This morning I was greeted by a cold and foggy morning which angered me greatly. I had spent the last week running around so much that I actually wanted to have a day at home to do nothing but hang out with my family and go on a bike ride. That last sentence may seem odd to some, and not so odd to others. I love my family but I am not a home-body really; I like to be going. Our house is not that big and there are 6 of us so finding places to spread out had become important to me lately.
The reason I was angry this morning is because a cold, damp, foggy morning does not sing to me when it comes to getting on my mountain bike. My wife told me that I should either go now or this afternoon, maybe. Days seem to get away from us anymore, and with the sun setting at around 4:30; time is of the essence. I eventually layered up and headed out to my garage to gather my biking pack. Just stepping out into the garage made me think again, but there is power in getting dressed. Putting on my bike shorts and gloves helps me to gather momentum; as it turns out very necessary momentum.
It was cold, I actually thought about shedding my helmet for a stocking cap as I pulled up to the parking lot. Considering that I never wore a helmet until I was around 19 years old you would have thought that I would have went with the stocking cap. I went with the helmet knowing that I would be warming up as soon as I started peddling. Pulling my bike out of my suburban I was greeted by a large German Shepherd that had just finished taking his owner on a walk. I usually share these trails with horse back riders, dog walkers, and hikers.
As I took off on the fire road I started to warm up I quickly forgot my previous argument with the cold; my argument now was with my lungs, and my legs. The cool fog weaving through the trees reminds me of why my wife requires that I carry bear spray. Even though I never see anything larger than a chipmunk on the trails, I still have the feeling that I am being watched. These woods are a little more dark than the woods I grew up around in Wyoming.
I usually stay on the fire roads when I bike by myself so I don’t get myself in trouble on the single track with no one to help out. I used to bike with my dog Harvey so as to scare the bears away (or attract them if I am to believe the guy I talked to on the trail a couple years ago) but he is having a hard time keeping up as a twelve year old Australian Shepherd with a bum foot. I think Harvey is okay with the arrangement, he always wants to go and then when I take off downhill he looks as though hi is cursing me.
About two thirds of the way up the mountain I started to notice that the fog was letting up and the sky was getting brighter. By the time I finished the last hard push to the first summit I was able to greet the sun. I actually said “hello sun”. In the same place last week I thought I was alone so I took the time to relieve myself right next to the trail and was surprised by someone coming around the corner. Thankfully it was a guy, and I yelled “I thought I was alone!” I am not very eloquent on the trail.
Upon summited the very top of the mountain I noticed a tree stump that provided a great vantage point on all that surrounded it. I stripped off my pack, my helmet, and my fleece and stood on top of the stump to absorb the sun and the scenery. In front of me was the Olympics in all their glory. Behind me was a forest with its center piece being a Douglas Fir tree that is twice the size of all the others trees around it. I call it “Grandpa” and have made my kids hike to it just to say we have been to the biggest tree in Kitsap County (unconfirmed).
The whole time I was up on this tree stump looking at the beautiful scenery and looking down on what must be a gloomy day for those people down below, I never saw a single person. Then I realized why, it was cold and gloomy down there. Even I thought that this was a gloomy, cold, and wet day until I broke out of it into the clearing that I was standing in. Until I broke out of it through the shear determination of my character (or the fact that I had already gotten dressed in my biking clothes and didn’t want to waste it) my day looked dreary.
This whole story hopefully sounded somewhat inspiring, but the reality is that there is only one thought that stuck out in my mind as I stood on that stump thinking about the people that were not joining me this morning,”I win”. Pride is still a problem for me.