In which it rains, it is hot, Girl Bike Night Goes Aloha, some members of Rumbletime meet for breakfast at Platte River State Park, and most importantly, I have to say goodbye to the beloved family cat, Mikesch.
After being in Red Cloud (Willa Cather's hometown) while on BRAN, I decided I needed to re-read My Ántonia.*
In just the introduction, I'm compelled to stop reading in order to transpose a few choice sentences.
As Cather & Jim are on the train, as adults, returning to "Black Hawk":
We were talking about what it is like to spend one's childhood in little towns like these, buried in wheat and corn, under stimulation extremes of climate: burning summers when the world lies green and billowy beneath a brilliant sky, when one is fairly stifled in vegetation, in the color and smell of strong weeds and heavy harvests; blustery winters with little snow, when the whole country is stripped bare and gray as sheet-iron. We agreed that no one who had not grown up in a little prairie town could know anything about it.
Jim, the novel's narrator, describes his arrival in Nebraska:
There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made. No, there was nothing but land -- slightly undulating, I knew, because often our wheels ground against the brake as we went down into a hollow and lurched up again on the other side. I had the feeling that the world was left behind, that we had got over the edge of it, and were outside man's jurisdiction. I had never before looked up at the sky when there was not a familiar mountain ridge against it. But this was the complete dome of heaven, all there was of it.
If we never arrived anywhere, it did not matter. Between that earth and that sky, I felt erased, blotted out.
It's a good thing I'm re-reading this. I didn't appreciate it as much before as I do now. That ground definitely undulated; twas evident on a bicycle. There were some tough climbs going into Red Cloud, with a relentless headwind to boot.
A house from one of the families in My Ántonia.
*Oh, go get the paper-printed version. That way, you can take it with you.
Then utter downpour, with 50 mph wind gusts and pea-sized hail to boot. The streets were washed out, I saw a few branches fall, but I kept on going, fearing worse -- possibly larger hail.
Helmets are good for more than protection from falls. The worst hailstone hit was in the pit of my elbow. That stung.
It's not so easy to see, but I poured a nice lake out of my shoes. I also wrung my pants out of their dripping wetness. Good thing my trusty Re-Load kept my change of clothes (and I brought a change of everything, mind you) and my camera high & dry.
By the time I'd changed, the sun was out again.
Now, at 8:30 PM, it's still 88 degrees, and the heat index has finally dropped from 103 an hour ago to 99. Allegedly, we're rocking a dew point second only to Miami.
Evening plans shifted around a few times tonight, but Felice called at just the right time for an FAC ride out to Eagle. We were lucky to have the shack on the MoPac to ourselves for a nice long session with some PBR before continuing on to the One-Eyed Dog. Cheers to best friends!
The Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska, with overnights in Trenton, Cambridge, Alma, Superior, Wymore, Humboldt, and Syracuse, and visits to many towns in between.
It rains, the greens are plentiful, Aki has a birthday, and I get ready to leave town. Abbreviated, because I start BRAN (the Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska) today. Expect a Biketacular Week 8.
Check out the Freestyle 50 tonight at Screen Ink (press coverage here). After tonight's First Friday, I'm heading out on the road for 7 days of Bicycle Riding Across Nebraska. Peace, be safe, and get out and enjoy the weather.
Le Quartier pizza crust with a sautéed portabella & caramelized onions, fresh tomato, Parmesan & pecorino romano.
Strawberry from Princeton Produce, consumed with Le Quartier bread, Branched Oak Farm Quark, and Shadowbrook Farm pea shoots while watching the Capital City Criterium.
"Cheesecake" made with shortbread, sweetened quark, and fresh strawberries.
Roasted beet, arugula & chèvre sandwich with a cup of Cultiva coffee at thé Cup.