The days go dark at 4pm this time of year, so the “post-work-rides” either get abbreviated into headlamp loops or the classic, Weekend Warrior rides. A few in our group tape torches to their heads and spin off into the dark after they’ve put away the suit and tie, but I prefer to wait for the weekend and daylight. I revel in the Saturday and Sunday excursions, they are always a highlight for me. These past few weekends have delivered some excellent riding and funny moments with our mutt crew of doctors, meatheads (just me, let’s be honest), engineers, and dads.
This weekend, we opted for an early-morning ride on Sunday (today). In true fashion, I was out late with friends the night before, but 7 hours is plenty of sleep…in theory. I awoke to the sun blasting my eyes, as the low-sky winter flightpath lines up perfectly with my windows. Not hungover, just hungry and tired, I whipped through making breakfast and getting ready, and managed to show up to the rendezvous point (The Doctor’s house) early – I’m slowly becoming an adult I think. The stragglers showed up as we all joked about in the warm entry way, stretching out and shaking off the cold in our bones.
It was still below freezing as we set off, a weird cold mist clinging to the trees around us, frost ornamenting the the ground cover. Looking like a colorful steam engine train, we huffed and puffed our way up the starting climb, cold limbs turning the cranks and gripping the bars, lungs getting singed by the brisk air. The ensuing descent woke the mind up as the adrenal glands flooded the system; the ride gain momentum literally and figuratively at this point, we were in the mix. Trying to find our groove, the sleepiness faded out of the group, just in time to run into some other friends trail-side, and we stopped for a chat. Pleasantries exchanged, we continued on, just in time for the first mechanical to rear it’s dumb little head.
I can’t remember the last time I sheared off a derailleur hanger, but it seemed that a combination of a stick and some MOG (Man of Girth) horsepower did the trick this time. Being the ever-prepared person I am, I had a spare. The repair took more time than I’d like to admit, but I’ll blame the clumsiness on cold fingers. Back up and running after an near-eternity of poor mechanic work, the train moved on. Before we even made it through the fire road connection from one trail to the next, my worn out and tired chain decided to retire from the ride, thus halting the minimal progress we’d made. It was at that point I decided I’d best just walk out and go home, the bike was clearly telling me I’d earned a day off.