It all started off with a small announcement in the community activities paper: "First Annual Fondo."
"A scenic journey through pine trees, mountain landscape and luscious lake country. Recreational bicyclists and professionals alike will enjoy this fun 85-mile ride through some of the most beautiful country Oregon has to offer." I was intrigued. I love to bike! My 1988 Schwinn emerald-green-with-black-splatter-paint mountain bike has taken me lots of fun places: the video rental place, the coffee shop, the park. Why not majestic, scenic beauty?
I imagined myself cruising past a clear blue lake and waving at the kids with fishing poles. I casually told my husband this Fondo thing would be a great adventure — like hang gliding or hiking K2. But he agreed with me. "Oh, but it’s next month," I read. "We’d have to train pretty hard." He agreed again. What? I was not actually expecting agreement, so this meant I better up-the-ante.
"If we are really going to ride in a bicycle rally we should ride a tandem!" Well … he agreed again! His friend has a tandem we could use. Oh my gosh.
Five hundred and fifty dollars later, I was a dedicated cyclist with a helmet, padded knickers, a "don’t kill me" neon-yellow jersey, and a tandem bicycle with new brakes and tires.
It is a far cry from my Schwinn; it has tiny tires and hooked handle bars because it is a genuine racing tandem. Who knew there was such a thing?
My daughters’ pediatrician heard that we signed up for the 85-mile Fondo on a tandem and his face spread into a wide grin, "This, my friends, will be epic. This is really going to test your marriage." Ha-ha! Great.
But if anything, we are positive people. We’ve been riding bikes since we were babies. No big deal. I was sold. And this tandem, I thought, would be really fun! So who cares that I just had a baby six months ago? Or that my husband is three times heavier than Lance Armstrong?
This would be an adventure we can talk about for years, plus we’ll get in shape — immediately. And anyway, 85 miles isn’t that far. You just take them one at a time.
Training … our first day was dedicated to getting comfortable on the bike. With that in mind, we took our tandem racing bike, our new helmets, and padded shorts up a mountain and decided to ride around it — 20 miles.
Don’t ask me how we conceptualized going from zero experience to 20 miles on our first day. That would just take the fun out of it.
Well, we got on that bike and started rolling downhill, and let me tell you — you start communicating really fast once you realize you’re going 45 miles an hour and keeping pace with that Isuzu Trooper you thought was passing. And that’s going down a hill! Wait for the incline!
As the bike nosed up into the hills we were like two marshmallows, huffing, puffing and gasping up the highway. Where did all the oxygen go? We clicked through the gears, and cranked those peddles around in such a blur you couldn’t even see our feet!
And for all that energy, we moved about a foot every seven seconds. At that point I was sucking down water while the sweat poured down my face, across my back and into my adult diaper … I mean, through those nice new professional padded knickers.
But we made it! Yes, we did! And so today, I am writing this article standing up.
And yet, I feel really good. Encouraged. Bring it on — all 85 miles! So what if I don’t sit for a month? Ha! I’ve been there with childbirth!
I am learning to ride a tandem bicycle with my husband.
And with that in mind: Listing presentation? Ea-sy. Follow-up calls? Vanilla. Buyers want to see that house again? OK. Drop-bys? Maybe drop-bys ain’t that bad after all.