This past weekend, Arizona and I attended a group mountain bike ride near our Little House in the Trees. Organized by the New England Mountain Biking Association, this is an annual event that we attend every year.
Last year, I was benched (literally, as I sat my expanding ass on a picnic bench) and felt totally out of the loop of lean, Camelbak-wearing bikers who milled around, talking about their favorite gear, trails, and post-ride beer stops. This year, with my mom watching Wallaby, I was able to don my gear, put in my registration (at a table manned by a guy in a neck brace from last week's ride) and join the fray.
(To those of you who know me well enough to ask, no, I didn't perform any spectacular aerial dismounts, thankyouverymuch.)
There were roughly three levels of gear on the attending bikers: those who weren't sporting knee, shin and/or elbow pads because they were beginner-ish enough not to have them; those who had what I consider to be an appropriate level of padding for a bouncy-fun ride; and those who weren't wearing their pads because they were hard-cores freaks intending to ride below their level, whether because they had their kids with them, because it was forecasted to be in the nineties, or just 'cause.
Me? I wore All The Pads, and even did the old hike-a-bike around a couple of obstacles I just wasn't feeling that day. Because after spending the past couple of weeks hovering over Wallaby (who has decided that crawling is so last week and it's time to get vertical), I'm more aware than usual of the whole thud-OW thing. So much so, that I'll confess that I (sigh) bought my kid a house helmet.
In my defense, he's huge for his age, cruising early, and hits hard. And as Arizona said (bless him), "Let's get him started early thinking that when you're wearing the right protective gear, you can push the boundaries."
And you know what? He's right. And it applies to writing, too. With decreasing advances, increasing pressure to do more of the editing and marketing myself, and a kiddo making the sticking-to-deadlines concept a questionable one at best, I am, for the first time in fifteen years, not under contract to a publisher for my next book. Instead, I'm working on two stories for self-publishing, one as Jesse Hayworth and another as Jessica Andersen.
I've got my crash helmet firmly fastened, my loins girded (whatever that means) and am ready to take the plunge for real. Wish me luck, ReaderFriends. And for you this week, I wish you soft landings and more time spent going "whee!" downhill than working your butt off to pedal up.