Colette was born in Beaulieu, France, and her origins help explain some of the quirkier aspects of her character. i'd guess her age to be a couple of years north of 40, but best not to inquire too deeply. Over the years she's undergone a couple of surgeries and more makeovers than any Hollywood actress "of a certain age" to the point where it's sometimes difficult to determine where Colette ends and the makeover begins, but she still has an elegant charm about her.
There have been times over the years we've drifted apart- times when i was drawn to the younger and more beautiful- but we always manage to drift back together eventually. Colette can be very forgiving, but she occasionally reminds me that she can also be humbling.
Yesterday Colette and i set out on a long day's ramble, north and west into some of the more rural areas of McHenry County.
|The Rawson road bridge over the mighty Fox River- gateway to McHenry County.|
|...and Sandhill cranes who were posing so nicely near the bridge.|
|An encouraging sign, but Rawson Bridge Road is pretty narrow and busy.|
Onward to Woodstock:
Coming into the town centre, one finds:
|The First |
And across the street:
|A re-purposed church...|
|i wonder how many Buddhists live in McHenry County?|
|Someday i'll have to go inside... the original stained glass windows are still in place;||i bet the interior is awesome...|
One then comes into the town square:
|Does this look familiar?|
|How about now?|
The town of Woodstock also appeared in the film The Road to Perdition. Take a bow, Woodstock!
|A memorial to the Civil War vets of McHenry County.|
To and through Hebron, IL:
|And don't you ever forget it!|
|This just goes on and on and on...|
|(i know... but it's worth repeating!)|
i purchased her as a cannibalised shell of her original self- a frame with headset and seatpost and a nice set of SunTour brakes for about $100 from a wannabe triathlete who wanted something more "modern" and "aero." Over the years, she's had a new Tange fork installed, and had bottle cage mounts, cable guides, and a pump peg brazed on. The Simplex dropout with its problematic derailleur hanger was modified by the previous owner to handle a Campag style changer. She's been resprayed- twice, had the rear axle spacing taken out to 126mm, and had more running gear changes than i care to remember. And let's not say too much about 35x1 bottom brackets, 26.4 seatposts, and 22.0 steerers!
A bit like me, she also has her scars and age spots- a dent here, a touch of rust there, some pitted chrome over there. As i said, we've aged together as gracefully as we could manage. We are, after all, mortal.
As for humbling- i've had some epic crashes with her, and have the scars to prove it. These include two broken front teeth, thirteen stitches, and a couple of layers of epidermis... while she sustained no damage worse than scraped brake levers and some torn bar tape (a taco'ed front wheel doesn't count.)
Colette has served mainly as a century bike, and in later years, a commuter and occasionally a randonneuse.
Yesterday i took her out for the longest ride we'd done together in a while- 180km that took us into some of the nearer edges of the Great Midwest Corn Desert. i'm pleased to report that the old gal has a lot of life left in her. There may yet be a rando or two to come for her.