The Horse That Threw You.

I watched it carefully, making no sudden movements so as to avoid spooking it. This wasn't out of fear, but rather caution. Caution borne out of our last interaction, which didn't end up so well for me. I wanted things to go better this time around. I wanted us to be friends. This part of the ritual was delicate, where trust and faith and all of those sorts of things combine to make magical things happen. When the belief is gone, the magic goes with it. I wanted to believe again. I needed to believe again.
 

Since our falling out was my fault, I tried to make amends. I replaced the front derailleur and wrapped the bars with new tape, as I had shredded the old tape on the pavement. I wiped down the tubes as best as I could, and tried to double-check all of the alignments and adjustments. If I saw something that wasn't quite right in my eyes, I fixed it. Things I would have let slide before were corrected on the spot, lest they ruin the moment. I noted a small dent in the downtube, which wasn't a result of the wreck but a gift from my friends at the TSA. I re-checked everything I could think of, trying to make sure I didn't miss any more presents from that fine, bike-loving organization.
 

After work I pulled the Storck off of the roof rack, careful not to aggravate my collar bone. I did anyway. Soon enough the bike was on the ground, the front tire in the fork, the skewers tightened. I took a deep breath and threw my leg over the saddle, taking some time to fiddle with my Garmin as I contemplated what was in front of me.
 

The doctor gave me the OK to ride outside again, as long as I promised not to fall down before the clavicle healed. I made no such promise, because that would have been tempting fate. I think he understood. You don't focus on what you're not trying to hit, so I'm not focusing on the ground. As long as I stay up here and it stays down there, we're good.
 
The roads were wet from the day's sporadic showers, but it wasn't actively raining. I had slapped on fenders to keep the bike more or less clean, and shoe covers to do the same for my shoes. I was going to get wet, but I was trying to manage the amount of post-ride cleaning I was going to have to do.
 
I clipped in my right foot, back-pedaled to the top of the stroke, pushed off, and fumbled a little to get the other foot clipped in. Funny how rusty you get in a short time. A few pedal strokes in, and there it was.
 
Magic.

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