We arranged the ride by texts throughout the day. The others willing to wait till my work for the day was done and when they showed both Bob and Kelly came with bare legs. It was the first not just sunny, but warm day. I was in knickers, a wind jacket and only a short sleeve jersey underneath, though I could have gotten by without the jacket if it weren’t for vanity.
The ride got going in fits and starts. We stopped three times in the three blocks between the coffee shop and Fremont, but we worked it out, and decided to deal with clanging of Jack’s fender until we could swing by the shop and quiet that damn thing down. But after that we were cruising, but mostly single file because of the traffic.
At a stop sign we wondered aloud if it was rush hour and how it couldn’t be early enough for the streets to be packed, but then we remembered it was Friday and that rush hour starts at least an hour earlier than it does on any other work day.
Road season has started, though none of us race, or have plans to race. For a while I believed that racing was all there was, and I would never be found riding as fast as we were the day before a race. Now, or at least during this time of year we are “just riders” which isn’t anything we really think about much, but I suppose it means that racing isn’t the focus of our riding.
We keep single file across the bridge and around Mercer. Each of us taking a turn at the front. Bob, myself, Kelly, then Jack. Bob, myself, Kelly then Jack, Bob, myself, Kelly then Jack. It continues like this, a steady unbroken rhythm, like we’ve been riding together for years and not just one year.
On what always feels like the backside of Mercer, with its undulating, mostly downhill, off camber S-turns, into a little dip before popping out of the corner, I can only think of how much fucking fun riding is. How a year (and more) ago I would have emphasized the pain and suffering aspect of what we’re feeling. Which I’m sure is there in some part because its too early in the season for this pace to feel totally comfortable. That discomfort is pain, but not suffering. It is a part of the ecstasy.
No one contests the sprint at the end of the loop. Bob peels off for more miles. Jack, Kelly and I go to my new shop to silence Jack’s fender that I had stopped hearing. The traffic is a little worse on the way home, but we slip through, across the bridge and take the gravel trails behind Husky stadium, then through the Cowan park, tacking back toward Green Lake, where I turn off and start up the hill to home thinking That was so much fun the whole way.