Weekend Ride: Endless possibilities and a wave of black birds

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I had a rare opportunity Saturday morning. The opportunity to do whatever I wanted, with no time limits.

Mommy coached a swim meet most of the day and you kids spent Friday night with Grandma and Grandfather. I woke up slow on Saturday; nearly paralyzed by the possibilities. I could lay on the couch all day and watch football. I could go for a long trail run, a long ride, a little of each.

I climbed on my bike around 8:30 and set out for a ride. No plan in mind. A few miles in I decided I would go 100 miles. Nice and easy. I’d stop for coffee and eventually stop for lunch. A few miles more and I thought “I’ll do an Ironman today.” Just because I could. About 20 miles into the ride I changed my mind again. Maybe a half ironman instead, I thought. Whatever I want, I reminded myself. Possibilities were endless and I had time to decide.

Bundled in layers, I rode slow. Heavy wheels and winter tires. No consideration for speed. 15mph instead of the 21mph I had been riding only a few weeks ago.

I tested the new Rudy Project Windmax helmet on the ride. Review coming soon. (loved it)

I crossed a field in the country, where a  swell began to rise on the left side of the road. It rose above the fence and tumbled over. Across the road, rising slowly, like black water flecked with moonlight. A flock of black birds spilled across the road in front of me, by the thousands.

A smile crossed my face as they continued to flood the field on the opposite side of the road. I was only a few feet from them now. I watched them continue to move across the open space. Stark black contrast against the grey frost glistened field.

“Yes!” I screamed out loud. “Yes! Go!”

The birds in the distance, I was alone again. I laughed and thought about the moment that had just passed. I pictured myself screaming out loud to no one. I wouldn’t have experienced that at home on the couch.

I rode on, completely alone most of the way. Eventually onto the Natchez Trace, where I was occasionally accompanied by families in cars taking in the fall colors on the old road. I rode 56 miles. Not training. Just riding. Spilling forward, across time and distance.

the start of a 1 mile climb on the Natchez Trace

When I made it home I thought about a swim and a run. That spontaneous half ironman I thought about earlier. But it had been a good day: a cold start, fall colors, and an ocean of black birds moving as a wave through me. It was enough. So I turned on the TV and watched college football until you came home.

I love you,

– Daddy

TRAINING: Off-season

Friday: None

Saturday: Rode 56 miles

Sun: Ran 3.5 miles on Heritage Trail

Mon: Swam 1000