I sleep on my stomach, and I still haven’t gotten used to having a port in my chest. Every morning when I wake up, it’s not painful, but uncomfortable – its way of saying “don’t forget I’m here”. Which makes every morning start on a slightly sour note, leaving me to tenderly step into the day and figure out if it’s going to be a good or bad day. Or a good or bad couple hours, because I can turn the corner in either direction pretty quickly.
So this morning started off slowly again, with no pressing tasks to take care of, and unsure of what I should actually do all day. No plans whatsoever. I debated going for a bike ride, but didn’t feel up to it at the moment, the memory of yesterday’s morning sprint ride and the shellacking it gave me was still fresh in my mind.
But a couple eggs, some fresh bakery bread, and an hour of DVR’d Tour de Suisse later, I decided I might as well head out for a ride while the weather held up, even if it was only for 10 or 15 miles. 35 comfortably warm miles, and 3 swallowed bugs later, I was actually rejuvenated. I set out with the plan to find a couple hills to climb near the lake, and mission accomplished. It takes a little exploring to figure out what’s a road and what’s somebody’s driveway (ignoring a few No Trespassing signs along the way), but I found some actual elevation change, and even a little wildlife on the side of the road. A fox scampered across the road in front of me before slinking into the woods, followed by a deer staring me down right next to the road as I rounded a switchback up a lonely road with no less than four NO SKATEBOARDING signs. I tried to imagine a good backstory for the skateboarding hate on the nearly desolate road, but I came up empty.
I passed a turtle on the side of the road near Gilligan Lake that seemed to be contemplating whether it wanted to cross the road and risk a couple tons of metal on rubber rolling flying around the bend. But I think mostly it just wanted some sun. A few miles down the road, I rolled through an intersection only to peer to my right at a car that had stopped and pulled to the shoulder. Out of the car were two little girls and their father shepherding another turtle off the road and into the safety of a drainage ditch on the opposite side of road. Cute.
Passing over I-196 and taking another turn south, I headed into a steady wind, but actually felt strong thanks to a very slight downhill gradient. Another biker surprised me when he showed up on my wheel and remarked “quite a pace you’re setting”, as I continued to spin seemingly without effort. He couldn’t hold my wheel and dropped off.
I decided to go as far as a loop over the river and through New Richmond, to tack on some more climbing. That deserted section of Old Allegan was in worse shape than I remembered; I know why we don’t go down that road very often any more. I continued home at a leisurely pace for the final 10 miles, constantly sitting up and riding without hands and claiming the road for myself.