What Freedom Looks Like

…to someone profoundly thankful
for those who made it possible.
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Call Me Pokey

It’s funny how I can obsess over things that don’t matter.  After a week out of town at a conference, stuck inside all day and night, you’d think that I’d just be happy to have an opportunity to ride.

Instead, I spent last night obsessing over temperature and wind forecasts and routing options.  I spent far too much time trying to avoid heat and wind.

In the end, it didn’t matter.  Every route is going to have heat and wind.  Besides, instead of my usual 6:30am start, I didn’t roll out until 8:30am.

It was already warming up, and the wind was howling.  So after all that obsessing, I ended up just happy for an opportunity to be out there.  I adapted.

There were two strategies employed to make the day more enjoyable.  First, I selected the Ramble route since it is mostly gravel and well out of the way of the holiday traffic.

Second, I deliberately backed-off on the pace from my recent rides.  So what if the wind was peeling the whiskers off my chin?  That’s what low gears are for.

So call me Pokey.  I was on the Ramble route, and was in pure ramble mode.  It’s a nice route.  No reason to roll through it too fast, or to be too distracted by gasping for air to enjoy the countryside.

Whether for riding a bicycle, or for more weightier life matters, I hope I learned a lesson today.

I hope I can avoid being paralyzed by anxiety and obsessing over obstacles.  Avoiding difficulty might seem clever, but it too often robs me of fulfillment.  Better to meet the challenges head-on, adjust to circumstances, and work through them.  A better place to apply cleverness.
Some of you who have joined me for our little annual Country Path Ramble, might recognize a few of these scenes.  Those of you who haven’t yet joined us for our late fall gravel event might what to consider it.

I might be Pokey, but I know how to have fun.  The only thing missing today was a riding buddy.  I wonder if there is anyone out there ready for mid-year gravel ramble?

My Cooling Down Spot

We have a few clumps of trees here and there, and down around the creek crossings, but most of my riding is across the vast north Texas prairie, where the wind blown grasses look like ocean waves.  At this time of year, that means lots of hot sunshine that seems to accumulate on my body like the gravel dust on my bike.  So after about 4 hours of almost continuous riding, it was time to cool down.


This is one of the few hilltop shady spots. With today’s winds at 22-27mph, you could close your eyes and lean right into it.  Quite refreshing.

New

Plenty of Gravel

Sometimes it only takes a few changes to make everything seem new.  If enough things change at almost the same time, it feels like a major life transformation.  I like to crawl into a rut and stay there as much as anybody, but most of us like freshness now and then.

Lots of Low Traffic Roads



This morning several changes came together to give a fresh sense of optimism.  A new route, a few gear refinements, a new bike, and a new objective all came together here at the transition between spring and summer.  All the changes have proven themselves to be improvements.  At the very least, they are certainly new and different.

Courthouse Square, Decatur, Texas
I guess that’s just how folks are.  Rarely satiated, we tend to tinker and experiment, looking to make things a little better.  Some might suggest that kind of hunger is the fuel of our economy.  They might also suggest that change often doesn’t make any sort of useful improvement at all.  Maybe this desire for change, not only fuels the economy, but fashion as well.  Because after we try new things a few times, it is common to end up back where we started.  So what of today?  Refinement or fad?

Great Place for a Break

Lovely Climb

Rolling Hills

Longest Descent of the Day

Well, I’m invested.  Just like changing the house paint from brown to green, here we are.  It looks good enough to me.  Here’s the new rut this old curmudgeon is crawling into, and I plan to stay awhile.