Argh.. the all too familiar grit of my teeth grinding in frustration.  The afternoon had concluded with joy stealing challenge, a tax related bump and an email from a numbskull salesman (who almost always rubs me wrong) threatened to fill my psyche with bitter poison.  Thankfully, my mountain bike waited for me along with my car in the parking lot, a short drive to the trails on a picture perfect evening promising to eliminate my woes.  All the way there, the events of the afternoon worked on me.  I parked my car at the trailhead, aware of the frown decorating my face.

Hey guys, turn your heads for a minute.  I don’t want to expose myself while I change into my shorts.

The kids who had parked next to me laughed and promised not to be offended.  Quickly, I stepped out of my shorts and slipped on the padded undershorts, pulled the ‘stylish’ mountain bike shorts over them.

I could already feel the angst beginning to melt away.

Adding to the ambience, the familiar rust color of my friend Jeremy’s Honda Element rolled past as I unlocked my bike and pulled it off of my hitch rack.  Even better, Jeremy parked nearby and his wonderful wife, Monica, emerged from the vehicle and headed in my direction, a warm smile for me as she pulled me in for a hug.  Jeremy is great, even better when Monica is with him.  She treats me like I am someone special, always treats me that way, treats her husband even more so, something that has endeared them both to me.  In a season of my life where I don’t seem to see enough relationships like that, I soak up the happy spirit I get from the both of them together whenever they are around.

I joined Jeremy for a fast ride, shortened when we went back to the parking lot after four miles to lube my chain, only to be waylaid by Monica and their friend, Carrie, with the temptation of beer.  Beer won over riding, the evening weather so perfect that anything was OK.

And it was just what I needed.  It was obvious to me as I drove home.  I had gone from teeth gritting to singing loudly to whatever song was on the radio.

I saw Miriam in the grocery store when I stopped to pick up some chicken to cook for dinner.  It didn’t matter.  Nothing was going to return me to the funk.

Bikes.  Friends.  Just what the doctor ordered.