A bike ride across the U.S.
“Really, Ron, you must meet Jane. We went cycling in Wilson Canyon together. When we were coming up the rise, she left me in the dust, went back to the beginning, and came zoomin’ back, biked to the finish line, and buzzed me again. It was her 56th birthday, so she was doing a 56-mile loop,” Melinda said.
Melinda is my neighbor, and no slouch either. She recently did a bike tour along the Danube. In the morning their tour boat would drop them off, and at night, they’d meet at a predetermined spot. So, if Melinda tips her hat to Jane, I’d better get on the stick, and call and arrange a meeting. This was the hard part. It seems Jane is currently studying to become a pilates instructor, and the only time we could come up with, was Sunday afternoon.
When Jane arrives, I expect her to be wearing a cape like Superman. Instead, I am bedazzled by her smile, and easy manner. However, I do notice her calves. They pack a wallop. People who earn their living dancing pick up on things like that.
Before delving into her biking prowess, she tells me she was brought up around horses in Kelseyville, Calif.
“When I came here in ’86, gentleman rancher Bill Cary, had me workout his polo ponies. They were top rated. A good pony will drop its shoulder as you make your shot, and butt the other horse away at the same time,” she says.
“When did you get started in bicycling?” I asked.
“In college, bike riding was a feel good time for me. Then in 2002 I rode my first “Century” (100 mile) to honor my brother who died of brain cancer. In 2007 I did the “Across Nevada” ride, she says. Then she tells me about the biggie.
“When Katie, my sister, turned 60, we decided to cycle across the country,” she said. “We wanted a northern route, and a bed and bath tour. We put in almost a year training, and planning for the event. We averaged 80 a day, and it was a 3,700 mile ride.”
It all sounds so simple. You get an idea, Google it, and away you go.
“We had eight women, and 27 men. Twenty one states were represented, and seven countries. We left from Astoria, Ore., and finished in Port Smith, N.H. We even went into Canada,” she said.
Jane grows silent.
“We got up between 4 and 5 a.m, went to bed at 8 or 9, had our meals together, and passed each other on the road. For 50 days we shared our lives together. They were a big, big part of my life,” she said.
It seems that Jane and Debbie eat a special kind of breakfast food that makes them invincible to fatigue.
Next morning, the phone rings. Jane tells me she just did a 101-mile ride in Kelseyville that had a 5,500-foot elevation gain. I wonder if she has any of that special breakfast cereal she’d care to share?
Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.