single speed stupidty

So two days after I promised Nick that I wouldn't do any night rides alone, I found myself getting lights and heading out at 7:00pm to hit the trails. And I wasn't planning on meeting anyone - had just gotten home from work late and it was too nice to not ride outside. Given the type of ride I was supposed to do, it seemed like a great night to take the single speed out for a spin. Texted Nick that I was leaving and was planning on riding about an hour - and off I rode into the twilight. I saw a few other groups of riders finishing up as I climbed into Stratton. But I was alone - just me, my light and the cat toy I'd swiped as a bear bell. It was kinda nice at first, the silence and stillness of the trail - isolated in the trees. But as the darkness consumed that trees, it started getting a little freaky. There was literally no one around and I kept seeing eyes staring at me. Although I knew that the eyes were from the deer I'd seen browsing in the fields as the sun was setting, it was a comfortable feeling. I kept the tempo high, never stopping because I wasn't sure what else was watching me.

Then on one of my trips up Chamberlain - I saw something that really un-nerved me. A deer leg, in the middle of the trail. It wasn't fresh and bloody, but the problem was this - it hadn't been there on my first lap up to the Chutes. Oh Oh! That meant there was something out there, something a lot less friendly then a deer. And I still had to get off the Chutes, out of Stratton and home. The dingling of the bell in my jersey pocket also made me think - it attracts the cats at home. Would it do the same for a bigger cat? So I started singing - loudly, off key and completely screwing up the lyrics. I'm sure that anyone else out there would have thought I was nuts - riding a single speed, light on my head, singing as loud as I could while riding. And the choice of songs was utterly random - everything from the Band Perry, Neil Diamond, Madonna, Adele, Jan Arden. None of the songs complete, just repeating what I could remember. Don't know if it worked, but the only other eyes I saw were those of a coyote. And it was running in terror from me!

Nick was not happy when I got home. Can't blame him - I ended up riding for 90 minutes instead of the hour I'd promised. Add in the dark and me being alone and ... I think I will try to behave and listen from now on. Night riding alone is just plain crazy!


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