Its only a little bit cold when I leave for my Monday ride. I’ve made the transition from resting on this day to doing long rides on the day that, for the last ten months has passed for my Sunday. This November Monday is clear, which will happen with increasing rareness as the days continue to get shorter. Earlier the radio had told me that it would reach fifty degrees today and I wanted to wait until the mercury had gotten a bit closer to that level, but the aforementioned shortening days dictated that I deal with the bit of cold.
In the past two months of Monday rest days I’ve learned that I can’t handle solo rest days. When my days off coincide with Signe’s I’m fine sitting around all day, or walking through some neighborhood, but when left to myself on a day without riding I begin to fall apart. I pace the house, eating too much and allow all little things, often suppressed, by a ride to mount and build to babel like proportions, which puts me on the couch clutching, but not reading whatever book I’m in the middle of.
I’m happy to be back to riding on Mondays.
The chill relents as my body warms. Being a Monday, the trail traffic is light, and all the solo rest day anxieties are suppressed by my focus on spinning the pedals smoothly. I plotted a thin idea of climbing Norway Hill, and descending the Tolt Pipeline trail, before doubling back and heading north for the roads I know.
I can’t remember the last time I’d gone out like this, alone for a long ride. Definitely not since I unboxed the cross bike, and that was long enough ago that I can’t remember where I went on that ride.
The traffic on the trail thins out once I leave Seattle. The dangers of solo rest days have stayed trampled down by my focus on the keeping a steady pace, but after awhile one drifts up through the steady spinning of pedals and the music in my headphones.
Lately I’ve been trying hard to get myself to move beyond the past that accounts for my present. I’m finally getting a sense of how to move forward in the manner I want. Opportunities are popping up, just enough to give me the sense that I’m moving forward. But under a clear lukewarm sun, and maybe because I’m on a bicycle, it occurs to me that maybe half my front wheel is in progress, but the rest of me is stuck in the rut I’m made out of my past, and I’m riding rollers.
I start to unpack this idea, and weight its truth, but I’m starting up Norway Hill and struggling to keep base pace. I had a good day and good legs the last time the Thursday ride came up this way, and today is a good day, but not good legs and I try to recall the insignificant moves that made me the first to the top that day. That day I was in shorts and short sleeve jersey, now I’m bundled up, just a little over warm and there is still frost on the side of the road. I’m supposed to be slow now I tell myself. Engaged in effort to go up, my worry about riding in place fades back.
At the top, I reconsider my original plan after watching grade of Tolt Pipeline vanish into the valley. Instead I turn back and head down the way I came. There is a way that loops back without having to backtrack but I’m ok trudging the way I came. Which could be the source of all the stress that finds me on solo rest days.
From there its more familiar roads north to Edmonds where I plan to drop into the bowl for a coffee. Coming down 212th I route down Main st, though Shell Park and then Yost park, just so I can hit a small bit of gravel on this ride, and its perfect, more dirt at this point, and covered in leaves hiding a bit of mud. I spent September week days riding through here, either on my made up cross crouse which linked this and another park, or riding the trail down into the ravine and seeing how far I could back out before having to dismount and run. There’s none of that today, just a small dose of vitamin G.
Leaving the park I feel something hit my leg. Looking back I see an opened tool roll, gone empty, dropping my multitool, tube and lever, along with cheap, turquoise Kokopelli charm I’ve carried with me on nearly every ride for over the last year. I carried it as a reminder that my past is always present. I turned around and retraced my path through the park for the dropped contents of my tool roll, but nothing.
I leave the park in huff, skipping the coffee and backroads home, afraid of getting a flat and being far from a bus route. My headphones continued to play songs I haven’t heard in a while, along with the ones it always plays, the multi tool, the tube and lever, that could be replaced, but that stupid fucking charm…
The details of the ride home cease to exist. I know way on autopilot, my focus broken only by the detour at 92nd. When I arrive at my locked gate that I realized maybe its time shut the door on my past mistakes and actually start riding forward, and dropping that cheap round turquoise piece of Southwest kitsch is probably the first step.