The Leg Lump is a hematoma, I didn't get back on the mountain bike this week, and I'm still a little freaked out by complacency. (Me to N.: Come with me tonight to watch the meteor shower. N: No, it'll be late; we won't get to sleep until one. Me: Fine, you stay home and get your beauty sleep, but I'm going, I'm not sitting around getting old treating my life like it's a doctor's waiting room, it's SHOOTING STARS, IT'S WORTH A LITTLE LOST SLEEP! N: Where are we going to watch?)

A hematoma is nothing to worry about unless you tend to hit your head against things. (Ahem.) Every bruise is a hematoma, blood spilled from your blunt-force-busted capillaries and spread out under the skin.

Leg Lump is a clot of escaped, dried blood, still chockablock like Bran Flakes with iron and essential minerals. Eventually the bloodstream will reclaim the cells. And someday after I stop falling so much on the bike, I will forget Leg Lump was ever there. Because that is the way things go, freakout then forgetting.

I ran trails a couple of times in the mornings, avoiding the 100 degree afternoons and frankly, avoiding bike falls. (Running trails is not the best way to avoid falls. If I hit my head, I was probably running when it happened, unless you count smacking headlong into the sliding glass door at the library, like a bird into a windowpane. I think I have to count that.)

Anyway, I'm enjoying not having visible bruises for the first time since March. Nobody stopping me in the gym locker room to gently inquire about my domestic situation. Nobody wincing. And except of course for Leg Lump, no painful spots.

But I haven't been on the bike since the Draper race, and we've got highs in the 80s next week and trails that might be dry by Monday, so it's likely my legs will soon be colorful again.

Why is it worth it? Because even now, even clumsy and halting, for stretches of a few seconds in every ride, everything — bike, trail, power, balance — sort of snaps into place, and those few seconds feel more right in more ways at once than anything else ever has. If I keep riding, maybe someday those seconds will be minutes. Or hours.

MTB bruises, a junkie's needle tracks. But that's not a fair comparison; I'm not in that deep yet. I could stop anytime I want.