The White Walkers have busted through the wall!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

Charles Dickens wrote that centuries ago, during the events leading up to the French Revolution. The amazing thing is that he somehow captures all the feelings that can occur during a single 2 hour bicycle ride, without ever likely having ridden a bicycle. But that surely must be what it’s all about right?

I was thinking about the age of foolishness this morning, while climbing Kings and watching the two Kevins riding off the front, just out of reach at first, then one corner ahead, then finally completely out of sight until I got to the top. I was thinking that I officially no longer make the cut for my own ride and may have to consider leaving a few minutes earlier than the rest.

Everything before me, nothing before me. There’s something about mortality in that line, I’m certain of that, and I was certainly feeling very mortal this morning. And yet, once up on Skyline, the road began to unfold in front of me in an enjoyable fashion, reminding me what it is I enjoy about cycling.

It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. Well perhaps that’s inverted; I wake up, head to the kitchen and turn on the coffee maker in the dark. But thankfully, even deep into winter, the sun is up before I get onto the bike. Or maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe it’s dark outside but the coffee represents the light!

The age of foolishness is easy. The idea that I can keep doing the same mileage, the same climbs, forever. But couldn’t I just as easily have focused on the spring of hope? No, not yet. Spring is what I live for, because it’s warmer and warmer means I breathe better and my weight comes down. But I can certainly buy into the winter of despair. I wouldn’t necessarily single out any particular winter though. It’s every winter. Even the approach of winter saddens me; that first ride that I have to wear leg warmers gets me to thinking how many long months away I am from leaving them behind.

Honest truth? I don’t think I ever actually read A Tale of Two Cities. But I feel like I might enjoy it now.

We ride in the rain so you don’t have to

It could have been a bit disappointing; the weather forecasting a possible slight break in the storm right when Kevin and I would be out riding, leaving us with wet roads, messy bikes and no real credit for doing something stupid. But if you could believe something 8 hours ahead, there was supposed to be a small spot of nasty landing on top of us right about the time we’d be up on Skyline. And this morning, that’s exactly what happened.

Nobody else with us on the ride. On the way, I spotted someone far ahead of us on Canada, probably a die-hard commuter, but nobody returning from the infamous “morning ride” and no tire tracks on the road. Kevin and I headed up at a pretty slow speed, stopping at the park entrance to remove our jackets before continuing on. It really wasn’t that cold; between 48 and 52 most of the way.

Up on Skyline things changed from wet roads to drizzle to pretty decent rain. We did see another rider, heading in the opposite direction, dressed all in black. Without a light, would have been completely invisible. Stealth mode on a rainy day doesn’t make sense.

Since we were running slow we skipped the West Old LaHonda section, heading straight back down 84. Main disadvantage to that is that you can get a bit cold, since you’re essentially descending 2500ft or so continuously, instead of breaking it up into two sections. But once down into Woodside you feel a lot better.