Monday, May 7, 2012

Rapture Rando Girl

"It's hard".  That's what Charley, the Clatsop tamanawis man, said about crossing the mountainous terrain between the plains and Murderer's Harbor back in 1948.  Trask made the trek anyway. And so did I.

Twenty-five years after Trask's time, the League of American Wheelmen won their fight for the right to paved roads and I revolt!  Here I was, off the beaten track, riding on Trask's tilted mountain by the river he'd have called Charley, experiencing the toughest, loosest, scariest gravel I've ever ridden.

Several hours alone in the woods, scared, having cried a few times from fear and frustration, I experienced epiphany after epiphany.  The first: I suck at this.  Or, more accurately, it's ok to suck at this.  Just suck.  Go ahead and do something even though you're lousy at it.
The Wheelmen eventually changed their name to Bicyclists, possibly due to a feminist revolt.  Feminism.  Oh, how I struggle with the idea of it.  I am a woman, empowered and equal, what do I need with feminism?  I like riding bikes with boys.  I often feel like I'm one of the boys.  So, although I believe in equal rights for all genders and orientations, I don't identify myself as a fighter for these rights.  Again, I revolt.

At the bottom of a long, very long, and frightening descent, I finally see the first female rider of the day.  I had been passed over and over by guys, but here was a chick.  "Girl Power!" we yelled in unison.  Wow, I thought, it's me and that one gal out here - we are some tough mama-jamas!

A little later, I saw another lady rider.  Then another, and another until finally, I lost count, but I believe that they - we - outnumbered the men.   Another epiphany.  Feminist or not, I am not strong because I'm out here alone.  We are strong because there are so many of us.  Women, men, cyclists, crybabies, badasses.

After calculating if I'd make it back to camp by dark and how the others might refer to me (girl with a basket?), I remembered who I am.  I am made of will.  So, I rode right on by as the siren song of "Bail Point Three" called to me. Screw you, bail point 3.  I don't need you.  I will, I will, I will.  That is my spirit animal, Mr. Trask.