Worth Getting off the Couch for...
Sometimes, getting off the couch is the hardest part about night riding. It's dark and cold and the last thing you want to do is go out into the elements. I was feeling that way on Tuesday - comfortable at home, just wanting to be a lazy bum. But when Stacy texted to ask if I was planning on coming to the ride, I was tempted. Some of the group had a party on Thursday, so they were getting together Tuesday for some giggles under the stars. I usually try to avoid Tuesdays since the boys ride then. But Nick and I have plenty of lights. And with him getting ready to go rage the Canyon and attempt to tear the legs off his buddies, my motivation kicked me off the couch. It would be a great night to ride my bike! Really quick, I got ready to go and headed over to Palmer Park.
The girls were meeting at Lazy Land, but getting out of that parking lot is a nightmare for me. I just parked at the normal location and headed over. An unusual night at Palmer Park - during my 30 minutes of goof-off time while getting to Lazy Land, I didn't see a single person. Maybe the cold had scared everyone away! It wasn't freezing, but it was as nice as the prior nights. I had a few more layers on for sure. But the crisp air and the darkness was invigorating - so worth getting off the couch for! I played around for a little bit, working on my balance and some skills before dropping down Little Moab and heading for Lazy Land. Having that alone time, with just the trail in front of me, seems to be the best time for me to practice things. At Palmer Park, it's a matter of power, timing, balance and fitness - and all four are required to be able to ride smooth and fast. There's no distractions - just the ribbon of trail and the rocks lit up by my Exposure Lights. I can block everything else out and just focus. Under darkness, I also can forget about the consequences and just visualize the line I need to take. And it's always nice when I can see the practice paying off by riding things I struggled with before.
But then I met up with the rest of the gang - and the mood changed from focused and serious to light hearted and fun. Sure, we were planning on riding some technical trails and working on skills, but the goal of the ride was just to have fun. And fun we had. We rode parts of the 24 hour course, took some detours onto social trails to play on the rocks and managed to get one girl totally mixed around. "How did we get back here" when we hit a rock garden for the second time that night! We practiced a few things - stopped to play with shadow puppets in our lights. I wish I'd had my camera for that one! Two riders shadowed onto a cliff 50 feet away, attempting to make hand puppets! I'm also sure we woke up a few people - between four girls, quiet was not the name of the ride. We were all talking, Stacy was giggling every time we hit a technical section and our lights lit up the night. By the time we got back to the main parking lot, everyone was agreeing that night riding was so much better than staying home and watching TV.
I have also decided that night riding in Palmer Park during December is the best for seeing holiday lights. With the park smack dab in the middle of town, there's plenty of houses all lit up. Some of them were pretty elaborate too - a lot of effort made and we were able to enjoy it from the trails.