I am riding my bike by the ocean. The date? November 21st.
My brain funnels quickly through the Last Time I Rode by The Ocean. California Coast? Maybe. Ireland? Surely not. I strum through the files of bike riding locations while trying to distract myself from the fact my fully finger gloves are beginning to get numb from the cold. I exhale a long thread of hot air from my lips into the brisk air. My nose is pink. I can’t see it,
I wiggle my toes inside my mountain bike shoes and water, wind and bullet proof booties. I do a lot of coasting. My overloaded brain cannot seem to take the idea that I want to work my body really hard outside. In the winter air and light snow covering the streets of Victoria as the local residents panic, completely PANIC at the sight of the white stuff. I aim to miss the potholes, laugh at the heavily layered local people and try to picture myself living here.
I had to beat my 2009 record of cycling up Little Cottonwood Canyon on November 15th in Salt Lake City. Alternating tucking my fingers inside my armpits while using the other hand to balance the bike. Sometimes the hand will sneak up to my lips for a large puff of heated air. I curse myself for not wearing sunglasses to protect my eyeballs from the wind. I should be excited for beating my last years outdoor cycling record, but I am not. I am cold, and ready for the tiny 600 square feet we are staying. A hot bath. A change of perspective.
I decide to turn around at the next self-appointed 'appropriate' point.
I pedal half heartedly and my old bike, my baby Alex, heaves. Her rear derailleur refuses to shift smoothly, despite my tightening and coaxing. She coughs and my chain changes location on its own. I see a sign.
CAUTION: ERRANT GOLF BALLS MAY CAUSE BODILY HARM.
I glance at the green rollers of the playing field, the grey sky and rolling clouds above. I can feel the cold ocean wind whipping the surfaces of my body. It's time to head the sign, turn around and head back along the water.