In which I find that using a bicycle for riding to places to sit, drink coffee, and eat donuts for the last several months does NOT tend to maintain fitness.
Hypnotizing. Simple. Addicting. Connected. Hard. Humbling. Fun.
All in…One. Fixed. Cog.
The word “epic” refers to a long narrative poem written in elevated style, in which heroes of great historical or legendary importance perform valorous deeds. The setting is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world, or the universe, and the action is important to the history of a nation or people.
In stark contrast, there is what I am usually involved with on Saturday mornings. Un-epic.
A delightfully sunny and crisp 35 degrees at roll-out, warming up to about 55 degrees. There was a steady NW breeze at about 10mph. This ride went basically southeast, point-to-point. So, yeah, no heroes at all…it was tailwind the entire way.
There were no valorous deeds, just cruising down a trail in search of a good brew-up spot.
Not vast in scope. Just about 40 miles total, and about an hour was spent sitting comfortably on a river bank.
There was freshly, brewed coffee, and a couple of donuts. They were quite satisfying, but definitely not important to the history of a nation or people.
Instead of pedaling back home, Mrs. Pondero arrived with a pick-up truck at the trail head, and we drove off to get a couple of giant burgers for lunch. Un-epic.
At least, the main character does get the girl at the end.
Fortunate is the man who takes advantage of the rare favorable-conditions-plus-opportunity combination.
Just starting out…in short sleeves. How about that?
Just arrived at the same campsite used for the Christmas Eve overnighter. It was a fine spot.
Walking along the water’s edge in the afternoon sun makes the low lake level obvious.
It’s the lake headwaters, but there once was a lot more water.
The path from my campsite to the lake.
Exploring the channel flowing into the lake on a warm, sunny day in January looked like great fun.
Typical hobo slobbiness.
There were several flashes of green highlighted against a backdrop of shadows.
Pink in the east showing the last of the light after sundown.
So it was time for a campfire, and some dinner.
I crawled out of a comfortable, cozy, and warm hammock just in time to load up my breakfast and coffee gear, pedal to the eastern side of the peninsula, and see the sun rise over the water.
Golden light thick and sweet like a molasses blanket.
Almost a boil.
Aeropress fits this mug better than my Kleen Kanteen, but doesn’t insulate as well on chilly mornings. So this was a transfer tool today.
One of the great pleasures of waking up outside; coffee, crisp air, and quiet. Okay, three great pleasures.
A short ride around the park before packing up.
Photos pretty much tell the story by themselves, and I’ll let them do that momentarily.
As a preface, it was one of my favorite loops I call the Greenwood Loop. It is about 48 miles long and is generally southwest of my house. It includes multiple long stretches of gravel, separated by rough chip-seal county roads. Today, after a period of rainfall, there was a lot of recently “maintained” gravel sections with fresh, loose, chunky stuff. It was a bit slow going in spots. The sun looked and felt great after many days of gray, and the wind was strong. Except the wind was not strong down in low-lying Greenwood which was an ideal spot to brew up some fresh coffee. It was pre-dawn start, which is quite unusual for me in winter.
To Mrs. Pondero’s disappointment, I didn’t get photos of the pack of Chihuahuas that gave chase, the pair of Border Collies that attempted to herd me somewhere, or the lonely All American that followed me a few miles, crossed a (relatively) busy state highway, and finally fell too far behind.
Besides the negligent omission of canine photos to tell the whole story, the rest of the outing looked a lot like this…
It was a grey, damp, 39 degree morning. The weather for the last two weeks had left the ground spotted with puddles, and the gravel roads as mud traps. Twenty five feet of rolling on the wetter parts would render my bicycle un-roll-able. Water spilled from the pastures into roadside ditches. Then it poured into creek beds, sometimes roaring and sometimes only trickling. Places that normally would be ideal brew-up spots were unpleasantly soggy. But at least it wasn’t raining.
Most of the morning looked a bit like the photo above. But there was that minute or two when the sunlight peeked through a small window in the clouds. It was as if God’s hand had poured out color, instantly saturating the landscape. It was stunning to glimpse, only for a minute, such richness after so many days of grey. Then suddenly, as if someone had closed the window blinds, the world once again went monotone and dim.