Do you know what happens when you got for an unusually long walk (a little over six miles in this case) to which you are not accustomed and then you spend a lot of the next day sitting down?
Yes…you in the back row…
Correct. Your legs get stiff.
That’s why, even though I got home only slightly before sunset, I decided to go for a ride. I tossed on some jeans and a sweatshirt, helmet and gloves, and hit the road. I figured I could only get in about fifteen minutes of ride time before it got uncomfortably dark, but, hey, fifteen minutes is better than no minutes, right?
Every ride has its own flavor, and this one was largely contemplative. It was cold (about 38 degrees) with some wind on top of that, but it was quiet and really quite pleasant, except for the frozen cheeks and blocks of ice where my ears were supposed to be.
I was listening to the iPod of the mind, which is my way of saying I had a song running through my head for much of the ride. This time it was The Braes of Balquhidder by The Tannahill Weavers, which is a good song to accompany a quiet ride.
At one point I saw a dog ahead of me. It appeared to be a Lhasa Apso with a shaved body but not a shaved head, which gave it a remarkable resemblance to a dandelion. So, this dandelion ran down the street toward me barking at the top of its little lungs. Then, as it got near me it suddenly swerved into a driveway and began to sniff the ground. It gave every appearance of a dog who would have been whistling nonchalantly if only it had been able to figure out how to purse it lips. It kept up this attitude of indifference as I rode past and then, when I had gone by, proceeded to bark and chase after me for a few minutes. It was clearly a very brave dog.
I passed a few people out exercising. People exercising generally fall into two groups:
A) Those who are focused and intent and will not acknowledge your existence and probably don’t even know you’re there anyway.
I may well have been that person in the past - not because I deliberately ignored anyone but because i was so focused on my ride (or so wrapped up on a lactic acid induced haze of pain) that I simply didn't realize anyone else was there.
Jörg recalls calling out to me while I was riding past in the rain, head down and wet and focused, but I never heard a sound other than that of my own wheels on the road.
B) Those who think that being fellow exerciser makes you a comrade to be greeted cheerfully.
I saw a couple of people who were clearly walking just for the joy of it.
It's easy to tell the difference between people who are walking to someplace in particular and those who are just out walking for the sake of the walk. (It’s easy to be certain about what you know when you're sure you won't ever have the opportunity to find out if what you know is right or wrong.)
They smiled cheerfully at me and waved. I waved back. I'm polite that way.
I didn’t have a lot of time, so there were two ways to get the most out of it. One way was to go as hard as I could the whole time, spend every last erg of energy that I could. The other way was to go utterly easily, no stress, no sweat, just enjoy spinning the pedals. That was the option I went for, and why not? A hard ride is its own reward, but so is an easy ride, just so long as you're riding.
See you on the road.