Denver's Bike to Work Day fell on Daniel's birthday this year.
I got it in my head that I would bike from my home in Littleton to my school in downtown Denver that morning. The last time I rode my bike, read: Daniel's old mountain bike that probably outweighs a small horse, was a couple of months ago, for a couple of miles, and I spent a couple of days nursing my aching quads and those little bones that protest to being sat upon.
So, Wednesday morning dawned, and with a vague notion of the trail along Santa Fe that would take me downtown (see map below, which I did not reference until the writing of this post), and two hours in which to get there, I set out for Auraria.
About two miles in, legs having forgotten that initial burn, and my path finally connected to the Platte River trail (I think that's the one it was), a smattering of spandex-clad, road-bike mounted, middle aged men passed with a grunted "on your left." I say grunted because if one sounded jovial, he was more likely to bid me a "good morning!"
I suppose you all know the difference between a mountain bike and a road bike? If bikes were dogs, road bikes would be greyhounds, and my bike would be a fifteen year old mastiff.
So it was I reached Englewood, self-conscious about my tennis shoes, my navy baseball cap and my dirt bike, picking my way through the occasional fork in the trail by the general direction of campus. Then Denver, accepting of the fact that I was a novice, out with a thousand other novices on this Bike to Work Day. Then downtown, having resigned myself to the disappointment of never getting to call out those lovely three words--"on your left!"
There was never a question in my mind of whether I would make it all the way (not even knowing the distance to be some twelve or fourteen miles), but I wasn't as certain about whether I would be ambulatory when I finally got off the bike. So, when I dismounted at Auraria Campus, my quads gave up the push and I nearly knelt there on the asphalt. But the next step was steadier. And the next. Victory.
Happy Birthday Daniel! You would be so proud.