Early season mud is the only kind out here. My foot sank almost ankle deep and I couldn’t get into my cleats, so I pushed along with the arch of my foot, barely able to keep it going, barely able to move forward without slipping and barking a shin on the pedal on its way around.
Like in fifth grade when we were sitting against the wall behind the school, throwing chestnuts at a squirrel until finally one of us—none of us could remember who it was—hit the fucking squirrel and it stopped moving. Just like that. Stopped. Stuck in the mud. Sinking above the ankle. Done.
The sucking sound my shoe makes as it pulls from the thick goop and slaps onto the top of my clipless pedals feels right in this moment, and it’s even right that I can’t get clipped in, because some days you just can’t get clipped in. Like every red light. Like arriving just after last call. The tread of my front tire is caked in mud too, perhaps in empathy…we all look for one more pedal stroke, especially on the slippery climbs. Especially in the mud.by