A couple of days ago I was out drinking beer (what!?, you say) when I ran into someone I hadn't seen since May 29th. It might seem funny to know that the instant you see someone, but it stuck out for a lot of reasons. Seeing him triggered a thought about one of my favorite biking memories of the year.
Actually, I have had a lot of good biking memories in 2010, like crossing the finish line at the Leadville 100 while there was still an "11" at the front of the clock; some rides with my kids that stand out; a long training ride this summer when my legs seemed to have reached back into an earlier age of strength and endurance; a training ride on which Rider One came along on a day when he probably had better things to do and a nicer ride to join but he came to be supportive of the training slog I was enduring; winning a race - you get the idea. But the memory of May 29 stands tall even among these.
For those of you with a keen memory or a calendar, you will note that May 29th was part of Memorial Day weekend, and it happened to be the Saturday of the 24 Hour Race. I was riding in the Solo - Clydesdale - Daylight Only division. I happened to have placed first in that category (also last, but that is the problem with 1-person divisions), but the gist of it was that I rode for about 7 hours starting at noon. At the end of that time, I had covered about 84 miles and I was tired, but really good tired. That fulfilling, exhausted, spent but smiling kind of tired where it feels good to have ridden long and hard and then be done.
I had the particular good fortune of not only being done, but then pulling on some clean clothes and sitting down to eat a couple of slices of David's Pizza and drink a couple of beers. I was sitting down with a couple of friends who had ridden all day also and with some other folks, including MS (owner of David's and a great guy) and the guy who I saw this week, TA (owner of Bicycle Butler). TA had been helping on the 24 Hour course, crashed his motocross motorcycle and had a brace on his knee that night, but thankfully it wasn't stopping him from enjoying a beer and shooting the shit.
As the pizza oven at my back gave a bit of warmth as the evening cooled, the beer and pizza were wonderfully filling my stomach, and a group of friends were around BS'ing after a day of riding or hanging out in Riverside State Park, I had a feeling of real joy and satisfaction that I can recall with perfect clarity six months later.