Anew


11:30 PM, Monday, June 23. What am I doing?

 

It’s been a long time since I pulled on bib shorts and a jersey, too long.

 

So many excuses. Too fat. Out of shape. Might break carbon bits on the bike. Whatever.

 

Ran into Jim last night at the pharmacy refilling a prescription at 1:00 AM. Don’t ask.

 

Jim’s bud, Mike, an Iraq war vet was there inside the Walgreens decked out in a white kit and no helmet. He was out riding. I had seriously contemplated riding my townie-bike there myself. I drove there, but made the excuse that I would have to leave my beloved Surly outside and it might get stolen. So I drove Cheryl’s Kia. Lame. Mike found helmets uncomfortable due to a recent brain surgery. Jeez, have I become good at making up shit to not do other shit.

 

 

Anew

 

I feel like a stuffed sausage and probably look that way too. Yeah, it’s been a tough couple of years, but who cares. I gotta get back. I love it too much.

 

Cheryl says she’s proud as I walk out the door. It took me an hour to get ready.

 

I tell her I may be back in five minutes.

 

The gates to the neighborhood won’t open when I roll over the sensor. Maybe I should just…no, walk your ass over to the gate and jimmy it open with your finger. No more excuses.

 

 

Anew

 

This bike feels fragile as I throw a leg over. It’s almost all plastic. Carbon fiber. It feels unnervingly light after so much time away.

 

The chain slips. I tell myself to keep going. And I do.

 

I’ve ridden this exact bike thousands of miles, just years ago. It’s sort of familiar, but I’m not the same person anymore. It is exactly how I left it. Every millimeter measured and fussed over. It doesn’t feel right.

 

I’m going fast. Man, I miss that whizzing sound the tires make when the wind is at your back.

 

I am going fast. Flying. It feels great. A little scary. It’s a dark night. No moon.

 

Left on Liberty Lane. May as well ride my old warm up. It used to take under 20 minutes on a good day.

 

The road goes up and I’m outta gears. That was fast. I chug along. First hill done.

 

My left pinky begins to go numb. Damn. Lingering aftereffects of a prior run in with a light pickup truck.

 

A Super Shuttle nearly takes me out. I don’t need that again.

 

A familiar feeling in the thighs tells me everything is going to be OK.

 

Last hill for the night.

 

I have to weave slightly to avoid falling. Not good.

 

There is no relief at the top, just the realization that I have begun a long road back.

 

Anew