Ride Days

Every ride is different. It’s not the scenery that makes it different or the route or the mileage. It’s how you feel when you wake up.
Some days are bubbly. You wake up with a smile on your face and know that it’ll be a good day. You hope for mistakes in the cues or gravel roads or punishing climbs because you know that it’s just another opportunity to prove yourself and flex your indomitable will. You sleep when you get to the stayover but it’s only because people would worry if you didn’t. In the remaining hours of daylight you somehow manage to pack in more than most people do in any one full day of a typical summer vacation.
There are the quiet days. Days when the only thing on your mind is the road ahead of you and everything else is an unwanted diversion. You put your head down, keep your feet moving and push onwards. You switch your computer from tripometer to clock because like water coming to a boil, miles tick by faster when unobserved. The quiet group doesn’t chat. You’d have better luck striking up conversation with a passing RV or a lonely cow munching contentedly on a sage bush. But you know better than to try, because you feel the same as everyone else. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be the quiet group.
There are story days. Entire books have been unraveled down to the slightest plot point, leaving no detail unturned. There’s a thirst for content on some days. It may happen more on particularly straight or flat days with nothing to divert the eye’s attention or entertain the mind. It’s a safeguard against hypnosis, the very real lulling effect that 70 miles on one road can have on an already fatigued body. It doesn’t matter what you are hearing, you just need to know all about it. How does the sun work? How fast can a horse run, and for how long? There’s a querying process involved, a prodding of the available resources to check for any scintillating tidbits of knowledge. When a worthwhile morsel is discovered the entire group takes advantage, exhausting their curiosities and waiting with baited breath for the next topic to uncover itself. Entire days pass by in this fashion – the university of the open road.
There are bad days. Days when something needs to absorb the ire you feel because it can’t be held safely within your own body. Everything is a viable source of blame on these days. Should any rider dare disturb you (likely someone having a bubbly or story day) they’ll be left with no doubt that you aren’t interested in anything but your own unhappiness and its dissipation into the world. Cars pass too closely. Callouts come too late or too quietly. The pace is too slow but also too fast and the wind is too strong, regardless. If you were a computer, you’d be in desperate need of a restart. If you were a car, a tuneup. But you’re not. You’re a person on a bike and there’s no help for you. Not on a bad day.
But every day is a new beginning. It’s a roll of the dice and there’s no telling what type of day you’ll be having. As the team assembles in the morning you scan the crowd and look for like expressions; similar postures and gestures that give away the type of day he or she’ll be having. You stick close to these people and make certain to leave close by their sides because more dangerous than snakes and bears combined is to mix up a Bad day with a Story one or a Bubbly with a Quiet.
There’s only one certainty, really. At the end of the day, we’re all Tired.

Comments (2)
  • Colette Whicker says:

    jordan…i so love and get terribly excited to see when you have posted a blog….it brings back ole memories of you waking me in the wee hours and asking me if i wouldn’t mind proof reading your zillion page paper just 30 short minutes before you are due to leave for school…you always did your best work at the last minute…i’m still just fine with that…whatever works eh?….a little change…as you digest the news of your grandfather having a heart attach today it gives you yet another reason to ride on with courage and determination…grandpa says he wishes for nothing more than your continued success…ride on buster..love your ma

  • slaude Sean Laude says:

    That was deep. You have a fantastic way with words sir!

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