Dear Readers, I am knee-deep in revisions of my fiction manuscript, so I’m reaching back into my personal archives for today’s post. I wrote this nearly 15 years ago in an attempt to capture the special joy of getting out for a hard-won mountain bike ride.
6:45 AM: drag out of bed. After some internal debate, decide to bring my road bike to work for a lunch ride. Get to my car and realize that my bike rack is still in the trunk from weekend car washing. “Save time” by spending 20 minutes trying to stuff bike into trunk.
7:30 AM: finally get on the road, with bike on the rack. Glance in the rearview and feel my heart sink; beloved dinosaur “hood ornament” is missing from handlebars. Comfort myself with thoughts that another cyclist might find it and turn it into their own hood ornament.
8:05 AM: arrive at work, root around and find precious dino wedged between seat back and trunk. Start to feel a little better.
Fast forward to lunch time: employers disappear for LOOOOONNNNNGGG lunch. They return from lunch and request a dull and complicated task that must be done NOW and will take until end of day. Watch hope of a midday bike ride recede until it becomes a tiny speck in the distance. Contemplate crying. Decide not to cry; do work instead. Fantasize about running employers down with my bicycle and feel slightly less frustrated.
5:30 PM: threaten employers with death by crazed cyclist if my lunchtime ride is not accommodated the next day. Secure assurance that today’s events were anomalous.
6:00 PM: arrive home, eat a snack and start getting dressed for a long awaited night ride. Feel the lure of a soft warm bed. Instantly succumb to the bed’s siren song, promising myself it will just be for a moment.
6:45 PM: wake up and immediately begin to mentally flip through the standard litany of excuses to bag the ride: too late; too wet; too muddy; clean laundry will get dirty; planets are out of alignment; it’s too spooky; possible ax murderer lurking out there. Remember a friend’s maxim that one never returns from a bike ride regretting having gone – drag out of bed and finish getting dressed.
7:00 PM: discover that while my headlight was supposed to be charging, it wasn’t charging at all, it was just sitting there with a vapid look on its face. Light works, but who knows for how long?
Begin to wonder if the entire day is meant as a biker’s story of Job.
7:30 PM: finally, walk out door with bike. Spend the next 90 minutes gasping for breath, bumping into trees and falling off the trail. Realize that at night mud, dirt, roots and logs all look pretty much alike. Wonder why night riding has suddenly become so much more difficult, then realize that the iffy battery is running down fast. Head home and on the way down the steep waterlogged jeep trail to the road, manage to get completely off balance trying to pick a line in ever increasing darkness. Pitch forward onto the muddy trail. Clean laundry is definitely dirty now.
9:00 PM: arrive home muddy, tired and twenty times happier than before the ride.
11:00 PM: fall asleep with a smile on my face.