First rule of thumb. Bikers talk trash, and they can never be trusted. Either they will drop you with great pleasure (cyclist slang for leaving you in the dust) after falsely assuring you that the ride is an easy spin —a mere “recovery” ride —or they will make you suffer immeasurably trying to keep up.
Bruce is no exception. His speciality is blowing your doors off on steep, nasty, short hills and leap frogging in direct violation of Rule # 38 from www.velominati.com/the-rules. His definition of fun is the kind where your hair sticks to your scalp in a plastered-down, hot oily mess and vehicles blow smelly fumes in your face. Your face glows demonic red from exertion and ghastly pale white from exhaustion all at the same time. Your feet burn. Your clothing sticks to you and your bum chafes. Never mind that you put gobs of Hoo-Ha Ride Glide on your Betty Boo Down There.
However, because I try my best to refer to Rule #5, “Harden the F___ Up,” in deference to the gods of cycling yore, I acquiesce once again to my dear husband’s siren song. Besides, the clincher is that Pai is taking us on a visit to her home village of Ban Pin, about 33 km south of Phayao. Like a dutiful patient being led to electroshock therapy, I don my full face helmet, leather jacket, boots, and gloves, and climb on the back of the red devil Honda.
Then, oh no! now the sun's burning up our back sides because we are erroneously going east, which warrants a belated phone call to DC for further directions. Feeling doomed, we schlep south, backtracking with the sun laser-beaming our right sides until we are finally northbound again with the sun spiraling downwards, along with our moods. We arrive home thoroughly baked. What should be a two-hour trip has turned into a Mad Max four-hour odyssey. By this time, I want to rip off my full face shield helmet, rip my beloved's head off as well, trash my leathers along the road in violation of Rule # 77, and ride naked and screaming down the road. Will I never learn? I guess I should refer myself to Rule # 81 - never talk it up, and as always, Rule # 5.
After all, we did get home alive, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Pai and her gracious family for a truly wonderful day in the village. Khob khun ka (thank-you).