My Second Metric Century



This one will have pictures, probably posted on crazyguyonabike within
the next month as I get my film pics scanned, and maybe a little sooner
as I snag pics off of people's digicams.

Total Distance Travelled : 111.56 kilometers
Total Time Elapsed: 14:48
Total Time Riding: 5:57

The fall weather is cool; beautiful. Ride vehicles smoothly to our
surroundings. Bike club on October 23 will go to Shishanlongtang.

Since he did buy my old road bike off of me and since he has said that
he really wants to try this riding lots sort of thing, I told my
landlord. Definitely wanted to go. Great idea! At midnight last
night when he still hadn't returned from the bar he's part owner of I
seriously doubted that he'd be joining me.

I woke up at 6:30, got dressed in my new blue spandex grabbed my helmet
and was wandering back and forth somewhat vaguely when my cellphone
alarm clock went off again (with me standing in the hallway) and my
landlord came out of his apartment. I was sufficiently tired myself
that I'm not even sure in which language he mumbled "you're going?" to
me.

"Yep. Since you came home real late last night I figured I wouldn't
wake you up."

(Actually, since he wasn't up I figured I wasn't going to go knock on
the door of his apartment and risk waking his kids and wife up at
6:40.)

But, he wanted to go. He didn't want to try the weird clothing on but
was willing to go for my spare pair of gloves. At 6:50 we were off and
I was giving him his first lessons in properly riding a road bike.

Important things like, stopping at traffic lights, avoiding the bike
paths whenever you top 20km/h, knees in, pedal consistently without
coasting, stuff like that.

Now is the time to mention that it has only been slightly more than two
years since I purchased a pink comfort bike on the grounds that it had
a Shimano thingywhatsis while the other single speed comfort bikes
didn't.

We got to the bike shop early enough that the gate was still pulled
across it. The sexy guy with the carbon bike was already there. He
was waiting for enough people to show up that he could reasonably leave
the bike and go find breakfast.

(Unlike most people whose real names I know but don't normally use when
writing about, his nickname actually is 'sexy guy.' The literal
translation of 帅哥 is graceful older brother but it means 'sexy
guy'. We all call him that. The other men call him that. Maybe it's
the almost shoulder length naturally wavy hair. Or the fact that he
tops 6 feet. It could be the huge calves, the flat stomach, and the
near total lack of body fat. I'm not sure exactly why we call him that
but he definitely deserves to be called that. Yum.)

It seems that the shop mechanics live at the shop. I guess, since one
of them is only 21 years old and this is China I shouldn't be that
surprised by him living the same place he works. But I was. He showed
up as scruffy and unshaven looking as any 21 year old Han Chinese can
ever look (which means about 5 hairs on his chin) yawning and looking
decidedly annoyed at these people who took a 7:30 muster call to mean
7:00 am and were outside talking when he when was trying to get those
last five minutes of sleep.

By the actual 7:30 muster we'd gathered about twenty five people
including one of the bike shop owners. I'm not sure I've ever seen him
before in anything other than riding clothes with his pretty yellow 27
speed road bike with clipless pedals. Jeans, t-shirt, no helmet, and
coasting up on a girl's comfort bike with a basket I had to do at least
a triple-take. Even if the t-shirt was for the 2005 Shimano Bikers'
Festival, the frame had _flowers_ painted on it. At least there
weren't any colored streamers off the handlebars. If there had been
colored streamers my brain would have risked going into full meltdown.

He was driving the truck.

We headed out a little shy of 8:00 am down Changti Road going west
towards the beach. Left turn south onto Hairui Road. At the
intersection of Hairui and Haixiu we met up with another fifteen
riders.

All told I recognized about about twenty of the people and actually
knew ten of them well enough to either remember their names or have
come up with nicknames for them because I couldn't remember the Chinese
syllables. Fearless Leader, Little Girl, the guy who lives near the
airport, Sexy Guy, the other woman who was in my first century, her
husband, the young boy with the fancy wheels, my landlord, the older
female bike shop owner, the younger male bike shop owner, and the
Mechanic.

We continued south out of the city, and up some pretty fierce hills.
As we approached the volcano crater park the hills got steeper and more
frequent. I'd just crested the last big hill and was taking a photo of
a hugenormous downhill when Fearless Leader came up behind me. 不错,
not terrible, he said, before giving me a warning to be careful and use
my brakes going down this one. Good road surface but lots of sharp
curves. Two words that weren't exactly praise have never before left
such a warm glow in me.

Later on he would not only say them again, but even tell me I was doing
a good job. I was still so swelled up with pride from the non-negative
comments that an actual honest to goodness -compliment- from him had me
reeling. And not a single person asked me if I was doing alright,
feeling tired, or sure I could make it. Except for my landlord. Who
doesn't count. Not only because he gave up at 65 kilometers but also
because his ideas of his skills were based on how much he thinks he
used to ride twenty years ago in college. While generally a nice guy
he is still the type of arrogant Chinese man that is really genuinely
surprised when a girl beats him into the dust.

Comments I got were more along the lines of "加油加油加油," (add
gas, add gas, add gas) "go go go," and "come on!" plus the occasional
invitation from Sexy Guy or one of the other racer types to join them
in sprints up steep hills. I could tell that they weren't really
trying, were giving me a head start, and were letting me come close to
almost not losing, but it was still beyond totally cool sprinting
against One of Them.

The road surfaces were fabulous. Nice smooth blacktop most of the way,
occasionally fairly smooth concrete. No potholes. Hardly any cracks.
Possibly because, unlike the route from Haikou to Wenchang, this part
of the island hadn't gotten pulverized by Typhoon Damphrey.

Since it was late October there were lots of wonderful autumn colors to
be seen. Green. Green. Green. Green. Green. Green. Green. And
green.

It's the tropics. The plants are green. The sky is blue. The earth
is some shade of red. The rocks are some shade of black. Always.
There were occasional pink and orange flowers, red flowers, fields of
dried out yellow wheat being harvested, shredded white roots (with a
delightfully nutty smell) being dried for animal feed on the side of
the road, but it was basically green.

We stopped for tea around 10am in a nondescript town somewhere between
here, there, and somewhere else. This place not only had the half inch
of sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of the glass they ALSO had
two spoonsful of coarse sugar underneath that. Who needs sports drinks
when you've got laobaicha? We snacked on banana leaf wrapped steamed
rice flour cakes filled with a mix of shredded coconut, peanut, and
sesame seed. I love this island.

My landlord arrived about twenty minutes after I did and had some
trouble coping with the concept that the reason behind his not seeing
me for the last hour and a half was because I'd been that far ahead of
him and not because I'd taken another route. I can see telling him
about other club events but with that attitude I don't think I'm going
to be inviting him out with me any time soon.

On the road again there were all sorts of things to see. Not the least
of which was Sexy Guy's butt since he was maintaining a pretty steady
20 kph and was frequently right in front of me. I restrained myself
from drooling while riding and allowed myself to take in other parts of
the scenery. Some of my favorite moments include stopping at a spring
and walking down the hewn volcanic rock stairs to about twenty feet
underground, seeing an ancient woman plowing a field with a cow and
stone age tech plow while we whizzed past on a variety of fancy
machines made out of titanium, aluminum, carbon, and special steel
alloys, watching kids get their hair cut in an outdoor market, and
sprinting up hills.

About twenty minutes before we hit the town where we ate lunch there
was an unscheduled stop and stretch to wait for someone who knew which
turn to make. I had unzipped my jersey to cool off. After asking to
take a picture of me, the male bike shop owner was grinning just a
little bit too much. Digital camera so I could take a look. My
cleavage was the very center of the frame.

I think we ate lunch in Qiongshan. I'm not sure of the name of the
town. Big place.

The restaurant we ate at had a nice selection of caged food animals out
in front for you to choose from. Ducks, geese, chicken, pigs, rabbits,
snakes, cats.

They didn't order cat and thankfully no one told why they were there
until after I'd had picked my way through the few edible morsels in our
snake and chicken hot pot with lettuce. I would have been okay with
merely avoiding the pieces of snake if it weren't for the fact that our
chicken pieces included the head, the feet, eggs that hadn't been laid,
and large chunks of bone. Or the way in which it was additionally
flavored with pig fat that hadn't had all of the hairs pulled out when
it was taken from the skin.

I mostly went for rice. Lots of rice. And the bamboo with pigs' liver
when it arrived.

About the time lunch was finished my landlord took off for Haikou. His
wife tells me that he actually did honestly have a friend call him who
was in town for the afternoon and wanted to say "hi." So, perhaps I
will be forced to believe him. At the time we all thought he just
couldn't take finding out that we weren't going for the direct route
back to the city but would continue wandering for a bit.

Across a one lane wide, concrete paved, top of a dam without railings
of any kind, deep water on one side, and twenty foot drop on the other
(I walked). Under the dam to watch the incredible force of the water
coming out the open water gates. Back across the dam (we just stopped
to look) and up some hills, so much gorgeous scenery my brain was going
into overload.

Right after the obligatory jet came in for a landing over my head (so
far this has never failed to happen on my long rides), two cars passed
at once and the massed clump of riders formed a paceline around me. At
which point I realized that although they were doing their lazy touring
speed and I was doing my 'hey, pretty fast," I was riding in the first
group, with the Spandex Brigade, following Fearless Leader and the
racers, and wearing spandex of my own. (Or lycra/polyamid and coolmax
polyester, which may as well be spandex.)

Shortly after that we got off the paved road and up onto the sea-wall
of the river-delta. It's so high above the water that it is almost
hard to believe the water ever gets that high. But, a lot of manpower
obviously went into building those berms so it must do it on occasion.
Probably during typhoons. Decorative stone blocks most of the way
except for the four kilometer stretch of gravel that the stone blocks
hadn't been put on top of yet. Even Sexy Guy with his oh-so-beautiful
carbon fibre frame was making envious glances at the mountain bikes.

During one of the slightly less hellish parts of that segment we passed
a semi-collapsed railroad bridge that had been dynamited during the War
of Japanese Aggression 60 years ago. If my automagic functions on the
camera were kind to me, I may have gotten some really cool pictures of
that.

I got off at Guoxing Dadao, went up Haifu Road, and stopped at my
friend Fu Kechao's noodle shop for dinner. Then I headed over to the
bike shop to get my rear gear cluster looked at cause the lowest gear
was making a funny noise. While stopping at a red light I managed not
to get my right foot completely out of the toe clips and promptly fell
over, causing no damage to myself, camera, or cell phone, but doing a
number on the bike. The mechanic had to spend about 20 minutes fussing
with it to get everything realigned and smooth. And I'm going to need
to get some paint or varnish for the three places that bare metal is
now exposed. And I have no idea what I possibly could have hit (since
I didn't go down that hard) to cause the little dimple in the frame
that makes me wince but had everyone in the shop (including the
inevitable people who were merely pretending to shop) telling me not to
worry.

Finally, I went for an hour long massage on Datong First Branch Street
before heading home.

My cat was happy to see me. And despite the fact that the little
monster has chewed his stitches open AGAIN and will need to go to the
vet AGAIN I'm very glad he's not somebody's dinner.

-M
 
R

Roger Zoul

Guest
Thanks for the post....oh...when you get around to webbing this, be sure to
include that cleavage shot :)

[email protected] wrote:
: This one will have pictures, probably posted on crazyguyonabike within
: the next month as I get my film pics scanned, and maybe a little
: sooner as I snag pics off of people's digicams.
:
: Total Distance Travelled : 111.56 kilometers
: Total Time Elapsed: 14:48
: Total Time Riding: 5:57
 

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