Thursday, February 14, 2008

A hard day's night, Part One: Day

Any story that starts with me looking this cocky is not going to end well

I realize that for you, my loyal reader(s), this humble blog is but an occasional stopping point in the course of your day – to skim by, smile at my foibles, perhaps leaving a comment, and then moving on to Gawker or the New York Times or something, or more likely wonder if I've forgotten it exists, given that I've not updated in two weeks.

But I haven't forgotten. For this blog dominates my every waking moment.* My days are consumed by conceiving new, and increasingly outrageous ways of humiliating myself for your amusement. Apparently I have the soul of a clown. As opposed to, say, a French chicken, whose thighs are probably much more tender than the molten bars of iron currently occupying my trousers my own (God, that was a terrible metaphor. What was I thinking?).

So the blog-silence of the last ten days is, I hope, well worth it. For this past Sunday, I threw myself into not one, but two over-the-top Euro adventures.

Extensive focus-group testing indicates that “Mark performing pointless feats of endurance” is a popular theme for Viewers of the Marching Fish™. With this in mind, Amynah and I awoke Sunday morning at 7:30 and fuelled up on pancakes. Then, donning clothing appropriate to the sub-zero temperatures outside, we mounted our bicycles. Our destination? The thermal spas of Baden-Baden, located an unknown number of kilometers away in Germany.**

Where the Cubists go to pray

While it was colder than our previous long-haul bike trip, the sun was out and the skies were blue. I’d lost my map of the Bas-Rhine bike trails, and we had none for the Schwartzwald, and so we simply followed the rural roads. Fortunately, traffic was light.

We began to notice, at this point that all the other cyclists on the road were going the other way

Trouble reared it’s head fairly early, however. My rear tire was, we quickly discovered, semi-deflated, and, it being Europe, nothing was open, so that I was unable to acquire some air.

Worse, Mother Nature, seeing my plight, endeavoured to help by supplying some air of her own. Baden Baden is northeast of Strasbourg. The wind, on the other hand, was in a great hurry to get to Nice, far to the southwest. I’m sure experienced bikers will scoff, but there were points when, despite the audible screaming from my thighs, I was going barely faster than a brisk walk, even as the gale ripped the little remaining moisture from my body from my eye sockets.

I think the giddiness had well and truly taken over by the time we reached... oh wait, it actually is called Moos.

The one map we did have had indicated that there was a route between Varnhalt and Baden Baden that would take us safely through the edges of the Black Forest without having to face any of its miniature mountains. This, of course, was a lie.

What's the German word for escalator?

The nascent cycling enthusiast in me is ashamed to admit it, but we ended up walking our bikes some two kilometers, straight up hill (the following downhill two kilometer section at 40 km/h downhill almost made the torture worth it).

When Amynah and I walked into the Caracalla Spa, she in a workout coat and I in my twenty year old, second-hand prison guard jacket, we were ripe enough that all the beautiful people parted before us like the Red Sea. However, once we were in the healing waters of the pool, all our troubles – and muscle cramps – melted away.

After two hours of bliss, we caught a train back to Strasbourg, collapsing into bed at 9 PM. But we were not to rest long…

(To be continued)

It apparently dominates certain readers’ sleeping moments as well. I won’t name names.

** 65 km, it turned out.


Natalie Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie Joan said...

I still find it hard to imagine that the chain smoking coffee srinking guy I used to live with is a "cycling enthusiast."

(Not sure what happened above...)

Victor said...

"molten bars of iron currently occupying my trousers" you say? Well, if your Oak Island royalties aren't enough to keep you in the lifestyle to which you've become accomanied, you can add another genre to your list of writing styles: university PR, Canadian history, outdoor adventures, humourous humiliation via endurance athletics, and now, homoerotic S&M.

Mark Reynolds said...

Nat: Even more shocking, I've also given up coffee, except on rare occasions. Cigarettes are, sadly, long gone, even if that makes this sort of thing much easier.

Victor: I'd consider it, but I need a good nom de plume. I've always thought Roger Moore was pretty dirty sounding, in an old-fashioned British sort of way. Shame it's taken.