I was ruing the decision to wear my beach shorts as I contemplated just how much energy I didn’t have left and I calculated that I had about 21 miles to go. It had been some four plus hours ago that I had started out. My time wasn’t great, and my mood wasn’t that great either. It was then that he whizzed by–the muscular young man on his racing machine. Judging from the speed at which he was disappearing into the distance, I calculated his speed at 25 miles an hour, or about double mine at the moment. I wondered if he were also going around the lake as I was, and calculated that, if so, he had probably left two hours after I did and would probably arrive an hour before me, given that I was pretty much blown up and would soon be turning back into the wind.
30 years ago, I was that young man on the racing machine. In April of the Spring of 1984, I made my first ever trip around Lake Winnebago, some 73 miles. The weather had been unusually warm that year, and, in fact, I chose a Saturday with record-breaking temps in the 90s. The four and a half hour time was not bad, considering I stopped several times for liquids, drank over a gallon, and still lost ten pounds of water weight. By the end of the summer I would be making my own 3 hour dashes around the lake.
But that was not today. My forty pound modified mountain bike with the 65 PSI street tires is a long way from my old 23 pound racer with the 150 PSI tubular racing tires. Of course, I hadn’t bothered to actually check the pressure, which turned out to be more like 35 PSI. As 65 PSI is to racing wheels, so 35 PSI is to 65 PSI. When one gets tired, it feels sort of life riding with the brakes on. Another thing to rue on this day. On the bright side, I got more exercise.
Today was also, ironically, the Race Around the Lake. Somehow I passed no one. Must have been that they started in the morning, a time I reserve for being in church. In my day, a Sunday morning race was unheard of. Now, they are quite common, as no one seems to think twice about snubbing God for worshiping ones own athletic prowess. I keep planning to enter this race every year. But, life always seems to get in the way. My dream racer had to give way to unexpected bills. You can’t race on the road with a mountain bike. Oh well.
The morning dawns fresh and dreary today. I’ll be gone in a few minutes to start my 15 hour work day. My job revolves around things like school opening. Of course, everyone waits till the last minute to call. So, it’s going to be like April 15 must be for accountants. No time for silly things like riding my bike. Going to have to console myself with thoughts of the ultimate dream to bike across the Himalayas when I’m 55. That’s next summer. Just call be Don Quixote.