Into the abyss

Definitely never experienced a commute like last night.  After a long day in the saddle, finally riding outside again, I stayed down in the valley, passing a bit of time before seeing my trusted massage therapist Janelle.  By the time I made it back up to the skidoo it was already dark.  Five hours and over 150kms on the bike, solo, left me dirty and tired.  The ‘Action Wipe’ shower in the parking lot was all but nullified with the massage oil after an hour with Janelle.  I was so ready for some food and a shower.


I got on the ATV which transported the bin of dirty cycling clothes, computer, groceries and random things from the car to the skidoo parked a little bit up the icy canyon road.  After strapping on the bins to the sled and parking the ATV to the side, I revved up the skidoo only to remember ‘oh, yes, the lights don’t work anymore…’


I sat there in darkness with the engine chugging, all packed up and facing a dark abyss if I wanted to get back up to the house and the meal Peter had ready for my return.  I could have re-packed everything onto the ATV and tried my luck in the icy slush on 4 wheels, but to be honest I was just too tired to do the packing all over again.  If my brain was functioning I would have remembered Peter always has a head lamp in the XTerra.  But, like I said, I was pooped from the ride and sufering a light bonk.  Home and food was all I could think of.


I reasoned perhaps the moon would come out and light the way.  Then thought the stars offered some light.  You don’t really what grasp what true darkness really is until you’re out of the glowing metropolis of a city.  I might as well have been on the moon with the front range of the Wasatch Mountains blocking the lights from Salt Lake City.


Onward and upward, I crept up the 5km-long twisting climb.  It wouldn’t have be so bad if the first half was not covered in textured ice.  At least it was not a complete sheet of ice like a few weeks ago.  Ruts from ATV’s made for sections of pavement that lay bare.  Because of the darkness, I found myself precariously balanced between a ridge of ice and ruts lined with asphalt, almost flipping the sled a few times.  I couldn’t pick the good lines because I couldn’t see where the heck I was going.  I practiced my bike handling skills on the skidoo last night, leaning with all my weight, counter-balancing and squinting into the darkness.


Good practice for a month of racing in ‘shit weather’ for the month of April in Holland and Belgium.  At least I hope so.


The people driving down must have wondered just what I was doing driving in the dark.   Fortunately they saw me in the blinding glare of their lights.  I waved and laughed, more than a little embarrassed about the situation.


Alas, I made it home, actually enjoying the ride on the upper canyon where the snow was nice and previous commutes left tracks I could literally led the skidoo follow through myriad switchbacks.


Never a dull moment up here in the woods.


And there was a nice hot meal waiting for me up at the top of the mountain.  What more can a girl ask for?  Well….maybe working lights on the skidoo….but that’s a minor detail.  Makes me realize how dulled the senses become when we don’t use them.


Today, I’m taking the new skidoo down, just in case it’s another late return.  Another ride in the welcomed warmth of this drought winter season in Utah.  Another five hours in the saddle.  Life doesn’t get much better than this!


We also had some visitors from the CBC this week- here we are with Stephanie Jenzer, one of the gems of CBC (for those who don’t know that’s the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)…they were up filming some pre-Olympic stuff on me.  Watch out for a feature this Spring on old athletes like me 🙂

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