I had a tournament start time of 7:30 so I had to be on the road shortly after 6:00 to get to the course with time to sign up and get a brief putting practice in. I was running late and was tempted to just jump in the car and go without having to pack my golf clothes, put on a jacket and helmet, and perform all the other minor but time-consuming activities involved in getting ready to ride.
I decided to hell with it – it was too nice a day not to ride and if I was a bit late, then too bad.
The sun was up and just starting to rise above the trees lining the road. The air still had that early morning fresh smell (I’d make a million if I could figure out how to package that in a spray can) that lifts the soul with the promise of a brand new day ahead. And best of all, there was no traffic.
But there were deer, lots of deer, having their breakfast alongside the road. I haven’t hit one yet, but with two motorcycle-deer collisions in the area so far this year (one of them fatal), my spidey sense was working overtime trying to judge which way they’d jump as I went past. Fortunately they all either ignored me or went the right (i.e. other) way. (As I reread this last paragraph it reminds me of those headlines, “247 passengers survive as plane lands safely at O’Hare!”.)
After 15 minutes or so I left the the winding roads and forest and entered the more-or-less deer-free zone of straightaways and farmers’ fields. So with the wind in my face, the sun on my back, and the steady throb of the engine beneath me I relaxed and let my mind wander. And I found myself slipping into that Zen state where riding becomes effortless and the man-machine interface disappears. As anyone who has experienced this will tell you, you become “one” with the machine which seems to anticipate and respond to your thoughts without physical input. Time slows to a crawl. It’s just you, your bike, and a road… to somewhere, anywhere. It really is a magical experience that, if I’m lucky, I will get to enjoy once or twice a summer.
In this state I was sorely tempted to just keep on going, and would have but for the expectations of my playing partners. So I made the turn into the club parking lot, promising myself to do more early morning rides.
P.S. I should have kept riding. I may have been up at 5:15 but my golf game managed to sleep in until about 9:30 and arrived bleary-eyed and in an ornery mood.