Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Into the Darkness

I don't often get butterflies in my stomach before a ride unless I'm racing or downhilling, but I got them tonight driving deep into the woods for our night ride. Even though the moon is almost full, it's pitch black deep in the forest. Strange shapes flicker and leap across the road as we drive deeper and deeper into the woods. The trees press in around us as I turn onto the fireroad and kill the engine.

Sparky darts in and out of our lights, leaping and crunching through the dry leaves as he revels in his superior night vision. It's cold enough to see your breath, and Dave and I concentrate on gearing up. A quick light check and we're ready to go.


Night riding is an interesting beast; the darkness swallows your landmarks and the lights flatten the terrain. There's little to no contrast and the 3rd dimension is inferred through color alone. Trails your know like the back of your hand become strange and unfamiliar creatures under the glow of your headlamp.

We hit the first climb with enthusiasm and make the top faster than usual. The singletrack descent is a bit slower going. We're more careful on jumps and cautious on blind switchbacks and gnarly rock gardens. No contrast means picking your line more carefully while, at the same time, keeping loose and letting your bike feel the way. The flipside of not seeing things is not worrying about them.

We bleed our altitude like a bad brake job, twisting and turning, pressing farther into the darkness.

Afterwards, Dave and I have a little chat about our first and only night training ride, as well as our predictions for team Google Earthlings:

8 comments:

Tasha Danko said...

shit, that looks scary...looks like something out of that blair witch movie.

I'm going for a training nite ride tonight and they're saying rain or snow! well, at least it will toughen me up. ;)

Me, Myself, & I said...

I've never night ridden. Should I be worries?

Tasha Danko said...

I haven't either...so Dylan you and I can be worried together. I'm borrowing 2 sets of lights just in case...and carrying my petzl in camel bak (someone in forum said it saved their life when lights went out).

Me, Myself, & I said...

Dave C - stop using Sparky as a scapegoat.

John D Wells said...

Hey Me, Myself, & I,

Watch out on those night rides, you never know who you might run into in the darkness of the wwwood...

Like Winterhoff, Flats & I. Elders from your past are creeping out of the shadows to wish you some "A to the B" good luck (wishes go out to all of the Google Earthlings of course!).

Next time you're back in RIC, we'll have to hit some trails together! Wait, just as soon as I return from London...ah hell, you stay there, I'll come to you...

Gunsle Rapunzel said...

Nice Blog :)

How'd u post the Google Video's on ur blogpost??

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