Thursday, 12 August 2010

Day's 51 and 52. The Return of the Wanderer

I was up early on Tuesday morning and we were whisked to Logan airport in Boston, arriving there before 9am.  This was unfortunate as my flight was not till 5.30 pm.  There was nowhere to store luggage so while I waited to check in, I hid my bike behind some chairs to facilitate visits to the loo and to get food and coffee.  I tried to blag an upgrade on the basis of my trip but failed miserably.  It was an uneventful flight which saw me deposited at Charles de Gaulle in Paris at 6am and I had to hang about yet again for my 10:15 to Newcastle.  I declined to fork out $6 for a small bottle of coke! As we walked to the plane, I saw my bike in its big poly bag being lifted into the hold so was relieved about that.  I was so tired by this time that I slept pretty much the whole 90 mins of the flight.  Mrs P was on hand to collect me but when I got home, I discovered that my rear wheel rim had been damaged.  It looked as if it had been run over by something heavy so a claim is in progress.
I slept like a baby last night and got up after 11 hrs 30 mins in bed this morning still feeling a little fuzzy.
As promised to the other participants of the ride, here is my poem.

The View From The Ass End Of The Pack

It started with the Cross Country

Reading Andy Perry's blog

I hankered for adventure

And thought 'retirement's just the job'.

I bought a bike and did some miles

It was good exercise

The uphills hard, the downhills great

My waist it dropped in size.

Then came the day, deposit paid

But I didn't give proper thought

To all those miles and all those climbs

Some advice I should have sought.

I trained as hard as I thought I should

Tho' the weather turned me blue

Then there I was in Astoria

A cyclist without a clue.

As we set off on our first day

It soon became patently clear

Having been passed by all other riders

I'd be spending my time at the rear.

I'd gone out of my way to cycle some hills

But nothing prepared me for

4 hours in the saddle into a headwind

At a miserable 6 miles an hour.

I didn't mind getting up early

To be front of the long luggage queue

And setting off first always gave me the chance

To say Hi to each one of you.

On lovely mornings I was there in my shirt

Enjoying the fresh Summer air

While everyone round me was wrapped up for winter

And I looked forward to my helmet hair.

I learned about pelotons, pacelines, 3 P's

As cyclists kept passing me by

They shouted 'I'm Slowing', 'I'm Stopping', 'On Left'

And pointed at danger or signs.

The warnings were helpful and timely and good

They saved me from mishap, that's right

But most welcome of all came the shout from the rear

'Watch out, there's a man in white tights'.

I've found some real odd habits here

Like cycling on the right

Your beer's too cold, you use too much ice

and the air con's on all night!

Who's ever heard of baysil?

It's tomato not tomayto

At home it’s pronounced lessure time

At least a potato's still a potato

The USA is so diverse

But some things are the same

The huge food portions never change

From Oregon to Maine

There are fatties wobbling everywhere

Eating at a frantic rate

They should be made to cycle up Joe English Road

Now that would help them lose weight.

There's affluence and poverty

Sometimes living side by side

And it seems that Native Americans

Have lost much of their pride.

The contrasts between this land and mine

Are many and they're varied

But the thought of so many having guns

Now that is really scary.

I've seen bison, cattle, soya, corn

Fields as far as the eye can see

But I'll not be eating cornflakes again

Now I know where you go to pee.

Now Phillip he was one cool dude

He rode a Surly Trucker

He hurt his arm and has gone home

Unlucky m’man

We have some fast folks that's for sure

You'd think they were at the races

That foolish lot always get in first

Then have to unload all the cases

And so to all the riders here

We've achieved something special it's true

To friendships made and the laughs we've had

I raise my glass to you.

But we couldn't have done this on our own

So again I raise my glass

To give a toast to Mike and Team

For making this a blast.

Mike Munk thinks that he's in charge

We know that's not the case

But Barb just goes along with this

So that she can save Mike face.

Mike likes hitting balls in fields

and taking photo's too

If your case weighs more than 35 pounds

Barb will be gunning for you.

The staff do a fantastic job

Pandering to our every whim

and if you need your cycle fixed

You'll be met with a big smile by Jim.

Karen is in charge of SAG

And supplies the foods to burn

She fixes flats and does route rap

She knows every twist and turn

Jeff's been known to tell a fib

I recall before Rushmore day

He said the road that went to SAG

Was easy all the way.

Debbie seems to get dirt lots

Without any facilities

She doesn't mind, she always smiles

At least I can find a tree.

So now we're nearly at the end

I can't believe we're here

That gives me cause to celebrate

I think I need a beer.

Tomorrow we go to the beach

Escorted by the police

Back to friends and family

Normal life is within reach.

The emotion of tomorrow's ride

Has nearly got me choking

You ask would I do something like this again?

You must be bloody joking!

This poem is copyright.  You can print it off to your hearts content but if you want to publish it anywhere at all, please make a small donation to my charity.

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