The air is calm, no breeze, just the sun overhead moving towards the horizon.

Today is recovery ride day under 171 watts, humph. Normally this would ruin the ride for me as I don’t like the slow pace, but today it’s different.

I’m out on Mr. Nasty, it’s what I’ve decided to call my TF2. Mr. Nasty – as you say it, you can feel your lip just curl up in the corner. Sounding mean, maybe even a little evil, as it sneers at the corners with hard and fast accelerations. You can almost feel that chill run down your spine before the cool metal of two tied down low colts clear the holster, the TF2 just sounds like a crit bike.

No Trigger, Tornado, and no Mr. Ed – just me and Mr. Nasty rolling out for a little recovery ride on a route I can almost ride with my eyes closed. A short fifty-minute easy cruise heading east on a nice paved road with no traffic, just rolling easy. The halfway point comes and turns up not much, just enough to make you get out of the saddle and slowly climb the hill, no exertion, just one leg after the other.

Recovery Ride Reminder: so nice and easy you practically think your HRM is broken. Not today, not now the colts will stay holstered waiting…

I will confess that militant about power data. I stare at that power meter number when I’m training like it’s the speedometer and I’m passing the fuzz. Not today, today I’m just rolling around with nothing but my thoughts. I’m almost home now, standing easy on the pedals, thinking about how this is the last ride…

Let that sink in just a little bit, it’s not what you think, I’ll be on the bike tomorrow but it will be different. Today is the last ride of a journey that started out in December – maybe journey is not the word. More like an inner battle of training and discipline.

I have had the same plan for almost three years now, and every year I’ve been dry-gulched by mother nature. Like a miner digging for gold, I set my sights on that nugget again way back in December, and it is here standing at the bar, drinking shitty whiskey and needing a bath. This thought rolls through the head smooth and easy like a set of Zipp tubulars…

The hint of what sounds like a car approaching causes me to turn my head around and as I turn around to look, an easy smile rolls across my face – I’m at the top of the hill. The path has been a steady uphill climb, not just the road, mind you, but the training, the diet, the mental discipline to never skip that workout. Nervousness or fear isn’t present, just a calm feeling of realizing you have arrived.

I can hear my father, as we would sit on the couch and watch his favorite movie – or shall I say as he recites his favorite movie: “Well, you going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?”

Robert Jensen | The Bounty Hunter | Saturday, June 27th, 2015