I’m sad to admit it, but it’s not so rare for me to have gaps in my riding. Regular, long gaps. Where “real life” is allowed to get in the way. Whatever that means. Occasionally (and fortunately, more often than not), my 1st ride back is usually one of endorphin-filled surges, ear-to-ear smiles (with a few close-calls as my already shoddy technical skills show themselves). Those rides make me feel full, gleeful, alive, and stoked to be on my bike, no matter how out-of-shape I may feel. But every once in a while, I have a 1st ride back that is not so glamorous. Today proves to be the latter.
My line is sloppy and my legs are shaking. I have put the zipper on my jersey to a test and I have given new meaning to the compression fad that’s all the rage right now as I squeeze into my bibs. I’m not sure if I agree with the physiology behind it, but right now I have no choice. I choke down some old Gu blocks & hope I don’t rip a seam. And start to pedal. Hello legs. Hello lungs.
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve been here; that fall is approaching, that we nearly lost this land to fire; that others are still deep in their grief and that flames still rage around us.
How solid these trails are- years go by, babies are born & loved ones are lost. Flames have torn through these hills, licked this dry earth. But this dust holds us; holds space for our thoughts & our tires. Our sweat & our tears. And so, I pedal on.
Back at the car I put my bike on the roof rack and the stuff the front wheel in the back hatch as I push the plastic green potty out of the way and the diapers and the wipes and the spare changes of clothes for the kids. I climb in the car happy and tired and suck down an applesauce pouch that was left in a car seat. And I dream of my next ride.