Riding alone, the mind sometimes wanders. Chris Carmichaels’ insistence on Armstrongian cadences gives way to a pace more in accordance with the body’s natural rhythms. Days like these can be as beneficial and satisfying as any personal record busting effort. It’s a day to let the lungs and legs have a break and spare some glucose for the brain.
Spring is my favorite time of the year. I know, I know, that’s about as original as saying one’s favorite color is blue. Nevertheless, it’s true. Summer is fine, I guess, when the humidity doesn’t press in like an anaconda. Yes, Autumn is a beautiful canvas of color but, I can’t get past the fact that death is all around. As a senior in high school we were divided into random groups of four to write a poem on Fall. The girls in ours were appalled at Butch and my scribblings. “The leaves hit the forest floor like fallen soldiers at battles end,” was soundly rejected as was, “The color drains from the hills like life’s last blush.” My compatriot in teenage angst and I finally gave in a standard trite and sugary rendition, indiscernible from every other waste of paper handed in. To this day I am sure, had we men persevered, Mr. Neroni and his green, pirate blazer would have lauded our out of the box, if not morbid, rendition. Of winter, well, only someone like Subarctic Jill and her Iditabike, Pugsly, (http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/) could love the season.
Riding along slowly up the mountainside, signs of spring, both faint and strong, cycle by. The inexorable push of new life lifts soil left barren by winter’s hoary frosts. Delicate shoots, leaves yet unfurled, struggle to lift their heads. Soon the hills will explode in an orgasm of green, life sustaining, chlorophyll. I anticipate it like Christmas mornings of old. Formerly anemic streams flex their muscles in viril torrents of spring runoff. I feel my legs push a little harder, called out by the churning water’s power surge.
I wonder what spring is like on the pro tour. Can one appreciate the returning songbirds while bouncing across the cobbles of the Arenberg forest? Are the thaw unleashed aromas as sweet when sliding face first down the Kemmelberg? Is the spirit still buoyed while chewing gritty, greasy, petroleum laced mouthfuls of lowland Belgian fields? The answers will never be known, I know, to a graying, overweight, too late, father of two who is prone to oxygen deprived flights of fancy. But, at least, I can enjoy spring in the mountains.