Implementing a sort of cruel social obligation, Kenny scheduled, as he has several times before, a ride on New Year’s morning. And so, while I crawled into bed as soon as possible after that other social obligation –staying up until midnight– I found myself thinking of excuse after excuse to simply not show up for the 10AM ride.
But as I drifted off to sleep, the appeal and the lure of climbing up Squaw Peak Road on my mountain bike, over the frozen and packed machine trodden snow overcame any doubt and any excuse. I slept peacefully, knowing that in the morning a cold, challenging, and very nearly absurd bike ride awaited.
Up and up the snow we all pedaled. The snow was cold and firm, which meant limited time off the bike. Which meant that the normally built in explanation for hoofing it up the mountain (“well the snow is so soft!”) was eliminated. In other words, fitness and the bottom of the year lack of it, was laid bare for all to see. And mock.
But alas, the finger pointing and snickering and cookie blaming was, like time off the bike, minimal. Instead we all quietly, although conversationally, made our way up the mountain, just as we have so many times before.
And as I climbed I contemplated the risk in beginning the new year with a fantastic bike ride. It is, as I see it, a two-edged sword. On one hand, there is little better way to begin the year. A solid, entertaining, enjoyable workout can easily set the tone for the days and weeks ahead.
But, on the other hand, it might be hard to top. You know what they say: “eat a live toad first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen that day.” Riding a bike is hardly eating a toad. And so the potential for let down looms over the rest of the year.
But not really.
Indeed, I am optimistic for the coming year. I find myself once again drifting off to sleep at night with far horizons dancing through my mind. I see the White Rim and Gooseberry’s north rim. I see deep forests, and open meadows. I see, everything that I hope to see in 2009. As well as other scenes that are merely distant fantasy, perhaps a reality on some future day.
And as for now, when I close my eyes I see the passing snow and tire tracks of Squaw Peak Road on New Year’s day.