It would give me great pleasure to say that the reason for my long absence is that I am very busy, which would be true. But it doesn't give me pleasure at all. In fact, I spend my days skulking around the Park with a dark cloud of guilt hanging over my head. Why guilty, you ask? I'll tell you: Even though I am constantly occupied and never seem to have enough time, I can honestly say that since the New Year started I haven't done a single constructive thing. Which ain't good, considering I earn my keep by being, uh, well, constructive.
No working on trailers, no riding my bike; I'm falling behind on my beer-drinking and Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog really needs a bath. Oh, the shame, the degradation! Worst of all is how I have been ignoring my Beloved Blog and the Three People who read it! O Wondrous Guilt!
In Other Words You're A Lazy Bum
So what have I been doing? Glad I asked. The truth is, I don't know. I took a 40 mile cruise Sunday Morning and huffed and puffed over a course I usually ride with ease. In spite of my best efforts to abstain from over-indulgence, the Holidays have certainly taken a toll on my physique. When I pulled on my bib shorts for the first time in 2012, it looked (and felt) like some Evil Elf had sneaked into my closet and sewn a bowling ball into the front liner. And listen: that same Elf apparently works on bicycles as well; my handlebar drops were obviously several inches lower than they were last Fall and I spent the entire ride with my gloves on the hoods. This meant, of course, I spent almost three hours riding around in a mostly upright position resulting in the dreaded symptom technically referred to as PITA. Look it up in your medical journals.
Do You Want A Little Cheese With That Whine?
I know, I know: I live at Whispering Pines, not Whimpering Pines. (As a side note, I have lived here for nigh on two years and I still don't know what those Pines are whispering about. It's spooky.) But all my Masculine Whining aside, it has been a multi-layered dilemma that I suspect my Readers are familiar with: cycling is physically addictive and endorphin junkies like me need the fix. But Seasonal Affective Disorder sets in sometime after Thanksgiving, the skies darken and the temperature drops. The warm glow of the computer screen beckons and there is nothing like a frosty beer or ten while you are surfing the web and imagining all the riding you are doing while reading about all the riding others are doing.
And I live in Florida! The cold weather I am complaining about would be positively balmy to my Northern Friends. (The North is defined as any area above Interstate 10.) Hence the guilt.
This Part Ain't Funny
Another thing happened just before Christmas. A touring cyclist from Oregon was hit by a truck here in town on Hwy One. A seventy-two year old man with "low blood sugar" was blasting South in his van and had a dizzy spell or something and ran over a twenty-one year old kid who managed to pedal all the way across the United States before getting to Florida and...what? The newspaper only reported that he was in critical condition. There has been no follow-up story and by now it is old news. We may never know how it turned out.
My Friends Try To Cheer Me Up
That section of road is part of my North Wind Ride. When I ride North to Daytona, I return on that very shoulder of the highway. It could have been me. At the cookout Sunday, I was talking to Uncle Bill about bicycles.
“Aren't you afraid somebody might smack into you with a car when you're out on the highway like that?”
I instantly flashed to the Oregon kid's accident. It wasn't pretty. I don't know what that young guy looks like, but sometimes I get up the courage to look in the bathroom mirror in the morning, so I know what Tim Joe looks like. It was Old Tim Joe I got a mental snapshot of being struck from behind at high speed by a truck veering onto the shoulder. Man, it wasn't pretty. I took a big gulp from my Budweiser, took a breath and looked Bill in the eye.
“I'm not afraid,” I said. “It could happen anytime, but there is nothing I can do about it. I can't let it stop me from riding.”
There were others around the fire and everyone started talking at once about various people they have known over the years who managed to get run over while riding bicycles. What cheerful Sunday conversation for the Trailer Park Cyclist!
But I am not afraid. I rode over 2500 miles in 2011 with nothing I could really describe as a close call. There were moments. Oh, there were moments, to be sure. But what are you going to do? Wear high visibility clothing, pick your routes as best you can, be very aware of your surroundings and Keep On Stroking.
Ahem. OK. Now then, back to the whining...
What does 2012 hold in store for us? Hard to say. I have a hard enough time even typing the number 2012 and associating it with an actual date. Isn't that the Future? Seriously, what the hell happened?
One year follows another and so on but how can so many years have gone by so fast?
Maybe That Is What the Pines Are Whispering About.
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Old Folks Home