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.
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.
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.