What kind of crazy is this? Sunday morning. Alarm set for 5 a.m wake up. The bikes are prepped and ready, one bundled into the car, the other strapped to a carrier on the trunk. Our layers of gear - helmets, shoes, gloves, leg warmers, knee brace, butt butter (really, don’t ask) -- have all been painstakingly laid out the night before, ready for our jump on the day. We grab breakfast - coffee, eggs -- the caffeine and calories and we need to wake up and power up. It’s 40 degrees, pitch dark, the forecast for the day is not the promise of blue water and clear skies for a bike ride on the shores of St. Clair, Michigan. According to the weather report, today will be overcast, temperatures in the low 50s with a 40 to 60% chance of rain.
It's 5:45 a.m. My husband, M, my partner in life and life’s adventures, has mixed his eHammer cocktails, stirred but not shaken in the water bottles he’ll carry on the bike. I’m still sipping coffee.
It’s pitch dark. It’s cold. M will ride 100 miles today - a “Century Ride” - his 4th for the season -- with a handful of others who will meet up with him at 7. I’m coming along for the ride. Opting for the shorter route, I’m signed up for this Blue Water Ramble thing for 45 miles. That’s 45 miles “in the saddle” peddling uphill and down on a bike -- riding with? No idea, really. Riding, why? For bragging rights. To say I’ve done it. For curiosity sake, for sheer aesthetics, to see the fall colors, and the blue water. . .no wait, it’s pitch dark. It’s cold. I occurs to me I’ve never had a flat tire, never changed one ever. I hesitate, I waver. Biking is no sport for worriers. “Where are my winter riding gloves, anyway?”
It’s 6 o clock and I’m still standing at the door. “Please, don’t go on my account,” M offers,“This is my crazy, not yours.”
I see the point, (eager to have found the point, actually) imagining all too clearly, slogging four hours through the rain, legs cramping, peddling for miles, tiring even before the stop for lunch. Cycling is M’s passion, not mine. Really.
“Be safe, have a good ride,” I tell him standing at the door. “Stay warm, have a good write,” he tells me.
Wimp. I say to myself.
I’m a biking wimp, it’s true. I say a little prayer every time I get on and off my beautiful Trek, noting that it’s the color of a harmless Creamsicle. “Stay up and stay on,” I pray, “and don’t break anything.” I’m a tough old bird, with the skinned and scarred knees of a 12-year-old. Truth be told, I’m a skittish rider, (always have been) and I’m only in marginal shape for a cold ride into the wind along the blue, blue waters of St. Clair shores today.
7 a.m. Still pitch dark. M should be pulling into St. Clair High School where the Clinton River Riders’ Club is set to start the event. There will be 1200 riders this morning, give or take the faint-of-heart and fair-weather ramblers, like me. Damn the forecast, I’m riding out the morning, spending a couple of hours on a hard seat - at my desk.
7:16 daybreak at last. And whady’know? A pale yellow and pink Michigan sky. Looks like it’s going to be a near perfect Fall-color day for a ride along the blue, blue waters of Lake Huron. Wimp!
The sun’s up. Rising higher, shedding dazzling light on trees. Not a soul out on the street. There’ a bright Michigan sky and a clear road ahead right outside the door. The Trek awaits downstairs.
Some kinda crazy, I take it for a spin.