Sunday, May 22, 2016

the moose in my canyon

monday morning the road was damp. 
wet in places, puddles collected in potholes and deep cracks in the asphalt. my bike's headlight, on low beam, shot silver across the dark road and lit each pool and spill. the air, damp as well, carried scent of soil, pungent stalks and fragrant sage. 

heavy clouds bunched grey and fat a hundred feet above the summit, their outline clear to me only after I'd pedaled halfway up the dark road into the lightening morning. two kilometers from the top my headlight was no longer necessary and the night's rain was beginning to sink into the ground.

at the peak I paused to pull on a windjacket, then swooped down to the reservoir, eyes searching the hillsides for deer, secretly hoping for a coyote. as I neared the final curve before the reservoir, I saw two dark shapes by the shoulder, four-legged, all of those limbs long and spindly. I braked, slowed, looked left, saw three deer on the hill gazing down, and then I looked back at the two moose. yearlings, I first thought, and as I neared them I realized one was much bigger than the other and I swallowed, mom.

how fast can a moose run?
how was I going to sneak past them on the way back up the hill, where my top speed might be 12 mph?
mom observed me as I cruised past, not 15 feet away. the deer uphill followed with their eyes.
at the reservoir I circled and headed back up the road, heart beating wildly, silently asking the moose to let me pass peacefully. the deer, now on my right, remained firmly planted, heads turning with my movement. the moose, dark, knobby and gangling, watched me as well, immobile but for their staring eyes. I stole looks at them all, heart fiery, palms damp inside my gloves, as I pedaled round and round, moving past, leaving them all to their early morning feast.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


when I stand on my pedals to coast over wide speed humps,
I am eight again.

nuff said.

Monday, January 25, 2016

anti anhedonia

I haven't ridden my bicycle since november. two long months ago.
perhaps that's why I've been in a slump.
the blues, lethargy, anhedonia*.

instead of splashing creeks, crisp air, chattering squirrels and birds, soaring hawks, wide-eyed deer, the kiss of sun and the cooling rush of air, I've been sitting on an uncomfortable saddle (which some describe as the head of a shovel) in a rectangular room with tinted windows, rubber mat flooring, while listening to someone else's (sometimes great, sometimes not so great) playlist.

I want my bicycle back.

because with it comes inspiration, exhaustion, rejuvenation.
peace, effort, exhilaration, joy, pleasure, playfulness, accomplishment, fear and fearlessness.

in the spin room I have camaraderie, shared pain, heat, sweaty towels, and cyclists in front of me I can never catch. (on the other hand, neither am I ever dropped by them.) I have a fan for a tailwind.

yesterday I hiked in the snow. I walked for miles along the pipeline, a favorite mountain-biking trail for many locals. thick with snow, it traverses the mountainsides high above millcreek canyon road, edged at times by rough rocks, canopied at times by scrub oak, often completely exposed, a narrow track cut into a sloping hillside. the drop-off, at those exposed sections, is vast and steep, and I do best to keep my eyes averted.
as I plodded through newly fallen snow, ice crusting my hat, my boots water logged, I longed for the speed of my bicycle, its ability to take me from one place to another in that perfectly paced span of time.
I thought about a fat-tired bike. each time I skate ski on my favorite road that leads up big mountain, I see men on fat-tired bikes, riding on the snow.
I tried to picture myself, riding the snowy pipeline trail on a big, fat-tired bike.
I smiled.
it cheered me up.
however, I think I'll have to patiently wait for a dry day, a sunny day, when the snow and ice have pulled back from the bike lanes, the snowmelt keeps to the edges, and the bicycle gods whisper in my ear,
come play.

*anhedonia the loss of interest in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities