Cresting the Hill to Fields and Forests of Splendor

This weekend I rode the bike hard for 45 miles over the two days between parental responsibilities, and found both experiences to be positively renewing. I’m nursing an injury at the moment, likely a product of running too much too soon, so it’s pretty much me and the bike for my daily forays out and about.

My first trip I took up and over the big hill that juts up from Lake Superior about 700 feet. While up there, away from the city and the Lake, I enjoyed the quiet county roads immensely. I found it surprising to see how much snow remained up there. Large, open, and even south facing fields were still covered in perfectly clean white snow like an unpainted canvasses with infinite potential. Snow along the sides of some roads was still pushed up to the tops of the mailboxes from the plows. I saw a man using his snowblower through 3 feet of dense heavy snow as he slowly worked to liberate his big fishing boat that was obviously Lake Superior bound. The few patches of open grass, surprisingly few indeed, were crowded with robins and other birds seeking nutrients.

Bird song combined with snow is lovely.

On and on I pedaled, and my smile never wore thin as I charged up gigantic hills with my fancy new bike and brand new bike shoes that click into the pedals (the first time I’ve ever truly become Mr. Fancy Pants with virtually anything). What a difference it makes!

While my injury is certainly a bit of setback in the goal to run a 50K this fall,  this lemonade sure tastes good.

Down by the Lake it was rather chilly for my bare legs in the upper 40’s, overcast skies, and a bitter breeze, but up and over the hill the sun pelted me with its kind joyful rays, and spring was flourishing. Distance runners were pounding the pavement, and I saw the first horseback rider of the season. It seemed everyone was chomping at the bit just raring to go for when the snow recedes and miles of trails are relatively dry.

The next day was entirely different. I chose an easy ride into a stiff Lake breeze while revisiting scenic Highway 61, which closely parallels the shore. I found it hard to turn around even though it took me 5 miles just to warm up, because the shoreline becomes wilder as you journey north. The north calls. Northeast wind or not, I am always drawn north like a needle on a compass.

Now for practical matters, I’m not sure what the heck I’m supposed to wear out there with my new biking habit and all. My wife doesn’t want me to become spandex man, but shucks, regular shorts just don’t cut it when you’re out for any length of time. My other problem is that of the call of nature. Yes, urination. Man, I pee a lot. All the time. And when I’m not peeing, I’m usually thinking about it. Where can I sneak in a whiz? How much longer can I hold out? etc… What a pain this is! In the woods you can pretty much handle this as the animals do, but out on the roads things become more complicated (even on lonely roads). This has been one of the themes of my life, and my goodness, I could easily write a chapter on it for the book I’m working on. Yee-up, you guessed it. I wet the bed until I was 18.

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