Yesterday’s ride bordered on spiritual. Typically, while I’ve enjoyed every ride I’ve ever gone on, it’s a rare day that I can have everything and get into it that much. It was a special day indeed.
First, it was nice out. Perfectly sunny and better than 60 degrees (F) when I struck out at around 9:30, unheard of for the last week of September. It was so nice I didn’t even bother with arm warmers.
Second, while there was a bit of a wind from the south, it wasn’t so bad that I struggled, in fact I was able to maintain about an 18 mph average without pushing into the red (though a couple of hills had me huffing pretty good.
Third, an older friend of the family just died the other day and another person much closer is having heart issues lately so all of a sudden he’s feeling quite mortal. If that wasn’t enough, I went down to watch some golf with my dad on Friday and Alzheimer’s is having its way with him. We’re thinking he doesn’t have much time left. Now this would be a whole lot of bad for a lot of people but for me, it is an unmistakable reason to be grateful. All of those cases, the issues would have either been prevented or put off for decades had they been fit… Like me. While I could look at this another way, I’m choosing to be grateful. As my wife likes to say, I am that guy.
After chilling out with the guys and having some chili at the running club, I packed it up and headed for home, the looooong way. Now, that “bit of a wind from the south”, in the hour that I was hanging out with the guys, had become a nice, steady wind… The first six miles were into a steady crosswind but my bike eats those up pretty good now as long as I stay in the drops… Then I turned north, with that glorious wind at my back – and only one stop sign in 13 miles! I gave it everything I had, just for fun and managed to keep my speed between 24 & 26 mph – that was fast enough that I was still cutting into the air, but I just kept them rolling. When I rolled into town, I stopped by the bike shop to top off the H20 bottles and say hey. Now, at that point I was faced with a choice. Either to get back on the bike and bust it hard to get home into the wind, or spin it back. The day had two forms of cycling thus far – a medium effort and a very hard effort – I opted for the easy, and that was where the ride got really good. I was about halfway home in that last six miles and I realized how blessed I am. The two fellows and my dad I was thinking about earlier – how blessed am I that I have my fitness and my health, or that I chose the hard path? How blessed am I that I chose to not get fat and stuck with it for all of these years? How blessed am I that on one of the last days in September I’m out on my bike, in just my shorts and jersey, spinning away to get home? That’s when I started looking around:
This is what I saw – and you can see in the photo, the sunshine just beaming down – how blessed I am that these are the roads I get to ride on! Quiet mile-long stretches – and even when there are cars, motorists in my home town are some of the most respectful I’ve come across (with the exception of those in the Southern US – Northern Georgia, North Carolina – they’re next level nice down south).
And the home stretch:
Yesterday’s ride was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had, and at the end of a perfect cycling month. It had everything… Some hard spinning into the wind, some intense speed:
Lunch with friends, a stop at the bike shop, and a few laughs with more friends there:
It was perfect.