Two days ago I woke up to the second cloudy morning in a row (after July’s unbroken sunny streak) and knew the day would be a struggle. I had slept badly and my brain was crying out for caffeine.
Luckily, I enjoy my early morning walks to my neighbourhood Starbucks. It feels good to emerge from my apartment building into all the fresh sensations of a new day. So, anticipating our morning workout, Keith and I threw on some cycling gear and made our way, automaton-like, over to Starbucks. It took all of my available brain power to remember to buy my weekend copy of The Globe and Mail and stop at Cobb’s for a still-hot loaf of Capeseed bread.
Thus armed with our simple Saturday pleasures, we returned to my apartment for breakfast. I was desperately hoping that my coffee would perk me up and turn me into my usual bright, energetic morning self. No dice. My brain felt so thick I couldn’t fathom putting together an intelligent thought.
Before our bike ride, Keith and I had to go to Mundy Park to talk about details of our club’s upcoming Pinetree cross country meet. As our clubmates mentioned small changes to be made on our registration forms, I found I couldn’t remember a single word.
Back at my apartment, Keith and I tried to plan our bike ride of the day. Not only was my brain dull, but my body was entirely lacking its usual eagerness for a workout. Instead of raring to go, I was dismissing one route after another in my mind—“No—I can’t face that hill!” We finally decided to be wimps: we would put our bikes on Keith’s truck and drive to the mostly-flat PoCo Trail loop.
I warned Keith that he would have to help me remember everything I needed for the bike ride. We were finally ready to go by about 10:15—a very late start for me, indeed. We had just pressed the elevator button when I remembered I had forgotten the water for both Keith’s camelpack and my own bottle. Back to the apartment. On the way down to the visitor’s parking, I congratulated myself for remembering such a critical detail.
Keith drove his truck down to my parking level where my bike storage locker was. I retrieved my bike, helmet, and gloves from the locker. As Keith was loading my bike on his rack, I noticed that I wasn’t wearing my GPS watch! This was unacceptable; taking my Garmin on all rides and runs is a compulsion now. I chided Keith for not helping me remember (unfair, I know), put my helmet and gloves down beside the truck, and told him I’d quickly go back up to get my watch while he finished securing my bike.
I got up-and-down quickly. As I got in the truck (which Keith had had time to turn around in preparation for leaving the underground parking), he said gravely, “I have some bad news for you. I ran over your helmet.”
In a flash, I remembered placing it on the ground beside the truck. Stupidly, I hadn’t mentioned this to Keith. I didn’t blame him. I reassured him that the helmet was old, too loose, and I needed a new one anyway. He confessed that when he had heard the awful crunching sounds under his truck, he had feared that pieces of his transmission were falling out. He had actually been relieved to see only a mangled bike helmet on the ground.
But would this ride ever begin? I was irritated about the further delay caused by having to buy a new helmet.
Luckily, I knew there was a bike shop only two kilometers from my apartment. In fact, I had been there three months ago getting my bike tuned up.
I directed Keith to the strip mall on St. Johns Street where the bike shop was…and it wasn’t there. For the umpteenth time that morning, I wondered what was wrong with my brain.
Moving on mentally to Plan B, I told Keith we would have to drive to another bike shop that wasn’t too far from our starting point on the PoCo trail.
But then our luck of the day started to change. Only a couple of blocks away from the original bike shop location, we saw the shop on the left at its new location and Keith turned adroitly into the parking lot. Buying a new helmet to fit my small head turned out to be quicker and cheaper than I had expected. We were soon on our way. By 11:15 or so we began our ride (after a final delay caused by my forgetting to set my GPS location).
Keith stayed with me for a few kilometers. As I warmed up, I started to get into the groove of riding and managed to push a few sections at a pretty good pace, encouraged by my Garmin splits. I wasn’t used to seeing so many people on the trails, but this was now the middle of a Saturday. I must have passed some couples eight or ten times as I circled back to keep in contact with Keith. After about an hour and a half, we completed the loop (with lots of extra mini-loops for me) and managed to get home without any further disasters.
Later, the sun came out for the first time in two days. We wandered over to Starbucks again to get iced mochas with our treat receipts, and bought dinner ingredients and some cheerful pink flowers. The gloomy day had turned into a happy one after all!*
*except for the explosion of a full head of garlic in my microwave while I was preparing dinner