This Sunday morning, after a cup of coffee, two pieces of toast, glass of OJ, and two bottles of water, and the Sunday Morning show on WTVR-6 with a Latino comedian, country music singer with an attitude singing old 60's pop tunes, a fallen leader who could not keep it in his pants, and where the buffalo roam, it's time for the 10k.
But today is different. It's the usual route, but in reverse.
I drift down Westmoreland, adjusting my mirror and stretching my back. Stop at the light and wait for the mobile machines to make their moves. Turn left (instead of right) on Grove. Pass my elementary school and notice the 'Colonial Place' condos. Another old apartment building 'converted' into a condo.
Up the hill to Malvern I start to thinking about the evening singing with a old friend last night. As I set my pace I notice the small amount of space between the parked mobile monsters and the driving lane. As I reach the Greek church, I notice the odd driving habits. I pull to the right and stop. Turning left without a single. Stop in the driving lane, then backing up to park. Backing up to where I've stopped. I check for traffic going by, then make a wide turn around the parking vehicle.
Coast down the hill to the Powhite. Pass the house with the Marine flagpole. Drift through the intersection giving the 'eye' to a driver inching it's way toward the turn. Over the bridge and stop at Thompson. This is where the road narrows.
There is a large amount of traffic this morning. Lots of parking, turning around, side streets. What's up with that? Oh the Carytown Watermelon Festival. I wave at an old employee of the newspaper, wait for the maze of traffic to dissipate, then move on. Up pass the museum and cross next to the Jewish temple.
Again stop at the Retreat Hospital where John was a patient for his foot, Heather took her first stress test, and mom stayed to repair from detox. Again I have to move around a backing up mobile machine who wants to park where I am.
Press on to the inner Fan. Down Grove and the traffic thins. This is what it is suppose to be. Peddle down the lane pass row houses way over valued and priced. When I ride down Grove going east, I ride all the way to VCU.
I notice glass on the right side. Although I'm not a champion for the plastic industry, this product has reduced the broken glass on the road, and thus, fewer flat tires for bikers.
Get to the last triangle park and notice the construction going on. Wait. They have changed a church to a VCU music center. Is there anything this school won't gobble up?
Spin around the triangle and back up Park Avenue. It's all uphill from here.
Up through the winding streets. The replacements of so many water pipes into the aging buildings and their poor patches makes the ride very bumpy.
Stop at the light at the church on Lombardy. A lot of kids and women dress to the 9's. Chatter fills the air as the petitioners gather on the steps. Down the street from the huge house where I rode a motorcycle up the steps at a wild party.
Onward up the hill, avoiding passing machines and avoiding opening doors. Hello Robins Inn. A pause. Then on pass 'THE' First Baptist Church and the carriage house coffee gathering spot where there were so many discussions and laughter.
Straight up Park to turn left then a quick right and straight ahead. The traffic has vanished so it's a peaceful ride. Steady pace. So far have not had to shift out of 12th gear. Down pass the jr. high school with it's massive year long construction project to replace or repair the concrete columns that hold up the railing around the front and on top of the school.
Down the slowly rising Patterson, over the Powhite bridge. This is the regular route from work to home. But this time, straight up Patterson. Pass the 7th Day Adventist Church, pass green grass lawns and neatly trimmed houses built in the late 40's.
Pause at Malvern. Stare at that tall tree in front of the house I lived in for 20 years. Worn and tired, it is missing a few branches and shows the scares of traffic wrecks. Keep peddling.
Straight flat ground and then up a hill to the Westmoreland light. Pause and wipe the sweat from the left eye. Steady peddle ahead then up a brief hill and coast down to the light at Willow Lawn drive. Nothing memorial on the way. Through the light and up the 3 block incline. Back and forth over the mound of tar covering a long gouge in the road to lay a cable or pipe or something.
Rotating on the gravel and pebbles left by the city construction. Press forward. Do not change gears. Feel the burn. Slow for the big black mobile machine turning in front against the light. Share the ride. To the top of the hill and keep going pass the trendy shops of sandwich shops and bakeries. Turn right onto Libbie and up another hill pass the school where my first band had a gig. I got to sing 'Boys' by the Beatles on a microphone tapes to a light stand.
Pause at the light, take a drink of water, wipe the sweat away, then green. Up another hill. The rise to Grove from Libbie is about a 30 degree rise for about 5 city blocks. Do not shift gears.
Turn left onto Grove pass the Westhampton Theater playing 'Brideshead Revisited' remake. Have the original PDS production on DVD. Press the brakes as I speed down the right turn onto proper Grove Ave. A couple of bikers are leading the path. Keep checking to the right for monster mobile machine to rear their ugly heads out of walled in neighborhoods.
With a soaking wet shirt I view a jogger across the street. A shuffle step and a face not enjoying her exercise, I think, it is so much cooler to bike than run. It's not as painful on the body and who doesn't like a bike rider? Everyone waves and smiles.
Pass the 'Lock Lane' condos being constructed from old World War 2 barrack style housing. With that name, they will cost a pretty fortune.
Turn left onto Westmoreland and the journey is almost over. Up another hill and right at the alley. Open the gate and I'm home.
Another quick drink of water, change bikes, and I'm off to the grocery store for coffee creamer.