after a dramatic week and a near cancellation, the caravan of bikes, kids and food converged at the iron horse trail. miraculously there were more adult riders than kids. with flashlights strapped on to the handlebars we pedaled off, immediately entering the pitch black of a two mile tunnel. not surprisingly, i was apprehensive. interspersed among the kids we pressed forward with the teeniest speck of light, literally at the end of the tunnel to beckon us. squeals, laughter and the sound of tires crunchy on the gravel echoed around us. every now and then you would feel the wet sliminess drip on you from above, eliciting more screams. eyes adjusted to the darkness. several riders double dared each other to turn off their flash lights. the light grew brighter until we were free of the stifling, musty space.
the next 20 miles were a fairly easy ride but the length killed all of us as well as the slow pace. laura* and i dropped back to ride with one of the young men in our ward. troy was easily distracted by the scenery and required a lot of coaxing. laura would encourage him by saying she was right behind him. at one point, we said we smelled the food (our reward waiting at the end of the ride) and he eagerly pedaled faster than we had seen all morning. after a few miles he realized our bluff. we cheered him on until the very end.
world war II veteran frank rogers was among the riders. he makes the trip every year. he was decked out in a burgundy velour suit over a button up shirt. a mini rear view mirror was duct tapped to his glasses and he carried every possible thing on the back of his bike… including a cell phone that kept ringing. he checked in with his sweetie several times during the ride.
when we were almost finished i felt an intruder in my sports bra. without stopping i maneuvered to get the bug out. i thought i had succeeded until i felt something bite/sting/poke my underarm. i looked in my shirt (again, without stopping) and saw a HUGE beetle looking back at me. the next part happened all so fast. i screamed/jumped and threw my bike while saying, “sorry troy!” and ripped off my shirt. i started flailing it around like a crazy woman. the beetle flew after me and i ran in circles and prayed that the bishop didn’t come around the corner on the trail behind us. after the situation was under control i calmly put my shirt back on, got back on my bike, and resumed the trek as if nothing had happened. hopefully troy wasn’t too traumatized!
*laura is featured in the upper right corner with a carrot in her mouth.