Wednesday, December 8, 2004
If I call myself Wonder Woman, it's because I Wonder what in the name of all that is sane I'm doing out here on this bike trail in the deep woods totally alone (mainly because I can't keep up with the rest of the group as a result of my hesitancy on the slippery terrain), with only the two points of light I'm wearing on my handlebar and my helmet to guide me. The trail is still damp from yesterday's rain, and the roots and rocks have become treacherously slick, giving me the feeling that my bike is more skating on the trail than anything else, and I query what possessed me to come out here and put myself through this. It's dark and spooky at times, the newly rerouted sections of trail are about as solid feeling as riding on a rain-soaked mattress, and what is that rustling in the trees??? I can periodically see tiny red or green eyes peering at me from behind the bushes, hear the scampering of night creatures across the leaves, and almost fear I'm going to see the Blair Witch jump out from behind a rock as I round a corner. The forest wavers between deafening silence and unfamiliar nocturnal animal (at least I hope it's only animal!) noises. This trail that I'm so familiar with during the day now seems completely foreign to me. I have no point of reference as my visibility is limited to the area right around me, so some of the small ditches and logs seem inexorably huge while others which are normally gargantuan seem like miniatures. It's scary, exhilirating, frustrating, exhausting and rejuvenating. It's night riding, and even though I complain and whine about it being too difficult, too scary, too much of a hassle with the lights, batteries and wires, too this and too that, I keep coming back to it, drawn to it like some kind of addiction I can't escape. There's something fresh and exciting about riding even the same familiar old trails when I take to them at night. Despite the fact that I do occasionally - as I did tonight - finish the ride disappointed in the knowledge that I rode less well than I knew I was capable of, I realize that this evening's difficulties stemmed primarily from the trail being so slick rather than the night itself. And I continue to be under the spell of night riding, knowing that before a week has passed, I'll be back out here again, taunting the darkness and communing with the other side of nature.