The Clarion Call of September

Written by Patrick Stelte - September 2017

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Every year for the past several years, I have set a goal to cycle a certain number of miles. The goal does not come from a New Year’s resolution or spring to mind with the slightest hint of warming weather. The first time I rode 7,000 miles, I made an immediate goal to do it again the next year. Achieved, I set the same goal with the thought that three years in a row was worthy of a tombstone epitaph. Almost six years down the road, routine is tumbling to inevitability. Smaller goals have come up over the years that included racing, event touring, adventure riding and the club’s September Strava Challenge. With the crisp morning air and the smell of decaying vegetation filling the senses, goals travel to the forefront of thought. September is the changeling of the cycling season, the passage from warm to cool, daylight to twilight, a sinewy bridge to quiet reflection.

September is also a busy month for club activities. As mentioned, the Strava Challenge has become a very popular event. The external validation of receiving a medal or plaque for miles traveled has pushed many a member to ride when normality would dictate a day off. The testament of an early morning, late evening, rainy, cold or extra time off from work ride is a proven elixir for the end of year party pay-off. The month begins with our annual Labor Day Century Tour. This year, our touring director, Steve Pequignot, has a triplet planned for the three day weekend. I don’t know if the club has put forth such a challenging weekend, but I am curious who will attempt such a feat.

Contest rides may dominate the calendar, but every year the club has marked the year’s passage with the Club Membership Appreciation Ride or Jersey Ride. I started this event my first year as president to say thank you to our membership for keeping the club spirit strong and show off the comradery of like-minded people. The 7th annual ride starts at the Roanoke Park pavilion on Saturday, September 16th with sign-in beginning at 9am and the mass start at 10am. The free event to club members will roll through the scenic Huntington County countryside and end back at the park with a cookout prepared by me consisting of brats, hot dogs, salad, apple cider, chips, cookies, grapes, cheese, chocolate treats and anything else that Mona would approve of. Per usual, club members will receive notices via e-mail to RSVP. A head count is important to buy the right amount of food. Seasoned Jersey riders may notice the bump up from past October dates. I could wax rhapsodic about celestial alignments and foretold epiphanies as to why I decided to move the date to the middle of this month, but the simple fact is: the weather skews for the better in September. The weather from past rides included snow, sleet and bone-chilling wind. The first ride was fallacious, sunny and 80 degrees. It took me four more years to get smart, a run that explains why I rarely leave a casino with money in my pocket. My fingers are crossed this year (as every year) that fair weather will prevail and my brats won’t catch fire (another story altogether).

September calls to thoughts of, “what is left to achieve, what box is not checked, what itch needs a last scratch.” The sun wanes closer to the horizon. The window of outdoor cycling is sliding lower. Sooner or later, only the ardent will hit the pavement on two wheels. September awaits for you.