oh, x-post- I decided to put it over here because there were some single speeders on the ride, mainly drewdawg and Hugh (needs to be called "mr roadkill" now- ask him!) and, well, just because!

text:

Night ride passion

It was a cool, clear, breezy winter evening, with a hint of Santa Ana winds in the air. The breeze was strong enough that the usual afternoon debris in the air had been blown somewhere else, to ruin someone elseís sunset. The sunset involved every color of the rainbow with the sun toying with our emotions while it played with the clouds on its way to the other side of the planet.

It was a perfect night for a ride.

Everyone else must have decided that it was also the right night for such a ride, as they showed up strangely on-time. We suited up, anticipating getting the wheels rolling which I know I was thinking about doing all day, as I went out numerous times during the work day to get some ďfresh airĒ, when in reality it was to check up on my trusty orange steed.

So, we all get ready, tires properly inflated, or properly ignored, chains lubed, or properly ignored, and get rolling. There is something spiritual about getting the wheels rolling, as it instantly puts you in a better mood, and makes you forget all the stuff that can be troubling in your life. But I digressÖ

Up the pavement, past the local Harley hangout, with strange glances exchanged, up past a horse pasture or two, smelling all the wonderful smells that come with SoCalís nature as well as the equines in the area. Up the final stretch of road. We start to jockey for position, getting our group of 4 past all the others out with the same idea of a night ride. I hate this hill. No reason for it, just do. The pavement ends. Bliss is near. Navigate the gate, which is not a problem for narrow bars, but not us.

We all reconvene. Bike lights bringing patches of color to an otherwise grey environment. We all chat, realizing that weíve ridden with many of the other people that we were sort-of racing up the hated road. You donít recognize the people, but you do recognize the bikes and how they beat you at X point on Y ride, or how you beat them on Z ride long ago.

The ride begins, the different groups all start as one- weíre all mountain bikers, we all sort of know each other either directly or indirectly, and all out for the same reason- to ride.

I start in the back, taking it all in, enjoying the light show ahead of me. Yellow, blue, orange, a hint of purple and white lights, all ahead of me, with glints of color as the occasional light catches the color of a frame, a jersey, or the surrounding plants. A breeze blows thru, invigorating me and waking me up for the long climbs ahead. I start to crank, using the roadie cadence idea that Iíve been building up for about three weeks. Middle front, a few down in the back, enough of this evening stroll, letís hurt a little.

The lights start to spread apart, I catch a few, keep spinning, keep going- this is good, things get steep, catch another one- poor devil- didnít look like he was having too much fun on this steep section. I come thru huffing and puffing, pushing a perfect gear, but still with a smile on my face. I feel the first bead of sweat run down my forehead, down my nose, and drip off. What a feeling! Get a glimpse back and see the various colors of various lighting systems behind me plus the small patches of color that they are lighting up on the ground ahead of them, from brown to white to red to yellow, some that Iíve passed, some that started some other time behind us.

We continue on up climbing into the night and further away from civilization, but only vertically. The lights in the cities below are more beautiful and shimmer much more. Passed the downhill turnoff for some more climbing and we will be back. Continue up the toughest part of the climb to the moonlit side. My lights get turned off. The ride instantly gets better. Moonlight, rain groomed single-track, slightly climbing, push a bigger gear. Go. Just go.

Everything goes from my little spot of color to blacks, whites, grays all with a hint of blue from the moonlight. This ride just became perfect. Iím wearing a silly grin, both inside and out as yet another bead of sweat charts its course down my face. We get to our turn-around point and we all seem a touch sad, as we cannot continue on higher away from civilization, but making the view even more spectacular with all the shimmering lights. We turn around and start the downs. Faster, damnit. Push the big ring in the front; push the smallest possible in the back. Still not enough speed. Hit the corners, let go on the straight sections. Just let go.

All the way back down to the downhill turnoff and everyone is positively glowing, while not saying one word. Start the single-track downhill. Bliss ensues. It is good.