Set out in oblivious rain after all morning dragging knowing the forecast is for two days of it, any time is as good as any. Not cold, not at first with the droplets thwapping off Gore tex or twisting around pedal strokes. It’ll be emphatic and shivering in a few hours when wet creeps into the gaps, the front of my hat soaked from the hood moving around.
Modest paved roads fork cross and tee, narrower until ending in dirt with olive groves on both hillsides. Their fragrance will be with me most every day, with just enough intermissions so that I notice when it comes back. Crackle along the farm machinery double track, all to myself this time of the year—more Mediterranean over my shoulder and the gusts roiling off of it as if desperate for sure footing on land, even this island, relatively small in the expanse but made of the dense stable rock of its high mountains and history. Break through blowing clouds groaning mist up top to a snaking wide muddy thoroughfare that I’ll intermittently share with utility poles, droning driving wind turbines, sheep.
Start to pick my way down the other side. The horizon is by now sun splashing down fission glow, I’m sledding its gravitation. Rocky chunk track, care finding the line, can see the coastal road a few k below that will take me to Paleochora where I’ll catch a once a week ferry tomorrow at 8am. I’m far behind schedule with the procrastinating start but can ride in the twilight and starless black for awhile and make more distance.
Pitch steepens into a chop cut valley, edges held breath and body english through ruts and stairs grinning and my eyes on the sea. Wobble front, no no no, flat. Hit a square edge in excitement, did I unweight the back? I pinch the rear tire, steadily softening, too. Double flat. Could quick change, need to, really to make the progress lodged in my stubborn. Could. Need.
Sit and watch the final setting minutes, when it’s gone, blue glow set up the tent, fire the stove. Between sporkfuls of dessert peanut butter I repair both tires, get in and curl around my headlamp lit book.