Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bikes and Boys

I absolutely adore biking. I do it almost every morning. It's my exercise, my stress relief, my centering tool, my communion with morning sunshine and chattering birds and open road.

It started 14 years ago. Rob and I bought matching Trek mountain bikes at a Madison bike shop, and I was immediately hooked. We bought a child seat and I'd take off the for the country hills with Brady strapped on the back. He'd fall asleep, I'd get a good thigh burn, and I'd push myself to get up the biggest hills in the highest gears. It tones my whole body and gives me that amazing physical tiredness I need to sleep well at night. One summer I biked something like 80 out of a possible 90 days. I had thighs that wouldn't quit back then. ('Course, I was a lot younger, too. :)

After 13 years on a mountain bike, Rob surprised me with a road bike for Christmas! And once you go road, you never go back, lemme tell ya. Mountain bikes to roads bikes are like mopeds to motorcycles. There's just no comparison. My mountain bike is fun for rugged rides, but I ride like the wind on my new bike. I can cover the same distance in nearly half the time, and that's way cool.

Biking is a great antidote for stress. I might wake and grumble about taking a ride, but as soon as I leave the driveway and feel the wind rush past, I feel the tension start to melt away. I can measure my stress levels by the distance I need to cover before I feel better. Some stress melts away immediately, and the feeling of muscles moving and the sound of birds singing and the view of the hills breaks me from my mood straight away. But other times, the troubling thoughts are harder to shake, and it takes several miles and several killer hills to break through the threshold. There've been bike rides where I've not noticed a single hill because I was so distracted by my current angst, the release taking mile after mile after mile.

But there are many rides where the solution to a current dilemma suddenly appears, or a new writing project comes to mind, or a week's worth of menus get planned. I get a regular update of local crops and home projects in the area, and I get an intimate view of the seasons of wildflowers. I never tire of dodging the same potholes or visiting the same stretches of road.

Lately, though, I've pondered the same thing over and over and over as I ride. My current conflict isn't really a conflict at all - just a really huge, somewhat unexpected transition that is worrisome and exciting and scary and hopeful....

Brady is going to school.

Can you believe it? We're not sure WE believe it yet. He's giving it a try. 9th grade. High school.

It's a long story how it came about, and I'm not in the mood to type it all out just now. Suffice to say it's a transition that's needed some quiet contemplation, which is why I haven't blogged about it yet. And when the range of emotions are all over the map, what I say today won't be how I'll feel tomorrow and probably isn't anything like where I was yesterday.

But that's our big news. My boy is venturing off into an entirely different realm, and none of us knows what our life will look like in 26 short days. Stay tuned.

For now, I'll continue to ride with the wind, and offer my fears to the universe, and let my feelings run their course in the comforting rhythm of the pedals as I climb hill after hill after hill on mile after mile after mile.

Who knows - I just might have those killer thighs again yet.

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