Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Just suck it up and ride

The last cruise ship of the season came to town today, and just like that, the whole of downtown's tourist district is shuttering up and moving out. And I wondered, am I ready for the ghost town? And I ready for winter in Juneau?

Gone too are the salmon, the swarms of splashing fish that piled up beneath the dock outside my office window. At least the fishermen still come, snagging the last spawned-out chums (and bless their tenacity). But they, too, will soon be gone.

And gone are my excuses for not riding my bike in the rain, though I've lined them up like soldiers to knock down every morning I wake up to a drench of gray. Yesterday, a record 2.7 inches fell in a typhoon of horizontal drops. It doesn't sound that impressive until I compare it to Salt Lake City's numbers - where 2.7 inches just happens to be the precipitation average for the months of July, August and September combined.

I wore those numbers like a badge as I suited up this morning to go riding, only to change my mind at the last minute and get in my car to drive to the gym. I let the drizzle hitting my windshield justify my decision, until I crossed the bridge and looked groggily out toward the season's last cruise ship. Behind it, where V-shaped mountains plunge into the channel, streams of sunlight tore through breaks in the clouds, peppering the gray water with splotches of turquoise. It was surreal and beautiful and fleeting in every way, especially when I pulled into the gym parking lot and slipped into the mundane world of fluorescent lights and daytime TV.

"You have chosen poorly."

I'm not saying it's not going to happen again ... and again and again. I enjoy going to the gym and I'm a sucker for instant access to a warm shower. But I will try to remember that the worst day on a bicycle is still better than ... well ... just about anything else.