A nice morning shot, moon still up, sun trying to peak over the horizon. Heading to the park.
This morning began much like about 250 other mornings during the year: I get out of bed and wander downstairs with my always eager pooch Miss Molly trailing behind – she’s hoping we are going out for a ride. And we do - most days. Of course, having farmer blood coursing through my veins means this ride often gets going at 6 am or earlier, so for about five months a year that means full lights are necessary. Yup, pull on some clothes and out we go. I’m lucky enough to live about a block and a half from a large urban park. The trails there are not technical or steep, but the roughly 5 km loop is a perfect distance for a quick wake up call to get the blood flowing – for both of us. What a GREAT way to start a day.
For half the year, this is my view – a happy dog in the pool of light in front of my bike
Of course, it isn’t always the “perfect ride”. Living in Vancouver means it rains… a LOT. Our area gets roughly 100” of rain a year! So many of our morning rides are rainy ones. This doesn’t seem to bother Molly. In fact, she prefers rain and cold to the few hot days we get in the summer. Anyway, at this early hour the trails are usually empty except for the animals. We spot the occasional coyote but try to steer clear of skunks. A month or two ago, we ran into a big momma black bear and two good-sized cubs. Luckily it was right at a junction so some quick thinking kept me rolling right on by and away from them.
Not long ago I had an owl fly just over top of my helmet and glide along above the white tip of Molly’s tail. He seemed to float there in my headlights for about 10 seconds, till I guess he realized Molly was too big to pick up and carry away for breakfast. I’ve also heard both Hoot and Screech owls nearby and seen the sun rise through the forest. It really is beautiful out there. Usually about once or twice a winter we will have “first tracks” and are able to do a lap of the park on some fresh snow from the night before.
If you ride most days, you start to realize when the moon is fullest and helps light up the forest, and when it is just a sliver. And yes… it gets really dark out there. But then before you know it, I get to put away my lights for the summer and the clothing needed for my morning ride gets thinner and less of it. When the weather really gets warm and sunny in the summer, I can usually even get a few days riding with simply a T-shirt and shorts… ahhh, glorious! Those are the days I dream about at this time of year when the garage door opens and it is pitch black and pouring rain – as it quite often is.
But you know what? Jumpstarting your day with a ride is still a fabulous way to get the blood flowing. Sure I still like my java when I get home, showered and changed… but the ride puts a smile on my face for the rest of the day that is hard to wipe off.
I hope you are able to ride soon, and that you know the feeling I’m talking about. Seeya out there !!!