Monday, September 15, 2008

Pugsley's first birthday

Date: Sept. 15
Mileage: 25.7
September mileage: 360.6

My bike Pugsley turned one year old today. Although he was conceived sometime in July of last year, he wasn’t fully built up until Sept. 15, 2007. I asked him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday, and, predictably, he blurted out “Week in Hawaii!” I said my PFD check wasn’t that big, and offered him the next best thing - North Douglas beach party!

Unfortunately, we arrived at the wetlands right around the high tide mark, so there wasn’t much beach left to ride. We skimmed the shoreline and bounced over some boulders. Late-morning fog hung low over the water, but across the channel I could see a small window in the clouds around Mount McGinnis, with an unmistakable new coat of termination dust near the peak. “Look, Pugsley, snow!” I said, but he just grumbled. “This is boring. I’m tired. I hate the beach.”

“Ok, then,” I said. “It’s your birthday. What do you want to do?”

“I wanna go tear up some trails,” he said. “You’re always taking that skinny brat on trail rides. I wanna go sometimes, too.”

“Don’t call your little sister a skinny brat,” I said. “Fine. There’s the Fish Creek trail over there. It’s just a mud bog with lots of big roots and stinky fish guts. Your sister hates that trail. It always turns into a hike-a-bike.”

Pugsley’s spokes lit up. “Fish guts?” he said. “Does that mean there’s bears there, too?”

“Probably lots of big scary bears,” I said.

His rear fender started to wag a little. “I wanna go there!”

“Ok,” I said. We followed the delta shoreline beneath the highway bridge and started climbing along the creek. Pugsley enthusiastically took on his role as trail crusher and we cleared a nice long line of roots and puddles before a log grabbed his pedal and threw me sideways. I swore quietly as I crawled out of the blueberry bushes and started guiding Pugsley back down the trail.

“What are you doing?” Pugsley protested, “I can handle this!”

“Sorry, Pugs,” I said, “it’s just a little too much for me. I never said it was your sister’s fault she and I always ended up hike-a-biking this trail.”

“Man, this sucks,” Pugsley said. “What a crappy birthday.”

“Sorry, Pugs. I know it was hard to be born in these inbetween times,” I said. “But you remember last winter, right?”

Puglsey sniffed. “Yeah.”

“Well,” I said, “winter’s coming back. In just a couple more months, the snow will start to fall, and it will be just you and me again. We’ll go play on new trails and have new adventures and we can even come back here to Fish Creek. If the hikers don’t stamp down a trail for us, we’ll stamp down our own trail. What do you say?”

Droplets of rain dripped off Pugsley's frame but his head tube seemed to brighten. “Cool!” he shouted. “But this year, I’m driving.”

Sniff ... My baby’s all growed up.