I swear I heard my tires fart last night. In reality the tacky nobs were just slipping over a root as I ascended a steep trail. My rear tire felt as though it might be a little low on pressure but the traction gained for climbing was intense. I felt I could stick to anything and climb any line I wanted as long as my balance and my legs held out. Common sense did not win out, and I left the tire pressure alone.
I climbed, I descended, I jumped, I had a great time. All in the pitch blackness that enveloped me. Last night was my first night ride of the season. Scary! With my light fully charged and strapped to my lid I pedalled off into the night wondering how this first ride would go. My riding companions were Hugh, a co-worker of Sue’s, and his dog Digby the Nova Scotian Duck Tolling Retriever. We started off a little cool, but were warmed by the time we topped the first hill.
Riding at night is sometimes a surreal experience. Any high speed sections demand complete attention for the simple reason that obstacles such as sticks and rocks appear in front of your tire quite quickly. Should you be caught off guard, you may end up in a world of hurt. As it happened during one quick descent I started to marvel at the amount of crud being flung in front of my face by my tire. I watched as a clump of mud defied gravity, flew up from the tire, into my light stream, and seemingly hung in the air while I was bombing down the trail. I had to shake my head a little to remind myself to watch the trail and not these mysterious blobs in the air in front of me. It was difficult since my eyes would swing in the direction of anything moving towards my face.
During one break we turned off our lights and were pleasantly surprised that we could see fairly well. The moon was nearly full last night, and when there was a break in the tree canopy, the moonlight was strong enough for us to make out basic trail features. The silence that accompanies night riding is nothing that can be explained. Sometimes it feels as though there is an invisible blanket over your heard muffling every sound. The crisp cool air was a treat to ride in too. Somehow the air just feels cleaner during a night ride.
It was a fun ride. Nothing too technical, but it was a welcome change from sitting on the couch watching TV. My only close call was on the last descent on the way back to the vehicles. I stayed as far left on the trail that I could, then cut right to bunny hop off the lip of the trail. As I began my bunny hop, my rear tire slid out on some mud. My emergency reaction saved me, and I slid off the right hand side of the trail into some blackberry bushes. It was actually quite funny and I laughed about it.
I am definitely glad I got out last night. Thankfully my first night ride was an enjoyable experience. Had it been dismal, I probably wouldn’t be too interested in going again. As it is, I can’t wait to get back out there.