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Friday, August 30, 2019

Just An End of Summer Ride

"Summer's lease has all too short
a date."
William Shakespeare
It is one of those rare, precious,end of summer days, the kind you want to savor and remember, made sweeter by the realization that fall approaches.  After days of humidity when the sweat pours from  your body but just sits there, un-evaporated, even on a bicycle, and days of high heat where you begin to think that you must be baked clean through, the morning has a chill in the air that promises fall is not far behind.  "How," I think, "did the spring and summer get away from me with so little time on the bike?"  But there it is, or at least that is how it seems.  "Maybe," I think, " you just can't get enough time on the bike. "

I used to laugh when retired people would say that they just don't have time to do things, but there it is. I have a cousin who told me that once he retired, he found he resented anything that he "had" to do, even things like doctor or dental appointments, and I find he is right.  I like having things I want to do, but I have no desire to have things that I have to do.  They are still there though, those chores and responsibilities, though certainly not as many.  They just feel differently. 

I have put a 66 mile ride on the schedule because the thought of riding the city club ride on a such a beautiful day is too awful to think about, but I have no idea how many will show to share this glorious weather with me. Many people, even those who used to ride other routes, have turned to the flat, rather ugly, city ride for whatever reason:  other riders, ease of the course, etc. As it turns out, there are seven of us.  Yet again, during the ride I wonder a bit at how the love of bicycling brings together such diverse people, people who otherwise would never have met and may not have even liked each other if they did. 

Our cycling abilities vary on this ride as much as the designs and colors of our jerseys.  But it is one of those days that are truly precious because nobody is in a hurry or has any desire to hammer the entire way.  There are even times throughout the ride where I approach to find those in front gathered at the side of the road, talking and laughing and waiting for us.  My mind harkens to the early days of the Tour de Mad Dog when speed was not as essential as staying together and the companionship it afforded.  I think of how even though I see some of those early riders rarely or even never, I retain a special fondness for many of them.

Everything is still green, yet there is  hint of change in the foliage of the trees we pass.  The Tulip Poplar trees are almost bare, and we decide that while they lose their leaves before other trees, it is not usually this early and may be related to the drought that broke recently.  Other trees show a tinge of rust, so faint that you could convince yourself that it is your imagination run wild.  We discuss briefly how there really was not much of a fall last year and how we hope that there is this year, those glorious rides of fall that tug on your heart because you know that all to soon it will be grey and cold out, that you won't see these people as often or at all until spring reclaims the land.  The ironwood is blooming and the purple of the flower again promises that the season is near to changing. 

After the ride, all but one of  us go for barbecue at "Rubbing Butts."  There is joking about the name, but the food is good and the companionship is better.  At one point I think how nice it is to hear laughter, to have people to share nourishment with, particularly well deserved nourishment.  And then it is over, but there is warmth inside that will keep me smiling and will even continue to curve my lips as I slip into a well deserved sleep.  Thank you to all who shared this day with me.  I hope your enjoyment of the day and people and the scenery was as great as my own.  Thank you for making it a true group ride, rather than a ride made up of individual groups.  Thank you for making it special.