Friday, August 03, 2007

Baiso rivisited

I really wanted to go on a long bike ride. This week my boys are at the beach so I've been pretty free to do what I wanted and in my head "ride bike" was one of the activities I wanted to schedule. I really wanted to go back to Baiso because I love the climb up there. Round trip it's about 66km which I knew would be stretching it a bit since 55km was the furthest I'd gone this summer, but I knew that if I wasn't in a hurry I'd be okay. I invited my friend Alessia to come with me. The plan was to meet at her house at 4 p.m. so that we'd be home by 8 p.m., before it got dark. As sort of an afterthought I decided to extend the invitation to ride with us to this guy I know named Paolo. He's the ex-husband of a friend of mine and he lives about three blocks from my house. Whenever I see him he always mentions to me that he's available for bike rides. I don't call him often, in fact we've only been riding together three or four times, mostly because I decide at the last minute to go and just take off. I texted him a message to let him know that we were going to Baiso and if he wanted to come along he was welcome. He said yes and told us to meet him in front of a coffee place which was just around the corner from Alessia's house.

We picked Paolo up and the first thing I noticed was that he didn't have a helmet on. I'm a pretty free spirit but I hate riding with people that don't wear helmets! He said that he couldn't find it and then took off. He started going toward Sassuolo where all the traffic was instead of through Rubiera where there were a lot of country roads.

"Oh, I've never been to Baiso before so I'll just follow you."


We were almost at the road that you have to cut onto, the Via Emilia, where you have to share the road with huge trucks for just 500mts. He said we could take another road.

"Just as long as there are NO TRUCKS, because I hate the trucks". I wanted to trust him. He was local and even though he'd never biked to Baiso he had to know the roads, right?

One country road, two country roads, then on the third one he takes a left instead of a right. He's a guy and has a strong pedal and I can't keep up with him, I just figure he knows where he's going and follow along. Within ten minutes we're in the center of Sassuolo which is totally NOT where we're supposed to be going. At a certain point he and Alessia are so far ahead that at an intersection I have no idea if they've gone straight or turned right. I stop and wait for about three minutes and they come back. He just starts pedalling to the right and we follow. Now since we've hit Sassuolo we are totally surrounded by trucks since Sassuolo is known for their ceramics and tiles and these trucks are hauling them left and right. We just keep following this guy when all of the sudden we realize that he is leading us onto a friggin' FREEWAY. It was surreal. I started laughing like a maniac because I totally couldn't believe what he was doing. Alessia was right in front of me with a hand on top of her helmet repeating "Oh my God, oh my God...". I saw that there was an exit just 180mts ahead and told her to get off there. In the meantime we watch as Paolo tries to jump a couple lanes and go straight!

Once we're back on a normal road we stop and decide where to go from there. I stopped a car and he told us we were only 3 minutes away from a country road that would lead us to Baiso. Just as we're taking off Paolo comes up the same road exit that we had gotten off on...which means that he had to have backtracked on the freeway. Alessia has the excuse that she doesn't know him so decides that she won't say anything. Me? I told him that I really loved my life and that I have two young children that still need me and that I didn't have any thoughts of suicide lately but mostly, WHATTHEFUCKWEREYOUTHINKINGYOUCOMPLETEANDTOTALMORON??!?! The thing is, he didn't know what was wrong or why I was upset. It seemed totally normal to him. That's what he said, but I really can't believe that he really thought that. In any case I told him he was welcome to follow me but that we would no longer be following him.

We made it to the bottom of the hill, now we had 20km of climbing up 500mts. I told him to go ahead, there was no way he could make a wrong turn now, so off he went. We climbed and climbed and it was really nice and peaceful . Very little traffic and lots of cyclists going up or already coming down. We were almost at the top when guess who comes racing he passes us he shouts "see you in Modena!". I couldn't believe it...or maybe I could. At the top we stopped to fill our water bottles and bought an ice cream and then headed down. I look down at the mileage and calculate that by the time we get home we'd have ridden almost 100km. Hello! I've never gone past 80km in my life! The downhill is a thrill but now we have to try and hurry to get back home before dark. My muscles are sore and I had a moment where I just wanted to stop, but I talked myself into everything being okay. For the last 10km we decided to get on the main road so we could get home faster. About 5km from home I felt my back wheel wobble. Flat tire. Good thing I have a sense of humour here 'cause I started laughing again. We tried to change it but it was dark and I didn't have my glasses so I couldn't really see what I was doing. In the end Alessia went ahead and got my car and came back to get me. Total for me: 95km, total for her:100km.

A few good things came out of this experience:

nr.1 - I will never have to feel guilty again about not calling Paolo for a ride. Whew! Thank you!

nr.2- Today we road 67km and it seems like a stroll compared to the 95km. I think I'm on my way to being a biker.

nr.3 - I can still laugh about the incident and probably will for a long time to come.

1 comment:

anji said...

Holy crap, what was the man thinking?!?!?! I think this proves my idea that men really don't think the same way we do!

Glad you did it though! Sucks about the tire but at least you made it home safe and sound (and alive!)