Kira and I have a saying (actually Kira coined the phrase, but I've happily claimed it for myself)...when we have one of those really good days, it's a 5 Star Day(5SD). A 5SD can come in all shapes and sizes...we spent a sunday this past winter on the couch in front of the fire for the entire afternoon...a 5SD. Getting a 100 miler in...a 5SD. Yesterday, for me, felt like 3 days in one, and if I add 'em all up, I think they qualify as a 5 Star Day.
The day started early enough, up at 5, walking Luna, drinking coffee, eating a few eggo waffles, getting ready to get on the bike...the plan was to ride up to my folks house in Long Valley and spend the day helping them...how should I put it...get ready to get rid of a bunch of crap (more on that later). The ride itself was nothing special, 55 miles, the midway stop at Coco Luxe, climbing up out of Pottersville (I still think that's one of the best climbs around here). cruising thru Hacklebarney...but it was still a great ride. The weather was perfect, a beautiful late spring morning, lots of people out on the bike, feeling good about not having to wear knickers...and it was fun to be on some of the roads I first started riding on nearly 10 years ago. Lots of time has passed since I first finished a ride by rolling up River Rd. towards the Worth's...lots of time turning over the pedals of my life...but the way it feels to get out of the saddle and work towards the last sign at the top, thinking of how hard it is to hold on to Chris E's wheel...it's why I ride, why being on the bike is such a gift.
Rolling into my folks' house is always fun...my dad always makes some reference to the absurd amount of miles I just rode (where'd you ride to today, Mike, Ohio?)...and Mom is still ready to feed me the second I walk in the door (and there's still as much food in the house as there was when my brother and I grew up). My Mom and Dad are getting a dumpster delivered this week and filling it with all the things they've been accumulating for the past few decades...helping them get everything together felt like an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. You can imagine how much dust was on an old pair of luggage that still had the tags from our last flight from Iran in the late 70's...or how burly it was to get rid of that old rug that's been in the basement since they rolled it out over 20 years ago. Moving old mattresses, TV's, bathroom vanities...taking a sledgehammer to the old doghouse...going thru the few things I have left up there...old photos, trophies from 8th grade baseball and my days with the Long Valley Raiders...finally letting go of some things we all held on to for far too long. I spent some time underneath Denali's old tree, listened to a thunderstorm roll in, ate some more food, waited for Kira and Abbie to roll up the driveway...and enjoyed an afternoon at home.
Kira and Abbie showed up as the thunderstorm was ending, spent some time with Nanny and Poppy, and we moved on to the final chapter of my Saturday trilogy...the annual Memorial Day BBQ with the Worth's...where I always end up eating 3 plates of dinner and 2 plates of dessert and Susan insists I eat more and take some home, where Michael always has some project in mid-completion...and where the girls remind me of how much we've all grown up since this whole friendship began at the Chesapeake all those years ago. I remember the first time Chris showed up at the bar, looking for me because Michael told him I ride...Or all the mornings when I showed up at Chris and Amy's before a ride and ended up drinking coffee and eating whatever Amy made for breakfast...all the times with the kids, when they were just kids and I could toss 'em around. I think of how much I admired Michael and Susan and Chris and Amy when we first met, and how I admire them even more now that Kira and Abbie are here with me and I'm only now starting to get an idea of all that goes into being a good husband and father and what it all means. They are great friends and I always cherish my time with them.
It really was like 3 days in one...and if I add 'em all up, I think it was a 5 Star Day.