Saturday, April 7, 2012

the gift (?) of the snowplow

each of the past five springs I have ridden the road by little dell reservoir heading east, around the locked yellow gate, and up toward the summit of big mountain.
I like to keep track of how far one can ride on the road before snow blocks your path.
in early april one can often go a quarter mile, perhaps half a mile, past the gate before asphalt disappears.
by late april the road offers a path nearly two miles in, sometimes two and a half.
last year on may 15th one could only ride to a mile from the top before snow covered the road .  .  .  my first trip all the way up to the top of big mountain came on may 28th.

not so this year.
the gate is still locked, but a good two weeks ago the road up big mountain was plowed, and I made my first trip to the top last saturday, march 31st. 
a ride all the way up big cottonwood in march, a ride to the top of big mountain in march.
I'm worried about the next five months . . .

what happens when we rush the season like this?
do we burn out sooner?
or do we become better riders?
it will be different somehow, but how?

there is a season for everything, they say, so how are we to behave when our seasons are shortened or stretched, made radically different? 
farmers often suffer, their crops affected by drastic seasonal changes, wicked weather, early or late freezes.
what about us?

last saturday there were hundreds of cyclists on the road, a surprising number of them heading up to and coming down from big mountain as I was riding it.  at the top as I paused with my friends, staring at the bank of snow a plow had created exactly at the county line where "salt lake" meets "morgan," a young couple rode up, stopped, and commented that apparently they weren't going any further, since the back side (down into east canyon resort) hadn't been plowed and was thick with packed snow.
I kept my surprise to myself, thinking, oh my gosh, I'm not ready for that ride yet!  it's only march!  that's a june ride .  .  .

judicious, that's the word. 
we'll simply have to figure out how to be judicious this season, thoughtful, contained.  not rushing, not peaking early, just riding, enjoying, pushing a bit but not too much.

and I will pray that the snowplow leaves the back side of big mountain untouched for just a little while longer, say another month, five weeks, six weeks .  .  .  because as much as I will strive for judiciousness, there's this other thing pulling at me that I label childish enthusiasm, that often overpowers everything else and sends me up canyons, down canyons, and back up and down.  regardless of the season, only regarding the snow--or its absence--on the bike lane. 

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