The road is a black ribbon running through farm fields, between grain silos, by split wood fences, over and over and over hills and hills and hills. It's a beautiful day for a bike camping adventure.
Two panniers on the rear rack, sleeping pad strapped to the top. My bags are packed with necessities. Dry socks, hatchet, swimming suit, toothbrush, sunscreen. Lighter, knife, flashlight, tent. My bags are packed with luxuries. German chocolate, nail polish, pillow, tortilla chips. Bottle of wine, hammock, journal, favorite blankie.
My bike was just assembled 160 miles ago, my fit is legit, my copper bell is perfect, and my generator hub game is tight. Loaded down, this steel beast is a dreamboat Cadillac cascading down hills at speeds that make my cheeks flap and my hair whip. On the uphill, each pedal stroke is like stepping on a gas pedal, the frame is so stiff it just *goes.*
The sun is high and it melts the distant pavement into a shimmering, liquid mirage. It's July, the corn's eye-high, waving in the wind as irrigation pivots wink in the light. Water bottles are getting lighter, I can feel my slightly crunchy skin covered in the minerals I'm losing as I sweat.
This hill is a doozy. I'm out of gears on my monster cassette, and it just keeps on going up. I can't think about the summit and the bottom of the hill is history. I fixate on the small blot of wet beginning to darken the gray cotton shirt of my riding partner, who spins up this endless climb ahead of me. As we crawl up, other islands sprout between my accomplice's shoulder blades, capillaries of cotton connecting them, forming Rorschach blots. Before the hill flattens out I see the Hawaiian islands, a bunny, and a sad pancake soak through the shirt. I guess it's a good thing that my muscles are getting the oxygen that my brain is obviously missing out on.
And just like that, it's over. We pull off to the side of the road, high five, and catch our breath. I'm smiling as the sweat runs down my forehead into my eyes. I wipe my face on my sleeve and saddle up for the last five miles to camp. Home stretch. Roll out.
A beautiful day for a bike adventure.