that maybe I have a slightly unnatural attachment to an inanimate object, I would point out that I’ve noticed a lot of people who ride their bikes too much (!) also have this same feeling toward their bikes, and frankly, why would you spend ten to upwards of eighty continuous hours with an inanimate object if you didn’t really, really like it? I think the difference with my bike is that I did not try to get the cheapest possible bike and then later realize I need to add things to make it functional. When I decided to get a Pelican, I knew I needed a lot of help with the build list, and fortunately (again, I benefit from good luck!), Gabe was there to come up with a superior build list for me and for the style of riding I said I wanted to do, and not too far from the budget I had to work with. Well, maybe a tad over, but I do not regret a single penny. Anyway, there are way stupider things one can spend money on, a point not lost on me on Black Friday, the World’s Most Pointless Shopping Day. These are the kinds of things that rolled through my mind on this penultimate ride of my 2012 R-12 series, as I struggled though and eventually accomplished the ride in twelve hours, fifty minutes… lots of thinking-time. Oy.

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