The year I turned 50, I decided I needed to ride a mile for each year of my life. Since my birthday’s in June, it’s a reasonable thing to accomplish, even if it rains. I’ve kept up the tradition, and it’s perhaps the best tradition I’ve ever started. This year meant 58 miles.The thing I like best about this tradition is that it’s me out there, by myself at least a good portion of the time, celebrating my own life. It doesn’t depend on anybody else doing anything for my birthday. Nobody else even has to remember my birthday. I just go out and celebrate being healthy enough to ride. I have many friends at this stage of life with cancer and other illnesses, so I don’t take this lightly. It also makes me grateful that I’m this old and love my life. I like being with me, and I can enjoy that. As my character Slider in Slider’s Son says, “Never turn into somebody you don’t want to spend time with.” So, that’s what I do. This year, these were some highlights.
First excitement: Geese crossing the road in front of me.
I thought I’d ride the Lake Crystal loop (almost 40 miles) and then join the Flying Penguin group (at right) at 10. Since I’ve been gone ten days, I hadn’t internalized the idea of local flooding and road closings, so I got to the Judson Bottom Road (crucial for the Lake Crystal loop) and and the road was closed (second two photos). The Minnesota River has actually converged with the Bottom Road. It’s quite a sight.
Minneopa Falls outside of Mankato are ROARING. I took that in as an extra loop to get my miles. The best part of the ride, however, was riding with Gianni (Jon) Anderson and the Flying Penguin guys. That part if the ride flew by, with laughs and a fast descent. So happy Bill Durbahn is healthy enough to join that ride and keep up just fine! We also found Sibley park closed due to the river coming up to the road. But we do what most cyclists do and simply moved one traffic cone so we could ride through anyway.
What is it about cyclists and “Road Closed” signs? I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s an invitation to go explore exactly how far I can go and to view the problem! Anyway, I got my 58 miles (actually 61), and I plan to keep riding my birthday miles as long as I’m breathing.