I was just riding along.
I had left home at 4:30 and was making great time. I had a 2 PM appointment in Pacific Beach, about 123 miles away.
Past Dana Point I ran into a woman who was riding from San Francisco to San Diego. She was a former hotshot wildfire firefighter, and works for the forest service. She was riding pretty fast on a mostly loaded bike.
We started talking and she remarked about how different it was to wake up every day and know that you had to ride your bike. I was inspired by her solo trip. She had also ridden a big chunk of the north coast route. Solo. Like any hotshot firefighter, you could tell she was really tough.
As we passed through Carlsbad, a group of cyclists came in the opposite direction. I looked to see if I knew any of them. “I know a lot of cyclists in San Diego,” I said by way of explanation. It sounded pretty fake.
Another mile or so later there was a guy standing on the side of the road beside his car waving his arms. “That’s my best friend!” I said excitedly. It sounded even more fake. However, the person was none other than my best friend Michael Marckx. He had seen us riding along, passed, and pulled over. We hugged, then stopped and had coffee while the firefighter continued on. So, not fake after all!
On the way back from Pacific Beach I got hungry, and I stopped in at pizza port for a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza. I ate it in about 15 minutes. A table of five or six women sitting next to me stared.
I took my tray filled with crusts up to the counter. “Do you have any take-home boxes?“
The counter guy looked at the crusts. “What for?”
“These are dinner,” I said. I went back to my table and boxed up the crusts. The women looked disgusted. Or jealous. Or both.
There was another man off to the side who was also watching me. It was early afternoon, he had a small half eaten pizza, a bowl of salad submerged in a tsunami of creamy dressing, and five empty beer glasses on his table. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t think the salad was going to do what he wanted it to do, but I said nothing and left.
After all that riding the pizza would not digest and it sat in my distended stomach like a pizza baby. In Encinitas I got hungry for a smoothie so I stopped at the smoothie shop. To pay, I had to take out the pizza box which rattled as if it were full of bones.
“What’s in there?” the counter girl asked. I opened it and showed her the crusts.
“Dinner,” I said.
She looked at me like she thought I was going to ask if I could go around back and rummage in the dumpster. As I rode through Encinitas I saw a familiar face, Tom, the guy who works at Campagnolo I thought, but since he wasn’t wearing a bike costume I wasn’t sure. I stopped. “Hey, are you a cyclist?”
“Yeah,” he said.
“Seth,” I said.
We laughed and chatted and I continued on.
That was pretty much my day. I stopped in Oceanside and checked into a motel, 156 miles or thereabouts. Serendipitous meeting with friends, new acquaintances, and a pizza baby.
Just riding along.
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