I have never pedaled faster in my life. As you know, the faster you pedal when flat, the ever so slightly easier it will be to pedal once you’re at an incline of WTF degrees and counting.
For, like, a second.
M’s rear disappeared in the distance as I put my head and gears down and hauled up the Sausalito hills. My thighs were burning – and not in the good way – as I slowly pushed my feet in circles, thinking less I think I can, I think I can, and more, Never again, you never have to do this again! Also, we have wine at home! Thank the baby Jesus!
I caught up to her as we came around the curve, and suddenly, inexplicably, M was airborne. The wind, fiercer now, had just picked her up and wooooosht! tossed her off her bike and into the side of the hill like it was no big thang.
Ha! I thought. Poor M. That sucks.
Luckily for me, I thought that right as I came around the same curve to meet her and what do you know? Wooooosht! No big thang.
We lay there for a second, legs tangled, helmets askew on the side of the hill, bikes on top of us.
“Well that was awkward,” M said finally, awkward still. “Um, yeah. But not quite as awkward as we probably look right now, lying on the side of a hill in the dark in Sausalito,” I said. “Point,” M replied. “You definitely have a point.”
We girded our loins (because what else can you gird?) and remounted, chugging up the last stretches of the road to the bridge.
“The most important thing to remember is to just keep going, even though it’s kinda windy,” M shouted at me over the whipping wind as we approached it. “Hold tight as you come around the towers – the wind is pretty fierce when you swing out over the water.”
“Okay!” I shouted back, hair in my mouth, eyes watering in the gale, deeply disturbed at the thought of more wind. “I’m ready!”
We hit the bridge and suddenly, everything was quiet. The wind became white noise, the boat horns faded, even the sound of cars passing on the left receded into nothing. All I could hear was the sound of my own heart beating, and the noise of the waves running into each other down below.
All joking aside, there have been so many moments in the last year where I’ve felt confused or sad or weird about the way my life is going, and then there are moments like this. Where all is quiet and calm and I feel a great sense of both purpose and place, as if the Universe has slapped me across the face yelling, HELLO! THIS. IS. IT. YOU DID IT. NOW ENJOY IT, YOU WHINY WENCH!
I hate when the Universe is sassy, but I guess it’s sometimes necessary.
I felt amazing as we slowed to the gate on the other side, and then I felt blunt force as I ran smack into the back of M’s tire.
“The gate is locked. This is the way we need to go to get off the bridge, and it’s locked,” M said slowly.
“Um, so, we’re trapped? On the bridge? Is that what you’re saying?” I asked M, hoping that somehow she was lying or that I was just misunderstanding, or that what she was saying was true, but that she would follow it up by letting me know that Sparkles the Magical Bridge Fairy was going to come down and wave her giant sceptor in the shape of the TransAmerica Pyramid and get us the fuck off this bridge.
“Yeah,” M said, laughing. “I think that’s pretty much the situation. It’s 10:00 p.m. and we’re trapped on the Golden Gate Bridge.”