Miriam didn’t even frown at me. Not in front of me at least. My wife has learned the skill of rolling her eyes after she leaves my line of sight, a skill I thought I possessed but have been assured I do not possess. I am a guy, a husband, after all and we often choose to roll our eyes for the pure pleasure of getting a reaction.
Yes. I do that.
Why would my wife ever frown in my direction, you may be asking? It’s true that the opportunities are rare, few, far between. I am near perfect. Trust me, it’s true. When she frowns at me her reason is usually to question my better judgement, such as eating that grilled cheese sandwich that I dropped on the floor and did not pick up within the five second rule. Or when I mow the lawn in my bicycle attire (change your clothes, would you? — but, but, but my cycling stuff is already sweaty). Or when I try to do anything on the roof of our house — I am phobic of heights for the first few minutes I am up there. This time had a bit of validity to it and I know that my wife frowned when she left the room, after I broke the news to her that I was going on a bike ride yesterday morning.
A week before I was considering testing my newly repaired gut, not quite two weeks after surgery. Even I wasn’t quite sure it was a wise move, so I didn’t go out for the ride. However, if my gut was able to survive the Thanksgiving gorge fest, it was ready for a roll on a bicycle.
So, I suited up yesterday morning, loaded my mountain bike into the back of my PT Loser, drove to my favorite mountain bike park. I have to confess, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. After all, it hasn’t been three weeks since the surgery. But the doctor said I could try a ride when I felt ready. I felt ready enough. One can only couch potato for so long. Yesterday’s weather was go outside and play weather, the kind of day where mothers and fathers boot their kids out the door with instructions to do something besides waste a perfect day inside. Sunny. Nary a hint of wind. Temperatures in the upper 30s when I left, promising to reach the mid 40s by the afternoon.
There were a few cyclists getting ready to go out on the trails as I pulled into the trailhead parking lot, one guy about my age jabbering nervously to his riding partner as they readied their bikes to ride. That is one of the nuances to mountain biking that I am still getting used to, as compared to riding road. Mountain bikers drive to where they ride and they work on their bicycles at their destination, making adjustments or even making repairs. Road cyclists usually roll from their front door or to the start of the ride, their bikes readied the night before. Only in emergencies will a road cyclist be found working on their bicycle right before a ride. I pulled my mountain bike out the back of the Loser, inserted the front wheel on the bike, leaned it against the Loser as I put my cycling shoes on, pulled on my gloves and hydration pack. Clicking my left shoe into the pedal, I took in the entrance to the trail, a large sigh puffing between my lips.
Here goes, I thought.
I was in an easy spinning gear, no resistance in the pedals at all, as I spun towards the sandy entrance the rose steeply into the park. So easy. So perfectly easy. My body was ready, the confidence filled me immediately as my bike negotiated rocks and roots as the trail twisted, dipped and rose in front of me. Since I had been to the trails last, the trees had dropped their leaves completely, the sunlight showing my way. Gorgeous. Not only that, but the trails were in perfect shape. Just a few hundreds yards in was the first quick descent and log obstacle, followed by a section of four twisting bumps, called a pump section. It’s a part of the trail that is a bit above the novice level, but still simple, and I know that if I ride it fast enough I will catch air.
I did. Fun. No issues with my body.
Two hours of riding, fast riding, fast enough that I came back to the parking lot twice for a rest, returning back to the trails because I was having the best time I have had in the past few weeks. The bike responded exactly the way I wanted it to respond. Yesterday was the first ride at this particular park where I didn’t fall the entire time I was out. It was wonderful.
I’m back in the saddle. Riding again. I love it.