I lied. There is no groove. This is my first season riding in the cold and I’ve had to learn a few new boundaries. Those boundaries are more about me than anything else. What can I handle? What can I take? How is cycling different at fifty-two than it was at forty-two? What happens when I’m not prepared for the cold? For the right caloric intake? And what happens if I blow off my “recovery?” (It’s not good.)
I’m also learning the subtleties of a New Mexico winter. The difference between the end of January and the beginning of February, historically and now when we suddenly see days of high temps and high wind in what is usually the second coldest month of the year. This place has a unique look and a unique history not to mention population. When some of the BLM events came this way the friction was cast over events from the 1500s.
I am so fortunate to be here, to be able to do these things, and I take nothing for granted. This was a bad year for death by bike. A lot of people killed on these judgmental roads. The bike brings out heightened bodily function. Decisions are made. Air vs speech, lactic acid vs exertion. Short, punchy climbs, fast descents, and the sandy, red dust on icy shadows. Above, the hawks studying the playing field.