Spring color in the McDowells
Cool spring breezes ruffle through my jersey as I spin down the street and turn east into a beautiful Tuesday morning sunrise, wheels rolling, freewheel cogs whirring. My legs have good sensations, feeling strong, while I pedal in full, consistent circles. And miracle of miracles, no aches or pains present themselves, not even as I embrace the small climb known as Mohave.
An intense vinyasa class the night before has something to do with this. So does having ridden a few days before, out to the Hills of Via Linda, where the climbing almost felt like it used to, back in the day, back before The Crash.
On that earlier weekend ride, I had chanced across cycling acquaintances from the Bullshifter / Moon Valley ranks, people I hadn’t seen in a while. I got to ride a mile or two with them, which caused all sorts of memories and sensations to come rushing back: Long days in the saddle with like-minded cycling fanatics, cool morning breezes morphing into warm, sunny afternoons, the days turning magical as the sun sets, legs still spinning, chattering freewheels still churning.
And a certain fever — a fever that leaves you wanting more after you reach home, no matter how many miles you just completed, making yourself ask, “So, when can I ride again?”
The past year, I hadn’t dared entertain such feelings, to dream such thoughts. Whenever cyclists came zooming by on my morning walks with the pupster, I tried to stay indifferent. To be wistful was the road to madness, I reasoned. I had even convinced myself that, no, I just wasn’t that into cycling anymore.
Ha! To think I could fool myself like that!
It doesn’t help that on this morning, the weather is as perfect as it can be, and I encounter the Tri Scottsdale group as they fly down the road on their usual circuit. Memories of training ride after training ride with these folks washes over me, making the fever return.
I want to follow the pack, but cannot. There’s no way I can match their speed, and that’s probably best anyway, quite frankly. Riding is not without its risks, especially for me, a point re-emphasized when I realize how unsafe the pack seems when they come flying by, and later when I encounter unexpected road construction going through the golf course in Paradise Valley. I come to an abrupt halt just inches away from a section of road that had been ground down in preparation for paving.
Now, that seems familiar. Too familiar. And though technically a person could negotiate such a surface on a road bike, there was no way in hell I was going to. No sirree, you won’t see me making that mistake again! After unsuccessfully backtracking to find another way through the neighborhood, I eventually return to the road construction and walk my bike the quarter mile to the next rideable street, no matter how wimpy that may look to the few riders that come rattling by.
Tomorrow is when the next of the series of lunar eclipses occurs, and it will be exactly twelve full moons (and three lunar eclipses) since I took a serious tumble. Will I risk riding?
Most likely, for I’ve got the fever!