30 Rides -Day 30 (Hari Om!)

Day 30 was the one year anniversary of Trump suggesting we inject bleach and sunlight to cure COVID. Remember those days? They were neat. Seems like a lifetime ago or a minute ago. So much life has happened since then.

So I wrapped up this little 30 day thing in a way that almost felt like closing a loop of sorts. I rode with my friend Charlie and his family. A beautiful Friday evening sunset ride around a bunch of gravel roads in Morris County, New Jersey, one cutting through Trump’s golf course. The Trump road felt odd. It was in the midst of a beautiful scene. No MAGA hats, no vitriol, no narcissism, no porn stars, no lies, no racism, no hijacked American flags, no hate. Just me and Charlie chatting and catching up.  Been too long.  

I don’t ride on gravel much at all. But every damn time I do I love it. It’s a different pace with a more playful, active vibe. The scenery is almost always on point. We meandered up and down some little hills. Farms, streams, rivers, one lane bridges, horses, deer, sunset…..cars, not so much. 

Charlie and I kinda got into cycling sort of around the same time and started hooking up on rides through mutual friends at the shop. We put in a lot of time together a few years back, in the sun, in the cold, in the rain, in the heat, in lightning storms, in eclipses, etc. Charlie was always down to ride. 

My first century was with Charlie. Charlie and I rode some grueling early season rides like Sourlands Semi-Classic and Hell of Hunterdon a couple times. I always felt better with Charlie on the ride. Charlie pulled me out of some tough spots on those rides. So tonight was great to be riding with Charlie again. Felt like old times without any of the tough, dark stuff. It was a family ride, and I was an honorary member tonight.

But so much life happens and things can’t always stay the same. We move into other things and paths depart for a time and then return and then depart again. And one of those departing paths has involved Charlie passing on his cycling stoke to his family. Charlie’s son is really enjoying his bike now and has moved into fairly competitive racing at a young age. The kid’s stoke is pretty unparalleled. In step, Charlie now dedicates much of his time volunteering to coach a couple youth cycling teams. So weekend rides together aren’t or won’t be as easy as they used to be.  That’s ok and it’s good. 

Charlie’s passing along the stoke not only to his son but tons of other kids.  And, this cycling stoke seems to have passed now to Charlie’s wife who rode with us as well. Something about her doing her first race in a few weeks. (It’s possible Charlie has her as his cycling prisoner.  Authorities are investigating.)   

My point you say? As I get back on my bike after that crazy robo-shoulder thing and realize cycling, or anything, can be gone in an instant, it’s just great to remember I have some great people from the cycling part of my life. And we’ve been through enough together to know that even if time passes without seeing each other or speaking for a while, we can slide right back into it seamlessly. 

Some will come and go.  Some will come and go and return.  Others will go for their final time.  For now, I’m just going to enjoy times and rides had and those to come.  

P.S. For the record, I ate so many Oreos in the past 30 days it’s kind of embarrassing.  What’s that meme “how it started and how it’s going.”  Well, started with Oreos and it’s going with Oreos. 

Lastly, Day 30 is dedicated to my new friend TominAlbany. Whoever that dude is, his daily check-ins in the comments here on DSS were always great to see. Let me know I wasn’t just shouting into the wind. And when I had any momentary “fuck it” feelings I thought about TominAlbany rooting for me. Thanks Tom and everybody else who played along. I’m sure I’ll get the urge to do something else soon enough, and maybe I’ll strike another deal with the internet man to write about it.  Hari Om!