Yesterday, my schedule was full. Full enough that I didn’t get a chance to electronically recognize (i.e. blog about) a moment I had on my Monday morning ride.
Knowing that the schedule was full, I set my alarm for shortly before 5am, so I’d have time to get up and put in a good ride. When I awoke, it was 60 degrees out, with a 13-15mph wind out of the Northeast. I decided to head up Lafox Road, continuing down it once it becomes Burlington Road around Campton Hills, and to head to the Northwest until I ran out of time. That would give me a ~40-60 degree front cornering headwind on the way out, and a similar cornering tailwind on the way home.
60 is by no means chilly, but opening the garage door, the coolness and stillness of the morning struck me. I strapped on my shoes, clipped into the Ridley, waited for the Garmin to beep ready, and headed out. The ride out was nice. No traffic, steady wind, beautiful sunrise on the horizon.
As I headed out Lafox, just around Fox Mill, there’s a longish hill. I was headed Northbound, and saw one of the area’s constables sitting at the base of the hill, running radar. For Southbound drivers in the area, you’d drive through downtown Wasco and be headed out of town…up a little rise…and then down the backside of this hill with a gently sweeping right hand turn at the bottom. It’s a perfect spot to let your car get away a little bit…until you round out the corner and find the 5-0 sitting there.
Anyhow, the ride out was great and I felt strong (I always feel better in the morning). Pushing my time limits just a bit, I rode 16 miles out and planned on a 32 mile total ride (out and back).
On the way back, as I came through Wasco, I thought about the police officer and wondered if he was still there. It’s a posted 45mph zone, so I wasn’t at risk of speeding, but as I came through Wasco, I upped the intensity a bit. Coming up to the gentle rise before the hill, I dropped 2 gears and rose out of the saddle.
The Ridley jumped ahead with every stroke of the pedals, feeling more like a racehorse than a road bike–chomping at the bit to go faster.
Ordinarily, I might crest the hill, drop back in the saddle, and reduce my intensity a bit. But on this morning, I dropped 2 more gears, bottoming out the cassette…I moved my hands to the drops and applied tension, feeling the subtle give in the handlebars…and I pushed through the pedals, spinning with a full effort. I rounded out the corner and continued on, up and over the next hill, through the intersection, up the next hill, and to the stoplight–where I had to stop for a red.
As I squeezed the clamps down on the ENVEs, I took a moment to calm my breathing, dipped my left heel out to the click of clipless pedals releasing, and paused at the stoplight. The sun was high enough that its rays hit me with a shot of warmth, burning the dew of the morning off. The Ridley’s metallic blue details glimmered in the sunlight, still clean from this weekend’s bath. I had completely forgotten about the police officer, the hills, and the worries of the world. For a couple minutes, it was just a very close relationship between the bike and I, and I realized I was standing at this stoplight, with no traffic visible in any direction, grinning like an idiot.
I ride to stay healthy. I ride to be with friends and family. I ride to get faster. And yesterday, I rode for the joy of riding.
Ridley Noah is the tool. Don’t make me act the spandex-wearing fool. When I come back, boy, I’m comin’ straight outta Campton. (Hills).