I've been away for a few weeks, figuratively and literally. Away, out of town, out of state, on "vacation". I liken getting ready to leave on vacation this year to Odysseus' journey back to Ithaca, fraught with setback after setback, sometimes brought on by our own pride. Eventually Odysseus did return to his rocky home, and like our hero, we eventually reached our rocky destination. Thanks to the cavernous trunk of Nick's Ford Taurus sedan, we were able to get clothes for 5 people for two weeks, an aerobed, 2 gym bags, Nick's suit ( mid vacation meeting, ughh) laptops ( who goes on vacation without them these days...), 3 cases of diet Vernor's Gingerale, purchased in Michigan as a surprise for my mother in law, and my bike. That last item was going to be left behind, but Nick insisted I bring it. (THANK YOU!!!).
I wish I had taken a picture of the trunk fully loaded, Rubik's cubes were easier to solve. I was debating loading the bike, thinking instead I'd do ALOT of swimming, but the morning after we arrived in Rhode Island, I did a double take as I walked through the garage out to the car. That's nice, I thought, someone took my bike out and put it back together. Then I realized it wasn't my bike! There was someone else at the cottage who brought their bike too! An hour later, Jerry, my stepsister's boyfriend and I were spinning happily on the first of our 3 early morning rides to Watch Hill. Despite looking a bit like Mutt and Jeff, we were well matched speed wise, and pushed each other to keep the pace up. On the more quiet roads we were able to converse as well, and had some great discussions about family, injuries, and God's role in our lives. Riding with Jerry allowed me to ramp up my riding and I logged over 100 miles that first week. I also managed to squeeze in a long swim one day as well, in the almost tropical waters off Quonnie. I even rode in the rain one day after Jerry departed for the Vineyard, uphill, both ways..... at least it seemed both ways at the time. On each of these rides I reclaimed something I had left behind two years ago, a faster spin, sitting in the saddle for an hour or more, popping up out of the saddle for short climbs, shifting without thinking, it was all good. I could have easily continued this schedule for another week, or more.
We split our vacation time between my parents, so after a week of riding, relaxing on the beach, and trying to outsmart the dampness in the cottage, we shuffled up to Maine. Riding in Georgetown, Maine, isn't as easy as riding in Rhode Island, but again, I was able to reclaim the ability to climb without my knees falling apart afterwards. I did get to ride out on a quiet peninsula, past several Andrew Wyeth like farms. It was very peaceful, but hot and humid, unseasonably hot and humid, the hottest weather of the season in Maine, so the day after my ride, we elected to spend inside. Next year I'm going to explore the routes north of Bath.
Once I got back home, things got crazy for a few days, and I didn't get a ride in until Tuesday, when I had a few hours to myself. It was wonderful and I have no idea where I went, I headed north for about 5 miles, then east for a few, back north a few more, east, and so on, grabbing views of the ridge line just west of me, and then the bigger mountains on the edge of Vermont to the east of the Hudson. The air was warm and humid, and whatever was in bloom cast off a sweet almond smell that hit me full force when the breeze dropped. I remember backpacking on the Long Trail in Vermont and catching that same scent on hot August days. I eventually zigzagged my way home with 25 miles logged onto my cycle computer and in a great mood.
Now it's Friday, and I've been at working the past few days and haven't gotten to ride or swim, and I'm starting to get grumpy. The fall semester starts on Monday, and I've 150 or so students coming through my lab next week. I'm going to have to ( gasp) ride indoors tomorrow or I might bite someone's head off. I also have to figure out how I'm going to get some riding and weight training in at work. Priorities....