I’ve been sitting here on the bed with the A/C cranked trying to get around to typing. Once again I’m totally exhausted and it’s hard to imagine writing. We’re now in Omaha and it’s officially halfway through the trip, which seems insane both because it feels like it will never end and because it feels like I’ve never done anything else. The rhythm of the ride and the rubber to the road has erased my previous life. The community around the ride feels eternal. But I suspect that’s what makes it so good – this is all quite fleeting, in every respect. And fleeting things are often the best things.
Perhaps that’s what makes the people in this world so excellent. The level of love here is only similar to those friendships I’ve made through art and music, places where people are similarly dedicated to the ephemeral.
Today was a good riding day. Very straight, through cornfield after cornfield, Iowa slowly melting into Nebraska without much topographical shift, aside from a faded Omaha skyline in the distance which felt impressive given the homogenous landscape of the past two days.
Our “Wood Ducks” riding group (group 3, the slow-ish group) was really clipping along at a good pace. We have found our stride, which I think comes from getting to know each other better. My hangups are still the slow, sharp turns, and they continue to challenge me, but no one in our group gives me shit about it. Getting better at listening to the bike though, and learning when to change speeds without having to look at the speedometer. Oh, this sound means upshift. That sound means downshift. And the whole clutch control / friction zone thing. Worked on that for a while for the past two days as we crawled through traffic.
Brittany Morrow, a young-yet-accomplished rider with her own story to tell (check out her nonprofit org, Rock the Gear) joined us on Saturday and will ride with us through Pike’s Peak. She gave me some great advice the other day after we rode braced against the wind (the same day I dumped the bike). She said when you panic, your brain clicks back on again, and usurps muscle memory. Porsche Taylor, another awesome lady and ride leader (who bounces down the road to her own 80s megamix blasting out of her bike speakers), said a similar thing to me yesterday (after we rode in the same sideways wind again) – stop thinking so much, have fun, and ride with the wind.
Yeah, we were getting a stiff breeze from the southwest for the past few days, rippling through it. Sometimes it felt a bit like being pummeled by those car wash turny-brush things. More than once I ducked down behind my windshield for a break, crouching at 70 MPH, navigating through the bug-spattered plexiglass.
The breeze waned midday today, as we burst through the cloud cover into a sapphire sky, the road cresting upwards. More soon…