Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet

Lately I've been lucky enough to re-live and get re-vivified by some meaningful youthful experiences.  Today I experienced another one when I went out for a bicycle ride.

About 22 years ago - in what seemed like a different life - I was a licensed USCF bike racer.  I was poor, but in great shape and happy.  This was before the advent of spin cycles and other training devices, so on cold weather days we used to ride training devices called "rollers," which were designed and manufactured from the best of 19th century technology.  Riding rollers was so boring we wouldn't let rain stop us, and unless there was actual flooding, a thunderstorm would not deter us from the daily ride.

I have been riding a bike again lately, but forgot what it was like to ride in the rain.  I live in a dry, hilly area that has not experienced a shower in more than 60  days, so I didn't even look at the sky when I set off on my ride this morning.  About 8 miles out of town the storm clouds broke. At first I felt apprehension, but I was quickly overcome with excitement as I re-captured youthful memories.  I forgot the adrenaline rush when you speed down a hill at 33 mph with barely-functioning brakes; I forgot what it was like to have a friendly Texan pull over in his pickup truck and offer you a ride back to town and tell tell him thanks, but you're having a great time; I forgot what it was like to stop at a slow moving river and listen to the silence of the muffled winds, punctuated only by the sounds of raindrops on leaves; and I forgot what it was like to take off your jersey at the end of the ride to reveal the Jackson Pollack mud splatter on the back.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like one sweet ride MF! Think I'll kick up some dirt myself... L

tracy said...

Until now, I forgot what it was like to share a bathroom with you, and to find your riding togs always drying over the shower's curtain rod. That's a sweet memory, too.