Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear Me, Where Are My Manners?

I just realized I have not introduced you to our fellow travelers! As they are a big part of the experience (the Guides can only do so much) they are the people with whom you get lost, eat breakfast, dinner, trade stories, go out and play. I should introduce you.
First meet the guides -  Annik: Canadian, small and sweet and smart. And strong. You’d want her to have your back. And she does. Skiier when she’s not babysitting us. Unflappable.
Fanny: Swiss. Seriously tall, thin as a pencil, with a million dollar smile, the ultimate can-do attitude and the most incredible enthusiasm for the world. Skis places in Switzerland no self-respecting mountain goat would go.
And Sebastian, or as his co-guides call him Sea Bass. German. He cooked the picnic (but didn’t clean up. Tsk tsk.) We thought he was largely decorative until we saw him fix a broken chain in about five seconds. He gets things done, he just doesn’t make a fuss. Professional photographer; wears these funny shoes we have decided are a form of birth control.
Wes from Edmonton. Claims to be a simple color blind accountant. Dry, wry and pee in your pants funny. We have fun at his expense. “Hey Wes, take a look at the green page.” 
Another Edmontonian, of grandfather age with a seven year old son. He fixes you with his piercing stare and says “I’m more dangerous than I look.” Then he gets the biggest grin - lucky seven year old boy. 
Two optometrists (married. To each other. Don’t you go starting rumors. You know who you are.) From, as they say, “The golden buckle of the Bible belt.” Seriously fast. Brought their own bikes - the guides are drooling over them. The bikes, not the gorgeous couple from the south. Get your mind out of the gutter.
These guys are also seriously funny. They tell a story about one of their patients (Bubba, of course - real name) who has a weird guns and drugs and babes newspaper. He invites Mrs. Doctor to be in his newspaper and says “Doc, you’re hot. Would you like to be Babe of the Month? You could even wear a one piece.” I laugh so hard I cry. She tells stories like I do. If she writes a book, buy it.
A couple from San Francisco - sophisticated, well traveled, quiet and fabulous cyclists. They blow past us (okay, me, Wally is being kind and staying with me. To make sure I don’t open a wrist. I am tempted...) They live in the Presidio, have been everywhere and know a lot of the same people we do. We feel like we’ve been standing back to back at a cocktail party. For about ten years. 
A group from Southern California we never see - for them this is not a luxury bike trip, it’s a race. Yawn. 

A former lawyer from Detroit now making an honest living in furniture sales. His wife joins us for the last night -not a cyclist, she's been on a walking trip. He lights up and stays lit. Sweet to see.
An adorable couple from Toronto. They are: lawyer, engineer - he tells the most fabulous story . When you become an engineer in Canada apparently there is this big ceremony and you get a ring for your pinkie finger on your right hand. Put on by an established engineer.It sounds like a combination between a fraternity hazing and an engagement ceremony. I think he made the whole thing up.
They are also author, cellist, semi-pro classical singers, pianist, parents, newspaperman. We are in awe. And did I mention they are nice - and - you guessed it - fast? Yup. 
Our friends Pam and John are on this trip. He actually got us into this - it’s his big birthday (rhymes with heavenly, remember?) and he was planning to ride up Mt Veeder in Napa for the last time for this birthday. He does every hill. As far as I am concerned he never has to ride up another hill. Ever. I am so impressed! At the tops if the hills I’m toast and he is entertaining. If they weren’t so nice it would be really annoying.
And (saving the best for last) the most gorgeous guy from Chicago. Looks about nineteen. He’s a plastic surgeon, has been everywhere, is the world’s best dinner companion and a great judge of character (more about that later). He tells us half the Board certified plastic surgeons in the US are in LA. You might say “Duh!” but it was a surprise to me. Okay, maybe not. And yes, he is faster than I am. Duh.

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