An Unforeseen Ride


It’s 3:45 p.m. and I’ve started making dinner. An ungodly hour to be making dinner for anyone under the age of seventy-five, but a very light lunch, boredom and the want to avoid cracking open a beer has forced me to the kitchen.

Vegetables are chopped, beef is browned, rice is made and spices are added, then the whole mess is topped with some shredded cheese. One half hour after I started, my meal is finished; a white trash Mexican concoction of rice and beans served with a side of tortilla chips and what I think is the best salsa known to man– Mrs. Renfro’s Green Jalapeno Salsa. It’s now 4:15, a time that reminds me that eating dinner now is STILL void of anything godly, yet I do.

Dinner’s entertainment will be a recently downloaded video of last month’s women’s XC race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and  like any proper American I now find myself sitting on the couch watching TV with a plate containing a serving of food fit for three or more people.

Ten minutes later and the plate is clean, it’s now 4:25 and I am splayed on the couch watching what might be one of the least entertaining mountain bike races ever to be televised. A fairly innocuous course and a small field of twenty-two racers made for less than exciting race. It took Catharine Pendrel of Canada (one of the few top UCI racers in attendance) roughly a half lap to take a dominating lead and ride the next 35 kilometers alone, taking the win over fellow Canadian Emily Batty by over a minute.

Beyond Pendrel’s domination of the race, one of the few highlights was seeing Claire Oakley of Ireland (sporting the unlucky #13) walk, push, and ride a wobbly last lap flat rear tire to a dead fucking last finish. She crossed the line nearly nineteen minutes behind Catharine Pendrel to a huge roar of cheers from the crowd and a “if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry” grin on her face.

The lowlight had to have been seeing the Kenyan racers stumbling over the simplest of obstacles, on what seemed to be Specialized Hardrocks. One rider in particular was using platform pedals, wearing running shoes and what looked to be pantyhose under her kit to fend off the unfamiliar Glaswegian winds. As the camera followed her walking down a decent and off the course for a DNF I could almost imagine her asking “What the fuck am I doing here?” I have no doubt these were good athletes and it was great to see them giving it a go, I just don’t know if they were actually mountain bike racers and it was sad to see them so unprepared and ill-equipped for what they were taking on. Sadly, all three Kenyan racers would DNF.

Making my dinner, eating said dinner, watching a lackluster race on TV, making B-Man dinner, washing all the dishes and cleaning the kitchen has now killed two hours. I can feel that my dinner is already in the tail end of its digestion process when Wifey arrives home from work. We talk a bit, I make a few ill-advised, quickly thwarted and angrily chastised attempts at groping her and return to my place the couch.

Sitting on the couch, I stare blankly at the TV which still features the final results of the just watched race on pause. I start to think about the blog post I wrote earlier in the day. I think about exercise, about past weight loss and what it took to get off my ass all those years ago. My thoughts then waffle between the dominating display that Catharine Pendrel just put on, watching Claire Oakley roll across the line with a flat in last place and the three Kenyans whom I just saw stumble around that race course until they inevitably DNFed.

I then returned to Wifey in the kitchen.

I’m gonna go up the college for a quick lap.

What? No you’re not, really?

Yeah, I am.

Every time I ask you if you’re gonna ride in the evening you get all snippy with me and give me some sort of bullshit answer like “I’m too tired,” “I already, ate,” or “It’s too late.” Go if you want, if that’s where you’re going.

What, where the hell else would I go? What, do you think I’m going to the Tap Room or something? I’m not going out for a beer in bibs and a jersey! Ah forget it, it probably is too late.

No, no, no, I WANT you to go, if you want to go and you think you’ll have a good time, but don’t go if you’re gonna ride like crap and then come home and be in a bad mood. It’s just you hardly ever do this, that’s all.

I just got in the mood, it’s not even six o’clock and I need to do something.

Then go and have fun, it’s a beautiful night.

And so I did.

I quickly changed, loaded my bike and drove up 127 with the idea of doing twelve or thirteen miles of the nearly sixteen mile loop. I anticipated the worst and fully expected that more than a dollop of spicy, green Mrs. Renfro’s salsa would adorn the Superfly’s top tube before the ride’s end. However, I felt shockingly good. Sure, there was the odd rumble of rice and beans filtering through my lower gut, contemplating a gaseous rear exit, and yes, I did enjoy the occasional burn of jalapeno salsa rolling up over my tongue and cross my lips, but for the most part the ride was awesome. Short and sweet, but awesome.


The evening sun was amazing, the trails were dry and fast and my legs felt good. I stand by that the recent handful of rides I’ve done on the Pugsley have done more for my leg and upper body strength than an entire winter of lifting weights. Seriously.

I’m still not sure what the exact motivating factor was for getting myself out the door last night, but I’m glad I did. Every time that I convince myself to get out and ride in the evenings, I think to myself “I should do this more often!” Now let’s see if it happens again.

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