You don’t need to go hard. You don’t need to destroy. Well, you do, but today reminded me why social destruction - the act of riding hard but pairing it with the wine of social interaction and such - is so joyous.
It started with a chatty but stiff “TAP ride”. The name: Ernest said it’s because you ‘tap’ zee Tapanzee bridge. Not really, but potentially you could. I think I would prefer it if the letters stood for Turn Around Point, since you go under the bridge approach, then race up the hill and meet in the car park. To turn around. TAP = Turn Around Point. See? This is the kind of shit I think about. Don’t you WISH you were me?
Back in Piermont we sat down on the bench out the front with a coffee and a muffin each. He had the peach cobbler, I clutched the chocolate choc chip. It gooey-d itself all over my hands as I picked it apart and baby-birded it into my gob. The sun was liquid and warm as it tickled our legs and we chatted and chatted and gossiped and giggled and talked pointless drivel.
"I could sit here all day"
It was a secret conspiracy between us, and time oozed by. Neither of us made a move. Just sipped our coffees slowly and lovingly. Even when they were long drained, we didn’t move. Random people sat down beside us and we chatted to them. We observed the many conditions of the cyclists’ body that appeared before us. Their steeds and accouterments. Their guts and wedgies.
Finally, finally, we dragged ourselves away. It had been the longest, most leisurely time I had ever spent mid-ride at Bunbury’s Cafe.
"I enjoyed that."
"You know," I said to Ernest, as we rolled through Piermont. "Since we were there so long, this is actually not part of the same ride. This is the second ride of the day." He laughed. Dropping some truth bombs right there.
Then we GUNNED it on 9W. Muscled up the climbs to punish ourselves. I watched as E slowly and grindingly pulled away on the climbs, and saw a team getting ticketed by the five-oh at the state line across the road as a I reached the top of Alpine. Guess their sprint was a little too exuberant?
Next climb down and I TTed myself on the straightaway to catch up. I could see E up ahead looking back, then watched as he swung over and passed me in the opposite direction. I kept it steady at 24mph and hung Baby’s wheel out for the latch-on when it came. Two person paceline.
We gained wheel suckers, we lost wheel suckers. Nearly ALL of them were assholes who said nothing and contributed even less. Got a half-wheeler at one point, after E and I had pulled back to side-by-side. The constant presence of his yellow tire in my periphery as he half-wheeled between us made me nervous. He let us drag him all the way back. And I mean all the way back. From Closter Dock to the end of Riverside Drive. He never coughed. Never spoke. Well, not until Ernest swung over and back and started talking to him. Dude went to Piermont. Never ate a muffin. Never had a coffee.
Dude missed out.
"I’m thinking about the beans I’m going to grind when I get home," I said, as we started down 10th avenue.
"We could stop for a coffee if you want," said E, and I tingled all over with the anticipation of it. A real coffee. Made by baristas. Maybe even in a cup!
At 9th and 23rd we stopped at Joe’s The Art of Coffee and I sat on the wooden bench outside to watch the bikes while E went in.
We people watched as we sipped. It started to rain. But not heavy enough that it was bothersome. We just sat and slowly got our legs slick with rain and chatted about books and movies and Nick Cage’s weird career (the Moonstruck Diner was across the road), and Werner Herzog and all sorts of eclectic shit. Wetter and wetter, but still not caring. The water was cool and we were just shooting the shit. I slowly, drip by drip, finished my latte, then hid the fact that I had so we could sit talking longer.
Finally, finally I said that we should probably get going, and with a sad groan we got up. I looked down at the ground where my legs and helmet had kept the concrete dry.
"This has been very pleasant," I said. And I meant it. Sure, my legs were burnt out -actually started quivering when I walked in the door at home , so I knew I they needed some food - but I felt enormously content with it. Sometimes I forget that half the joy of the ride is the company and conversation. When you have nowhere else to be and you can set your own tempo. In miles per hour and words per minute.
That is the bliss that is wrapped in the Burrito of Social Destruction.
You gotta eat it up!