Thursday, December 29, 2011

Aging gracefully...

Despite insanely temperate temperatures, I haven't been able to get out & ride at all recently. It's a shame, but it's life. Life intrudes & life trumps.

Too, I sweat hard (as anyone who's been near me knows) and I sweat copiously, in all temperatures. In mildly winter-like temps, I will soak even the most technical gear. Fuck you, wicking capabilities... Cycling in the winter means pushing your body into the wind at whatever speed you're going (and that's w/o any actual wind buffeting your hide), and the hands/feet are particularly vulnerable to chilling. I'll go through a pair of gloves in about an hour, filling them w/ sweat/steam/water, which then makes my fingers go numb.

So, I don't really have much enthusiasm for trying to ride for effort in the cold. And I tend to fall on ice.
But it's been gorgeous out, and I had some open time, so off I went. I've heard tell of good riding along the river bottoms, which, besides being the setting for blues tunes and generic southern gothic novels, is a mystery spot for me. I set out w/ half an intention to make myself find these spots others are raving about. It felt gooooooood to pedal and move again. Temps in mid-30s w/ no wind! Awesome. I do wish I'd been more into riding when I lived in Chattanoogie, as the mild winters and endless hills were/are great for such stuff.

Got down to Minnehaha Falls and went down the path to Ft. Snelling and the nature trail down there. It was pretty much deserted. I haven't been down there in years. I remember skiing it once, but nearly fifteen years ago, I bet. And running it once or twice, plus Watt killed a young raccoon the last time we were down there--again, over a decade ago. But today it was empty and glorious, and I cruised along the rutted dirt paths, thinking, 'Is this where they're riding? How easy it is to find!' It was a blast to pedal hard, get tired, have fun. Lungs were working and the terrain was easy to ride and scenic as hell. I laughed at myself: five days short of 45 and there I was, riding my bike like a teenage interloper. Not attempting any jumps or anything, but aware that, yet again, I was riding alone, in the woods, with uncertain ground beneath my tires, and my own limited handling far inferior to what my bike wanted to do.

Someone should tell Jeff Frane & Hurl that there's good riding along dem old bottoms...

I encountered a couple walkers and several dog/human pairs, and the majority seemed nonplussed at seeing me, if not outright hostile. I smiled and waved and kept 'racing' along. It was awesome and I was making big plans to build my incredible cx skills down in the bottoms all next year. Then the DNR dudes stopped me and scolded me, sending me hither. I totally know how Adam and Eve felt when the door to Eden hit them on the ass.

I rolled away, chastened, with no better idea where the fucking real bottoms were. And that isn't a men-lurking-in-shadows-making-furtive-comeons joke. But it could be, and a damn good one.

I switched gloves and headed home. My fingers and toes were icy and tingling for the last ten miles, reminding me--yet again--that I'm really not a good candidate for endurance events in the cold.

I got home and found a note Harper had been working on, an after-incident review of sorts for Santa. Yes, apparently the big man had shit the bed in his annual duties. I pointed out that she should beware seeming a bit, you know, ungrateful. She patiently explained that she had sent him a nice letter, clearly asking for several items, and she'd said 'Please.' In her airtight logic, there was no reason why he only delivered two of the five requested items. She was pretty bummed. How to explain this to someone well-invested in magical thinking? And, how to not sound like a shaming asshole to boot: 'I know we've spoon-fed you this magical tale about Santa, which certainly defies even casual logic, and now we're making you feel bad because you, rightly, feel he didn't meet his promises'?

I saved the note, since it's fucking awesome. How could the old fart deny this kid?

That said, he better watch his ass, since she is not to be trifled with...

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