First of all, let me just say how amazing this Fall has been so far. Yesterday was in the high 70s, in November, in Colorado! (Thank you, global climate change?) So myself and half of the rest of Denver all decided, what a lovely day to go to the park!
I fit the bike in the back of my car, get my coat and gloves (it's still quite brisk in the mornings), spray on sunblock, and set off for the park.
This particular park, Washington Park, where myself and 15,000 other people headed, is a long and narrow park with a gravel jogging path along the perimeter and a paved two-lane inner loop that is almost entirely without vehicle access.
Just a side observation: everyone on the outer path had at least two dogs with them, making the person:dog ratio something like 1:3.8. Strangely, people either had enormous dogs, or very tiny dogs. No in-between reasonably sized dogs. Naturally, all the very tiny dogs had on little sweaters.
Anyway, the two-lane inner path allowed me to set my own pace without having to slow down for joggers, road blocks, slow bikists (more to follow on that particular term later), or walkers. Plenty of room to just go around. Each loop is 2.25 miles, and encouragingly identified by the phrase "YAY YOU!" someone had spray painted on the asphalt. I completed 31.61 miles in 2:12, increasing my average speed by at least 1mph over my rides on the bike paths. I started off the ride with my jacket on, but after an hour or so it came off. Then I realized, wow - arm warmers would be really convenient. Then I wouldn't have to tie my coat around my waist and have it flop around behind me like some mini-cape. Plus I remembered seeing some really cute arm warmers with stripes at the bike shop...
The soundtrack to this particular ride was Deadmou5, a house music DJ with very few lyrics. The only ones that stood out were "It's been so long I feel out of my body with you"...which resonated with how I felt being so connected to my bike (my "mycycle") it wasn't exactly like an out-of-body-experience, but more like an at-one-with-my-body-experience.
But back to how the term "bikist" entered my vocabulary. It's pretty much due to an entire bottle of Manischewitz kosher concord grape wine split between myself and my friend Julie several years ago. I don't remember the entire conversation (not surprisingly), but somehow we started talking about my Dad and his cycling accomplishments. Julie stated, just so the record was clear for everyone there, that my Dad was a "real bikist". It was so hilarious and charmingly cute that it has stuck with me ever since.
So on this ride, loop after loop, (I ended up doing 14 loops in all), I felt like I was soaring out of my body/at one with my bike over this path, leaves pelting me in the face as I pedaled through this incredible Fall morning, feeling almost like a "real bikist".
Passing "YAY YOU!" the 14th time, I unclipped, very deliberatly and carefully negotiated the steep downhill in cleats to where my car was parked, and realized several things. First, I cannot attest to the actual sunblock properties of this spray-on stuff, but it certainly works well as a spray adhesive. I ended up with a very fine (and some not so fine) coating of dirt, bugs, and other debris on all exposed body parts. I also realized that I have not yet made peace with my saddle. I felt a bit like the Princess and the Pea. With the saddle being the pea and my tender parts being the Princess. I would like to personally thank whatever brilliant German designer came up with the heated seats feature in my car. Bless you, my friend. And finally, I realized that although tired and saddle-sore, nothing else really hurt. My knee which always bothered me on other rides was not hurting! So, thank you, Bicycle Village in Aurora, for taking the time to fit me properly to my bike. Yay me, indeed!