For several weeks now, I have broken my morning routine and not taken my 10k bike ride. Snow, cold, ice, wind, donation pickups were all excuses.
Meanwhile the bikes, like ponies in a corral, have sat idle waiting for a ride.
So this morning I swore to myself this morning was time to take my ride.
The weather had been warm, but I was still awaiting Jesus, who came yesterday afternoon.
Today there were no excuses. Even waking up late did not prevent me from saddling up and walking up the gravel to the grey sky. As I adjusted myself to the temperature and clearing my throat, the rain clouds that would be with me for several days began to appear on the horizon.
Marion glided down the hill and over the remands of sand and salt, then a turn to starboard. Catching my breath, I began to get into a rhythm long forgotten. After a turn back, noticing a Cowboys banner on front of a house and thinking, “You can take that down. That ain’t gonna happen this year.”
Up the hill I see Christmas lights still up and wonder if the residents know this is the 21st of January and it is a no-no in this old town to leave the past season decorations after the 20th? It was like the guy I saw in the white suit last weekend. Are there no rules?
Turning to opposite side of the medium to avoid a large moving truck, I first thought another family was leaving, but was pleasant surprised when on the side of the truck was written “Showroom Furniture”.
The pace was slower for the first third of the venture, but I appreciated being on two wheels going around a truck loading a portable storage unit, passing the mobile machines parked and waiting.
I noticed a lot of police cars on my travels. This trip passed five of Richmond’s finest parked throughout. Was there a crime wave-taking place in my neighborhood or had house prices dropped so public servants with free rides could buy in?
At the top of the hill, I paused and listened for traffic. The street was lined with huge vans and trucks for every house seemed to under some sort of construction (I can relate) or the usual SUVs the size of small elephants. I looked left, since that is the first lane to cross and noticed no movement. A quick look to the right and I was off.
Then a black mobile machine appeared from behind a block of mobile metal. My mind quickly woke and decisions were made. I pressed the pedal with determination and struggled to quicken the pace over the hill. Luckily the driver also saw me and slowed to let me pass.
Drifting down the other side of the hill I thought wouldn’t it be ironic to be run over on my first outing in over a month. I was out of practice.
Paying more attention to traffic patterns I reached the end of my first third unscathed.
Waiting for the light to change and the drivers to clear I noticed a hint of sunshine, but it was fleeting. My fingers were still numb from the cold as I pushed on.
Up another hill, avoiding metal monsters and construction workers, I passed a jogger who waved and said “Hey! Morning!!” with a smile. I wondered why a young girl (40’s?) was doing out this time of day.
Perhaps she was taking a break from working at home or a single mom getting some exercise was my only answers. It didn’t matter in a blink of an eye she was gone.
On the back of a mud covered jeeps spare wheel cover was a black and white skull and crossed swords. “Argggh!” Oh, to be a pirate again.
Stopping at Malvern to drink the very cold water and survey the territory. A gray mobile carrier pulled up behind me waiting as if I was taking up too much space to turn, so I continued.
Traffic was light from there on so my pace quickened to my usual speed. I took deep breaths as I approached the Wythe hill, but first I had to slide to a stop to wait for a driver to make a decision on which direction to take.
The hill wasn’t as bad as I thought, but I considered the pain I would feel tomorrow with a grin. An up-shift down the hill, I was looking forward to the roller-coaster.
At the church, I watered again then could feel my right leg press hard against the resistance, but made the pass of the street of monuments and into my last third passage.
The hills were familiar and the breathing on track. Marion was glad to be out and frisky on the cleared roadways.
Before I knew it, I was done.
The sky had grown grey with the impending weather and the air grew colder, but I was warm and energized.
Placing the Gray Ghost back on the porch with Bianchi and Big Blue, I paused for a cup of coffee and watch the fish swim in clear water.
Warm weather is not far off, I thought, so I can get back into a regular pattern. Four more book cases and boxes of scraps of old shirts, silky items, and memories to go through until I attack the jewelry and silver.
There will always be reconstruction, but it felt good to get some needed internal travel and mental exercise beyond weird dreams.