IbisNights, the Cross Town Loop
Thursday, emerging from the oak woodland
Evenings on the cross bike have extended to two a week lately, it just seems more fun to be able to mix the dirt, sand, rock, leaf litter, turf, and whatever else I am forgetting, with the more predictable pave. Never know how this concoction, this pre-meal cocktail will turn out but, somehow, it always tastes good, and so I stretch it into an hour, savor it, make it last.
It is still plenty light at just after 6:00pm when I run through the dirt and sand around the northern portion of the loop, everything is clearly visible, thank goodness. Skirting around some of those boulders and larger rocks is one thing in the light. The trail herd has thinned some since the height of the summer season, but there are still many enjoying the trail, wondering why some fool, who looks to be riding a road bike, would be speeding through the dirt. A couple nights ago a dude on a mountain bike roared past me, probably thinking the same thing. I was moving pretty well, and had to console myself, believing that anyone could do that with wide tires. "Lets see you try it on skinnies."
As it always does, the dirt ends and I hit the pavement again. Now there is a certain darkness, and I notice most drivers have turned on their headlights (or some sensor has done it for them). Though I resist the temptation to do the same, I do compress the button for my rear light, once, twice for the slow flashing mode. I will push on, attempt to make it to the Village before turning on the headlight.
At the Colleges a riding couple go their separate ways just ahead of me. I follow the path of one, though only briefly as she is moving slow. Into the oak woodland I turn, for a few laps, but not before stopping for a photo - twisted branches are black against the blushing sky. The rider I had passed a minute ago comes into view. Hmm, didn't expect anyone else to be riding this dirt, and I move to the side so she can get past on the narrow path of travel. The woodland loop is only three quarters of a mile long, but there are usually people around - joggers, soccer players on the field, famers at the farm, musicians in secluded hollows, strollers in the cool evening air. Tonight though, there are only two, my fellow cyclist who rode over to check on the chickens, and a campus police officer walking the beat. That surprised me too as they usually drive around here in their carts. Wasn't sure what to expect from him, but each time I passed he simple stood to the side to let me pass.
When I emerge from the trees the sky still holds some daylight, or so it seems. The woods are so much darker, coming out of them only makes it appear that way. These woods are hardly mysterious but the fading evening does bring the shadows close; they brush against my legs and arms. By next week I imagine my pedaling will carry me right through them.
Thursday, across the soccer field, blushing sky