I got a text message a few minutes before I was about to start driving to our start point in Milford, NJ. “What’s the weather like there? It’s pretty crappy here.” “Yeah,” I replied, “not raining hard. And it’s supposed to clear by 11.” On days like last Saturday, it’s so easy to opt for a good book, the couch, and a nice fire in the stove. We resisted that urge and agreed to keep our 10:30 meeting time, and besides, coffee and pastries at the Milford Bakery is a good reason to show up for a ride no matter the weather. I admit I was doing my best to be more optimistic than I felt, so I also packed all of my wet-weather gear and even stopped to buy a pair of dish-washing gloves on the way in case I needed them to keep my hands warm and dry.
We didn’t really get rained on as it turned out although the gray never really cleared and the temperature remained cool. The wet roads did create a problem though as a piece of glass became embedded in my tire causing two flats in the first 10 miles. Only after the second flat did I find the shard of glass.
So it took a while to settle into the ride. Finally it became clear that rain wasn’t going to be an issue and that we had fixed the tire (the dollar-bill boot worked great). I removed the shower cap from my helmet, removed gloves, and tried to relax. Then I could focus my energy tackling hills, enjoying the beginnings of fall color, and having the sort of rambling start/stop conversation that occurs on rides.
We had also promised ourselves a beer at the Ship Inn at the end of the ride (every ride should start at a bakery and end at a pub) so had something to look forward to as we pushed ourselves up and over the last few hills. In those last few miles, we emerged from the woods for a bit into an open area with views out to the horizon. The clouds were just beginning to move away as the daylight started to fade, and the air became a little crisper. Finally, we rolled down the last hill onto Rt 619 about a mile outside Milford.
I’m so glad that I resisted the temptation of the couch.