Sunday, September 27, 2009

Of coyotes, bats, and moonsets.

Occasionally life gets in the way of training. Yeah, Yeah, I know, your thinking that life never gets in the way of anything for the old Paulster, but unfortunately I am just like anyone else with a life. Yet, I am not. In most ways I am like anyone else with a life but unlike most folks I am participating in a 252 mile race in three weeks. So, since I have not been able to ride as much this week as I would have liked, and since I need to get at least 100 miles in this week, an evening ride was necessary. The bed was calling to me loudly I must confess but I made it out the door.

I got to bomb down King Kong hill into Granite Reef with my hub light bathing the road in plentiful light. I pedalled faster to see how the light would do. I think I hit 40 and I had plenty of light. The ride along the bush highway was beautiful. The stars were out and bright (well, compared to in the city they were bright), the crickets were chirping, the moon was lighting the desert from low in the western sky and there was a chill in the air. It was a beautiful night.

I climbed over usery pass and went down to the store to get a gatorade as dinner was finally starting to burn off. Then it was back up Usery Mountain for a repeat on the frontside. I stopped halfway up to see a rust colored moon set behind south mountain on the southwest horizon. You could see it move slowly and grow smaller as time moved on. You could see faint ridges on the mountain as the moon sank behind them and highlighted their features. As I continued and left the city lights a large Coyote crossed my path and headed up into the bushes. He was not the first Coyote I had seen. It seems the dogs were on the prowl tonight.

After I took the above picture at the Usery Mountain Park sign I went over the pass and looked at the stars for a bit. You could just barely see a faint hint of the milky way if you knew where to find it. The pleaides and cassiopea were visible and orion was rising in the east. I did not see any shooting stars, but I did have a bat fly over my head at one point after I started riding out to Apache Jct.

Riding back along McKellips I could see the city laid out below me. Sometimes riding at night is magical and the night offers you gifts for your bravery to stray out of the city lights. Sometimes you get the reward because you decided to go out even though you didn't feel like it. No matter what the reason, sometimes life is good and the mind and body absorb the beauty of the night and all is right for a moment. Tonight was such a night.

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