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Cycling the plains (and why I don’t blog more often) 7 May 2012

Posted by magicdufflepud in Colorado, Cycling.
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It’s been almost two months, now, since I last blogged. For this blog anyway. The intervening period has seen a hefty dose of draining (but fairly rewarding) work for corporate blogs more interested in talking about the benefits of natural gas driers than in rambling about the first blooms to appear on the columbines and the streams burbling with the snowmelt.

Mostly, though, I don’t write because I worry I don’t have anything to tell you folks–or those of you who remain after the hiatus. Perhaps it’s because my own work requires so much time spent reading other peoples’ writing, but I find myself caught between incredulity (how can folks post stuff so awful?) and inadequacy (how can I hope to draw readers when they could instead be reading this?). But then it occurs to me that the quality of the writing matters not so much as the joy in expressing a thought or a feeling, completely removed from the effect either may produce in others.

So I’ve resolved to no longer resolve. I make no promises and will write what I want, when I want. So starting right now, I’ll write this.

C— and I traveled to eastern Colorado last weekend—the part that most Coloradans consider Kansas—and rolled for 36 miles across the plains outside Bennett. It wasn’t our first real road ride of the season but certainly the first that felt like an escape. For the population on the Front Range, points east of DIA essentially don’t exist, and Bennett, with its decrepit grain elevator deserted park (hours: dawn till dusk), may as well sit on the other side of an ocean.

In a sense, riding out there feels like time spent on the sea. The mountains ground life in Colorado. They exist like the seaboard, the urban landscape huddling against them as they rise seven, eight, nine thousand feet higher. Lose sight of them, though, and all sense of direction disappears. The grass rolls away, wrapping around a hillock and always in danger of falling flat under the breeze. Every so often, a dry creek bed intersects the road, cottonwoods the only lasting sign of the occasional floods and the fleeting flourish of greenery that follows them.

And everywhere, there is only the breeze in your ears and the drone of the crank and the chain as the miles roll by. This is Colorado, yes, but not as you’d expect it. Not as the magazine ads depict it. But a place more empty than the mountains, forgotten after all these years spent fixated on attaining summits and conquering passes. Coming out here is a reminder in these goal-oriented times that cycling is as much about the body, the bike and the tarmac as it is about accomplishment. This summer, I’ll try to remember that.

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