lotoja was 2 days ago.
206 miles, logan utah to jackson wyoming, elevation gain somewhere around 8,000 feet, a long day in the saddle.
I completed my 7th, and as always, am incredibly glad to have it behind me.
what I felt at the end this year was not the elation felt in most other years, but gratitude that it was over---safely and completely. I considered putting my bike away for the season, as quite a few do, or at least for a week, a few days, a while.
today I got back on my bike.
it's the hair of the dog thing ~ the only cure for exhausted, depleted, overly-strained muscles is to put them back to work.
and it was a great ride. 70 degrees, blue skies, cool in the shade up the canyon, a bit of a tailwind up at the bottom and a headwind at the top--both of which reversed for the descent. trees are turning and the air is crisp, and numerous rainy days of the past month have kept foliage along the route surprisingly green.
those heliotropic (and non-heliotropic) sunflowers are bright as raw egg yolk, cheery and moving gently with the breeze. we're in this amazing stretch of almost-autumn where the unrelenting heat of summer has passed and many of us creatures begin to revive, soaking in as much sun and air and beauty as we can before winter's hibernation creeps back toward us.
I ache here and there, glutes and hamstrings and peculiarly the instep of my right foot, but I feel strong and capable and the tiniest bit hollow as though I've left something behind somewhere that I can't quite remember.
but the hair has helped. it's reminded me that life continues, it moves along, whether or not we believe we're ready for it. it loosened me and challenged me and ultimately, helped me again feel at one with this beautiful land we live upon.
I'm glad to be this far into september, two days past lotoja, ready to welcome what autumn promises to bring.