Forty Miles Of Hellish Biking



My First Day In Quebec,

July 2, `77

My stomach sounds like a cement mixer. Why do I feel like puking?
Roll over; forget about it. It’s still raining, and it’s in the middle
of the night. Jesus, do I stink. 4:30 a.m. and I can’t wait any
longer, I’ve got to take a shit. Whewww do I feel nauseous. My book
for toilet paper, and out into the rain I go. I hope I make it to the
outhouse in time. I hope it’s an outhouse! God do I feel rotten.

Two hours later: I’ve lost everything, including my strength.
Diarrhea, weak, sick…bicycling seems an eternity away. The sun is on
the rise, but do I, or don’t I? Boy do I feel shitty, but I’ll try to
ride anyway. Great, just what I needed, an uphill grind—what luck! If
I think pine trees, grass, flowers—my nausea goes away, but as soon as  a semi thunders by, the smell makes me want to puke. This damn hill is  coming to an end. My strength is gone. I can’t continue, got to rest.  I pull my bike over into the power line clearing, lean over my seat  and throw up. If I don’t lie down I will pass out. Clumsily I throw my  sleeping bag on the ground, and fall face down on top of it. God that  feels good, but I’m very sick.

Two hours later: It’s cold; no more sun. Rubbery legs and knotted
stomach, I’d better get going. Who am I kidding? I can’t ride a
bicycle. I still feel like puking. Every muscle in my body aches. What
to do? Hitchhike, I’ll hitchhike out of here, I will. Cringing at the
side of the road, head snapping wind, and eating dirt from the train
of semis’ backwash, anything would be better. I mount up and
ride–down the hill. I hoped for a town, a store, a stream, anything
that would make me feel less rotten, but at the bottom all I found was
another hill.

Two more hills and I was a zombie. I did pass a restaurant, though,
and I went inside. I asked for bromo, or anything else for my stomach.
I didn’t dare stay for coffee. I didn’t want to throw up on the
counter. I left empty handed. Push the foot down, strain the stomach,
feel the head rush of blood. Repeat, repeat, repeat, soon even the
monotony of the climb was gone. My mind would not react. I lost my
senses in a thick fog of numbness. I don’t know how, but I kept going.
All I knew was that I had to fight off the poison, probably from last
night’s sardines– food poisoning, a first for me. Finally, I reached
a small town. My stomach said no food, but I had to get some of my
strength back. I got a banana split, and ate it slowly. That was
another first for me; forcing myself to eat ice cream.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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3 Responses to Forty Miles Of Hellish Biking

  1. That was a rough sounding day.

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Chuckle, chuckle, it’s only a memory now, but my time in Quebec was very, very, uncomfortable; that is, until I crossed the river and arrived in Ontario. Thanks for the comment. Take care.

  2. ElizOF says:

    How you made it that far is astonishing… :-(

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