Thursday, September 24, 2009

There are other things besides cycling….

What? A weekend without cycling? HOLD ON! Is that possible? How? When? Some of my friends have staged an intervention. They have sat me down, carefully prying the handlebars from my calloused grasp and replaced them with a paddle. How the hell am I supposed to peddle with a paddle? What kind of cruel trick is this? I don’t need this! You people get away from me!!!

It is obviously not a cruel trick but some of my friends have said since the century ride is over, it is time for me to return to some of the OTHER outdoor activities I so love. To begin this process of “outdoor re-entry” they have planned a canoe trip as a required course of treatment. I like canoes…this could work.

Quick note: It has rained in Kentucky all week. In fact, jokes about Biblical proportions circle the office on a daily basis. Rest assured, the ranger says the river is manageable and not hazardous. I am hoping that he and I share the same definitions. If he is thinking class 5 rapids are not hazardous, then we ARE NOT on the same page and I will curse his name as I am swirling under a rock, drowning.

I was excited about a canoe trip, excited to get back out into nature (sans bicycle). Boat, paddle, cooler of food and beer all lead to a fun filled day….it sounds very relaxing. Yet, my friend interrupted my relaxed face to tell me that REALLY the trip is two days. We leave out early Saturday morning and canoe for 6-7 hours, then we dock wherever we can find space, set up camp for the night, and finish out Sunday morning where my car will be parked. I said, “great…what kind of campsite is it?” and to my surprise, my friend says, “whatever kind we make it…it is not really a campsite.” So…I need to pack some toilet paper and a shovel for latrine digging! Wow, when my friends decide to immerse me outdoors, they know just how to do it. Nothing says….NATURE….like digging a latrine at 5AM. NICE! However because of the primitiveness and length of trip, it means we have to pack everything we need in a canoe, a little boat prone to tipping.

Another quick note: A cold front is approaching this weekend slicing through the humid wet conditions we have had and creating cold dewy mornings. I should explain that I am ALWAYS cold unless it is 80 degrees outside. Most camping trips require me to carry at least 1-2 sweatshirts for layering at night, as well as other warm gear to cover any and all exposed parts of my bloodless body.

So the canoe trip is a “real” canoe trip where we will be out in the middle of nowhere minus cell phones, warmth, and bikes. We have to pack light but also carry everything we need in ONE canoe (I hope this sucker is the yacht of canoes). Apparently a foot heater is NOT a necessity and has been voted off the canoe. Also not allowed, my subzero sleeping bag and heated socks (yes, I have heated socks….I have small frozen feet for God’s sake!). Gear that is permitted…compass, small pack, food (minimal), beer (ample), dry clothes, fire starter, toilet paper, and my ipod. I have packed my running shoes because even on a “canoe trip”…I need to train for the trail marathon. I suspect I will have some woodland path all to myself.

This form of emersion therapy my friends have chosen is certainly anything but cycling. These particular friends do not cycle …so not only will I NOT be riding but even talking about bikes would be wasted breath as neither of them even OWN one. Wait! Maybe I could sell them on bike riding. Hmmm. I had better rethink that idea. They could tump me out of the canoe at any point and then I would be left to find my way home in soaking wet cold clothes. Abandonment will only cause me to latch onto cycling more and from there it will be a traverse downhill nightmare of “binge cycling” escalating my use to deadly proportions. How about I just concentrate on keeping the canoe upright, my belly full of food, and taking a lot of pictures? My bike will be waiting for me when I get home and our reunion will be sweet. (I swear I could quit at anytime!)

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