Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm being followed by a Moonshadow
Sunday afternoon I drove our Volvo down to Chelsea, Vermont for some expert TLC. I was a bit anxious because Chelsea is quite a distance from here and my plan was to bike the roughly 45 miles home. With guests here this weekend, I wasn't able to head down until the afternoon and by the time I'd arrived and was ready to pedal out, it was about 4:00, maybe a little after. These days it is dark before 5:00, so most of my ride home was in the dark. I find there is a fine line between excitement and fear and the prospect of doing a 45 mile bike ride in the dark on my own through some very rural areas of Vermont; it is both tantalizing and a little scary, though I think it wouldn't be as compelling if there wasn't an edge of fear around it. As often happens with situations like this, once I'm out there and engaged, I'm just psyched; I'm rolling along, I'm warm, I'm making progress, and I'm seeing and experiencing a million little memorable events that make it so worthwhile. I'm riding my bike and going on a little adventure.
The trip was great, with a slight chill, but I was comfortable for the first couple of hours. There's a big hill out of Chelsea and into Washington that warmed me up nicely. At the top I put my cap back on and zipped up for the ride down the other side. Coming down the long hill into Washington village, I started to wonder if my headlight was a bright as it should be, so I stopped at the little store in the village and bought some new batteries, and found the lamp light much brighter. (I dream about bikes and bike parts and building up a great bike some day, but this little episode reinforced the wisdom of purchasing a dynamo hub sooner rather then later. A dynamo hub is a small generator built into the hub of the bicycle wheel which powers the lamp mounted on the bike. You always have a source of power for you lights, and the light produced is impressive.)
I felt progressively chillier approaching Barre. Usually downhills are a welcome rest, but this night they were more a source of feeling cold, so I found myself semi-wishing there wasn't such a long decent to Barre. Not wanting to stop, I decided I'd adjust to warmer mittens, shoe covers, and wind shell once I reached Montpelier. I stopped at the Hunger Mountain coop in Montpelier and was pleased to find that they have a free phone, which I used to call Nancy to let her know where I was; that I was doing fine; and that I was continuing on my way home, most likely with a stop in Moretown to visit Liza and Randy.
With a slight haze, I had moonlight all the way.
Leaving Montpelier better dressed for the cold, I rode River Road from Montpelier to Middlesex and only crossed paths with one car. River Road follows the river and is a great dirt road just out of town. It was a nice quiet interval on the trip. The traffic on I-89 and rt. 2 is pronounced when witnessed from the vantage point across the river.
By the time I was rolling through the flats in Moretown I was warm again. The slight incline along the Mad River was enough to turn the tide; off came the mittens and outer shell. I stopped at Lize and Randy's for a nice visit and a little nibble, and then continued the last few miles home.
I never feel so grateful for home as the times when I come home tired, maybe cold, probably hungry and just so glad to see my sweetness.