Sunday, September 7, 2008

Love Affair

I cleared a log today. Not just any log, but a log lying perpendicular to a trail buttressed with tight trees, wicked roots which lay booby traps for old women like me who perhaps have little sense to be trail riding on a mountain bike in their forties. But yep, I cleared a log flying high on a bike, all forty plus deserve-them-all years.

Monumental for me, considering about nine weeks ago I was puttering around Oxford on a six speed folding bike held together with hinges and bolts, wielding tiny tires that begged for mercy under sliding gravel forever pavement bound.

My Trek mountain bike was a God-send, found amid clothes at the local Salvation Army, one of my favorite hang-outs for books and previously loved clothing. Bearing a $20 dollar price tag, I was determined to press my luck getting a better deal. Not that the bike was a beauty which folks would clamor for ownership. It was sad. The tires were flat, the brakes were frozen, the chain was nice and crusty and the electric orange paint was missing in too many spots. I hadn't a clue how to check out the bike or remove the quick latch tire release to get the darned thing home. But something about this bike spoke my name.

I can smell adventure several kilometers away.

I walked out with a $15 dollar Trek bike and into the local bike shop forking over another couple of hundred to get my precious on the road. Thing was, I couldn't ride it once it was road worthy. Outside the bike shop, I looked like Bambi trying to stand for the first time on new legs that folded under every effort. My skills left the unfortunate bike repair fellow at a loss for explanation. But with every roll of those tires, I could feel freedom boiling underneath.

I discovered the bike trails at Taylor, and they discovered me. We have had a love by fire relationship. Last week-end, a couple of falls left my right little toe broken and my upper inner thigh black with two baseball size bruises. They are real beauties. And thanks to the poison ivy vine that my ankle swapped pleasantries with on a ride by, I scratched all week in mid hobble in front of my students.

And this week was not without homage to injury. My bike insisted on squeezing through two tight thin trees just as my little finger on the left hand decided to stay and visit awhile. Jammed.

Momentum is my friend. The brakes aren't. And I, yes I cleared a log. I fought the log, and the log didn't win.


Anonymous said...

I can almost feel the wind in my hair!!!
Keep up the pace. You are my hero!!!

Emily said...

I'm so stinking proud of you I could scream. I can just see you out there. You, my friend, are all rugged and tough and stuff. And your writing is brilliant. Thanks for sharing.