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Wheels on the bike go round and round 13: And so it begins
by Mike Jennett
2009-06-08 06:51:09
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This is it.

The Big One.

Forget about whether it’s Day 1 or Day 2 or Day whatever – this is the morning when the pedals go down for the first time and the wheels on the bike go ‘round and ‘round.

It is whilst I am dressing that I become aware of an apparel emergency. Either my cycling shorts have shrunk considerably or my body has expanded and I feel like a large potato in a small sack.

The mirror on the door clearly shows which has occurred and I am perturbed to notice parts of my anatomy that I do not wish others to see. Well, not under these circumstances. There’s a time and a place…

No amount of bodily re-arranging cures the problem or even offers a temporary solution, so I have to wear the hiking shorts. Everyone else will be wearing uniform black spandex cycling shorts and I will be dressed in gray hiking wear. Wonderful.

Breakfast is reasonably minimalist and coffee is absent but, after a particularly aggressive expedition, I find it lurking in the corner, guarded by two brown short men who apparently think of it as a personal possession.

Looking around, I still find it difficult to recognize faces, but I wave at some and say hello to Tracy’s parents then sit with Harry the Liverpudlian until it’s time to get under way to the beach.

The smell of sunscreen and metallic clacking from cleats on concrete fills the air outside. Riders hurry their bags to the luggage truck, rush to top up their tires from wheezy air pumps and chatter nervously. They talk about resetting cycle computers, quantities of water, cue-sheets and worry about the route. I worry about my shorts.

Today’s route is fairly innocuous. A few hills comprising a frightening 3,100 feet of climbing and 79 miles of road in total, of which we’ve already done around 5 - so I’ll make it all the way. Tomorrow will not be so good and I may see Indio through the windows of the van.

There’s a sense of anticipation as we line up in pairs and then leave. Slowly, we ride 2 miles through back streets, stopping at all red lights and stop signs until turning onto the ocean path and finally arriving at Manhattan Beach Pier.

It’s wheel-dipping time.

Read more at: www.mikeonwheels.com OR www.wheelsonthebikegoroundandround.blogspot.com   

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