I’m summered out. I’ve pushed and I’ve pedaled and I’ve sweated straight through this season. Gross. It’s gotten so I’m sweating before I get out the door, the perspiration tingling at my temples as I ratchet the straps of my shoes and pull the bike from its rack.
At least the riding generates the breeze that makes some kind of evaporation possible. Then you’re hostage to the ride. You’ve got to keep going or the heat ramps up with no where to go.
Give me the fall, dry leaves clacking and clattering against the asphalt, wind with bite, the first tendrils of wood smoke escaping someone’s chimney. In fall I can ride forever, never overheating. Unless of course it rains. Then all those leaves turn to slimy, brown ice. Don’t overcook the corner. You’ll go sliding into someone’s hedge.
Winter is for the brave, but there’s no one else out. We have the place to ourselves. Ok, it’s icy sometimes. You put on the studded tires. You’re right. It’s cold. Maybe we should be skiing.
But then the spring. It’s green! The days grow warm, but not hot. Oh, but it’s raining again. The trails are no-go. Not unless you wanna be one of those people, and I never want to be one of those people. The spring is a taste of early summer. It’s the sweetest, but it’s over in a blink.
Then we’re back to summer. The trails firm up. Everything gets lush. Even the first days of heavy air, hugging you like a warm blanket, aren’t too bad. It feels good to get a proper sweat on. That’s before things get too salty, bleached out. You wake early to the sound of crickets blaring and the pavement crackling with stored heat. Let it end. Let it end.
This week’s TCI Friday asks what is the best cycling season? I’m fairly certain, back somewhere in the annals of TCIF and/or the old Friday Group Ride at Red Kite Prayer, I have asked this question before. Maybe even twice. But it’s one of those debates that’s never settled. I’m afraid sometimes that my favorite is any one of the three I’m not currently pedaling through, but it’s never so simple as that. I think I’m a fall. I think the relief from the heat and all the other little details of autumn are the ones I like best. A crisp start. A wool jersey. Hot coffee at the end.