Friday, October 9, 2009

Journal Excerpt From the Ride of Life and Death, April/May 2008

"A triathloner joined us for a mile or so into Dana Point and led us to a picnic bench where we broke for lunch. Brett fed the squirrels and made pictures while I regrouped and ate quietly. We had a long way to go and I would need all my energy.
We started out into the wind and eventually made it to San Clemente, which proved to rival San Fran in frequency of hills. This leg was highly underestimated and we went up and down and up and down.
We burst through the last of them and into San Onofre and Trestles, the coast to our right and I-5 and its never ending traffic to the left. The stretch from trestles to camp pendleton had its obvious advantages - almost no cars, beautiful scenery and nobody around. A hill that seemed to last about 10 miles without ever showing signs of its incline threatened to break the serenity along with our backs. There was no stopping at this point though, there was nothing between there and the Zeigler home in Oceanside.
We hit Camp Pendleton, which was a great relief. Fourteen more miles, is all I thought. I had somewhat of a realization as I was pushing each pedal in front of the next -> I need to finish this. One way or another. There were options, thats for sure. I could finagle some way to get a ride, maybe hitchhike, my mind raced with options. I bet they could drive us to the end of the base if I say I can't make it, I thought. The sun was starting to break the gloom and the eddy was breaking down, the day was shedding the clouds and transitioning into a nice evening. The less I tried to think about riding, the more I did. I focused on getting to the points that Brett rolled by. Humvees lumbered past me as I lumbered on. The road blurred into a smooth grey vision broken by the occasional dead rattlesnake. we passed a large number of firing ranges, hearing the sputter of bullets. I tried to imagine being as tired as I was in a strange place with my life in danger. We rolled past houses and playgrounds with the sounds of gunfire all around. We stopped for a while but went nowhere and did nothing. It felt like we were in another country.
Getting off the bikes that day was actually hard to do. You commit to doing something and you want it so bad that when it comes time to step off, it takes a moment. That night, I went to bed knowing we had the luxury of sleeping in. Another 1/2 day of riding and it would be over."