The Summer Of George - Headlong Into The Petri Dish - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2020

The Summer Of George

Preamble: Hello CycleBlazers! Here is another oldie journal from the past, ported over from the "Other Site," though not quite as old as some of our others. This ride was our Hail Mary tour to go do something ... anything ... that felt like an adventure while deep in the clutches of the drab pandemic. Take a gander if you like.


There is a classic Seinfeld episode where George Costanza gets laid off from his job with the NY Yankees. He and Jerry are at a sidewalk cafe when George opens a letter from his former employer. It shares the happy news he's entitled to three full months of severance pay. When he learns of this, George launches into a manic description of the shape his life could take with full income and no duties.

"Full pay for doing nothing Jerry! I'm really gonna do something with these three months! I'm gonna read a book ... from beginning to end ... in that order! I'm gonna play Frolf ... Frisbee Golf Jerry! Golf with a Frisbee! This is gonna be my time to taste the fruits and let the juices drip down my chin! I proclaim this, THE SUMMER OF GEORGE!!!"

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That is exactly the wide-eyed fever dream my wife I had cooked up for 2020: THE YEAR OF CYCLING!!! Oh the plans we had, my friends, the plans we had. In March the Skinny Tire Festival in Moab, Utah; In May a 12 hour competition in Ohio; In June the National 24 Hour Challenge in Michigan and TOMRV (The 2 Day Tour of the Mississippi River Valley); in July a week long Adventure Cycling tour of the Tetons, Yellowstone, and Idaho waaaayyyy up in the mountains; and in August the two day option for the Ride Across Wisconsin! It was to be an Epic, Spectacular, Unreasonably Over-Reaching, YOLO kind of year. A shining monument to a Cycling Life Well-Lived.

SSSSsssssssssssssss ...............

Surely, you're familiar with the experience of a bike tire when it punctures? Of course you are. You're a biker. Why else would you be here? The dreadful sound of the air slowly, audibly, inexorably hissing out of the tube? The sensation of the rim gradually grinding against the pavement? And you realizing that all your plans have been changed without anyone asking your permission? Little did we know in early March that the air was already leaking from our Big Plans.

Last March we arrived in Moab, hankering for the four day Skinny Tire Festival, ready to get the Year Of Cycling launched. That is also the moment when we began to appreciate that viral mutations make their own plans, and laughingly brush aside your puny intentions. "No, you won't be riding that event silly boy." Interested in reading about that slice of 2020 in detail? Take a look at our journal about that ride here on CycleBlaze. In brief, as you've certainly guessed, it was the first Covid Cycling Casualty of the season.

Utah was the first domino to fall, and in a slow motion sequence we watched it topple into the event scheduled after it, then the next, and the next, until all our glorious plans were cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.

By Mid-August we stood slack-jawed, surveying the rubble of our beautiful Year Of Cycling, now a blazing dumpster fire full of broken dreams. To be clear, we have ridden our bikes a LOT this year. We are both on track for record annual mileage (Virus Mileage, we call it) and are as fit as we've ever been. But there was nowhere to go "apply" all that fitness, no event, no reason for it at all, and we were sick to death of riding the same routes here at home. As the old saw goes, we were all dressed up with no place to go. The only place we were going was stir crazy.

So. Not too long ago we looked at each other and agreed it was time to head out. Pull those touring bikes out of the basement. Check the brakes, organize the gear, consult the maps, make plans. Mask up and get outta Dodge, virus be damned. Sure, the body of The Summer Of Cycling was dead as a doornail, but there were still a few involuntary twitches from the corpse, implying that maybe it wasn't too late to salvage some shards of YOLO, and we have decided to risk it all, and venture out into the Great Covid Infested World.

Come along, will ya? We could use the company.

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Kelly IniguezThe Skinny Tire Festival is on this year and the weather looks inviting! Are you coming?
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2 years ago
Mike JamisonTo Kelly IniguezSadly, no : - ( Skinny is on our list for another g0, but too much (non-biking) stuff happening here in March and April. With a little luck we do have a ride planned in mid-May!! Stay tuned.
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2 years ago
Jacquie Gaudet"Sick to death of riding the same routes here at home." I so agree!
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2 years ago