Yesterday turned warm and I was all set to go out on the Venge when I realized something had snapped a spoke in my rear wheel. Probably the wheel got knocked or caught on a bike pump, but whatever the cause, it was not fit for a ride.
That meant grabbing the Specialized Rockhopper to get out for a ride. The temps were in the mid-50s, so it was perfect weather for bumping along the mountain bike.
The problem with that statement is that it is literally true. Once I reached a small forest preserve along a country road, I pitched onto the grass trails and the bumpy ride began. The ground is a combination of frost-hardened soil and mushy, muddy furrows. So you alternately slide and bounce over the terrain.
Switching from high to low gears doesn’t help that much. Neither do the shocks on my front fork. My bike is a ‘hard-tail’ with my butt perched on a solid seat. So you absorb those shocks, and when your butt bones are just getting toughened up for the season, it hurts.
Riding a mountain bike on smooth roads isn’t what the sport is really all about. Yet I’ll admit relief when I climbed the last little hill leading from the forest preserve to the road and took off at fifteen miles an hour headed for the next turn.
It felt good to be riding at any rate. Today is also supposed to be a balmy day here in Illinois, with temps in the mid-50s. For February, that’s a heat wave. I might go out again on the bike.
Turning south yesterday, a small weather shift was coming in. The wind turned raw, but somehow it didn’t matter that much. Where I once hated the wind for its resistance, I’ve changed my mind to appreciate the training effect it has. Work hard into the wind, raise your heart rate. Get stronger.
Even the cold cutting through my jacket wasn’t that bad. I wore cycling shorts and my knees and calves were a bit chilled, but not in the shiver zone. It was late afternoon and a mist was starting to blow in. That would lead to rain by midnight and produce deep roars of thunder in the night.
Something in those sounds made me feel calm and complete. There is virtue in bumping along on your mountain bike, making contact with the land, that makes that cozy bed seem a little more honest.