Sunday, January 22, 2006
I'm riding with my new winter gloves because it is, in fact, winter. And here in the desert it gets cold. And windy. Besides being very warm, the gloves are also fuzzy inside and slightly bulky. My connection to the bike isn't what it should be. Steering has a little mush. Reaching for the brake levers is just a little bit harder. The dulling feeling they give me mimmicks all too closely the feeling I, myself, am already exuding. Too many drinks last night. And the night before. Good times beckon, especially here in sinful city. Great friends all around, and the beer flows like wine. And the hope of making new friends. More liquor. Last Call? What's that? Strip Club? Right next door to the bar. Live music? Six blocks from home.
My nose aches from the elbow I took in the scraggly mosh pit last night. My neck is stiff and doesn't want to look down the trail far enough. Do I still taste the lime from that last Corona? No, not possible. But the muddled feeling remains nonetheless. Loose rocks slide underneath the tires. Swithbacks come up too fast. But it's not the bike that's moving quickly, it's the brain that's moving slowly. Up now. My lungs sting from the chilly air, in that bad but good way. I know the fresh winter air is trying to bite through and push out the smokey bar exhaust and fuel the muscles that are riggored from too many days not riding. Climb. Climb. It's the only way to purge it all out. Then more rocks. Hard and cold and solid. One dab. Two dabs. After five I stop counting. I just want to keep the momentum going and these damn rocks keep taunting me. Any other day and they would have no power over me. Now they relish in their chance to even the score. I fight on. Now loose ones, again. The rear tire spins and I teeter toward the downhill side of the trail. Toward my bad knee. My eyes suddenly become eagle-sharp as I focus on the rocks, the weeds, the dirt, and find one spot where I can plant my toe spikes and avoid injury. There it is, that's it. But as I continue to hurtle downward I still wonder if it's enough. I fold into the hillside with my body as much as I can and take the bike down with me. And it's over. I'm fine. Get up. Back on the bike. Keep climbing. Keep purging. Once at the top again I have what I wanted. What I needed.
The sun is gone and only the fading twilight left. No time to lose. Seat in the downright position. Move. Calf muscles twinge and fingers ache. Don't slow down, though. The branches are getting harder to see. The deviations in the trail are blending together. One small climb and then the final stretch of down. Floating over and around. And it's over.
Muscles relax and the brain lilts on its natural high. Breathe.
Get out and ride.