After a long hiatus from cycling, I’m back in the saddle. Not on a tour, yet, but training. I’m taking advantage of our exceptionally nice “winter” weather in the Northwest, even as the East Coast is being hammered by the heaviest snowfalls on record. I jetted over to the coast in my van, in time for a sunset ride yesterday over the Otter Crest bypass. This was a short loop, the kind of warm up needed after not riding consistently October.
Today, I head south from Yachats for my favorite ride, to the Heceta Head lighthouse and back. I feel strong, pacing myself for the full 30 miles. Sun is shining, warming my face, crystal blue water and sky, early flowers along the side of the road, daffodils and huckleberry blossoms! Over headlands, into coves, rigorous climbs, soaring descents. My mind lets go of its busy distractions and worries, surrenders to the experience of sweat and aching muscle. Bridges and a tunnel, winding curves and long straightaways.
A washout as the highway crests Heceta Head. Just where the crews attempted to shore up the shoulder, with steel pilings and thick plates. Ha! Iron is no match for water, and in this case, water in motion, flowing under the road. More work this summer I am sure, another crew will try to hold back the forces of nature, lay this thin road of rock and asphalt over the fluid earthen substrate.
I delight is seeing these details, things never noticed when blasting by in steel and glass vehicles. Only on a bicycle is the roadside discovery possible, the adventure of pushing miles behind with only muscle, breath, water, food. Yes, food, eating at the Green Salmon, then the Yachats Farm Store. Such good food! And water never tastes this good, as when earned, yearned for after the long miles of sweat have depleted my body. Ah, clear sweet water.
Now the sunset, spectacular as the day which precedes it. I am in the company of many fellow sunset junkies, here at the Yachats rocks. There’s a quiet hush, no one is talking, all anticipating what we know will soon be upon us. The sun doesn’t disappoint us, paints the sky with such beauty, colors of red and orange and yellow and deepening blue. We are all so quiet, the surf is quiet. Gulls gather on the shallows in the mouth of the Yachats River. The colors last a long while, deepening, the sky darkens. A crescent moon above, soon reflected in the waves.
I’m feeling very strong and centered. A nice contrast from the lost soul I’ve been as of recent. Soon I’ll be prepping for an early bicycle tour in May. But next week I’ll be off the bicycle, as I venture east to visit friends I haven’t seen in years. East to New York, where the temperatures hover just above zero. Maybe I’ll ski, certainly seek out the frozen waterfalls. Visiting the land of winter, remembering our early Northwest spring. And our silent beautiful sunsets.