Cindy and I both love our families but neither of us wanted to deal with them this Thanksgiving. We spent the holiday with Renee and her friends and family. Renee makes a warm, nonjudgmental surrogate family, like the Island of Misfit Toys. After Thanksgiving dinner, Renee, Randy, Bob, and I agreed to do the Second Annual Black Friday Ride at Rolling Hills.
This seemed a better idea when we were sharing a bottle of wine around the warm glow of the fire than when I was loading up my bike in the damp, grey, subfreezing, windy morning. But the thing is, Randy and Renee are so hard core, I couldn't back out. As I was leaving I text'd Randy: "Are you riding?" He responded something like: "It's pretty cold, think I will spend the morning in bed."
I don't like doing group rides where I don't know anyone. The ride was in Ypsilanti so I figured I might be on my own. As I was unloading my bike I hear: "Hey Neil." It was Cyclo Dan, the rolling encyclopedia of bicycle stuff. He can spend an entire ride talking about the art and science of wheel building. He was on a beautiful titanium Quiring 69er (29" wheel in front, 26 in back), so beautiful it actually made the hair stand up on my neck. The last I knew, he had a Trek 69er, a bike he adored. We rode together and he talked about geometry and how the 26/29 is the best design ever. He has so much bicycling knowledge that it is hard to argue with him, but I suspect he just likes saying "69er".
It was a no drop ride, which normally would be cool because I am typically the one getting dropped; however, this was a very slow bunch. I almost toppled over we were going so slow. I am not arrogant, it's just blocking a whole morning off to ride is a huge deal for me. People don't have to be fast, I get it. But if you are going so slow that your 29" wheels cannot generate any gyroscopic affect, then those wheels better not have Chris King Disc hubs because that is just disrespectful to Chris King. Despite creeping along at 5 mph, we dropped someone. I don't know how this was even possible. They wanted to go look for him. I suggested the deer hunters would find him, if not this season then next. We went back after him. It was a good ride. When will I realize every ride is a good ride. Getting out of the house is always the trick.
Em ran a 5 K race Friday night. I am so proud. She was spending the weekend with friends and they all decided to do this race. It is amazing what peer pressure can do. The race was right before a light parade in down town Howell so there were lots of people lining the street. It was cold. Allie and I drank hot chocolate trying to stave off hypothermia. Allie insisted on waiting until we saw Emilie.
I didn't know how Emilie would respond when she ran by with her friends. She will be 13 in January so I'm not cool anymore. She stopped when she saw me, walked over and gave me a hug, like when a racer in the Tour de France passes through his home town. It made standing in the cold and the last 12 years so worth it.
Denny called earlier in the week and asked me to go riding with him at Pontiac this morning. It seemed a better idea when I was talking to him on the phone than when I was loading up my bike in the damp, grey, subfreezing, windy morning. Another perfect ride.