It should be stated before I get into this post that I don’t take “Oh my God” lightly. The joy in my heart during that ride was profound and my gratitude for having experienced it, deep.
As I’ve detailed over the last several weeks, we’re getting robbed with the weather. It’s ridiculous, really. It’s been cold and raining… and if it isn’t raining, it’s snowing.
Well, that was until yesterday. If ever there was a cool/cold but perfect spring morning for cycling, we were gifted it. The breeze, while mild, was a little unruly. With the sun blazing and the wind less than double-digits, with temps above freezing, nobody was complaining. In fact, it wasn’t all that bad at all.
I’d spent the early morning working on my wife’s rear wheel… it turned out, the last time I cleaned it and reinserted the cassette body, two of the pawls reversed themselves so they were never properly engaging and they made a random clicking noise that drove my wife up the wall. I had to take all of that apart, lube everything, and put it back together, but once done it sounds like $500. Happy bike, happy wife, happy life (or so I should hope)!
We rolled out at 10 am to give it a chance to warm up a little bit and the wait was worth it. We had a good group show up, too. Eight in all. The wind was out of the north-northwest but was supposed to shift to west-northwest about the time we’d be heading back for home so we picked a 41-mile favorite loop rather than heading north just to have the wind shift for the trip back.
We started off into the crossing headwind at a surprisingly lively pace Nothing too crazy or too fast we couldn’t take a couple of miles at a time up front, but we were still in the 18 to 20-mph range. We had a nice little pace-line rolling and it was quite obvious everyone was over the moon to finally be outside in some sunshine… even if it was only six degrees above freezing.
We stop at a gas station about fifteen miles into the ride, the same first stop almost every time we head west. I was dressed perfectly with a thermal outer layer and a jersey with arm-warmers beneath and a bibs & leg-warmer combo with toe covers over my shoes. I didn’t shed any clothes. I did eat a banana and we caught up, generally covering what a $#!+ show the season has been so far. After maybe a ten minute stop, we rolled out en masse to the sod farm – which brought with it a little fear. None of us is in great shape right now. I’m dealing with winter weight, others were dealing with a lack of training, and another was coming back after a long bout with a respiratory infection that sounded a lot like Covid but it never showed on the numerous tests he had taken.
We’d decided at the gas station that we’d take it easy the rest of the way. Not too easy, of course, but easier than we normally would.
And our ride got even better. The Trek was amazing and I was just beaming with happiness at how fantastically it was operating. We were upwards of an 18.8-mph average in cool to cold temps and I wasn’t feeling the extra drag of the Trek at all… and the shifting was perfect. I’ve tried for years to get it that good – it’s like new. Actually, the rear derailleur, cassette, chain and chainrings are new…
We finished the last few miles decently and pulled into the driveway with 41-1/2 miles at north of 18.5-mph for an average (29 km/h). I needed that ride. Gratitude overflowed.
After cleaning up and having some lunch, I took a nap – I hadn’t slept well the night before so that nap stretched to just about time to leave for bowling.
The first game was a little rough – just 179, but the next two were spectacular. We were at Richfield where I usually throw the Hammer Scorpion but it just wasn’t hooking up like it normally was, so I switched to my Quantum Evo. After one bad frame, I went on an epic tear of strikes. Six in a row to cap the second game with a 218. Any fears about carrying that into the next game were quickly dashed and I ran off another six in a row starting with the first frame. That’s right, folks. A 300 – sadly, split exactly between two games. I ran out of luck and oil in the 7th. I had to put the Quantum up as my line was completely burned up. After an open in that seventh, I spared out with a final strike on my last ball in the tenth for a nice 232 and a 629 series on the night.
I was ecstatic.
I got home and spent some time with my daughter before turning in for the night. I wouldn’t say I slept like a baby, but I did sleep well. We’ll see what today brings. I said my prayers this morning…