Yesterday morning dawned clear and crisp. My friend Rich and I rode along the coastal bike trail. Because it was so cold, Mt. Susitna across the inlet seemed to be floating up out of the fog at its base. The ride across Anchorage was just to build up speed like the probes sent to the outer solar system loop Jupiter to build up speed before being flung on their way.
There is a bike trail all the way to North Birchwood Road, and then you are unceremoniously (we had hoped for bagpipes) dumped out on the highway. By then, you're almost in the wilderness, or at least, that's what I'd always thought while driving it. I mean I didn't think that every time, sometimes I thought about the difference between funnel cakes and elephant ears on the way to the fair. In real life, as viewed from a bike seat, there are a lot of on and off ramps to cross while the traffic makes minimal effort ( a minimal effort consistsof horn blowing) to avoid hitting you. Despite what you may have heard about Anchorage being bike friendly, the shoulders of the road were thickly coated with loose jagged rocks. About four miles along the highway I had my first flat. I fixed it, and we got ready to ride off, when Rich discovered he had a flat. Apparently hidden in the rocks was a windshield wiper assembly. I see now why they call them blades. By the end of the ride, I'd had two more flats, and, on reflection, maybe replacing my good road tires with much narrower ones that only cost $6 each was a poor decision.
The rest of the ride to Palmer was lovely, crossing the Eklutna Flats, and the Palmer Hay Flats. It was pretty, and, refreshingly, as you might imagine, flat. When we reached Palmer, I saw a bike shop and went in and bought an extra tube, a good investment that would pay off before we got home.
Rich has a friend in Palmer. She wasn't home, but she'd given Rich the code to her garage door and we went in to eat lunch. She had bought us some fried chicken. At that point we had ridden 58 miles and at the first bite of chicken, I knew my life till then had been only prologue. Being in the house was perfect as a little thunderstorm rolled across town while we ate and watched it rain. It had moved on when we left, although a few minutes of riding allowed us to catch up with it. It rained hard, but only briefly and the last couple hours of the ride were once again in sunshine.
*I don't want to paint too vivid a picture here, but after sitting on a bike seat for 100 miles, my manhood wasn't worth much either.