Today was one of those wonderful days, those days that make you long for spring and at the same time make you realize its just around the corner, those days that ease the pain of an otherwise long winter.
I took the opportunity to ride today, the first time in nearly 4 months. Did I have other opportunities during those months to get out? Yes, but this time I didn't let it pass me by. I dropped Em off at school and headed into the flat lands to do a little reading before hitting the trail. Sitting in the car at the park, I finished the chapter I started last night. Riding is my thinking, praying, and processing time. I missed it over the winter and was glad to be back out on the bike today.
Pretty certain I had lost a lot of ground over the winter I set the bar accordingly. If I go just one mile I'll be happy I told myself....yep, set I the bar darn low! As I hit the trail, I noticed the high level cirrus clouds. Thin and wispy, they fit my mood perfectly, it just makes me happy ride. The world is put on hold for a few hours, I like that. Two miles, no pain, soon eight miles had passed then before I knew it ten miles. I decided to shoot for thirty today...or should I go for fifty? Na, I'll feel it tomorrow, I'll stick to thirty.
As the trail snaked across the land so did my thoughts. My mind drifted from the chapter I just read to praying to random thoughts to asking the Lord questions. A's don't directly cause C's I repeated to myself, A's don't directly cause C's. It was a new thought, the book was insightful. Insight is one thing, but getting it ingrained in you and acting on it another thing entirely. Knowledge without corresponding action profits little. A's, activating events, don't directly cause C's, my feelings and behaviors.... B is my responsibility, the beliefs and values I filter the event through in the milliseconds after it occurs. Why is this so difficult for me to grasp, I ask myself. I don't like it when I can't grasp something right off, and this book proposed a lot of deep thoughts. So theoretically, I push my own buttons, I surmise....a light bulb moment, but not something I wanted to embrace. It meant more change, more growth...a lot more.
The squeaking of the prairie dogs along the trail shifts my thoughts. They bob up and down at the edge of their holes and let out a squeaky cry as I pass by. I've seen the same behavior time and again as a dog approaches them. It's a warning, but I prefer to think of them as cheerleaders, cheering me on toward my goal. One dodges across the path just in front of me. I recall the seven I hit last summer, a record I don't care to break. Further on, a man sits in a lawn chair, binoculars on a tripod and some sort of record book in his lap. I decide he is counting how many times the eagle in the distant tree poops or something equally absurd, and of course he is getting some sort of taxpayer grant to do his research.
Feeling good, I decide to take on the hills. I find that although my legs are cooperative, my lungs are much less so. The burning in my chest grows more painful as I near the top. My sides heave as my lungs grasp for every last molecule of oxygen. I know I'll feel that tomorrow. I crest the top and the view is just as I remember it. The entire front range is laid out before me. I see Pikes Peak shrouded in haze off to the south. After a few basic math calculations I determine that the mountains I see off to the north are in the middle of Wyoming. A thick blanket of snow drapes Longs Peak and Mount Meeker as they majestically tower above the others in the center of my live picture. I use the opportunity to catch my breath as I take in the amazing view right in front of me.
After several minutes I turn and coast back down the hill, passing with ease the historic farm site I peddled though on the way up. As I pass the old rustic barn, I think about last summer when we took Connor and Maddie there for a visit. We walked around the barn peering in the knot holes, the doors and windows locked. Connor suddenly tore around the corner excitedly exclaiming, "Hey guys, I just broke in!" We excitedly followed and respectfully perused at the artifacts without touching.....except for the fake life-sized cow that we all had to take turns milking.
Before I knew it two hours had passed, two loops and I've put in 31 miles. Not a bad day's ride all things considered. And yes, A's don't directly cause C's.....seems I'm pushing my own buttons.