Fall is the sneakiest of all seasons….coming in slow and unassuming. First the temperature starts to slowly regress. This lures any biker outside because we hate to ride in 98% humidity with the sun beaming on our backs and forearms. As the temperature falls, then here come the beautiful leaves. Leaves of all colors, shapes and sizes cover the roads, the potholes, the cracks and trick us into climbing oversized hills to see amazing views of the Crayola colors unfolding before our eyes. All the while, the mercury is at a reasonable level where you still sweat but you do not feel the need to vomit when you finish a ride. Basically motorists need to give double the room to any biker they pass because in the Fall, we are entranced with the light breeze and perfect colors falling around us. This sly season causes a great distraction from the road and trails we are SUPPOSED to be watching. It only takes a few falling red leaves to distract us from a creek crossing and then….BAM….we are in the creek and because it is Fall…THAT CREEK IS COLD!
Fall also is a thief of daylight. I like to walk out of my office around 5 O’Clock like most red blooded humans. In the spring and summer months, I can go home, load up the bike, take my time changing clothes and choosing my favorite hydration drinks. Then Fall arrives and the end of my day looks like someone pressed the big RED panic button on my desk (I really do not have a panic button but it would be fun if I did). First, I have to take my bike to work along with a bag of clothes, accessories and food. At approximately 4:45, I race to the bathroom, change clothes, then race back to my office (while getting laughs from coworkers looking at my spandex!), load up everything so precisely at 5:00….I am out the door and hopefully with little traffic, I can be riding by 5:15. Then I realize at first around 7:45 that it is too dark to ride…then 7:30….then 7:15…and soon the sun will set at 4:45!!!! Okay, not that early but for a couple of weeks…the sun will set shortly after 5:00…meaning my only option is to drive home, hop on the trainer and look out my front window into the dark, abysmal, night. (ugh).
All of this absence of warmth and light means that each weekend is more important than the last. I crave a warm, sunny Saturday and as soon as I can thaw out my legs, I am out on a ride. You are probably asking, “What does Fall steal on the weekends?”…..MY PRECIOUS TIME! Fall likes to tease in the later weekends….with rain, drizzle, light snow, sudden temperature changes, windy days. It has an arsenal of teasing plights to force me to leave my bike hanging on the wall! My favorite ride preventer….THE HOLIDAYS. You cannot leave a turkey unattended or a house of family members alone for too long. You cannot serve your family some grilled hot dogs for Thanksgiving….NO, they want a full spread, and you have to spend the time and give the effort to crafting the perfect golden brown turkey…the creamiest mashed potatoes and of course at least two desserts to choose from because NO ONE can agree on one. Riding is NOT an option during THESE weekends….NO WAY!
If one of the above things make you see how sneaky fall is....then I need to explain to you that Fall is not only a thief of time and daylight but Fall is also a chemical warfare abuser. What am I possibly talking about? ALLERGIES. That's right....if the lapse in daylight and obsession to cook a perfect dead fowl do not stop you from riding...then the over abundance of pollen is sure to apply the brakes. My own doctor showed my chart to me noting that in the past 5 years I had been in every October between the 10th and 20th with a severe sinus infection. It's no wonder I have green mucus. Riding the trails with dusty, moldy leaves is bound to make anyone sick. You are not supposed to inhale that stuff. What starts out as a sinus infection, soon opens the petri dishes for all the other seasonal ailments like flu, upper respiratory infections, and any other illness that can stop a cyclist from leaving the couch. Fall knows where to get you...everytime!
I salute you Fall…you are a crafty thief worthy of legendary tales. Every super hero has an arch nemesis and while I do not have a cape…I can assure that if I could leap buildings in a single bound….YOU WOULD BE MY KRYPTONITE!