05 May 2018


I have a confession.

I took a ride the other day--to Connecticut.

You're probably wondering why that's a "confession".  Well, you see, it's like this...um...well...

All right, I took a "mental health day" from work.

You know that's just another way of saying I played hooky.  But I rationalized it to myself because I had to go into work on a day when I normally wouldn't have.  Also, I suspected that my students are tired.

(When you were a kid, did your parents send you to bed when they were tired?  I was operating on the same sort of logic, or at least rationale.)

The ride to Connecticut was great.  Arielle, my Mercian Audax, knows it well.  And, for a change, it actually looked like Spring:

except that it felt more like summer when I started home.  The temperature had reached 34C (92F) and, after I crossed the state line, I could swear I was pedaling into a wind I didn't feel at my back on my way up.  

In addition to the wind, I was pedaling in continuous sunlight.  And, for the first time this year, I rode in shorts and a short-sleeved top.  So, while I was probably getting a month's worth of Vitamin D, I probably got as much in ultra-violet rays, even though I was re-applying sunscreen hourly. Also, even after drinking a full bottle each of plain water, Poland Spring and Gatorade, I didn't have to pee.  That meant, of course, that the sun, wind and heat were drawing the moisture out of me almost as soon as I replaced it.

In most years, by the time I did my first ride in such heat, I had done several others in gradually-increasing temperatures.  But on Sunday, when I rode with Bill and Cindy, the mercury barely reached 10C (50F).  Also, most of that ride was under partly cloudy skies, and just about all of the riding I've done so far this year has been under varying amounts of cloud cover.

After a cold, wet April, May opened with the kind of weather we might see in late July or early August.  That has people in this part of the world wondering, aloud, "Where did Spring go?"

My skin was probably wondering the same thing.  Even though this is the sixth ride I've taken to Connecticut this year, this one was the most difficult.  It was so difficult, in fact, that...I bailed with about 20km (12 miles) left in a 140 km (85 mile) ride.  Just after I crossed the bridge from the Pelham Bay Park trail to Co-op City, I started to feel lightheaded. At Pelham Parkway in the Bronx, I saw a hot dog stand by the station for the #5 subway.  I bought another bottle of Poland Spring and got on the train.

So...Which is the bigger confession:  that I played hooky or I bailed out on a ride?


  1. I once "hit the wall" just five miles from home when I was a student. I had spent a fortune on my very first new bike and had very little left after rent for such things as food or maps. I had set off for a twenty five mile return trip only to end up doing a ninety mile circle into terra incognito. I ended up lying in a ditch at the side of the road, dreaming of every morsel of food in my meagre store but convinced that I would never make it home.

    I have never carried a watch so have no idea how long it took to recharge but I eventually got home without any hunger... It did at least teach me that the 450 mile ride home at the end of term, because I could not afford a train ticket, was doable and was done over three days sleeping in more ditches!

  2. No guilt here, mental health is serious bid'ness! Good onya (and I hope your boss never reads this post).

  3. Coline--That sounds worthy of The Odyssey!

    Phillip--Actually, my boss knows about it. Still, I felt a bit of guilt: After all, I was leaving students, not paperwork or machinery, for the day!