Thursday, December 1, 2011

back issue #2: Utica

Utica Train Station

Not sure what this Utica

Rested, but still top-heavy with clogged sinuses, I packed up my camping equipment and pointed my bike towards Utica.  The roads gradually unflattened themselves, swelling into ever steeper and more arduous hills.  Huffing and puffing my way up what I estimated to be a eighty-five degree slope, I recalled a tidbit I'd read in a 'Men's Health' type magazine while waiting in the checkout line at a grocery store.  The tidbit advised that a  modicum of well-placed swearing during intense physical exertion could help one tap into hidden energy reserves.  (My vocabulary already tends toward the potty end of the spectrum, so this was an idea I had no qualms about trying.)  "FUUUUCK!," I shouted as I struggled to keep the odometer over 3mph. The suggested 'modicum of swearing' quickly snow-balled into an outburst resembling a Tourettes attack. "YOU...MOTHER...FUCKING...JERK..." I wheezed, addressing the hill ahead of me, "you think you're all BAAAD because you're all steep and shit, but you'll see...I am going to ride you like a FUCKING PONY till I get ON TOP of you, you FUCKING UN-SHADED ASSHOLE." Just then I noticed a couple and their young child out for a walk on the other side of the road.  "Oh hi!" I said chirpily, using my best I-would-never-swear-at-inanimate-objects-you-must-have-been-hearing-things voice. The couple paused, mouths ajar. The child clung to her mother's leg and fixed me with what I imagine was her steeliest staring-down-monsters-under-the-bed gaze. "Well," I panted, "have a nice walk, it's a beautiful day!"  Chagrined, I pedaled away as fast as I could, which was not nearly fast enough, thanks to the F***ING A**HOLE hill.

My uphill efforts did pay off later in the day, when the hill finally ended.  I paused at the crest to catch my breath and to survey the twisting descent ahead of me, which was easily as steep as the slope I had just climbed.  Using my well-honed skills in completely disregarding my personal safety,  I released the brakes and shoved off.  Ten, twenty, thirty miles-per-hour. My tires buzzed down the pavement and my panniers rattled tenuously, threatening to unhook themselves from the bike. As the odometer climbed past forty miles-per-hour, I whizzed by a "Speed Limit: 35" sign (getting a speeding ticket for biking too fast is one of the things I hope to accomplish in this life, but alas, no cop was around to pull me over).  I continued to zoom downward, the wind forcing tears out of my eyes.  When I spotted an intersection ahead of me, I reluctantly squeezed the brakes and trembled to a stop.  I pushed the 'max recorded speed' button on my odometer: 47.6mph

my max speed...!

I don't know what this sign was referring to.  The closest things to it were a barn and a  graveyard...


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