19 April 2014
It's a good thing I brought along so many chocolate bunnies today. I stuffed my front pack full of them. When he offered, I gave Chris a few to carry in his massive handlebar bag (he'll find them again in June).
The wisecracks were popping up like dandelions. It went with the weather: bright, sunny, slightly chilly, and a touch of wind after a week in which summer (80 degrees on Monday) did battle with winter (snow on Tuesday night), and spring won out.
The tone was set when Chris busted on me for looking ready long before it was time to push off. Then, when the four of us (me, Chris, Ron, and Jim, but not Snakehead) got to Pennington, Cheryl presented me with the Golden Bunny award for having led so many Chocolate Bunny rides over the years. I asked her to hold onto it until the end of the ride. After that, as we were about to leave, one more person pedaled in. Jim said, "It's a Johnny-come-lately," to which I corrected, "It's an Eoghan-come-lately." He'd gone from Kingston to Princeton before realizing he'd left his water bottles behind. Have I mentioned he's fast?
Being an early season, high-mileage event, the traditional Chocolate Bunny Ride is fraught with catastrophe. I was resigned to it and not at all surprised when Bagel Hill Barry got a flat four miles in. As Ron and Barry peeled off the busted tube, John K went off to find a tree. He came back while Ron was fiddling with the valve on the spare.
Cheryl said something obscene about valves. I gave her a bunny. John, enticed by the reward for questionable humor, said, "While John emptied his bladder, Barry filled his." I gave him a bunny. "Hey," he said, "If you put those in your back pocket, are they keister bunnies? I handed him another one. He whooped with joy.
We followed our traditional route up Stony Brook, over Mountain Church, across Ridge, and up Lindbergh. Here, I broke with tradition in order to get us away from the skinny part of Amwell Road. We went down Zion and through Neshanic. On Riverside Road, two riders cruised past us: Snakehead and his prickly colleague. "There you are!" I called out as he went by. By all accounts, he was supposed to have been with us this morning.
The Bagel Bistro had a few small tables outside, which most of us crowded around. There were more of us than chairs, so I sat on the cold cement and offered up, of course, the remains of my muffin, my "bottom." Cheryl nabbed it.
Cheryl showed us a picture of the beach near her soon-to-be house in Florida. Someone asked how far she'd be from the shore. "Twenty minutes," she said. I said, "In a few years it'll be ten."
Joe and Dave C were smart: they were sitting across the parking lot, in the sun. I went over there towards the end to try to warm up. Joe was eating a huge sandwich. He assured me that he wasn't going to eat the whole thing. I said, "No worries. I know you can hold your pork roll."
We left soon after that, and by the time we reached the traffic light on Amwell Road by the canal, I was on the grass, peeling off my outer leggings. There were a few off-color comments as people crossed the street to wait on the other side. As he passed, John said, "Now we get another chance at Laura's bottom." I gave him another bunny when we got onto Canal Road.
Cheryl and I started talking about next week's Spring Fling. She didn't lead enough rides last year to earn a jersey. I did, but I chose the wind vest instead. I lamented the uselessness of my long-sleeve windbreaker. It's more like a parachute. Cheryl said, "I don't ride with mine. I use it for other things." John, on my other side, said, "Do tell."
I handed him another bunny.
At Six Mile Run, as we were leaving a pit stop, who should come flying up Canal Road but Snakehead and his buddy. This time he stopped. He explained his absence from the Slugs as he pointed to his front wheel (a sew-up with an inner tube, because, um...): "I didn't get this fixed until 9:30." I handed him three bunnies and told him to share.
At the Griggstown Causeway, Eoghan headed for home and we headed west. Here, Dave C remembered a wrong-turn-u-turn that I did two years ago. He's been razzing me about it ever since. Geez, y'know, it's easy to get mixed up when one has to navigate the intersection of Harlingen and Harlingen. I didn't goof up this time, but that didn't stop him from asking, "Weren't we supposed to turn back there?" I whipped out a bunny. "Here," I said.
"What's this for?"
"To shut you up. Put a bunny in it!"
Jim ran over some glass as the rest of us got through the intersection at 206. Ron and I turned back, but the light was so long that Jim was halfway to being finished by the time we got there. Then we had to wait for the light again. Across the street, Dave was lying on his back in the grass, soaking up the sun.
At the southern end of Hollow Road, where I haven't been in ages, I saw a pair of emus and stopped.
Next to them were two alpacas and a goat.
Jim said, "You know they're not cows, right?"
"They're Bolivian cows," I said.
We turned onto Province Line Road. One hill ahead of us was another group of riders. We were slowly gaining on them.
On the last hill I caught up with Bill and Metta. Even though I hadn't seen either one of them on a bike in years, I knew who they were from behind, in time to have bunnies ready when I called out their names. I recognized Barb, too, having spent many a hilly mile in her wake. She got a bunny, and so did Michael T. I handed him another one to give to Bob P, who was already across the intersection.
On Cherry Valley Road I wondered if I had enough chocolate left to hand out to the Hill Slugs at the end of the ride.
At the Carter Road traffic light, I said, "Straight on from here." It was a free-for-all with a tailwind. At Moores Mill two more riders got mixed in with us. One of them turned at Titus Mill. The other went with us halfway to Pennington before asking, "Have you seen my buddy?"
"He turned," three of us said. He'll need to re-define buddy, I told him as he stopped.
Outside of Pennington we regrouped. John was ahead, but the rest of us rode in together.
"Wow," I said, pulling into the parking lot. "There was no drama today!"
Joe lifted his head, arms outstretched. "Drama!" he exclaimed.
Dave opened his trunk and three containers of Little Bugger Bunny Balls. That's the official name, he said. I said, "You'll never put a better bit of bunny balls in your mouth."
"Oh, god," he said.
"Never thought that'd come back to bite you, didja?" For those who don't know, Dave C is responsible for "You'll never put a better bit of butter on your knife.
I had enough bunnies left to hand out, with a few to spare. Now there was room for the Golden Bunny.
Moxie is watching me blog.
He just left. Jack has opened a can of tuna.