(continued from Part 1)
Friday morning I was sure my alarm clock had made a horrible mistake. Five? I mashed the snooze/Indiglo button and lay there a few seconds staring up into blackness before I remembered my goal for the day. I went through my usual ablutions and ate breakfast, frittered way the cushion time I had given myself, and took my coffee in the car.
The moment I pulled out of my driveway, I noticed how dark it was. At 6:10, the sun was not ready for the day, and I worried that I might have failed to consider a very important detail — I had no headlight on my bike. As I approached the cul-de-sac at 6:25, the brick homes seemed to be sleeping. The woods the path lead into looked too dark to navigate, but I went about untying the straps and lifting down my bike.
By the time I secured everything I needed and my tires hit the path, it was 6:35. The way was dim but navigable, bright enough that I saw the rabbit I almost hit in the first few minutes. I smiled as morning welcomed me to everything this path had to offer: a small nature preserve, a creek, and peeping Tom views of lushly landscaped back yards.
Everything was fine right up to the point I left the paved path and hit sticky mud. Having grown up in a rural area, I had no problem with off-road action, but I wasn’t dressed for it. I pulled to the side to avoid the muck, but the tall, rain-soaked weeds sloppily licked my leather shoes. When I came to a steep embankment that led up to a road, I dismounted the bike and stepped carefully as I pushed it up the hill.
I was unexpectedly on the wrong road about a half mile sooner than I should have been on any road at all. Mud, which filled the spaces between the treads, flew out freely when I started riding. Some of it hit my face, and my jeans were splattered brown from the knees down. With no time to stop and use a stick to clean the tires, I kept my lips shut tight as I rode the final mile into work.
Without a way to lock my bike, I had planned to stash it in the workout room, as co-workers have done in the past. I rolled it in, but didn’t feel right about leaving it there in all its filthy glory. Instead I parked it just outside the back doors, perfectly willing to make lemonade from lemons were someone to steal it.
Several co-workers asked me about my morning ride, and a few were amused, if not bemused, by my decision to ride the final 4.5 miles into work. I smiled each time and repeated how I hatched my plan, oblivious to what was to come.
(to be concluded)