It is 45 degrees with a light wind blowing from the southwest. It is overcast and rain is predicted...and I'm going south with my diehard buddies (all two of 'em). I soft pedal, hoping that one of them gets the hint that I'm ready to come off - not because I'm tired, but because it is really cold. My swaddlings of miracle fibers won't keep the damp cold out, and I need a little respite from the wind.
I'm riding my old Raleigh Professional, and my buddies are on their carbon fiber wonders. I should have ridden my newer one, because of the impending rain, but it seems fitting that I'm closing out the year on this bike. This bike is 30 next year, and seems to be keeping up just fine.
Its my turn at the front again. Cold wind bites into the cracks in my windstopper armor, and I go into roadie mode. Just turn the pedals. Don't think. This reminds me of a race once...
And all of a sudden I'm in a pack, pounding up the Hoback away from Jackson Hole. It is 1987 again, and we're racing in the Mothers Day race. In my mind I can see all of my mates, and the rivals from the little surrounding towns. It started snowing that day after about fifteen miles, and continued to piss down snow on us for the next four hours. My buddie Rotten Robert and I finished the race together, and we hammered in four inches of slush for the last 250 meters to show off for the crowd (Rotten Robert, I hope you read this. I did win that sprint!).
Wet rain drops bring me back to the present. Crap. I'm gonna ruin this bike! I double my pulls at the front, stringing my buddies out behind me. Big ringing. Hammering. Then...well, the darned bike was made in Worksop. It was made for this kind of weather. It'll be okay...we have about two miles left, and the sky is black. Rain is coming down in buckets now. My mate on the left takes a flyer, slinging water and arcing out toward the yellow line. I'm on his butt, jamming the little lever forward. From far behind me, I hear my other mate yell out "Arriba! Arriba!".
I pull up now, pedal to pedal. I'm so cold I can't feel my feet, my fingers. The bike's rocking under me, and the city limit sign is in sight! And there we are, nose to nose, frozen in time, water swirling everywhere. None of us will win this race, but for reasons I can't fathom, we have to give it our best.
That was my ride today...anyone else?