With the late September temperatures finally peaking in the high 80s in Chicagoland this week, it seems that summer finally had its last hurrah. FINALLY, a steady stream of days ahead in the 60s and low 70s. Fall in the Midwest is special,... well, at least it seems more so to a West Coast (SF Bay Area!) guy like myself that grew up knowing basically great weather, and o.k. weather (a cloudy or rainy day here and there). But here in the Midwest, we actually have seasons!.. and, plenty of deciduous broadleaf (term from my undergrad geography coursework days!) trees. This means fall colors!!
It also means fall riding and racing cyclocross (or, at least, plenty of TALK about racing cyclocross). It is a great time of year to ride in the Midwest, to the extent that, should one stop to take in a view or snap a photo, or call Lady Gaga's telephone, one is not immediately carried off by mosquitos the size of flying monkeys. Whether it ever happened or not, I seem to have these great memories of being on these "epic" weekend fall rides when I'd be rolling along some country road, and at times, a little jetty of air would leave a few leaves tumbling in my wake as I passed. I must have seen that on an old Buick commercial or magazine ad somewhere and it kinda stuck. Speaking of flying monkeys and other odd creatures on might encounter on the road, here are a few of my stalwart training partners I pass from time to time on a regular route:
They were less impressed with my lack of form than I was. I swear they kept saying "laaame, ... laaaame!!" every time I passed by. It always seems to be the same old scene, three billy goats gruff waiting for the mothership to land, or just sunning themselves in the late afternoon. In case any of my Chicagoland friends are curious to see this spectacle, they're on Beith Rd., way out west of St. Charles before crossing Meredith Rd. I take their chorus as a form of encouragement on the way out to meet the ride, (as I do the route backwards) and try to hold on as long as possible. Such mockery is a form of consolation on days (often) when I am spat out the back of the pack. These days, I'm just glad to see them, as I'm glad to see most of my bike racer geek friends. Yes, fall means great riding conditions and vistas, but it also means our days of youthful wanderlust in the warm sun are numbered. Sort of like the post-season for a baseball fan. Great memories and all that, but summer's end makes the reality set in that once again, the Cubs went nowhere (Let's go A's!!) and there's "always next year..."