|(Not me - a random pic from the Internet)|
More than a few years ago, my physical outlet was road bicycling. Yes, I was one of those guys in the spandex bike shorts early in the morning - on a quiet country road if that was possible, or on a less-quiet suburban road if that's how it had to be. (Before you ask, if there were any photos of me in spandex, they've long-since been hunted down and destroyed.) I enjoyed so many things about it: the flow of the blood in my veins, the scenery passing by, the road rushing under my wheels, and the meditative state I'd settle into on a long ride.
For a number of years in a row, I trained all summer to do a weekend charity ride in September - a long ride to the beach on Saturday, then riding back on Sunday. It was very well-organized, a lot of fun, and raised money for a good cause.
One year, on the Saturday ride to the shore, I was stopped for a snack in a big field that the organization had turned into a lunch/rest stop. I was re-fueling with a banana and Gatorade when a voice called my name, and I was greeted by a girl I knew a little from a volleyball league I sometimes played in. She was pretty - fairly tall and shapely, with green eyes and dirty blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail. I was surprised she was talking to me - at volleyball, she kept close to a guy who I assumed was her boyfriend - and he seemed like an unpleasant controlling guy who didn't like her talking to any other guys.
We chatted pleasantly, and it was nice to just talk to her without her creepy boyfriend getting upset. I asked where he was, and she laughed that he was lagging behind, and finally told her to go on - that they'd meet at the end. I was done my snack and ready to ride again, and she asked if she could ride with me. I was very pleased to have such delightful companionship, and off we went. We rode together for many miles on country roads through farm fields, surrounded by other cyclists. We chatted happily all the way to the shore.
One thing about a cyclist's spandex garb is that it doesn't leave too much to the imagination. We rode side by side, legs pumping, and I couldn't help but notice the muscles in her thighs and butt working fluidly. It was a hot sunny September day, and she had undone the zipper of her shirt for ventilation, allowing me a tantalizing view of cleavage as she leaned forward on the bike. But I was simply admiring her physique, which was impossible not to do. I thought of it as pleasant conversation with a new-found (and attractive) friend.
We got to the shore, crossed the "finish line", and retrieved our bags (that had been transported there.) We discovered that we were staying in the same old hotel - basically a big old-fashioned roominghouse from the 1920's. That wasn't as big a coincidence as it might sound - the place had a ton of rooms, they were cheap, and they advertised to the cycling community - so it seemed like just about everyone on the ride was staying there.
We checked in, one after the other, and as we got ready to go to our respective rooms, I got my first hint that maybe something more might happen.