Thank Goodness

Bettina Freese

I nearly decided to go on the Tuesday night ride, but then I couldn’t find the energy to find a babysitter as well as a set of lights after doing the Thanksgiving Day grocery shopping.

Thank goodness.

I got the groceries put away and a list made of all the crap I forgot, cooked dinner and whipped up some oatmeal cookies for the kids – all the time thinking I should’ve planned to ride on this beautifully warm fall night.

It was later, as I lie in my bed to read a few pages whilst sipping a beverage, that I heard the distinct pattering of rain on the deck. It was now that I cheered.

You know those times you are in the woods and it’s cold, and wet, and you’re tired, and you can’t see shit, that you start wishing for your warm bed?

There you are, sludging the pedals around again and again as the muddy rain sprays up your back, the wheels slipping relentlessly against slick roots as you pedal forward with one stroke and slide back half the distance.

Your eyes are squinted nearly shut against the needling pelts because even clear lenses are ridiculous – and now down the front of your shirt. Mud spatters into your bared teeth. The old sweat built up in the foam of your helmet from the last year loosens and begins streaming down your forehead and stinging your eyes. The gloves are squishy and cold, causing the fingers to go numb. What began as a cool sweat in the jersey is now a freezing, soaking cloth plastered to your chest. The rustling wind is now a sheer icy breath. The chamois remains somewhat elusive to large amounts of water, but is now grabbing at little bits of privates, causing you to stand. The downhill is like being sprayed with a hose, powered by a cooling fan, complete with slippery surfaces to cross, lit by headlamp.

The shoulders cave forward in a protective embrace, and even if the ride is nearly over, there’s still that part about getting naked next to the truck while trying to keep the seats dry. There’s no hurrying when it comes to wet lycra, and sport bras are hard enough to manage when dry. At least the downpour washes some of the mud away. Then there’s the naked, getting into the front seat to get dressed while sitting on cheerios, candy wrappers and small pocket treasures, i.e. rocks, shells and tacks.

The “dry” clothes aren’t all that dry any more and now the interior is layered with wet riding clothes – a smell that never really goes away. God forbid those clothes get left in there overnight, which is of course very tempting when the front door to the house and a hot shower is RIGHT THERE.

But no. Tonight I slink down lower beneath the down and clutch my hot, sleepy time tea between my hands in the dim light as I drift in my cocoon to the soothing sounds of rain, my bike safe and dry on its hook in the basement below me.

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