I have come to praise the sick ride. No, not the kind of “sick” ride where you need to make sure to capture some footy for the boys. This is about the ride you take after a sick day.
It is that time of year when the kids go back to school, so after a summer of days out in the open everyone is crammed back together in a single building. Inevitably this begins the cycle of germ transmission that makes these places the equivalent of a low level biohazard zone. I only half kid.
This is about the ride you take the day after you spend a day consuming Sudafed and Mucinex while wiping your nose with the equivalent of the boreal forest of Kleenex. After a night of Nyquil induced sleep you wake up to a beautiful near fall day of full sunshine, no discernible wind, and temps hovering in the low 60s.
The leaves are starting to turn on the edges of that one tree in the neighborhood that always blazes red earlier than any other tree. It is the harbinger of fall and the dreaded day when you hang up your bicycle until spring. You cannot pass up days like this just because you spend the last thirty six hours binging on Netflix, mainlining herbal tea, and slipping off into fitful sleep.
So, you clip in and head for a ride. The weather may be perfect and your bike is finally dialed in after an entire season of riding, but you are a mess. Your cadence is jacked. The hills you normally whiz up become grinds. At the turn your legs are somehow managing to feel like Jello and be tight at the same time. Your sinuses are torched and your skin has an oddly prickly feel to it.
Heading home you have gulped more than twice as much water as normal and your clothes are soaked. The backs of your gloves are covered in an odd combination of grime, sweat, and snot. Your teeth itch.
You unclip and slump onto the steps in your garage. Your water bottle is empty, but you try and coax the last few drops out of the cap. There is more liquid inside, just a few steps away, yet you remain glued to the second step.
A hot shower is a miraculous thing. A few minutes with hot water and a bar of lemon scented soap makes a new person emerge from the other side. All of the grinding of the past couple hours is forgotten. The sickness of the past few days is forgotten. Something magical happened over the course of thirty miles that no day on the couch could ever replicate.
You went on the sick ride. Praise the sick ride!