‘Roll with a good crew.’
We’re moving along at a good clip, the five other riders and myself. Two x Two – the form a good group tends to fall into when riding for any distance of note. My front wheel spins a few inches behind Mr. Mattio’s, and my left shoulder hovers next to Mr. Easton who speaks easily about his latest retirement project. As we spin by a town sign I give a little bike throw, just to see if anyone else was thinking about how to come around at the last second.
No one notices and I smile a bit.
Josh always has something good to say, something with a bit of truth. We talk about the Musette. We talk about Three Stars. The conversation invariably winds it’s way to how gorgeous of a ride it is. How spectacular that we’ve found ourselves with this Friday off – a day removed from the traditional weekend rest. It’s hard to ignore the change of Seasons so apparent around us. I stare at Mattio’s front hub, through his bike. Practicing something that’s already second nature. Using fitness that’s meant for something else. Maybe something more serious.
It’s funny that this is the real pay out. Podiums, medals, accolades: I’m not so sure you can keep it up with that alone. There’ll always be someone better, someone faster, someone smarter. I’ve seen a lot of friends try and sustain their love of cycling on arbitrary numbers. I’ve seen a lot of them fail (but not all).
Sitting at Leo’s in Stillwater, feeling the sun on a new jersey. Adjusting my old cap to keep it out of my eyes. Stories being told. Fries being shared. This, it feels to me, is the real secret. The way you keep going. Despite the cold. Despite the doubt. Despite the pain. These rides, these hours spent in the saddle on gorgeous Fall days, are more than enough. A harvest meant for those who’ve toiled all season.
A chance to spin easy and smile.