I asked around and had no takers. Everyone had an excuse not to go for a Sunday ride in the woods. Keith had to go to Conway and snowboard on almost no snow. Brian had some bogus excuse that he was cooking a big feast for his signifigant other's birthday. What's up with that? Does it take all day to open a can of beef stew and toss a bag of Ho Ho's on the table for dessert.? And big baby Dave the water guy did not want to get his bike all yucky on the frost thawed trails. Bunch of whinin wusses, the lot of them.
Looked like I was riding alone this first Sunday of January 2007. It did not seem right. I had to hook up with someone local. The Sun was supposed to out and the trails could be handled without studs. Unatural for this time of year here in Maine. I was bound and determined to take advantage of it.
Then I remembered Dave the Punk. He had kind of dropped out of our local riding scene when he bought that new house in Alfred. All of sudden home improvement became more important than riding. Imagine that.
I gave Dave the Punk his name. The man is 56 or 57 and he rides like I did when I was 30. There was no way around it. He rode like a smart ass. Always ahead of me and able to converse on the toughest uphill like we were sittin around just shooting the breeze. I knew a ride with him was a spanking for sure. But I called him anyway.
Part of me wanted him to say no. He ended that hope with a quick, "Sure, I can get away for awhile". So now we fell to hashing out where to ride. He suggested an in town loop out of my shop. I was tired of "in town". That was all I had been doing for the last month and a half. But I did not want to make a road trip out of it either. I had to be in front of the tube at 1:00 PM sharp to watch the Pats take on the Jets. I thought about my home area, but the recent warm wheather and rain out the wazoo had turned the trails to mud slogging struggles that made me hate the ride.
I suggested I meet him at his house and ride from there. Alfred was chock full of trails just like any other town in this area. He seemed thrilled. He could show off the trails he had discovered in his area.
Being on CRUM time, I was my usual 1/2 hour late. I just could not get my ass in gear in the morning. Then Dave had to give me the grand tour of his new home. Damn it was big. Not a small room or low ceiling in the huge 2000 sq ft plus house. And he had a barn and a huge equipment shed to stash all his outdoor toys. I was immediately envious. I made myself feel better by thinking that at least I had 2 fireplaces and he only had one.
I knew Dave was not one to call an hour in the woods a ride. When he went out he liked to be out there 2 or 3 hours at least. Me, especially in Winter physique, liked those short excursions to break a sweat or two and then back to the barn. But this was his ride and even if I missed part of the Pats game, I was bound to be the good guest and tough it out.
The ride basically followed some local ATV and snowmobile trails. Nothing really technical or single tracky. Expecting brutal mud conditions, I was pleasantly suprised. Some mud, some water, but for the most part the trails were hard and packed. Good riding conditions.
What kicked my butt was the hill after hill routine with no recovery in between. Lots of short and sweet climbs followed by short and sweet downstrokes. I was amping over the line in about 20 minutes. And Dave the Punk just slow strokin next to me like he was crusing a bike path at Cape Cod. Damn him. I hung in and at about 45 minutes into it, started to get with the program and really enjoy myself. Some of the downstrokes had some mild pucker factor and made my eyes water.
Two hours later we were back at his house. He looked and acted like he had done nothing but get up in the morning. Me, well, I was pounded. El toasto. Damn him.
I wanted to get home ASAP, so I did not buy into the usual post ride re run of the ride. I said thanks for the ride, had a great time, and I left. I had not looked at a clock, but knew making kick off would be close.
I cannot abide parking a nasty bike. I have to park em clean. Just a habit I picked up 20 years ago and never lost. I like starting every ride on a clean bike. So I had to stop at the shop and wash my ride. As I rinsed it off, I re-ran the ride through my mind. Then I thought of the game I was about to collapse in front of. And I grinned. No more perfect day has come my way in a long time.