Into the night

11 11 2010

It’s winter.

Oh sure, according to the calendar winter is officially still more than a month away. And the weather forecaster has yet utter the dreaded “s” word.

But for all intents and purposes winter started last weekend when we changed our clocks back to standard time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep-an-hour weekend as much as the next person (in fact, it’s probably the best non-holiday holiday of the year), but turning time back by an hour means it’s always dark. We wake up in the dark. We drive home from work in the dark.

We ride in the dark.

My riding buddy Dan, getting ready to tackle the night.

There’s no more sliver of dusk to alight the mounting of our bikes on the roof rack. There’s no more fading gloom that allows you to see 100 meters up the trail at least at the start of an evening ride.

We suit up under the phosphorous glow of a street lamp. We ride by the little cone of white or yellow light created by the battery-powered head lamp mounted on our handlebars.

We ride fast to stay ahead of the cold. We ride conservatively because roots and logs and muddy bogs have a way of leaping up out of the shadows created by the cones lighting our way through the forest.

But, most importantly, we ride.

It’s not easy though. When it’s always dark, and usually cold and wet, there’s any number of excuses to keep you from the bike: It’s dark; it’s cold; it’s wet; it’s muddy and not worth the post-ride cleanup; there’s too much to watch on tv; there’s nothing to watch on tv but at least watching tv is preferable to getting cold and wet and muddy.

Overcoming those excuses is probably the biggest challenge of our evening trail rides through the winter. We’re not always successful, but when we do, inevitably it’s worth it.

Our rides are short, about an hour covering just a tick over 15 kilometers. The route is almost always the same because nobody want’s to be taken by surprise in the darkness. But the burn in the lungs from the night air is invigorating, the burn in the legs from the climb up from the beach is enlivening. The twinkle of the stars bright enough to fill the city sky is awe-inspiring. And the water in our bottles is always cold.




One response

11 11 2010

Kudos! -I sure wish I had your motivation –

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