“Let’s leave my car at the beginning,” I said. “In case I get two miles in and have to bail.”
My limbs felt disconnected from my body when I started pedaling, like the blood flowing through my veins didn’t have enough oxygen. My right ear stayed plugged all 30-plus miles of the ride. By the end, my hands hurt from curling around the handlebars on all the downhills and I was out of energy.
But I learned that I could take pretty much everything that trail threw at me. I made it up the hills. I negotiated loose skree on the downhills and didn’t hesitate on a steep downward pitch, rutted out from all the riders before me.
I saw aspen leaves scattered across the trail. Rocks so white they looked like patches of snow. A ridge the color of charcoal grey and streaked like marble.
I ate peanut butter and jelly on a mountain ridge. Listened to electric thunder rumble across the sky above me; it felt close, more like a ceiling than sky. Afterward, rain beat the roof of my car and the windows fogged while I changed into dry clothes. I was tired and stiff and happy and proud all at the same time, and it seemed so simple: just say yes more often.