Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Mojo of the Perfect Ride

So, the ride on Sunday, the day I posted that piece about anticipating a terrific spin on a gorgeous spring morning, ended up kind of crappy.

It happens, you know? You get all pscyhed, and maybe you psych yourself out a little. By the time I got out there, I was a little tired and cranky, and my knees hurt (I'm working through a recurring injury) and I worried would they ever fully heal, and blah-blah-blah-I-ruined-my-ride. That's all there is to it.

But yesterday. Oh, yesterday.

Yesterday (Monday) was one of those rides that remind me fully why I push through agonizing injury recoveries, why I rode on rollers in a dim basement all winter, why I struggle with the crazy demands of this sport-hobby. High 70s, mixed clouds and sun -- the kind where the clouds roll away every ten minutes, and you feel like you've been given a new gift of sunshine each time. I rode a new route -- always enlivening. It took me through areas I knew somewhat, but there was that nice challenge of trying to mentally map where I was as I rode. I got a little lost, but I always knew basically where I was -- another wonderful feeling.

Best of all, the scenery. Eastern Mass has some of the loveliest little back roads in all of New England -- you just have to go looking for them. You won't see them from the big routes people use to commute, no matter how wide the shoulder and comfortable the road surface. I found a long, gently rolling street with zero traffic, no stop signs, and the most beautiful land on either side. I found a small pasture with two goats grazing. (I took a cell-phone photo for my wife. She loves goats.)

I happened upon a road I knew well, and decided to change my course spontaneously -- another reliable source of fun. I took an unplanned detour and waded in the icy waters of beautiful Walden Pond, while I snacked on my wife's home-baked bread. When I got back on the bike, my legs were like new.

I rode further than I have for weeks -- the knees were strong and fluid. By some miracle, they seemed to have healed themselves overnight, and I woke up knowing I could go a little long today.

You can't anticipate or create a perfect ride. You can't plan velophoria. You can only listen when the knees whisper, "Go!"

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