Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Friday, January 09, 2009

On the Water

Hilo, Hawaii
November/December 2008

My surf board was white. It was long and blunt, too. And it was a lot better than the board I rented for two days. But I was equally unprepared on the surf of Honoli’i with “my board” as I was with the rental.
With the help of the Garmin 705 I managed to find every paved road in Hilo County and a few more within 50 miles. One day while under the guidance of the Garmin I turned onto a road that seemed fruitless, but alas made a swooping turn through the jungle and under a bridge before the road suddenly became populated by lifted pick ups, SUVs, and people carrying surf boards and those out just to be seen. I rode by and looked over the precipice to see the surf crowded with little people on surf boards. Hmmm, that looks fun…
When my bike and I arrived back at our quaint little Hawaiian rambler set 400 feet up the hill, I had a mind to find the surf shop and figure out what was what in the surf world at Hilo. I found out very quickly how it worked. What you do is you get a surf board from somewhere (decline when they advise you to take lessons), tie the leash to the right foot if you’re “normal footed” and proceed to make a total fool of yourself. During my first “session” I sat on the beach with my leash tied to my right foot and watched as the seasoned veterans made there way out to the surf. Awh, easy. I walked into the water like a wily pro, got the board wet, jumped on and got thrown by the incoming white water at least three times. I finally made it to where the surfers were waiting for the waves and fell off a couple more times in perfectly calm water. From my perch the shore looked awfully far away and the water felt –hmm- deeper than the 25meter long, 4 foot deep pool at the gym. Then I maneuvered around a little bit and acted like I knew exactly where the next wave was going to be, which was 10-20 feet outside of where everyone else was... despite my apparent knowledge everyone stayed where they were, perhaps because of the farmers tan, but likely equally deterred by the fact that I was doing more swimming beside the board/under the board than I was straddling the board like a beached whale.
With time (over the course of several weeks) I managed to figure out how to catch the waves, although when I got to the part where I was to stand up the front of the board began a frightful pearl and sent me head over hills and swirling below trying to remember if this was an area with rocks and whether I was actually going to resurface in the next minute… Eventually I learned that if you can get just one hand on the board as you fall off you can be above the surface within a matter of moments, but if not, well… you learn hard.