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Saturday, July 10, 2004

When muscles have been abused and overused, pushed to exhaustion, and carelessly left wallowing in a retched pool of lactic acid, they sometimes secretly conspire, the sneaky opportunists that they are, all the while patiently waiting for their sadistic owner to drift asleep. Once fallen to slumbering, they hastily complete their plottings of revenge against their protagonist, having schemed up many a vicious plan, whose finale ultimately climaxes in a collaborative symphony of severe muscle cramping. Yes, it is attention they want, and undivided attention is exactly what they get.

Early in the morning I dream a dream of immeasureable pain. My left leg is the subject of my agony, loudly protesting without pause, providing me an unpleasant experience that's almost comparable to getting kicked square in the nuts. Now, many things can pull a person from a sound sleep, but I think it's safe to say that nothing is as effective as a muscle cramp (excluding getting kicked in the nuts, which goes without saying). Yesterday's rigorous bike ride finally catches up with me, I wake early in the morning to some nasty muscle cramps. Fortunately, I quickly remedy them with some fast thinking and a bit of luck.

Today will be a travel day. After sleeping in as usual and eating a big breakfast of oatmeal and eggs, I jump into the driver's seat and point the van to my next destination, Fifes Ridge. This is another mountain biking trail that promises more exciting singletrack than was offered by Lewis River Trail, yesterday's biking adventure.

Today's route, taking me hither and yon almost 120 miles to the north, will be a mixed bag of wilderness and rolling country.

Heading out of Lewis River Middle Falls, I quickly find myself surrounded by a lush, forested landscape. To counter-balance this pleasant scenery, Mother Nature, not wishing to brighten my day today, has plopping upon my plate a distasteful porridge of morning gloom, for the sky continually threatens to drop its watery payload upon me at every turn of my travels. Fortunately, all I encounter is a light drizzle.

Initially the road (FS-90) is a pleasure to drive because it's a paved surface. After about 20 miles or so, the smooth pavement exhausts itself, and is rudely replaced by rough expanse of coarse gravel. As expected, the van takes the change in stride, for its new tires are deeply treaded and thwart any and all puncture challenges posed by the new road surface.

As I drive along, my tires act like metamorphic magnets, providing furtile ground for the fragmented road to jump onboard; unwanted stone stowaways they are, perhaps all wishing to relocate from this slow-paced, isolated place to a better, more inhabited space, where roads are busier and more exciting. Fast-forwarding three days into the future, I'm still picking small communities of stones from my tires, all hiding in neighborhoods nestled deep within my tires' rubber treaded recesses.


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