After starting the Holiday week with the flu and traffic school, I rallied in time for Thanksgiving. I passed the day with friends as we played croquet, ate ham, fried yet another turkey, and eventually sat around a backyard fire burning acres of pine straw. If you live anywhere near Lee Avenue, we officially have no idea where all the smoke came from.
By Saturday, I was half-way through a four day weekend and had yet to throw leg over saddle and giddy-up. The 30+ mile ride of the previous Saturday left me vulnerable to the flu-bug, which grabbed me by the throat and choke-slammed me to the mat.
Apathy and lethargy reigned, and not a single rider would join me Saturday. Never one afraid to put the work in, I picked up my shovel and headed north, shoveling coal in the furnace as hard as I could. The Live Oak Connector quite literally knocked the snot out of me, as the remnants of the flu sprayed and spewed over jersey, gloves, top tube, oak tree, hill and dale.
Stoically, I churned through the woods, up the powerline trail and into the Lake Overstreet trails. Not a soul did I see.
Yesterday, more coal shovelin’. Another 20 + miles into a headwind south to Munson, where S’quatch waged a manic war against himself, joyously sprinting away, then stopping to conduct nature lessons with grimy redneck children, or holding forth on the unique talents of Robert Downey Jr. Above it all, I bent to my labors and swung that shovel.
San Felasco ain’t got me licked yet.
Tomorrow I will be on the proving ground itself. Mystery, the untameable stallion, and I will be going to Ocala to collect Mel (Not his real name). He is coming direct from the mean streets of NYC to get shellacked on the podunk trails of central Florida. Must be nice. We’re going to drag him around San Felasco on a little recconoiter mission, then bring him back home for a few days of Southern Culture Reassignment Therapy. Come on over and help.
Bring your shovel.
And today came the rains. Munson should be perfect by tomorrow noonish. Too bad I’ll be working the daytime shift at the Jiffy. Not to complain; the bike friendly carpet of pine straw made for a tasty ride yesterday, too. Falling behind early and often, I tuned into the browns and greens of fall in the north Florida pine forest. Even the sandy soft spots were welcomed for the change of pace.
I’m still thinking about the coyote I saw a few weeks ago at Alford Arm. I wonder whether he has feasted by now on any of the sheep kept by the city for kudzu eradication. A few years ago, I took a friend’s pit bull out for a run in the same fields. I’m not one to keep a dog on a leash unnecessarily. Before I knew what was happening, she spotted her quarry and hopped the short electrified fence to cavort with the woolly beasts, ultimately causing a small stampede. Great fun for man’s best friend, and no real harm done. It may be a different story with Wile E. on the scene.