Blowing off steam after work.
Sometimes I gotta get to a big space to figure out where I’m at.
One of the great things about bikes is the cool places they’ll take you to. And you can go even further if you’re willing to sit for awhile once you get there.
I have been coming to this spot on this river for over 15 years, sometimes as regular as once a week. Several years ago the property changed hands and the new owner put up signs and a gate to keep people out. I tried to respect this, telling myself if I had a large tract of land and I wanted to keep people out I would want them to abide – and maybe understand. But I also know from the other side what a connection with a place can mean, so I wonder if I could ask that of other people. I have done my best. I think it’s been over a year since I have been here. Today I rode down and washed my face and hands in the river.
Sunday morning Dirt Church solo ride. Early morning a small black bear jumped out and ran in front of me on the trail for about 100 metres before jumping in the bushes. I thought it was a cub, and waited for others or Mama to pass, but after I stopped, made a ridiculous amount of noise talking to them, no one else materialized, so maybe he was actually a young bachelor bear returning from a rough night and wasn’t sure which way home was. Well, we’ve all been there. It was a tough day for handlebar accessories. First my @quadlockcycle mount stripped (probably due to my OCD over tightening) then, on a particularly bumpy and rocky downhill section, the silencing arm of my Incredibell Trail Bell that was Death Star customized, seems to have flown off. I didn’t notice at first as I had the Beastie Boys’ ‘Check Your Head’ bumping in the Air Pods. After going back and searching for like 15 minutes, I couldn’t find it and gave up. It was a long downhill. So much carnage in one ride.
Headed out for a ride to town. The wind was, shall we say, significant. Little bit of resistance training, but at least the views were nice.
Got a new packable camp chair. So I headed out to test it. I tested it for over an hour at this very spot. I slipped off my Crocs and put my bare feet in the cool dirt while sitting in this chair. It felt nice – I felt, connected. The wind blew nicely in the trees as the sun went in and out of the clouds. The Nashwaak River sparkled. A whole flock of Canada Geese came in and landed down in the field and hung out for a bit. Until a person and a dog came walking along. Then there was copious honking. Then the dog went for ‘em and they all took off. Silly dogs. Two different Bald Eagles circled over head – one so close I was kinda freaked out – then they wafted to and fro on the winds and headed up river effortlessly. Yup, chair works pretty good.
Went for a ride in my ‘backyard’ the other day. Still conflicted about seeing trees bulldozed to build houses. I realize my hypocrisy of course – they bulldozed trees to build my house, but I wasn’t here for it.
It’s less expensive and easier to go in and mow everything down and build, it will grow back to some extent. Still, I wish people were willing to pay the difference and make the effort to cut selectively, build and haul materials on-site in a less-invasive, more sustainable manner.
I sat for quite a while on one cleared spot on the ridge, just listening.
I posted this quip on the Corrective Action Bicycle Club Instagram account:
One day, this will be the backyard to someone’s very expensive house. For now, I will enjoy the view while I’m able. Later, when their house is finished and they’re moved in, I will ride by on the street in front and giggle knowing I was here. Then I’ll ride down to the road on the flats there where I’ve been riding for years and wave up at them. They’ll be all, “Hey, what’s that guy waving at? I dunno, but have the butler bring me another white wine spritzer, chop chop!” My back yard (and apparently my head) is a magical place, and the bike gets me there. Note to self: come back here soon for #coffeeoutside and perhaps to catch a sunrise/sunset. What’s in your backyard? Perhaps go and see. Take your bike for sure.
Got out with Titus for a long gravel stint. I think too much sitting and mashing on the Karate Monkey – my knees didn’t much like it. Was nice to go straight into the pool post-ride.
Thoughts all over the place and kept hitting roadblocks with work, so went out to spin the wheels in the oppressive heat to reset things. They’re putting a subdivision in on the ridge behind my house that overlooks the river flats. Some folks will have some very nice – albeit probably pricey – views. Kind of bums me out that the woods I’ve rolled around in for years will soon be populated. Fully aware of my hypocrisy, it bums me out see them mulching full grown trees to clear lots. Sigh. Progress.