After yesterday’s 41 mile road ride (with a dash of dirt thrown in) I was eager to get back out on the bike today for some mileage. For today’s ride I had mapped out a ride that was a nugget’s hair over 50 miles and about a 50/50 mix of pavement and dirt roads. In other words, it was perfect.
I was pretty happy that the winds weren’t going to be too bad today. WeatherDOTcom said that the winds would be from the south/south-east and be blowing at about ten miles per hour. The first thing I will say is that there is NO way in hell that they were ten miles per hour. The second thing I will say is that the first half of my ride I was heading RIGHT into that wind (that was in no way 10 mph), cussing the whole time and wishing the WeatherDOTcom meteorologists dead. [Too much? Nahhhh!].
I think the biggest mind fuck with wind is that you can’t see it. Rain, snow, slush, mud, vomit, pudding, fecal matter, sleet, hills, rocks, etc., you can see. Wind– not so much. It’s just a deafening force holding you back and making you hate everything. I hate it.
Regardless of whether I could see it or not, I continued on (there was really no choice if I wanted to ride), anxiously awaiting the change from pavement to dirt. Finally it came, and with it came some blessed cover from the wind in the form of some leafless trees along River Road.
The dirty, gravel parts of River have a lot more climbing, but it felt SOOOO much better than riding pavement into a stiff wind as cars with their texting, cigarette smoking, coffee drinking drivers zoomed past. The sun was out, the temps were warm and I was able to ride in a jersey and bibs for the first time in 2015, while, to quote Morrissey: “A nation turns its backs and gags.”
I had started River on pavement, then it changed to hilly, rolling dirt for some miles. Just as I was about to exit River the turkey vultures were circling overhead. I hoped it wasn’t ME that they saw as part of a future menu.
To not be encased in layers and layers and layers and layers of winter jackets, hats, base layers, etc., is such an awesome feeling for a cyclist. It can make even the fattest of cyclists (like me) feel just THAT much faster and lighter. The only drawback to shedding the jacket and long sleeve base layers was now I–and everyone around me–could see my fat arms jiggling and flapping in the wind like a Floridian grandmother waving goodbye to her brat grandkids.
I explored some new to me dirt roads on today’s loop and stumbled upon an alpaca farm. Funny thing is, I JUST saw an alpaca farm on The Incredible Dr. Pol show last night (he’s based just a few miles from my house). Not sure if it was the same farm or not, but I thought it quite the coincidence.
The rhythm of the ride was basically pavement, dirt, pavement, dirt, pavement dirt, pavement, home. It was nice to roll more dirt than I did yesterday and even nicer to know that spring weather if finally here in Michiganerburgh, a place where sixty-five degree temperatures have people running shirtless, wearing shorts and lounging outside as if they were in Florida (with their arm jiggling grandmother).
As per usually, there were more than a fair share of Popov bottles along the road today. I have never seen a place (outside of a college frat house dumpster) where crap Popov vodka is so popular. Who knew that so many rural farmers where getting shit faced on vodka and tossing their shit along the road?? In any event, today seemed to be a 10 Popov ride. That’s not to say there weren’t other liquor bottles out there or that I didn’t miss a few bottles here and there, but from my count, today = 10 bottles of Popov.
Sadly (I guess?) I took a left hand turn onto a signless dirt road that I THOUGHT was my left turn. Well it wasn’t and because of that I missed my goal of 50 miles today. I ended up with 47 on the day and 88 miles on the weekend. Believe me, I am in NO way bitching about that. For a week that I THOUGHT was shit I ended up with well over ten hours of doing stuff. Not great, but not bad for a forty-three year old, who doesn’t race anymore and is just trying to avoid getting fat (again) and take in what the area that he now calls home has to offer.
I am so looking forward to more miles on the bike this spring and summer. I continue to grow more and more comfortable with what sort of cyclist I am now and care less and less about what others are doing or what they think I should be doing. For me miles on the bike now equals an inner peace, a chance to get outside and explore Michigan and a chance to be creative through my crap photography and even crapper blog writing. It’s not ideal for a former (sub-par) racer, but it’s pretty darn not bad.