A night on the ride

Last night I went downtown for the STORM ride. It’s a mix of recreational and one or two competitive riders who get together for a 20-mile ride along the Mission trail. My crazy Ukrainian co-worker roped me into it and I’ve gone the past two weeks.

The normal ride leader didn’t show up last night, so we just sort of spontaneously rolled out of the Blue Star parking lot around 7:00. I was the first one out, and I guess my blood sugar was high because I felt inclined to pedal a little faster than most of the others. Pretty soon I was off by myself, heading south of town to where the trail leaves the roadways and has its own paved walk/bikeway along the banks of the San Antonio river.

Driving down to the ride, I’d been listening to the Ode To Joy section of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. It was still thrumming through my head as I was riding, and with nobody else around to talk to, it was all I was hearing. The sun was beginning to descend towards the horizon behind me, casting a rosy glow over the trees and the bridges arching over the river.

All sorts of waterfowl hang out around the river, and I looked up to see a crane (or heron, not sure which) and a couple of ducks flying along ahead of me. A kite (the bird, not the toy) jumped off of a fence wire and flew ahead of me at the same speed I was riding. It lead me on for a hundred feet or so. It reminded me of a time years ago, in high school, when the same kind of bird paced me on a lonely road between Helotes and Castroville. I felt the exact same sensation then as last night: that I was temporarily part of the flock. Which made one of the verses from Schiller’s poem so very apropos:

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.

All the world’s creatures
Draw joy from the breast of nature;
All the good and all the evil
follow her rose-path.

Those are the moments that keep me coming back to the ride. They tend to overshadow the moments where you’re grimping up a steep hillside, breathing like an obscene phone caller and thinking “why am I out here and not watching t.v. again?”

And then, coming back at the end, I was alongside Tim, one of the faster guys. We kept pushing the pace a little past what the other was riding until we were flying along at about 25 mph on dark streets. It was a real adrenaline rush, and we were both panting at the end. It’s been a long time since I could cruise along at those speeds. It feels good to be getting back to that level.

No Responses to “A night on the ride”

  1. LIsa Says:

    Hi, lil bro. I was just catching up on my blog reading. Your nephew keeps me very busy these days.
    Funny, Everytime I did my first skiing run this winter it would be to that section of Beethoven. Close your eyes and imagine the crisp, cold air, the smell of pine and snow, the view from the top of the mountain for miles, the thrill from looking down the steeps and then you go faster and faster. Plus the bonus of being alone because it is early and about 5 degrees out.

  2. David Says:


    You have no idea how taxing it is to be a minion of darkness. It’s all “set up my blog” and “defragment my hard drive” and “I want you to record an OGG file of me shattering this slave’s ulna.” Sure, they seem like simple requests, but there’s a lot of technical intricacy behind each one. You have any idea how hard it is to set up a mobile recording system that will pick up screams clearly and keep the noise of roaring fire to a minimum.


    No pics of any of this so far. I don’t usually carry my camera with me on the bike. That could lead to some bad accidents. :-)

  3. Suzy Says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but….David, where are the pictures? Sweater..flora…fauna…you always have interesting stuff. Get with it!

  4. Suzy Says:

    (Ah, yes, but can you read it in the original?! ;))

    Isn’t Schiller great?! Do you read his buddy too? You know– Goethe?

  5. duff. Says:

    hi – randomly i tried to leave a comment on the god of hellfire’s post but i got some crazy error messages. aren’t you his minion? go fix that would ya? :)

    p.s. sounds like a great bikeride!!