biking, bonking, birth

GITAP is the only bike ride I do all year. It's a six day supported ride all around northern/central/southern Illinois with camping or a "motel" option. (Grand Illinois Trails and Parks) I am a motel person and I don't share a room. As soon as I finish the 50/60/70 mile ride I go to my room, strip off the disgusting bike clothes and then head directly to the motel pool where I soak my oil tracked body in highly chlorinated motel pool water. It's heaven. I then watch a little bad TV and change for dinner. At dinner we line up, jokes are told, weather is discussed, the motel organizers give door prizes and then drive us back to the motel where some socialize and drink beer but I opt to go to my room and watch a little more TV, fail to read and then sleep. I have suffered. I need distance.

There is always a point in the ride, usually towards the end, where I am outraged by everything, the trail, the heat, my bike, the hills, the cars, my companions and my stupid body. I want to resign, I want to be removed from this object that is causing me such terrible suffering and I want to persuade everyone how pointless the whole thing is. It's not just me and the bike but life in general. Life is ridiculous. Lucky for me I have patient biking friends who begin to feed me various glucose laden treats, ignore my temper tantrum and promise we are nearly there even if we aren't. Of course, I never have the map, my bike computer doesn't work, I have no idea of whether they are lying or not. This is a good thing. A very good thing. I am ignorant and easily lied to.

When I had my son 17 plus years ago I was in 72 hours of back labor. Towards the end I decided I'd had enough and I was pretty sure this was not how most people had babies. I was pretty sure it was time to call a halt. I didn't want to be a mother, I hated my husband, I was no longer willing to move forward, I had bonked. Then the midwife started to tell me how amazing I was and how no one else could claim to have been in labor as long as I had and how the whole thing was nearly over, especially the worst part and then she fed me some glucose laden thing and I got on with it.She had lied and it went on for like 20 hours past her little pep talk but somehow I forgave her and I took back what I said about my husband and ripping his eyes out.

On this recent bike trip we took a tour of a Victorian village in Rockford, Illinois on our day off. This is another odd aspect of bike trips, taking tours in spandex of things you would never tour in real life. For instance, Rockford is where the sock puppet was invented. Who knew? Anyway, after my friends put on prairie bonnets and we took pictures, one of our fellow bikers revealed he had delivered 4 of his children (all?) in his own house. I found this piece of information stunning. It also gave me the giggles because his comment followed a most peculiar spiel by our fake Victorian guide where he pointed out Mary's giving birth in a manager would have been challenging by demonstrating how she would have had to brace herself to deliver Jesus. There were two little girls on this tour who looked perplexed and their mothers looked weirded out while our tour guide managed to segue into some weird fact about John Gacy the serial killer who was tried in Rockford. Then my friend made his comment about delivering his own children.

All I could think was "What a terrible idea." I mean, everyone needs a little distance. If my ex-husband had made any gesture towards participation in our birth beyond abject apology and disappearing to faint after 60 hours, I would have ripped his eyes out.


  1. Oh, Molly, didn't anyone ever tell you where babies came from? That is why I didn't have children...not to mention several hundred other reasons. And what about that sugary substance we bikers eat. It is like heroin for bikers. Here eat and life will be much better.

    Keep writing. You are gifted. Here, have more sugar. You are the best. (How are my lies!)

    Hugs and much love...Laura


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