The weather this weekend veritably snarled. I shivered along with the freeze warnings. Slanting rain beat incessantly on glass. Prodigious numbers of brittle leaves came to huddle in gutters. I flipped the thermostat to “HEAT” and inhaled the scent of crisp-fried dust for the first time in a long time (a solemn, once-a-year event that elicits myriad feelings).
But today was an “Indian Summer” kinda day. I was grateful for another opportunity to pedal into the hinterlands.
My jaunts last 3+ hours nowadays. The odometer routinely ticks past 30 miles whenever I venture forth. Verily, I derive great satisfaction from the salt caked on my helmet straps. I glory in the road mung coating my frame and wheels. I derive sweet, tired satisfaction each time I arrive home, jersey and limbs coated with loam. I’m nowhere near as fit as I was once, but far stronger than I was mere months ago.
And it kills me, absolutely slays me, that my roaming days are shrinking, rapidly disappearing.
* * *
I spent this evening ordering sundry “cold weather” cycling duds. I found little joy in that, but it was a decided improvement over the horror experienced this morning when I tried to squeeze myself into an insulated cycling jacket I last wore some 25 years ago. Sure, it’s sad when one discovers that one’s avoirdupois precludes full closure of a critical zipper. It’s a whole ‘nother matter when one discovers that some four inches of dermal terrain must be traversed before even the possibility of zipper closure can be remotely considered. Yes, I faced down 'death via mortification' this morning...but...I’m scarred.
* * *
I realize my cycling days are numbered.
I had forgotten how deeply prairie life resonates within me. It’s been coming back in a rush. And, yes, it’s a good thing to immerse one’s self in Life again. To breathe deep. To feel. To observe:
That fields of grizzled corn stalks produce an eerie sound...dry souls shivering.
The hawk equivalent of a juiced-up pro-football linebacker. This red-tailed raptor positively dwarfed his kin. The phrase: “the Dude abides
” sprang to mind.
A flock of gypsy bald eagles (a rowdy bunch too immature to sport the telltale “bald”) pilfering carrion.
The well-aged carcass of a coyote. Coyotes abound in these fields and forest of mine. Yet rarely does one encounter them as road kill. In stark contrast, opossum and raccoons seemingly harbor a death wish. (I suppose I should note I’ve not yet seen a single pheasant. They were plentiful thirty years ago).
That chickens on the run appear somewhat idiotic, but, hey, maybe that’s just me. I don’t find goose “take-offs” with their sashaying running starts all that dignified either.
The intrepid woolly caterpillar inching its way across a two-lane country road. How can one not admire such a death-defying feat? (My most memorable “unplanned dismount” resulted from an unexpected “caterpillar encounter”).
“Road rash” sucks.
* * *
I’m gonna try to squeeze in as many rides as possible before lycra surrenders to chill. Then I’m gonna do a road trip ‘cuz I got places to visit and people to hug.
I’ll spend the winter being a gym rat (well, that's the plan, anyway).
* * *
I’m kinda loving being an animal again...(now, if only I could find my drumsticks...)
* * *