"The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart,
and not to be mentioned with the commoner things.
It is chief of this worlds luxuries, king by grace of
God of all the fruits of the earth. When one has
tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a
Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because
The first watermelon of the year is a time of great rejoicing for me. Watermelon was the food I craved while pregnant, and none was to be found at that time of year. Watermelon is one of my favorite hot weather pre-ride foods and one of my favorite recovery foods. Quite often, it is my breakfast throughout much of the summer. And the last watermelon of the year is a time of sorrow, if only because of what it signifies, for normally by the end of summer I am finally sated.
This year the last watermelon of the year happened to coincide with the last hot century of the year: Wheels of Screams. I could not believe it Thursday when I saw a fruit stand that actually still had Jackson County melons, and I could not believe it Friday when I saw that despite the time of year, temperatures on Saturday were to top 90 degrees.
I have only done this century once before, and I remember two things about it: it drained me and there were the best Amish individual apple pies on this earth. As with most rides that I have not ridden very often, I don't know if I remember being drained because it was an unusually hard course, I was out of shape at the time, or I just had a bad day. Even after yesterday's ride, I still don't know.
What I do know is that the ride is very hilly with lovely vistas. The greens of the landscape so different that the fresh green of spring, still holding on but obviously with effort as autumn approaches and insists on taking her turn with the land. What I do know is that in the months to come I will miss this warmth and the cleansing sweat that summer rides encourage. What I do know, is that the woman running the store had not made apple pies and so we left disappointed and empty handed, but perhaps a pound lighter. What I do know is that I will remember the time spent with Bob and Dave, and how Dave rushed out of the third store stop to accompany me in because he did not think it was safe for me to drag in alone and I needed to get back.
One more TMD century ride, and then most of my friends will disappear for the late autumn, winter months like watermelon will have disappeared from fruit stands. But they will reappear in the spring and early summer months and their absence will have made their very presence more dear.