Sometimes it’s strange how clearly I can forget a ride. I know, that’s an odd sentence, but I’m sure most of you will understand what I mean.
Saturday was a busy day for me. Big changes are afoot in my universe, but I can’t talk about them just yet. I spent most of Saturday morning in a meeting in a coffee shop, vaguely aware that while I was trying to wrap my head around the complexities of my latest venture, the sun was literally dancing outside the window behind my back.
The day began overcast and miserable, but midway through the meeting, I could suddenly see the light quality in the coffee shop change, and I just knew there were blue skies and puffy clouds behind me, calling to me. There was no way to go meet them instead of the meeting I was in, however. So I ordered a Nutella-based hot-chocolate (Holy Cheese and Donuts, was it good!) and hung in there, restlessly. By the time the meeting was over, the clouds were returning and my brain was beyond fried.
Eyeing the mix of pale blue skies and tepid gray clouds as I drove home, I knew I had become truly cynical, because all I could think was: “crap, that is the worst possible light to take photographs of bikes.” Not: “Oh, hey, I can ride without worrying about rain,” or “Look, a bit of blue sky!” I’ve become an ungrateful weather consumer, impossible to please. This is what you’ve wrought, Pacific Northwest, with all your weather! It’s old hat now. I’m blasé about a few middling clouds. Either you throw hailstones the size of basketballs at me, or there’s nothing to stop the eye rolls and exaggerated yawns.
I was literally home for five minutes; just enough time to throw the bike on the rack and head down to the Cedar River Trail’s mid-section. I decided to start right around the five mile mark, picking up where I left off last week.
My legs were in sympathy with the sky: one moment a bit perky, if anemic, and the next, leaden. I was simply too worn out mentally to do much physically. Isn’t that an odd problem? It reminded me of my former dog, Poppy. She was actually my ex’s dog, and not just in the “he bought her” sense. We used to joke that she lay awake at night trying to figure out ways to bump me off so she could have him all to herself. Hyperactive, too smart for her own good, and bizarrely cranky, she was a dog only her owner could love. Sometimes, even he had a tough time. At any rate, when she was a terrible, terrible puppy, our wise old dog Jedi instructed us to wear her out mentally so that we could control her physical energy. We spent hours making her discern between and fetch various objects. And it worked.
A few months ago, I sent my son to “chess camp” for the day. When I picked him up, he remarked: “Mama, we never even went outside all day long, and I’m so tired!” Indeed, he was a disaster of exhausted childness.
That was my Saturday afternoon ride. I mean, I rode. I pedaled. At some point, I realized I’d done almost the entire first five miles in 1st gear (I normally ride in 2nd or 3rd) without noticing. But I wasn’t exactly pushing myself, you know? My brain was still puzzling over my tasks, sorting through scenarios and ideas, and my body was just on autopilot.
I suspect this is why I can’t remember much about the ride. I do recall stopping briefly to roll the bike down a side path to the river so I could take a few photos, but otherwise, things were uneventful.
At least, on a physical level! But oh, my aching brain!