Since Leadville I've not been much of a cyclist. I gave over to running through the remainder of August, all through September, and into October. Then after the Iron Horse I kinda stopped doing much of anything.
My right foot hurt bad enough I feared stress fracture. Thankfully it's good again. And then I took to working on my backyard mountain bike trail whenever I had free time instead of riding the bike. I'm not complaining. That was as satisfying for me as riding.
As deer season approached I knew I'd need to stay out of the woods for a little while. I knew I wanted to get back to riding more. In fact, I was quite resolved that I'd start riding for utility more. I've even gone back to pondering my bicycle commuting situation. That's a problem I desperately want to solve.
A few weeks ago Jeff and I rode out to the top of Cane Creek Mountain and back to town. It was a rushed ride; cut short by our obligations and lack of overall enthusiasm.
I was serious when I wrote that I was going to tell Troy that I wasn't interested in being involved in a new chapter of KYMBA going into the KBBC conference. I had full intentions of stating the facts and refusing to back down no matter how much Troy begged and whined.
But then before I could broach the subject a lady came up to me and said: "Troy said I should come talk to you." And so she and I began talking about her cycling projects, and I became deeply interested in seeing where it would go. I wanted to be a part. I wanted and inside track. It's impossible for me not to see the bigger picture when it's held up blocking my view of everything else. I saw how I could help and how the projects would be a benefit to the greater good. So I was back in.
The ride out to Prestonsburg was just what I needed to bring my own zombied cycling interests back to life. I saw a future full of meaningful travels and schemes. I fantasized about bigger and better rides, more daring feats of cycling prowess, and a future more aligned with my inner vision of myself. I've subjected my mountain bike to the indignity of being hauled in my car a couple of times since. I haven't actually made it back to Veterans Park yet, but I've made an effort to get the bike close...
Long rides always helps me recalibrate my dreams.
While Mandy and I were in Prestonsburg Jeff texted me:
I joked that sure, he could meet me in Hager Hill the next morning, but he needed to bring the cruiser bike.
I then explained what was going on and that I should be able to ride Sunday or Monday. We ended up planning to ride Monday morning with the possibility of a couple of other local riders.
When Jeff showed up alone in Rosslyn I was relieved that we'd not have to have a long debate on where to ride or how long or how far. When it's just Jeff and I we always seem to come up with a quick and easy ride itinerary. Two is much easier to deal with than more than two.
"You wanna go back over where we went last time and then on to Jeffersonville and see if we can find a way to come out over at Goff's Corner?" he asked.
Oddly enough I knew exactly what he was talking about and had mapped just that ride the night before on MMR.
"It'd be about 60 miles if we loop on up into Clark County and over to Trapp and come back through Clay City," I replied.
That easy we were off for a three hour ride through three counties. I commented at one point that I'm going to start ranking how enjoyable my rides are based on how many counties I pass through along the way. I crossed five going to Prestonsburg.
Before my KBBC conference tour I felt like I was losing it all. Fatness crowded my brain. I've been losing flexibility, and I just knew my legs were turning to water. But I rode through five counties feeling almost as strong as the day before Leadville. I guess I'm still coasting on all the cycling and running I've been doing this year.
60 miles felt like a good distance to lay into and find out where I really am as a cyclist these days. The route I had mapped and was holding in my head that day avoided all of the major busy roads in the area except KY 11/15.
We didn't ride 60 miles. There was a loop to the north from Kiddville that I wanted to ride, but when we got there Jeff said he needed to be moving on back toward home so he could get some work done. So we cut straight over to Goff's Corner, got some food, and then moved on through Rabbit Town, Rightangle, and Log Lick before turning our bikes back east and pedaling ourselves fast toward our lives as husbands and fathers.
It was a good ride. I ended up ticking 47 miles while I'm sure by the time Jeff got back home he'd ridden 60 easy. I felt good. And I wanted to keep on riding. The route had been perfect; low traffic and a big loop.
Lately I've been finding excuses to ride the Xtracycle again. A few nights ago Mandy asked if I'd go to the grocery store so I clamped the Laser on the H-bars and took off in the dark toward town.
It was far more satisfying to cruise off the creek under a slight moon through crisp air than I'd expected it to be. The two mile ride has one big hill to traverse coming and going. It felt good to work against the cold and generate a little body heat. It felt good to be riding for a purpose other than recreation. I was offsetting some carbon, reducing my footprint, saving the planet. It was a good ride.
Winter is just around the corner. It's time to decide how I'm going to face poor road and trail conditions and the cold and wet atmospheric anomalies that will roll over Eastern Kentucky again and again between now and next summer. I'm pretty sure I'll just keep on pedaling.