Today I want to talk about smells on the trail. The last ten days or so, the lovely sweetness of honeysuckle has been a constant, especially right after the rain. I know it’s an invasive plant, but it smells so wonderful.

Then there’s the smell of hot sun on the bridges west of Herndon. I think it smells like crayons and it immediately takes me back to a very happy time in my life! We lived in Kansas when I was in grade school and one of the annual field trips was to the Crayola factory where we got to see where and how they made crayons. That wonderful waxy smell always connects my brain to the happiness of third grade.

Incidentally, when I was substitute teaching while awaiting bar exam results, I liked third grade best. They were old enough that I wasn’t wiping noses and tying shoes all day, but they weren’t so old they were jaded about school yet.

Another aroma/odor I’ve noticed the last couple of days as the sun has burst out is a hot latex smell. It’s some plant, because I notice it on the trail where there are no factories or cars. It’s not boxwood (which I recognize and detest).

The best smells are when you roll into Herndon and the bakery is going full steam ahead. I feel like I get carb rush just inhaling as I go by. Yummmm…

On the down side, there’s also a lot of construction in Herndon so you get that hot tar smell and sometimes the smell of dust and dirt.

And sadly, sometimes when you are near other bike riders, you get the smell of someone who is re-wearing a jersey that didn’t get really clean. That’s a totally different odor than someone who has just been working hard and has honest sweat and it’s pretty gross.

Today was 17 miles with a short stop at Green Lizard so they could diagnose a noise I was hearing. I’m one of those people — if I hear a new or unusual noise, I want to track it down. That’s especially good when I’m getting ready to do a cross country ride! It turns out I needed a bearing on my bottom bracket! Dave diagnosed it, Brad took care of it, and all is sweet.

After I paid the bill and rode home it occurred to me that every single mechanic at Green Lizard has had their hands on my bike getting me ready to go! And Beth and Shelby have been my cheering section. The reason this shop does well is because they treat other people the way they want to be treated. I’m so grateful they’re in my neck of the woods!

And here’s the view in my neck of the woods when I was almost home today. I sometimes take it for granted how beautiful the area around my home in south Reston is. I think after I’ve been away for two months, I’ll feel differently!



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