The Joy

I was riding with a buddy of mine a couple of weeks ago, rather early on a Saturday morning. It was going to be a very hot day, but it wasn’t hot yet. We could see the damage to corn fields and trees from the recent wind storms. We’d both apparently had enough sleep, because we got down the road at a pretty good clip. It was awesome.

The next day I participated in my first road race. I talked some friends into doing it with me, and we were off. I lasted a lap and some change before I lost the lead group, and a little while longer before I was completely shot off the back. And it was hot. And dreadful. But my friends, my wife, my kid and a cold beer were at the finish. It was quite an experience.

A week later, I got up early and rode by myself (my friends, and most other humans, are willing to get up only so early to ride on weekends) for a while. It was a rainy, incredibly humid day, and perhaps I rode too hard too quickly. I was pretty beat as I rode the last four or five miles home, when I came across a cute gal running the other way. She smiled and waved and I felt refreshed, because I knew I wasn’t alone slogging it out in the rain and hot.

My kid and I rode our tandem last week, on a rather hot night. She likes to go as fast as possible and typically works me into a lather. For the record: I think she works pretty hard, too. When our ride was complete, I asked her what her favorite part might have been. “I liked that part when the trees were over the road and the pond was on the right and it was cooler.” Yeah. That was pretty great.

This morning I rode my mountain bike for the first time in many months. I told my buddies that it was interesting to take part in a sport in which neither strength nor endurance were my limiters. Said differently, I’m a wuss on the MTB. Regardless, it was super-excellent to be out in the woods, fishtailing in the sand, ducking under branches, panting up the hills, getting just the right amount of lost.

A friend lent me a dog trailer, so that I might try to bike to work AND bring my dog. The dog is very suspicious of the contraption and leaps out at inopportune moments, but it’s fun to give it a try.

Many are the joys possible on a bike, and this is a terrific time of year to find and enjoy them.