Friday, August 26, 2016


#10 West Cummington

Hormones and adrenaline mask the feeling of missing that is a way of life. Just how much am I missing? I slide a hand under map-flap and paw at the inside of my handlebar bag. Legs never ceasing to cycle, I push the approximation of food toward my mouth and it disappears. 
With my hand in the bag I could feel the outlines of a brick shape. 
During the last stop, the screen blinding me, squinting at the picture of my daughter. Ear-to-ear smile. Pride at the accompanying successful potty message. Honored at being it's recipient. Privilege; to be included, despite not being their.

I pull a foil wrapped hand pie from my bag and nibble one corner of it's pyramidal shape. The foil and inner layer of parchment are held lightly, each crumb cradled delicately. Occasionally, my teeth sink into foil and I bite my lower lip to offset the confusion of my molars. Moving the foil around in my hand for a better angle, the ridges feel like cartilage and freckles. The light of my head lamp reflects off the foil beneath my chin and flashes hazel and pink. The subsequent floaters roam my vision and outline the silhouette of a heart shaped face with bangs.
I take another nibble of the corner; the date, chocolate and cashew filling flakes into my mouth in chunks.
The white veins of the parchment paper can be traced with my forefinger. After being bent, unbent and re-bent again to match the shape of the hand-pie.

Parchment, foil, hand-pie. All formed together by my left hand closing carefully and placing, creases up, back into the bag in front of me. With my headlamp on, I'm staring down, but passed my queue sheet. The hunger won't leave. It sits there, right in front of me. I increase my cadence.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


#6 Searsburg

Three point seven eight five liters, move the decimal point to the right 3 spaces for milliliters. I do this european conversion so often that it's hard not to. It's the constant chatter that goes on in my brain, a distraction from whatever subconscious desires I have from moment to moment. In this moment there's no need to delay emptying the half full contents of the gallon water jug in front of me. Nonetheless, I'm stuck in the same situation I was at the last controle.

The jug is on the darkly stained wooden railing that surrounds the general store, the general store is perched on a hill. When a rider enters the parking lot from the west, as prescribed by the queue sheet, their trajectory wouldn't allow for them to miss the sweating cloudy plastic container.
It's meant for me.
When I summited Searsburg I took a long pull, when I stopped half-way up to Searsburg I took two, when I turned from route 100 to route 8; three short ones.

A drop rolls down the jug and etches it's way through the fine dimpled maze that gravity forces it to take. At each dimpled junction it hesitates and negotiates it's own capillarity. It never reaches a conclusion, this drop, or at least I don't wait for it too.

I exit the general store, crumple the receipt into my palm using the thumb and forefinger of my right hand while reaching for the empty jug on the railing. The full jug in my left hand partially collapses when I pull water past my my sunblock smeared lips. I stand in the shade of the general store and pulled three times and crumple the empty jug in right hand against my chest  at the same time. I put the three quarter full jug down where the half empty one had been.
This seems right. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rest Stop

#3 Stephentown
"The guy on the bike left about an hour ago"
Hair pulled back tight in a ponytail, it's easy to see the bit of dry skin that's flaking off around the convenience store clerk's hairline. As she brings her absent gaze back from the digital clock on the register, her eyes focus on mine and she itches her scalp.
"Do you need a bag for all that?"
I'm lucky for a rare lull in counter traffic as my mind drifts to the cold air coming from a vent I can't see. When I come too, I'm asking if the Italian Ice I'm holding comes with a flat wooden spoon.
 They don't 
 The El Camino pulls up to the curb in fits and starts, the weather pours through the open windows in the bassy tones of the radio DJ. The back of my neck perspires more as waves of heat radiate from the Camino 20 feet off the curb, well away from any yellow parking guides. From my spot on the cement around the store, I can hear the Camino door squeal open heavily and slam as platform heels concuss and rebound from the curb to the overhang casting the meager shade I'm huddling in. The sound changes as the person steps up from the blacktop onto the curb and then disappears with the chime of a bell on the door.

 Chipping away the melting Italian Ice, thumb on the scoop of the spoon and the handle in my fist, I hear the heels exit the convenience store and enter the Camino. The Camino doesn't pullout. The DJ continues to talk. I finish my cold repast, rising from crossed legs and squint at the bike leaning against the brick wall of the convenience store.
"Get back on, fly home, the sooner you do the sooner you'll see your family again"