Sproing Sproing Sproing

What the heck?  Am I dreaming of gaily dancing coils springing around my pillow?

Sproing Sproing Sproing

Oops.  That’s my alarm clock.  Time to get up, sleepy head.  It’s 5:45 AM and time to smell the Cream of Wheat.  I reached over, hit snooze on my iPod, today’s best answer to an actual alarm clock, rolled my feet over the side of the bed and sat up in one motion.  There wasn’t much fog in my brain this morning….

Shut up.

As I was saying, there wasn’t much fog in my brain this morning, my common sense told me to go to sleep early last night.  At 7 I was going to roll my mountain bike out of the garage for a glorious winter morning ride with my friends Jon and Jim.  There was a little doubt in my head that the ride would be glorious.  The temperature outside was 18 degrees according to my handy dandy cell phone, a tit nipply but doable, cloudy with a kind wind that would be at our backs for the first part of our ride.  By 7 it was supposed to have crept into the low twenties and by eight heading towards 30.  I was optimistic, hopeful that my legs would feel good and my winter shape (round) would not hinder my riding too much.  Jon is an exceptional rider, already training for an epic ride in France this summer (Paris-Brest-Paris, for those who are familiar with such things).  Even when he is taking it easy on me, which he always does, he can ride away from me.  Our ride would be a total round trip of around 28 miles, a fairly easy ride but a bit more challenging when done on a mountain bike in winter.

Nick followed me down the stairs.  He always follows me down the stairs in the morning, rushes past me as I gingerly negotiate the steps, zooms through the living room and into the kitchen, waiting for me to arrive at the sliding glass door to let him outside to the back yard.  I smile at his eager expression, eyes bright and ears taut with anticipation.  I open the door a crack, peer outside into the semi darkness to check for skunks.  We have had to deal with a skunk sprayed dog several times.

I have a morning routine.  While Nick is doing his thing outside, which this morning involved diving face first into a snow drift, shaking the snow crystals from his nose, then diving in again, I grab the box of Cream of Wheat and spoon three tablespoons into a cereal bowl while the water heats on the stove.  A spoon waits next to the bowl, the box of cereal back to the cupboard, then the coffee loaded into the coffee maker.  I add the cereal from the bowl to the sauce pan, stir it in, reduce the heat, check on Nick.  He is waiting at the door, snout glistening from his fun in the snow.  I doubt he did his thing, but that’s his problem.  he wants back inside.  Nick will ask for a little affection, then resume his post next to one of the beds upstairs to wait for the next human to wake up.

Happy.  I posted a status on Facebook — This stud is going for a studs ride this morning.  I was very proud of myself for braving the cold.

I have time to relax before the layers of spandex need to be pulled on.   Dressing in layers is tedious but obviously necessary.  Wool socks with Goretex socks to go over them, an Under Armor mock turtle neck up top with a fleece lined long sleeve jersey and fleece pullover, knee length bibs with fleece lined tights over them.  Out in the garage I will put on an insulated helmet liner, neoprene face mask and over shoes, topped off with my favorite ski gloves.  I have had those gloves for 25 years.  I love them.  They practically put themselves on at this point in our man/glove relationship.  My mountain bike is fitted with metal studded tires for riding over the ice.

Later on those tires would be necessary.  7 AM came, I rolled down the driveway, a little chilled but just enough chill to know that I was not overdressed.  One does not want to start off warm.  Overheating is worse than riding chilled.  I rode the 2 miles to where I was supposed to meet Jon — and he wasn’t there yet.  Always enthusiastic, Jon is always very early, riding in circles when I arrive.  This morning it was my turn to ride in circles.  I was the enthusiastic one.

Our ride was one of those satisfying rides, filled with the comraderie of friends doing something they love together.  We rode through Wheaton to Glen Ellyn, affluent Chicago suburbs, casually spinning to the crackle of the metal studs on our tires against the pavement.  Our ritual for this time of year is to ride to Lake Ellyn, always cleared for ice skating, ride a few times across the lake, then have coffee together at the downtown Starbucks.  The view from the lake is spectacular, Glen Ellyn High School on the hill above us.  If you have ever seen a movie called ‘Lucas’, then you have seen the school.  The football scenes were shot there.

Great ride.  Just enough.

I think I will stick with this style.

I think I will stick with this style.

I like helmet hair, especially when I wear a helmet liner.  It makes spikes.  Of course, I had to post a selfie.  Had to.  One of my friends said the picture was the perfect Creepy Old Dude (COD) picture.  I would smack her if I could catch the little snot nosed whippersnapper.  She is going to look funny with metal spiked tire marks running up her back.  Another said it was sexy.  I am going to assume that was not sarcastic.  Once again, metal spiked tire marks.  and another commented ‘There goes my appetite’.   I hope they puked.

Should be the first of many rides.. and many helmet selfies.. this year.  I can’t wait!