“You want to ride bikes in the morning?”
“Sounds great, lets ride big!”
Morning arrives. Somehow the creak of the floor boards as I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen tells me that I’m the first person to make this journey so far today. The house is sleepy quiet, still resting after being ravaged the previous evening by dinner parties and rowdy conversation. The normal smell of coffee brewing isn’t present; I’m the first one to wake up, and I put the kettle on the stove, filled with just enough water to make the caffeine consumption as efficient as possible.
I sit in the gentle morning sunshine – the late summer hue to the light, and the chilly air reminds me that August has ended and September is happening fast. I make coffee, and I drink coffee. Things are still quiet. I stare out the window at the Flatirons looking down on Boulder – they look sleepy too. Finally after a wet summer they’ve lost their green tinge and returned to the burnt golden red of normality. I think about riding bikes. Not the pedalling, or the gear changing, or even the tyres buzzing the ground, but the feeling of it all. I look forward, after multiple scorching days, to having a cool whip of breeze flow past my legs as I pedal. I’m looking forward to that smell of the pine forest that happens this time of year: maybe less dramatic than the colour shifts in deciduous forests of my childhood memories, but that subtle change in smell underneath the trees is Autumn in Colorado; its fresh like pine should be, but earthy and warm.
I’m brought back to the reality of morning by feet creaking up creaky stairs.
“Still want to ride bikes?”
We cook bacon. Bacon is good. conversation is slow at the breakfast table. Although not discussed, motivation seems low. The summers been long, and the pedalling plentiful. Time is filled easily with eating and chatting, before bikes are unhooked from the garage and inspected with a careful eye. The shining wonders of technology that were unveiled in the spring now look shabby; dings, scrapes and scratches match the worn chains and pummelled tyres. Its no longer about having the perfect race machine, more about surviving the ride with minimum creaking. As we bumble around the house, time slips away, the ambitious 9am start is silently forgotten as lunch time approaches, and soon its inevitable that another meal will be consumed before we ride.
Eventually, we motivate. The sun has reached its highest point and has begun its steady downward fall. The temperature, holding steady at 20 degrees, is perfect. Its seems like forever ago that I was dreaming of the gentle breeze, but here it is caressing us as we roll through town. The Sunday traffic is light, the cars giving us a wide berth as we drag our slow mountain bike tyres up the road. We climb until the road turns into gravel; each switchback alternating between a cool breeze and warm sunshine.
The fire ravaged hills on either side don’t seem to have any life today, and as we get to the top, it appears we might be the only things alive. Sleepy September. From here we can see Boulder, and Denver, and the entire Front range of Colorado. I turn my back on the sprawling mass below and instead look up at the Indian peaks. Dark grey granite is still holding onto snow, snow that will now surely last through until next winter.
The thought of approaching winter makes me relish this chance of riding my bikes. I realised we’re sitting in that small window of the year where the temperature is perfect. Gone is the blazing heat and soon the bitter cold will reduce my rides to lower ground. Motivation returns in bucket fulls as I look down through the trees – spying the single-track we’re about to ride. Those corners not visible from the top are filled in with memories of previous descents. Our lazy start is forgotten, and we quickly pick up speed into the first turns. My bike complains at the sudden load of my weight pushing into a corner. Its one of those rides where I savour every second.
My low motivation this morning has been replaced with some kind of desperate clawing. I’m holding onto summer with every pedal stroke, every gear change, and every buzz of my tyres. Returning home along the bike path, my mind is consumed with the next adventure – where shall I explore, what shall I ride? Where are the best views and the most fun trails? Not since the early spring have a felt such pure enjoyment to be pedalling.
Maybe all I needed was a few drops of rain to refresh this heat addled brain of mine.