“A Black Cloud Following Me”

There’s nothing like cycle tour to get me ‘in touch’ with my body. Maybe you know those days where you make every excuse for the sluggish pace you’re moving at: “there must be a headwind, my brake pad is definately dragging, maybe someone snuck a medicine ball in my panniers.” Well, inevitably about four to six days into a tour my body goes virtually limp on me and starts to freak out. I stare at every slight incline ahead and feel my heart drop in my chest. Oh, and there’s one more thing–by the nature of my relationship with a very very very able-bodied cyclist–I watch my riding buddy cruise effortlessly away in the distance just as I crest the hill that provoked profanities in all three of my mother-tongues.

Jason and I have a couple thousand bicycle touring miles under our belts, and still, the aforementioned day rolls around and hammers me like it’s the very first time I’ve ever experienced it. Riding the Olympic Penninsula once, I saw the pinprick of Jason just swoop out of sight over the distant hill, and I lost it. Trembling lower lip and all, I simply couldn’t go on. Despite the brilliant evergreen forest that flanked the quiet ribbon roadside we were travelling, in spite of the golden pastures with idyllic farm houses and lethargic cows dotting the scenery and prestine blue northwest skies, I stopped like a stubborn child and fumingly resolved not to move a freaking inch. It was a test. How long would it be until Jason noticed I wasn’t flitting along beside him? A few minutes, an hour?  A DAY? Sounds dramatic? Well. It was.

I waited. I glared at the road ahead. I cursed his name. It didn’t take long for him to notice I was nowhere to be seen, and soon the shape of his loaded bicycle came swooping over the hill and back toward me. I was resolved to bitch him out. Let him have it. A riding buddy doesn’t just ditch. The bad day: it was all his fault! He cautiously pedaled closer. (He knows this mood.) Gently he asked if I’m alright. “No!” I retort, “I am NOT alright, I feel like there’s a black cloud following me!” He kinda smiled and very simply asked, “Martina, are you hungry? Let me get out some food.” I nod like a pouty kid and it all comes rushing out, I lost my posture and just started crying. The moment those peanut M&M’s hit my mounth, a meteorological miracle occured! Sometimes it’s just so simple.

Dedicated to the countless hypoglycemics in the world. And special thanks to Alyssa for introducing me to the word that sums it all up: “Hanger”

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