There are rides when it’s all about “faster,” when it’s not so much about getting there as it is about getting there faster. Climb this next hill faster! OK, now descend faster! Great – here come some long flats… let’s go faster! Spin those pedals faster! Faster! Faster! Faster!
Sometimes, when a train comes alongside me when I’m riding in the bottom lands I’ll try to race it. For a short time, if it’s plodding along, I might actually be able to pace it before it blows off into the distant western horizon. Keep up…gotta go faster!
Well, thank goodness this wasn’t one of those mornings.
Instead of racing the train, I stopped and watched it emerge from the early morning light as it curved around a bend in the river. I waved and the engineer waved back in return, then he blew a long, loud whistle that shattered the morning quiet. In a way that somehow didn’t seem to disturb my reverie, nor that of the birds who themselves were making such a racket that I wondered what had ever made me think it was quiet to begin with.
These are the rides where I put a lot of distance between me and the bullshit of the world. Go ahead and yell at me, but on these days I am riding in a cycling cap and the shorts of a normal person. I will casually huff and puff up a hill and enjoy the wind on my face on the leisurely descent. Cows stare at me through rows of barbed wire fence and every once in a great while I might pass another cyclist coming toward me from the opposite direction.
I think to myself how, on a ride like this, it would be almost an obscenity to have a computer mounted on the Boulder: Why on earth would I bother tracking time, distance, or speed? Such data is unimportant; at the moment, the only vital thing is existence. Hours pass in a blur. I begin to notice houses and yards again. The air is filled with the scent of freshly cut grass and I can hear the sounds of leaf blowers and mowers emanating from backyards; someone is hammering and there are voices of walkers chattering.
And suddenly, I’m back home again.
Sometimes, life goes by way too fast.