Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Out in the world.

An evening drive west filled with conversation, bad jokes, donuts, pretzels, laughs, and curly fries, ending at a desert campsite ripe with anticipation.

An alarm that went off way too early, but well after we were awake and expecting it.

A brisk start, bits of sand, lots of high speed dirt, tremendous views.

First direct light is delicious, warm, welcome.

Prepared, largely.

No schedule, no expectations.  Well, perhaps a desire to finish before needing lights again.  But we have lights, so no biggie. 

Bridge Man's rack and pack setup were untested and required several stops worth of fiddling to get sorted.  Reverend's which-one-is-that? shitbarge jettisoned a bottle but was otherwise fine, if harsh.

I'm not much for riding roads regardless of surface.  I've done this loop a dozen+ times through the years, but not in almost a decade.  Just sort of BTDT with it.  But the forecast looked exceptional and I'd always wondered what it would be like on my ancient Slingshot.

I stole bags from other bikes then loaded them with 6L of fluids, two grilled cheeses, a baggie of noodles with olive oil and sea salt, a few ginger snaps, an extra layer, and the tools I thought I shouldn't live without.

Some of it was fitness, some was motivation that kept the others out ahead most of the day.  I might have been able to stay closer had it seemed important, but the correct milieu seemed to be persistent dawdling.  I'm pretty good at that.

The ride unfolded about as expected.  Chilly in the AM, gorgeous ever after.  Never enough breeze to mention.  40+ people shared the route, all as considerate and respectful to us as we were to them.  Fewer deep sand pits than expected, but still enough.  Lots of opportunities to stop and gawk and wonder.

A midday pause atop a hogback, calories consumed, sunshine absorbed, silence noted and appreciated.  Then back at it, daylight burning.

7 hours in my body reminded me that our last triple digit ride happened in a different calendar year, and a need to stretch things out was in order.  It felt delightful to get horizontal, to again absorb sunshine, to simply be still.

Long shadows and honey light reminded us that hay needed to be made, thus we resumed our focused clockwise plod.

The penultimate climb went with a grunt, despite gearing cobbled from another era and my unwillingness to suffer.

An hour or so from the end I removed a cold sarsaparilla from the depths of my frame pack, sharing not just flavor and calories but mojo to get up the last big push.

A sand snake caught me leaning and required a few steps worth of penance, but the rest of the final grade went without drama and we rolled above the ledge as the sun touched the rim at our backs.

No headlines were made, no drama was had.  Just a good day out in the world, seen from the saddle of a bike.

Thanks for checkin' in.

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