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Birthday Ride

December 30, 2011

Today’s Ride: 31km—Sydenham, Crooks Hollow, Mineral Springs

Weather: Cold, wet, heavy fog

Life is just better in the saddle. Without having suffered so much as a sniffle in 2011, I came down with a throaty, chesty, achy thing last week, which forced me off the bike for the last ten days. Today, though, was birthday, and getting out for a morning ride was something I’ve been looking forward to for some time. Snowfall last night didn’t put a damper on this: the forecast was for milder temperatures today, and sure enough the world was more wet than cold, even if roadsides were white under a heavy coating of snow. The roads were a little slushy, but mainly wet.

But glorious. Quiet world. Heavy fog up on the escarpment. And empty roads. Up Sydenham and then up Crooks Hollow—to make sure that the older body can still handle climbing. Fine roads for a wet, foggy ride. Today was about climbing, getting some air in the lungs, and finding a steady, even cadence. I stayed in the little ring for the whole ride, which I haven’t done in months. It was nice to spin easy. And going up is one of the better ways to remind body and soul that you’re alive. Something Buddhist about this: knowing oneself through suffering. Not so much a suffering kind of ride, but going uphill—at whatever the pace—is typically a good reminder of physical sensations and where work comes from.

What goes up must come down, though, and in wet, slushy conditions, this was a little less enjoyable than it might usually be. I was squeezing the brakes more than usual, and opting not to lean into the turns quite as much as I might in dry—or even wet—conditions, in case a patch of slush pull a wheel out from under me at an inopportune moment (because there are opportune moments for such things…).

The bike was a mess by the end of the ride. Probably twice as heavy, thanks to the accumulation of grit and grime along the frame and in every nook and cranny. After wiping it down for ten minutes, I gave up, and will go back out to clean it properly this afternoon. Basically, I was just moving the grit around, rather than removing it. C’est la vie.

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