Saturday morning was another morning I had other things I needed to do before noon so this dictated that I would need to be on the road around 5 if I was going to be back by 10 (will talk more about what was so important at 10 later in my blog). I saw on weather.com that the temp was 42 degrees but felt like 36 so I decided I would head out as Master Rando Ninja, but not too far down the road I had taken off the balaclava and my coat sleeves leaving me with a wind vest, a long sleeve jersey, and leg warmers pretty much. Unlike the last time I decided to head back on this route I felt fine on energy and it looked like a beautiful morning. In fact, It went pretty quick. the dark hours of the morning were beautiful, Jupiter and Venus were within a degree or two of each other in the eastern sky and shining very brightly. Mars was in the western sky making it's way to the horizon. Silouetted to the east was the front of the Superstitions. In no time at all I was winding my way up the first major hill of the day and at the top looked back on the lights of the valley.
Descending the backside was a chilling experience. In fact, I got a pretty good ice cream headache on the way down. I was surprised at the bottom to see Canyon Lake nearly full and most of the marina put back where it was supposed to be. Later I would see them pushing the last dock down to where the marina should be. Dawn was still growing as I popped over the hill before Tortilla Flat. I knew I was riding faster this morning than before and I had a lot more energy. The creek on the other side of Tortilla flat was deeper than my pedal and I ended up with a few wet feet. As the morning was cold this was not necessarily a good thing but since I would be climbing El Diablo in a few minutes I would be warm enough soon. As I started up the big hill I could see the first glints of sun hitting four peaks and by the time I got to the flat spot (flat meaning that I could shift a gear or two out of Triple granny but still climbing good) the sun was shining along my right side and I found that out on this lonely morning I had a friend riding beside me as I climbed further up into the mountains in the form of my shadow. Within another 20 minutes I was at the end of the pavement and dipping my wheel in the dirt.
At this point I decided to dump the rest of my drink powder into my waterbottle getting a lot of it on my gloves due to the howling wind. I would smirk to myself a little further down when It occured to me that when I wiped my nose with that glove I got most of that dust on my nose and that I must look like one cold crack sniffing cyclist with all the white powder around my nose. Needless to say I wiped it off. Heading back towards the big drop I noticed the beautiful hum of a road bike on smooth pavement gliding along at 20mph. It has to be one of my favorite sounds in the world I think.
Having beat the devil climbing the hill, it was a cold day in hell going down it. I got up to 45 on the way down and was still accelerating but my front end was wobbling and with that, my fear of going that fast, and a mysterious wobbling (which I found out was my shivering arms) I decided to brake and take the rest of the hill at a more sane 35-40mph.
Upon arriving at Tortilla Flat, I could smell the Steak and Eggs wafting across the road from the outdoor grill at the restaurant. I had to be back by 10 though so on I soldiered up the hill out of Tortilla Flat. I had a really good ride back to town. In fact, all told I cut about 15 minutes off my fastest time on this route and finished in 4 hours and 35 minutes which got me back just in time for the funeral.
I am afraid I must stray from the full purpose of this blog for a moment. The big reason I was hurrying back, passing by the steak and eggs was to get back for President Hinkley's funeral. He was the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) of which I am a member. He has had a profound impact on my life and I felt it important to get back and pay hommage even if I was only watching the funeral via internet. Fair reader, please excuse me this once in straying from the main subject of this blog. He was a great spiritual leader but also presided over much humanitarian work, whether it was supplying thousands of tons of food and supplies to the victims of katrina before the government had even decided it had a problem, distributing innoculations and life saving medicines to 400,000 babies in Africa, sending aid to earthquake victims in Afghanistan, or countless other humanitarian efforts. An incredible amount of good occured in this world under his leadership. He spent over 50 years in church service for which he was not paid and served as a volounteer as do the rest of the members of our church. I am a better man for following his example and counsels. I know he was a prophet and special witness of christ and I am glad I was able to know him even if it only was from afar. Rest in peace President Hinkley.