Ride Detail, Or: Dear Diary...

By: Matthew Karre Dec 6

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Dressed in my easter egg whore outfit (v2.0 Embrocation Bibs, pink Rapha Wind Jacket, high visibility gloves, Rapha/Focus cap—Not a criticism, just a description), I pedaled under glorious sunshine. I cautiously chose the double entendre light rain bike for the day; a 30% chance of precipitation around here usually means guaranteed sprinkles. This time, though, the majority ruled and all was dry. It was a ride that allowed many checks on the high quality bike ride list: sun, conditions, scenery, route, sun and level of satisfaction.

Upon reaching the first scenic section of the route we spied hundreds, if not thousands, of birds in numerous flocks flying noisily past. The smaller birds flew somewhat chaotically in barely discernible V-formations, while the Canada geese displayed grace and uniformity. Oddly (at least to the ornithologically untrained like myself) they were heading north. But there were a lot of them, so clearly they knew what they were doing. The image reminded me of looking at stars on a clear night: focus a few seconds longer and hundreds more will appear. These moving stars seemingly never ended. Finally the road turned and I had to pay attention to my bearing. Sadly, I took no pictures.

Behind me, my riding companions spoke of dietary delights: juicers, oatmeal, fried eggs on toast. The three-person group ride usually forces one to be a listener so I listened, but my metabolism responded. As we headed south, the tailwind lent a hand allowing the cadence to ease with the pace increasing slightly. The sun threw shadows long and distinct.

Once finished with the island loop my two companions headed home and I strolled uphill and west for more. Regardless of conditions or pace, the climb up Newberry relegates one’s previous clothing decisions to too much. I did my best to exhaust unwanted heat, and reached the summit only marginally sweaty. As I headed west I consumed my only Clif Bar and plugged in the head phones. I leave one ear bud dangling, so don’t judge me. It’s possible to listen to music, hear traffic and enjoy nature at a medium pace all at once. Now on the longer open roads I let the mind wander, generally thinking about what next to write for this website. Appropriately, I thought of a conversation I had a couple weeks prior with a friend while at work.

She stopped by the shop while on a ride. We greeted each other then she asked if I ‘wanted to hear something creepy?’ ‘Always,’ I replied.
‘Someone recommended I read your Embrocation articles, so I did. And then I read all of them aloud to Jonathan. In bed.’

A brief conversation that served up heaps of flattery and creepiness all at once. Jonathan was there to confirm, not that I doubted her for a second. I laughed approvingly and went back to customer service, fully aware that you can’t step in the same river twice.

I cruised the long standing staple route called Pallet Factory, during which we ride by a pallet factory like this one:

The roads wind and weave through bucolic arcadia that never ceases to inspire. Around this point I began to foresee the satisfying sense of fatigue I would soon experience once at home and off the bike. Prelude to this was the final climb of Old German Town Road where the eerie rustling of the trees signified the closeness of the man with the hammer. Had I not been listening to music I surely would have heard his imposing footsteps. He swung his hunger knock hammer softly this day, for while I was relegated to an uncomfortable-but-gratifying pace for the final nine miles, my vision stayed clear and my motor functions remained relatively astute. As I rolled up the driveway, the sun sitting low for four o’clock, I relished this ride in the sun. Then I ate every scrap of food in the house.



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