Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Evening Musings

I was checking out my Facebook Thursday morning as I contemplated whether or not I'd gotten out of bed too early after the all-night shift; it was going on 11:00. Before I could give it much thought I got a chat message request from a friend to go riding. That was definitely on my list of things to do but so soon? I needed to wake up first. Maybe it was the kick-start my day needed.

My riding for me has and I think always will be primarily a solo endeavor. I'd say I'm a bit unusual in that way because it seems most cyclists enjoy the company of others when they're out riding for hours at a stretch; maybe it's a safety in numbers thing. As for me, I don't mind spending time with myself and actually prefer it when I'm riding. I'm a loner at heart. I've done enough group rides to know that conversation with others isn't what works for me but rather, the solitude of the road; it's the main reason I'm out there. Still, an occasional break from my routine can be nice too.

Jay said he could be by in 30 minutes so I quickly checked the winds and forecast temp then hurried to grab a bite and get suited up. Southeast winds lend themselves to the Hampton Loop which is the way we went. I didn't know what Jay was up for but I think the 45 miles we did may have been about 10-15 more than he was fueled for.

I'll never take a sunny day for granted again after the stretch of cloudy, rainy weather we've experienced for too many weeks of late. It was so nice to be out and I considered adding another hour to the ride but I didn't want to push it since I'm still recovering from 'the bug'.

We had some visitors Thursday night. Two Mormon missionaries had come by our house earlier in the week when Tammy didn't have time to sit down with them so she invited them back. She likes to engage them about their beliefs and I think a part of her feels bad at all the rejection they must experience door after door. We had a nice discussion and after all was said we agreed that neither of us was likely to sway the other about what we believe but we enjoyed our time together.

I took advantage of some unseasonably warm weather to put up our outdoor Christmas lights on Friday. Rachel asked me earlier in the week if I was putting lights up this year and that she was hoping I would. There's no way I'd disappoint her as this will be her last Christmas living at home before leaving for college.  I have a feeling I'll still be hanging up outdoor lights next year and the years after that too for when she comes to stay with us during her break from school.  And someday when Tammy and I are grandparents and I'm not keen on climbing the ladder anymore I think I'll still find a way to keep the tradition alive even if I have to pay one of the neighbor kids.

I hurried through a bunch of yard work yesterday morning so I could get back out on my bike for most of the afternoon. I had another request from Jay to ride with a couple other guys but I took a pass in favor of my fix of solitude. With the winds out of the west I headed toward Shakopee and figured I'd decide when I got there which way to go. I tracked toward the northwest with thoughts of St. Bonifacious running through my head but I didn't see how I could do it with the sun setting at 4:56. I set my sights on Victoria instead. A quick stop for fuel there and I was back on the road.

A few miles out of Victoria I spotted another rider off in the distance and the chase was on. It's a thing we bikers do and we pretty much all do it. I caught him climbing a hill just north of highway 10 and we struck up a conversation. My first words when I catch somebody are usually, "where you headed?" We then typically share where we're from and maybe discuss bikes and equipment...small talk. Depending on how much speed difference there is between us I'll sometimes ride together for a bit before being on my way. John was keeping a similar pace (I had to work to catch him) so we rode together for ten miles before our paths diverged.

During my time with John I'd committed myself to extending my ride through Jordan rather than taking a more direct route home. I'd use up most of what was left of daylight and have to hustle to make the 5:00 service at Hosanna. Tammy was still in her office and would be until 7:30 doing her telephone triage nursing so I'd be going alone. H1N1 calls are dominating her days lately.

A few miles from home I got a text message from Rachel saying she was having a good time at the senior-high retreat (put together by Hosanna) near Alexandria a few hours to the northwest. I wouldn't get a chance to respond to her message until I got seated at church more than a half hour later after I'd had a chance to shower and change clothes.

71 miles later the pups met me at the back door and I gave them a couple minutes to lick the salt off my face. It's a treat they look forward to. I know...what a treat! It's a part of our routine. Toby and Allie lick while Charlie bites at my hands. I felt bad for them because they'd been on their own pretty much the entire day and I was about to leave them again. I'd make it up to them later with some lap time while Tammy and I watched a movie.

I poked my head in Tammy's office to see if she was interested in going out to dinner later. She suggested T.G.I. Friday's. I liked the way she was thinking.

Finally, after a very full day we were relaxing in the restaurant, having a burger and a glass of wine while I recalled my day for the lovely Mrs Gilmore. I had been going since the minute I woke up and I don't think I realized that until I recounted it for her. I love days like that.

I wish I had taken a photo of Tammy while we were there so I could include it here but all I had with me was my cellphone camera. Not good enough. I'm getting some flak from a couple guys at work who say there's a disproportionate number of photos of Rachel compared to Tammy in my blog...and they're right. All I can say in my defense is that Tammy is one of those who shudders at the shutter. Okay, that may be a bit strong but she doesn't really like her photo being taken and I respect that. Rachel on the other hand couldn't care less. Anything to please the love(s) of my life.


TC said...

Good Lord! I cannot fathom the distances you do on your bike. Sometimes I'll ride an hour or so, but I'm sure I cover far less road. It's just a relaxation thing. I did hoist 450 lbs a few times on the incline press before church. Now THAT gets the blood boiling!! But I need a long time to recover. To each his own, I guess...

But Kevin, I gotta say, after that grueling regimen, you need to do better than TGIF's! LOL! ;-)

Kevin said...

TC...TGIF's is a big step up for me but yeah, I was also considering Outback or Timberlodge. Culvers will have to wait for another time.

The riding thing is an addiction that I'm not yet ready to get help for although I am moderating its ownership of my life more than I have in previous years.