LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
“When is your bike ride, daddy?” asked my 11-year old daughter, first thing Sunday morning, her tween-angst-ridden voice conveying an altogether different message: “When are you going to have the decency to get out of the house and LEAVE ME ALONE?!?!?!?!?!”
A few minutes later, my wife came downstairs.
“So, are you not going on the ride after all?” she asked, her so-not-a-tween-but-I-dare-not-suggest-how-long-it’s-been-since-her-tween-years voice conveying, yet again, another message: “So, are you going to have the decency to get out of my hair JUST FOR A DAY?!?!?!?!”
Truth of the matter was, I had all but decided not to ride in Sunday’s Octoginta bike ride, the year-end celebration of cycling put on by the Lawrence Bicycle Club.
My usual Octoginta riding partner, my dad, bailed the night before, saying it would be too cold at 8:30 to be enjoyable. I took a look at Weather.com, checked out the hour-by-hour forecast and saw it was supposed to be in the low- to mid-40s, and though I regularly ride in much colder temperatures, there’s a big difference between sucking it up for a five-mile commute and weathering a two-plus-hour ride in the country.
Plus, I was tired. And I didn’t want to spend all that time away from the kids. And I had to mow. And … and and and and.
I had a million reasons not to ride, but once I realized two of the three most important women in my life (What can I say? Mom’s a regular reader) wanted me gone, I started to reconsider.
And then I thought of Bob Frederick.
This year’s Octoginta was named in honor of Frederick, the honorable former Kansas University athletic director who died after a one-bike crash this summer.
It would be inaccurate to say I decided to ride in Freddy’s honor, or that I rode because Freddy would have wanted me to. I rode because, well, Freddy would have ridden.
I saddled up and bundled up and trundled out for the Octoginta’s short course, which from my house was just over 40 miles.
It turned out to be a perfect ride.
Though cool at the start (and I started about an hour late), it warmed up nicely. For a change, I was dressed perfectly. My long-sleeve wool jersey kept me warm early but not too hot late. My knee warmers (I only wear tights when I’m fighting crime) were perfect at the start and ended up around my ankles, a la Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance,” by ride’s end.
I’ve skipped a couple of Octogintas in the past, either because it was too cold or too windy, and with only one exception, I’ve regretted it eventually.
This year, I had only two regrets: that my dad wasn’t along for the ride, and that I didn’t make it to the “breakfast” rest stop in time to get my mitts on a couple of slices of French toast.