The Herald Bulletin
---- — In the previous episode of this column, my husband Seth and I were attempting to complete the second day of the Hilly Hundred bicycle tour in southern Indiana.
We had separated shortly into the ride and I was waiting at the first rest stop for him to catch up. I watched as hundreds, maybe thousands, of riders rolled up and stopped for refreshments.
But after 40 minutes of watching and waiting and guzzling apple cider, Seth had not appeared. He was not responding to my texts or phone calls.
I figured it was probably the appropriate time to start acting worried.
The Hilly Hundred is a highly organized and well managed bike ride. I noticed an information/support tent was set up and manned with happy volunteers. I figured it was a good place to start in my search and recovery mission.
"Sorry to bother you with this," I said to a way-fitter-than-me woman working in the tent, "but I seem to have lost my husband. And not on purpose."
She paused a moment. "Hmmmmm," she said. "Well...we really don't have any way of knowing if he has been picked up by a SAG (Support and Gear) vehicle."
"I wasn't thinking he SAG'd back. I was thinking he may be riding in an ambulance."
"Oh no — we have not had any ambulance calls this morning. So don't worry about that," she assured me.
I took a deep breath then, sort of a mix of exasperation and relief. There was only one explanation — Seth was apparently riding at about 2 mph. He was going to have to pick up the pace because we both had to be back at work in a little less than 24 hours.
I spotted him right then, during that thought. He was a member of a wave of bicyclers rolling into the rest stop. He didn't look nearly as happy as his fellow peddlers.
"You OK?" I asked a minute later, after we reconnected.
He laid his two-wheeled carbon fiber anniversary gift on the ground and glared at it. "THAT bike is made for a fitter person than me!" he spewed.
"Stupid bike!" I said.
"I'm SAG'n back." He said it as though it wasn't already obvious.
He ignored the sarcasm. "You go on as long as you want. I'll meet you at the truck when you're done."
And I did. I rode on through my favorite part of the Sunday ride — an excruciating climb up an endless hill in Morgan County park and the corresponding downhill run, an exhilarating wind-in-your-face, fast-as-you-can-go-without-a-motor ride.
And then I was done.
Later we talked about the day as we drove toward Elwood.
"Sorry you were stuck in the truck while I rode," I said.
Seth gave me a look of disbelief. "THERESA, are you serious? I was off the bike. My troubles were over!"
We sat in silence for a few minutes. Then Seth spoke again.
"I have a confession to make," he said.
"Yes?" I prodded. This was bound to be really interesting.
"The SAG driver asked me what the problem was, why I was SAG'ing back."
"Yes? And what did you tell him?"
"I told him my asthma was acting up."
I couldn't believe my ears. "You told him your asthma was acting up?" I repeated. Seth has periodic heartburn, cellulite, painful feet, and thinning hair. He does not have asthma.
"Yes. And he asked me if I had an inhaler and I said 'Yeah, I have an inhaler.' But he knew about asthma medications. So I just kept agreeing with the stuff he said."
"Oh what tangled webs we weave...." I began.
"I feel kinda bad about it," he said.
Somehow I wasn't really feeling the remorse.
"Well," I said, "we'll do better next year. We'll drop some weight. Ride more. Work on your asthma."
FOR SALE: Two-wheeled carbon-fiber anniversary gift. No reasonable offer refused. Or trade for heavy duty moped.
Theresa Timmon's column generally appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at email@example.com.