Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This Ride's For You

I rode my bike today. Endless snow and illness have made these past few months the longest I've gone without riding outside in four years. Today was it. The sky was blue, the wind was light, the temp was in the 40s, the sun was still above the trees when I got home from work, the frost heaves have settled just a bit. And more snow, ice and rain predicted for tomorrow and beyond. I threw on a random assortment of synthetic clothing, pumped up the tires on the mountain bike (key words being "just a bit" on those frost heaves), and off I went.

Joy. The steering a little wobbly at first (especially on my mushy driveway), but the cadence fell right back in. Cool air searing my lungs, wind-induced tears drying on my face, numb fingertips fumbling with the gear shifts. Laughter and thoughts of not being able to walk tomorrow as I went right for the big hill down the street (hey, I've been doing my weights). Past my sister's house, by the truck gathering sap from the maple trees, over the crest that delivers a stunning view of the river coming in from the sea, past the aromatic freshly-cut trees hauled out from the forest, down the road with the two bad bumps, by the open field that always looks like it would be good for x-country skiing, look right to see the sand bar at low tide, scoot by a new scary big dog (was he on a chain?), past the town dock, over those divots where the road sometimes disappears, by an enormous dog (on a leash, but I don't like the way the girl on the other end pushes him way aside and averts his eyes), around the slippery corner with a winter's worth of gravel still splayed across it, look longingly at the ribbon of road stretched out ahead, glide down to the driveway, maneuver through the muck. Home. (I ain't talkin' about the house.)

Yes, now I think I can take the snow tomorrow. If not for that little excursion, I just might have lost it. I hear the birds chirping. I … okay, it's Maine, that's about it for signs of Spring, still a couple of months off. But the point is I know it's coming.

In addition to my run-on ruminations above, I found myself dedicating my ride to a few folks in my thoughts today. Because I knew they knew this joy, this appreciation of just being able to get a ride in on a nice day.

So, this ride's for you:

Linus Gerdemann, heal well and study those Tour routes.

Fatty and Susan, buon giorno! (Sorry, that's all I can write without crying. :-)

George Hincapie, who took a hard spill today trying to lead out the punk.

Bobby Julich, for doing what you can to prove the sport clean.

Kevin van Impe. And Jayden.

Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson.

David Millar, hope you're feeling better.

Christian Vande Velde. (Heads up, VeloNews, I believe he's an American in Paris-Nice.)

Fabian Cancellara, Happy Birthday to the boy in blue.

Thor Hushovd, for enjoying the view in Nice.

Chris Horner, who has been shut out of any Olympic-qualifying races because he took the deal he deserved at the last minute.

Levi Leipheimer, let him ride.

Dave Zabriskie, for Yield to Life and rockin' the 'stache for 2nd place behind Fab in the TT.

Do The Test, may it be shown to every man, woman and child in the world.

Floyd Landis, no matter what.

UCI and ASO - take a ride yourself, remember what it's all about.


Anonymous said...

Oh Julie. This is the BEST one you've written yet! More to come I am sure.

I needed that. ~cat

Amy B said...


Anonymous said...

Bravo Julie! Thanks for the inspiration (spring has GOT to come sometime) and all of the great links.