Saddling up for a 3:30 ride on a late October day, I thought the gear I’d chosen would serve the purpose of keeping out the chill and the wind. It was fifty degrees outside, on the knot. During the ride, the temperature dropped. The wind picked up, then shifted directions so that I was riding back into a cold autumn breeze.
Moments like those bring out cold confessions, making you wonder why you’re out there at all. Glancing at my Garmin, the watch itself seemed to be frozen in time. I’d forgotten to start it up again at the first traffic light at 1.94 miles.
By that point, I’d already covered six miles. It wasn’t worth picking up a partial ride. I turned the whole thing off. Now I was riding for the sheer act of doing it. No Garmin reward when I got home. No pretty map of the route. No pace per mile average.
That said, my legs still felt good. The wind creeping up the jacket sleeves and turning my hands numb still wasn’t that bad. I’d worn cycling gloves but nothing over my bare fingers. No worries. I’d felt worse many times before.
My ride took me past the little brick bungalow where I lived for ten years in Geneva. I saw that the brick pillars I’d repaired back in 1995 were still holding together. That was twenty-five years ago. We all try to do things that stand as a testament to our worth in this world. Some of them go unrecognized. That’s okay.
The same goes for the things that we attempt that don’t go so well. They stand as cold confessions in our past. Inside that same house are a number of projects that I patched together with much determination but little know-how. Most of them worked out in the end. Some are hidden. The wallboard compound used to rebuild a bathroom wall. The layer of pink paint on the dining room wall.
These are cold confessions. Unadorned and real. One feels the same way on a bike on a cold autumn day. It’s just you and whatever you’re wearing. If it’s not enough, so be it. One still needs to get home. We all need to get home.