Sunday morning and I take off early for a recovery ride – 30 miles ought to do it. This early and it’s just me and the animals and the sky and the road. Rolling slow at 70 revs I hear more, see more and feel more of the ride. No cars, no kids, no hassle. No sun yet.
I’m outside of town now, and a big hawk glides over me, just twenty feet up. I keep rolling but stare directly up, then over my shoulder – it’s early for his type. I coast just to listen to the sound of my freewheel, because I never coast for fun. But today it’s good.
The farmland takes over and I start to hear more because it’s still a cadence of 70. I’ve got to let my body recover – hammering this ride would be bad. And suddenly my mind is fully involved in the recovery, the relaxation of the ride. I hear a pheasant cry across a field, dogs bark in the distance, water gurgle in irrigation ditches.
And it just goes on and on – sweetness experienced on two wheels. 6:15 AM now and I’m 5 miles out. My sore ankle is warming up, my sore wrist tolerable. But the world is sweetness. Llamas stare at me, doves whistle by like jet fighters, a 100 year old cottonwood swooshes in the breeze. I grin like a kid when a fox darts from behind a farm fence, slows a bit when he looks over his shoulder at me then sprints across the field.
I’m out where farms meet desert now. I rolled across an even mile of brand new blacktop – a surprise because I hadn’t been on this route in months. The sun is one finger above the cliffs now, and this western sky portends a hot dusty day. I’m ready to plot my way back home, so I roll to a stop. I even like the sound of brake pads on rims in 7:00 AM quiet. Unclipped and sitting straddled my bike, I’m kinda gawking around at the world and it hits me…I just got my birthday present. I turn 51 in a couple days, and I just got one of the greatest gifts ever.