Friday, June 11, 2010

You Ride Out

There's a path: take it

You ride out and find a path. The front wheel of your bike points down the path so you pedal. The path winds around and along the canal, so you do, too. The sun shines on your skin and warms it, the wind is hot and dry and you love it, and the only sounds you hear are wind, wheels, gears, birds, and water flowing next to you. Before, you had some thoughts, concerns, preoccupations, possibly obsessions or worries, but they fade as you push the effort level higher. Tunnel under the next cross-street as you hit your pace: it's empty, dark, cooler, you accelerate down into it, tear through it, slingshot up and out the other side without changing gears on the uphill. No one is out there on the path, not even you, just a blur that for some miles seems to have forgotten himself, drawing power from the excessive desert heat. Flow, zone, rush, how far, how long, how fast should you keep it going? You coast a stretch and notice that you've gone beyond the normal turnaround, look down and find out that they have paved the path with some miraculously smooth, jet black surface since the last time you were on it, so you ride on. Up ahead you notice a sign marking a turnoff you've never seen before. The sign includes a map, and shows that this new path heads south, twenty miles in a different direction that you thought you would go, starting beyond the point where you might normally turn around. The water bottle is nearly empty. You look back behind you, contemplating the return ride home, since it's probably time to start back. You take one more look at the new path. It's paved with the same super-smooth black stuff. It's a new path so there's probably drinking water within a few miles. The front wheel of your bike points down that path, so you pedal. That's the plan. You ride out. Get up. Go ride.

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