When I left work last night I drove through some pretty intense rain storms to get home so I assumed that I’d be rained out for a second day in a row, so I took a nap. I awoke to gloriously sunny skies so I quickly got ready and headed out the door for what I figured would be about a 13 mile ride (construction has my normal route cut down by a few miles). I’m participating in a century charity ride on Saturday and already had almost 50 miles for the week with my three biggest ride days remaining in the week – so the question was, how far and how fast?
Well, how fast was pretty easy. I’m not gaining any fitness two days before a century so it was going to be a “just for the fun of it, loosen up the legs and enjoy the scenery” ride even if I’ve never been a “stop and smell the roses” kind of guy. To stop and take a minute to look around simply sounds like the waste of a minute to me. Allow me to define so I don’t have any misunderstandings here: I don’t go for long car rides to explore new roads when I’m headed somewhere or when I’m on the way home. It’s always seemed a waste of time. I do enjoy, however, take it easy every now and again. My point is, I suppose, is that while I will literally take a minute to stop and smell the roses growing off of our front porch, I certainly won’t take long doing it.
That said, for once, yesterday was all about enjoying a ride – and that I did. I didn’t care about time, distance or pace. The sun, after a day and a half of cool, rainy weather, felt awesome. The more I thought about how cool it was to be out and just taking it easy on an early evening ride in the sun, the happier I got. That began a cascade of gratitude that got almost silly. I thought about how thankful I was for my wife and kids, then how lucky I was to miss them so much (the kids will be back Saturday afternoon and my wife, Sunday afternoon). From there, I thought about everything from having working arms and legs (so I could ride in the first place) to the new cycling gloves I picked up, to my bike, to my job, to my blog, to my friends… I had no idea how many miles I’d ridden (guessing around eight) I was in a perfect zone of awesomeness. I looked up at the sky and thanked God:
Then I looked south and saw this:
Needless to say, I turned around right after this – and I was ten miles out, not eight and that was the direction I had to go to get home. Now, at the beginning I committed to chilling out on this ride so the question was do I roll out or keep it easy and risk getting wet. I didn’t want to have to completely clean up my bike today, but I want to be exceptionally fresh for my century tomorrow so I opted to chance the rain and stick with my plan. The second half of my ride was just as enjoyable as the first half and I made it home dry.
Afterwards, facing the prospect of sitting home alone and watching a movie I’d already seen ten or fifteen times, I called up a my running buddy Dennis who’d been sidelined for the last few weeks with a detached retina to see how he was doing… It turned out he’d just been given the okay to get out of bed so I picked him up and took him out for a meeting and dinner (he’s a sober fellow too) – and ended up with one more reason to be grateful. After my buddy had been stuck in his house for weeks (and still can’t drive), I got to help him get out.
It just doesn’t get any better than that.