It isn't always easy to motivate to ride the desert this time of year. If you can be up and at it early, like in the dark, then getting a good ride in before boiling your brain is definitely doable.
For various reasons involving my self-employed status, and the fact that the work is simply never done, I tend to work deep into most nights, just keeping my head above the proverbial water line, which makes getting up early both challenging and unappetizing.
Thus if I'm going to ride mid-week, then in the evening is when it has to happen.
Greg has a similar schedule for similar reasons, and we occasionally motivate each other to get out and enjoy the local goods when no one else seems to be.
While savoring empty trails with Greg a few days ago, I flashed back to several moments this past spring, when back-to-back-to-back groups of 10, 12, 15 people would motor past, heads down, staring at the wheel in front of them, each conga line further burning in a new "cheater line" that avoided any obstacle taller than a gnat, and left a glittering trail of energy bar wrappers in their wake.
I know better than to ride locally during our busy season, because the above described scenario is not just common but expected. And each time it happens I leave frustrated -- the joy of the ride stolen by alleged like-minded people.
But how effed up is it that we should have to avoid riding our backyard trails because our fellow riders lack an understanding of basic etiquette? How distasteful is it that our local commerce machine could care less, encouraging nay cramming as many riders onto already overcrowded trails as though the end goal could only be summed up with one word: More?
Heady thoughts that no one seems to be discussing much less addressing. Fodder for rumination during the brain-boiling climbs we get to do in silence this time of year.
And that was just it the other night: It was so quiet out there, so devoid of humanity, with cheater lines disused or outright obliterated by the monsoons, and Gu wrappers notably absent, that we were able to enjoy the chunky trails, the honey light, the oven-like breezes for exactly what they were, no more and no less.
A decade or two ago this sort of ride was common. Crowds were not yet a thing, nor were cheater lines or litter. People that were motivated enough to ride seemed to share some common value set that included appreciation of silence, mutual respect, desire for challenging trails, uncluttered views, even (gasp!) humility. Mostly gone now, or at least so obscured by what has followed as to be indecipherable through the haze.
Clearly the evils described represent a first world problem, and not one that needs attention from humanitarian organizations nor big government. In reality it is mostly sensibilities that are being trod upon. Lacking a clear path forward, when only a scant handful of us even seem to notice the change that has steamrolled what once was, Greg and I and other likeminded souls will continue to be grateful for the heat of summer in the desert, repelling the crowds and giving back moments like these as compensation.
Thanks for checkin' in.
Thanks for checkin' in.