At the end of a long, difficult day at work there’s the tendency to put my head down, get in the drops and crank; the effort and distraction is refreshing and welcome. Yesterday, after a tailwind assisted sprint down International and onto the canal trail I stopped briefly.
The steep, rocky embankment drops down from behind the warehouses and industrial buildings. The 2-lane service road which, at least to me, acts as a bike highway of sorts, forms a sort of step before another steep drop to surface of the water. Between the road and the water steeply angled cement slabs form the walls of the canal. The fence is rusting.
It’s hardly the most beautiful place I ride and on windy days it’s one of the most miserable because the trench feels like a wind tunnel. It beats battling the cars on Sunrise. The section I ride daily includes about four miles of uninterrupted, isolated road. At most I might see a handful of other cyclists (if the weather is nice) or a lone private security vehicle cruising along, yellow light flashing on the roof. Many days, it’s just me.
Yesterday afternoon, after crossing Sunrise and pedaling a quarter of a mile or so down the path I rolled over some debris that seemed to stick in my rear tire and click click as moved over the cracking pavement. So I stopped to check for glass. Then I just stood there a minute. It wasn’t silent. Highway 50 was probably less than a half mile to the north and behind me was the six lane Sunrise Blvd. But, with out the wind in my ears it was damn near. The clouds were high and fat with rain but none was falling. And, despite the few bits of cardboard that floated in the water below and the roofs of a dozen or so industrial buildings it was peaceful. Quiet. Beautiful.
As close as I was to the cars, the office, the end of a long day, I felt about as far away as I could. People often ask why I ride. That’s why.