"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep
because reality is finally better than your dreams."
It is cold and dreary here. And while there a certain beauty in the stern, unforgiving landscape with its crust of hard, white snow and ice covered roads, it is not conducive to bicycling...at least on a road bike or a regular mountain bike. The roads are too icy and the alabaster snow that does not give under my feet while walking gives when the wheels of my mountain bike try to glide over the surface. It is, however, conducive to dreaming and the cultivation of that inside, unnameable longing and inside ache that dreaming sometimes brings: it is conducive to thoughts of Texas in the early spring.
It is this time of year when I begin truly counting the days until I will be there, until I will see friends that I see all too rarely because of the physical distance, until I see the friends that I do see fairly regularly though not on a daily basis, until I am on a bicycle where I best interact with people. For some reason, friendship and discussions are so much easier on a bicycle than they are sitting in chairs across a table from each other, just as they are after I have had a few drinks of alcohol. My husband says that alcohol primes the pump, and for some reason it is the same with a bicycle. Indeed, sometimes I feel sorry for those condemned to a solo long distance ride with me;-) And yes, I will miss my husband during this week, but I also will love him more for letting me go, for tending the home hearth and our furry family, for his patient waiting.
Despite the physical distance between us, my friends remain ever close to my heart, irrevocably woven into the fabric that is my very being, the world of bicycling. Each is special to me, unique. And while I know most of the these friendships will not last beyond bicycling, they are incredibly dear and important to me. Perhaps it is that forewarning of loss that causes me to treasure our time so, for as so often happens in cycling, I have had dear friends whose physical presence fades as they no longer cycle even while they remain part of my history and are cherished and often thought of during a ride or during times of contemplation, each loved in their own special way.
Soon I will be in Texas, and hopefully there will be at least one day of hot, sunshine that just screams shorts and a short sleeved jersey and sun screen so that I don't burn, at least one day where the sweat will run freely and cleanly so unlike the cold, passionless winter sweat. Soon my legs will ache with effort and my rear will hurt from unaccustomed hours on a bicycle seat and I will curse my inability to keep up and to capture the green sign. Soon the strange,stark beauty of the landscape there will fill my eyes and I will once again fall in love. Soon I will laugh freely and be released from my recent winter weather captivity. No dishes, no chores, no work....nothing to do but to ride my bike, eat, sleep, and ride my bike again.
And by the end, my passion will be spent, at least temporarily. Because thus far, I am one of the lucky ones, the ones whose passion remains intact and who has the physical ability to carry out that passion. And I will be satisfied for awhile knowing that reality has been better than my dreams if only temporarily. And my heart will sing. Oh, yes, Hell Week and Texas, I am sooooo ready.