It’s about 8:00 PM and I just finished what has become a semi-ritual for me. Giving the bike a wipe down in preparation for a new week of riding starting tomorrow. It’s kind of like therapy. I’m a neat-freak by nature but there’s something to be said for cleaning the trusty steed and reflecting back on the week’s riding.

The temperature is starting to dip along with the sun. A few clouds are drifting across the darkening sky on a slight breeze. Great weather to wrap up a great week of riding. Baby wipes, five-gallon bucket seat, and Kronenbourg in hand, I set out cleaning the weeks road grime off the bike and reflected on the past week.

It didn’t start out so well with me not feeling great on Monday. I only managed 26 miles total for the week by riding on Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday was a wash with some rain/wind that was still hanging around. So, not the best week for mileage.

Saturday was a new day. It dawned cool at 58F without a cloud in the sky and no wind. I had a long ride on the training schedule and decided to forgo the shop ride in order to get the mileage I needed at my pace. I opted to go ride the Jacksonville to Baldwin Rail Trail. The last time I rode that trail was on May 3, 2008. Almost 3 years ago. I couldn’t have picked a better day to ride it.

The trail is 15 miles out and back so I planned to ride it twice in order to get the miles in. The first 12 miles or so I only saw a couple of other riders – one headed back to the trail head at mile 3 and one I passed at about mile five. The next 7 miles I was basically alone on the trail except for the squirrels. The ride was awesome. Cool air, a canopy of trees overhead, and mother nature. I haven’t had a ride like that in a long time.

I did the out-and-back twice for a total of 60 miles on the day. My longest ride since I was training for a century out in Dallas back in 2009. Seems like so long ago. I struggled the last 15 miles due to a headwind that picked up. And because I was fading. Overall though it was still a good ride.

The bike was clean by now with the grime and sweat wiped away. A clean bike for a clean slate on a new week.

PhotoC: dougtone