Went out on a ride today. Not so much a training ride as just a ride. A ride I really enjoy. We all have those. Places we like to ride just because we enjoy being there. Places we like to go in our daydreams when stuck behind the walls of societal obligations.
Not too many miles today, 50, but plenty of climbing up some of my favorite canyons. The snowy mountains in the distance that I've played in so many times tempting me from afar. Raptors gliding alongside me playing in the air currents as I granny-geared up the steep switchback laden climb of 13 miles and 5000 vertical feet of elevation gain.
I've always enjoyed climbs on the bike. I'm not a particularly fast ascender, I just like going uphill. Something about climbs seems romantic to me. They slowly seduce you into a state of surrender. The long, drawn-out, painful anticipation of the end. Uphills with open, sweeping vistas are especially entrancing.
On the narrow, dusty tracks on the steep sides of canyons and valleys you can only see open space and mountains in your peripheral vision. It gives a sensation of floating through the hills. A sensation that helps to take us to other places. Places that have been burned into our mind's photo album. Welcome places away from the sweat, heavy breathing and tightening muscles brought on by challenging climbs.
It helps me pass the time to flip through the idealized pages of those grey matter derived collection of snapshots. On a day like today this memory based photo stream came in quite handy. While this winter has been pretty mild in Washington there is still plenty of snow hanging around in the hills. Especially the north facing slopes. My 50 mile ride was actually only 42 as 8 of the miles along the top of the ridgeline turned into a festival of post-holing through a breakable frozen crust into thigh deep snow. Divide training at its finest.
I opened my skull based photo album. I watched my favorite re-runs of places skied, biked, fished
Speed, or lack thereof, dissolved into the crisp mountain air and took on no meaning. The cutting sensation of each step into the ice-crusted snow against my shins, knees and thighs disappeared. Frozen feet melted into the world around me.
Re-runs or good new episodes, either will do. Come June I'll be tuning in.