Thanksgiving Eve

I’m not really sure if it’s a tradition. On one Thanksgiving Eve a couple of years ago, the parking lot beering was epic in that a cold front blew through and enveloped us in a snow squall. Prepared for the change in temperature, we huddled through the blow in our camp chairs and Carhartts. Ten minutes later the skies were severe clear and the moon was brilliant. That was so memorable that it’s in my head we always ride on Thanksgiving Eve.

Last year, I was out due to my ACL replacement. Maybe the guys rode and maybe they didn’t. Maybe that was the night they invited me to meet them for beers after they rode. But this year, I very much wanted to continue the tradition, and at the Pond, the site of my memory.

Ride we did. I cleaned the first hill on Pink String and got most of the second one. I rode as well, or nearly so, as I’d been riding at my peak two years ago. It bothered me some that I’d lost all that time in the woods, that one lapse in judgement had set me back so far physically and mentally.

But there’s satisfaction in not quitting. Riding the brutal trails at the Pond is by definition not quitting. And it feels now like I’m at the bottom of the second rise of a Dunning-Kruger graph, the moment past despair when long-term growth begins.

Those parking lot beers sure were good last night.

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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