I'm off for a risky ride: weather's dicey.

Slashes of sunshine spray my neighborhood, but the sky is hunkered off to the West, growling. Still, if there is to be any time for a ride today, this is it.

Saddled up I head for the mountains, chatting with a couple at the intersection, then I'm gone, alone. The bike is very smooth, I am going uphill towards 36 and there's a tiny headwind but I feel good, have to keep a lid on it so that I won't get tired before the Bolder Boulder tomorrow. Everything is gray-green, and it is raining, but not enough to stick. The road's dry although I feel a drop now and then, and the air feels thick and chill. I turn up the power half a notch to stay warm. How fast, I can't say, the speedo still needs a new battery, but today at least, I'm passing everybody. Feels good.

Turning onto 36 to go N, I'll ride up to the house, then home on Nelson or something, but it is starting to rain lightly now, and there is a big peal of thunder. I turn up towards West Fork, but another belt of thunder, more rain and a thought that "there's probably nobody there anyway" combine to turn me around. I would have stayed though, if it were me, after moving my stuff in, to watch the rain and lightning. I would have a bottle of wine and sit under the shelter of the upper deck, and watch the patterns of light on the fields: I always loved that. Then, because it's on a hill overlooking the plains, you can see sometimes oceans of clouds and the whole world is gone, just you in the incredible sunlight and yellow-white waves breaking against the prow of the hillside.

But not today. Today it will be clammy and uncomfortable, so I turn around.

Grinding up the shallow hill to Nelson, I roll over a lone rider, and then overhaul a faster tandem, barely. Going uphill they cannot match me but now we will descend and I will get my ass kicked. I taunt jokingly with something like, "I'll never stay ahead of you now!" as I go by, and sure enough in a minute I feel them coming over my shoulder, impossibly fast. I put on a surge and catch his wheel. We are probably doing over 30, but with his draft, I rarely have to pedal.

The hill flattens, maybe even ascends for a moment, and I can lead now. I power by, coast for a few beats so he can gear up, and then pull like hell, knowing he'll be doubly fast when drafting. We trade pulls the whole way along Nelson, never dropping out of top gear, me taking my pulls on the uphill, and the tandem on the downs, when their ballistic coefficient makes them more than a match for me. Awesome. I'm stroking in the 160s and realize I'm singing, Born on the Cusp to myself, which somehow matches my breathing pattern though it's a slow song. Eventually they peel off and I continue on 75th, headed home, rocketing through hard rain now, hunched over the bars and feeling like blasting.

There's a peal of thunder. It growls all the way from South to North, then turns behind me, circling around, and back to the South, like a RING of lightning must have just discharged up there in the clouds. I think of humpback whales, of nets they make from bubbles, rising in a silvery ring to trap the fish. Am I a fish trapped in a gray ring of rain, the water falling down instead of the air falling up? That thunder will split the clouds. Why do I think that? Anyway, I do. I am safe from lightning though. Or maybe not. Does it matter? I look down, my legs are shiny-wet, pumping over the midnight river of smooth road. Featureless, it glides blackly by so fast as to appear not to move at all, mocking my hammer pulse. I love this road. Every step I travel how far - a dozen yards? More? It's like running on the moon. Now, saffron highlights run up and down my calves with every stroke; a car's coming and it's headlights throw a yellow cast.

They saw me and so I'm safe, again. Turning now to the last climb up Niwot road, I decide to stay on the big ring and stand the whole way. I have no heart left, but my legs are good. I realize I'm smiling. If I keep doing these simple things, I should be ok.

postscript: Thankfully, my daughter had an off day and I got to coast the BB on a 10' pace with her.