Monday, May 11, 2009

Poetry in Motion

So what's the best way to start what promises to be a long and busy Saturday? With an early morning ride, of course. Up at 6:15, eat breakfast (important not to forget that one), get dressed (really important not to forget that one) and out the door.

The weather report indicated 20+ mile an hour winds, and I believed it. If the wind feels really strong in the subdivision, then it’s definitely going to be something spectacular when I’m out on the road with fields on every side of me and precious little in the way to slow the wind down or block it.

As I started out, the sun was low, and I looked at my shadow in front of me. I have many times thought about trying to take a picture of it. I recently found out that Missy has had the same idea about her shadow, and I can remember Bobby (he who once chased a dog barking (Bobby was barking, not the dog)) pointing out our shadows on a hillside as we rode past and telling me how he always wanted a picture of that. It must be a cycling thing.

I turned so that the sun was off at an angle instead of straight behind me and saw my shadow grow long and thin. It looked like I was tiny and the tires on my bike were about the right size for a monster truck (or like the font tire on a penny farthing bicycle). (Yes, that combination may seem a big incongruous to some. I am okay with that.)

Then I passed a parked car and my shadow suddenly swooped in close to me and the shadow me looked like he had broad shoulders and large muscular arms. Shadows are definitely illusory.

When I made it out to the main road, I found that the wind more than lived up to my expectations.

I did discover that, this early on a Saturday morning, the roads I ride are almost bereft of traffic. I could hear the birds, the sound of my chain, the quiet whirring of the tires on the pavement. Periodically I caught whiffs of honeysuckle.

I found myself on Mt. Carmel Church Road again and decided to ride until I actually found Mt. Carmel Church. This would have been rather rough on me if the church had long ago been torn down or something, but I did eventually find it.

It was a hard ride. The wind seemed to be against me nearly all the time. I still haven’t quite figured out how that happens, but I know that sometimes it does, and this was one of those mornings.
I remember hearing about a cyclist who listens to books on tape while riding. He climbed a steep hill without even realizing it. He seemed to feel that was a good thing. I have to admit that I disagree. The pain is part of the ride, and sometimes it’s good to suffer on a ride. Besides, I like to be attentive to the ride itself. I don't want it to fly by without my realizing it. I like to hear the various sounds associated with it, such as those mentioned above, as well as the sound of a car coming up behind me should there be one.

I did find myself wondering what other cyclists think about when they ride. This occurred to me about the time I found myself trying to remember the structure of a haiku. Yes, I know this is an odd thing to be thinking about while riding, but it just sprang to my mind unbidden.

I did eventually recall that it’s 5, 7 and syllables and is supposed to have some reference to nature in it. Here, for your pleasure and amusement, or possibly for your discomfort and disdain, is the haiku I wrote right after remember the rules and while pushing my way into a screaming headwind:
Lactic acid burning
Muscles push the pedals hard
Today the wind sucks
I now invite you to submit your own cycling related haiku. Go on. Be brave.

I am writing these words on Mother’s Day, so happy Mother’s Day. Because it’s Mother’s Day, I stayed home with my lovely lovely and the rest of the family instead of going out on a ride, but I’ll be up early to get some miles tomorrow morning before I have to go to work.

See you on the road.


  1. Cycling takes so long
    But what more could I ask for
    On a sunny day?