I was standing quite alone on an empty dirt road. I'd just biked up three of the hardest hills of my life, and was about halfway through the 30-mile route of Brattleboro, Vermont's 2018 Tour de Heifer.
I needed an iced coffee and didn't have much time, so I rolled up to the McDonald's drive-through and asked the robot-speaker-thingy for a small, with Splenda on the side. After a pause, a bored, distorted voice said, "Medium iced coffee. Anything else?"
“Hope you don’t mind waiting for me at the top of the hills; I barely slept last night.” “Well, you won’t have to worry about me—I haven’t ridden much this spring, so you’ll have to take it easy on me.”
Some variation of this conversation happens nearly every time two or more cyclists meet to ride.
You rounded the corner of 40 or 50 a few years ago, and, thinking little of it, you kept at your climbing, biking, or running with as much gusto as always. In the hazy corner of your vision, though, you’ve been noticing a loose network of aches and pains slowly amassing. They're sticking around, too, colonizing body parts in worrying ways.
Despite my moaningandpuling back in the spring about knee injuries that promised to rule out any ambitious cycling this year, I found my way to one of the strongest and most adventurous outdoor seasons of my life. The most notable part was training for and riding the nefarious Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee, an event I’d dreamt of for years, but thought ridiculously out of reach.
We were hanging with our dog at the gorge on a sunny Sunday, our annual pilgrimage, digging on the eddies, riffles, and glassy cool flow. Upstream about thirty yards from us, a few guys put in with kayaks and a one-person canoe.
Turned out only one of them knew what he was doing, and the other two immediately got caught in a bunch of rocks, tipped to the side, and swamped.