No, it's not just the title of a great Billy Joel song, one that extols the sadness of never letting yourself be heard (although sometimes mother nature forces that situation upon you), but it's also a simile for the march of time.
The past few weeks here in the northeast have been ultra-prime. Riding has been fantastic to say the least. With the fall leaf season, the soil has dried enough to become tacky and sticky, but not tire cloggingly thick, trails have been worn through piles of fallen leaves which now hide insidious roots, and a chill in the air forces the use of base layers, arm warmers, thermal gloves and long sleeved jerseys. Of course, the top of the first grinding climb is the place where everyone stops, strips and packs away their heavy layers before they start sweating too hard.
Yes indeed, fall is my favorite time to ride in these parts. While there is a hankering to get back to your favorite spots in the spring and see if you can still hit that kicker, ride that skinny or clear that rock garden, there's something absolutely magical about riding in the fall. The crunch of fallen leaves under the knobs of thick rubber, the brisk chill in the air that burns your lungs, stings your face and forces you to hammer just to keep warm, and the wonderful feeling of a season winding down, with no races or cares in the world is a nearly indescribable pleasure that's all too often unrealized until the fall ends.
In the northeast, we've suffered our first "nor'easter" of the season. Yes, that damnable word that brings chills to my very soul, the harbinger of winter, has slashed it's mark upon the fall season. Torrential rains, sticky, heavy, wet snow and gusting winds will quickly damp even the most dedicated fat-tired spirits. True, the snow won't linger and sunny skies follow a day behind, but there is a certain doom and gloom that follows the first storm of the year. Is it time to pull out the trainer? Is it time to send the bikes to their winter homes in the garage? That may well be the case, it may well not. Riding in the snow is great fun, if a little bit taxing on the body, and the easy access to studded tires makes light years of difference.
There is one positive thing about the winter's imminent arrival, though. Time to tear down the trusty steed, clean out the muck, lube everything up and shine it to a mirror finish, all in preparation of its next outing. When will that be? Who knows, but at least it'll be ready. And so...it goes...