Oh, it was a day of smells, and I’m not talking about me, although, by the end of ride, I may have been contributing my own smell to the mix.
I set out to ride 20 miles. At one point, riding along an empty road with no vehicles and no pedestrians in sight, I rode through a patch of air filled with the smell of cigarette smoke. Odd. At another point, a car with an open window passed me going in the opposite direction, and I could smell cigarette smoke again, although at least it made sense that time. It kind of made me wonder what the inside of the car smelled like.
Twice I ran into a patch of air that smelled like decaying flesh. I’m not making any sort of gory accusations, here, just an observation. One of those times, I was riding over a small bridge surrounded by trees. I am assuming that someone hit a deer or other animal and pulled if off the road out of sight but not out of smell.
I also rode past three guys who looked kind of like low tech Ghostbusters: coveralls, backpacks, hardhats, facemasks, but no visible nuclear particle accelerators. Judging by the smell, they were spraying pesticide or weed killer on things.
(You know, my spell checker insisted that I capitalize Ghostbusters. I’m not sure whether I should be amazed or appalled that “Ghostbusters” is in the spell checker’s dictionary.)
But about the ride…
I looked over my last two and a half weeks – I was averaging about 60 miles a week, with my longest solo rides being 15 miles. It’s true I had done 22 and 25 mile rides, but they were Slo’Bros rides.
(I went to the local bike shop and saw Steve, who sold me my bikes, and he said he heard I was riding again, and he mentioned the Slo’Bros – single digit miles and single digit speeds, right? Not so far off, at that, and we do have a great time doing it.)
I love the Slo’Bros rides and am proud to be one of the founding motherfathers of the club, but, since I was alone, I was going to push myself. I very cleverly (translation: by total accident because I wasn’t paying enough attention) set my route up so that the last part of it had two short steep hills and one loooooooooooooooong hill. I was not exactly burning up the road at that point.
But I finished the ride, I did it in a good time (you know, for me, I mean) and I was pretty pleased with how it went.
At one point, though, earlier in the ride, I was struggling a bit. It was a difficult stretch of road that somehow kept getting longer. (Okay, the school is right around this curve…no…okay, so it’s right around this curve…not yet…so it’s right around this curve…) I was a bit wrapped up in my own thoughts (i.e. suffering), when I heard a VERY loud honk of a horn followed by a yell. It didn’t seem menacing, and, as it turned out, it wasn’t. There was a pickup approaching in the opposite lane, and the driving was waving at me and shouting encouragement that wouldn’t have been out of place if I had been a favored TdF rider on Mont Ventoux. It was pretty cool, actually, and it got me over the rough spot.
It's good to be riding again.