Ride Out The Door
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bedrock Ambassador Brett Davis shares the experience of just getting away from it all for a while. Enjoy!
The goal was simple: Maximize the little time I had to take in the splendor of a Colorado fall. With an unexpected two-day break from a very intense and extended period of work, my mind and body were ready for an adventure without any responsibility to others. This was going to be a solo trip. Given my limited time, any amount of driving to get to a trailhead was out of the question. After a quick perusal of a local map, a plan was hatched.
This sojourn was going to be perfect for an old friend of mine. In 2011 I rode the length of the Great Divide on a custom Salsa Cycles Ti Fargo. After 2800 miles of flowy single track, rough two-track, punchy gravel, and smooth pavement, this bike was like a well-worn in pair of hiking boots. It was my trusty steed that I had confidence in to carry me safely through any environment. At the conclusion of our grand ride, the Fargo would continue to serve me well as we took on other multi-day bike packing adventures. Over the years though, with the progression of new technologies and innovations in the cycling industry, my ti friend was retired to the role of a commuter bike with only occasional forays onto gravel or easy single track. It spent more time hanging in the garage than it did feeling the ebb and flow of its wheels across the landscape. It was time to change that.
The pack was easy as my body immediately went into auto pilot…on went my Bedrock frame bag; next came the Coconino seat bag; the Entrada handlebar bag was secured to my drop bars by the ever-versatile pocket; and lastly, the Dakota tank bag found its place full of snacks onto my top tube. Within an hour, the Fargo was loaded and ready for the adventure ahead. With a simple twist of a key and the ensuing click of a deadbolt, my responsibilities and cares of everyday life were locked away. As I swung my leg over the Fargo, I relished the feeling of freedom that came like a torrent as soon as my house key was removed from the lock. It was going to be a special 48 hours.
The first ten miles quickly flew by on the quiet country road as my old friend and I got reacquainted. My chamois found its old grooves in the well-loved Brooks saddle. My hands found an old familiarity with the aging bar tape on the drop bars. My body easily returned to a riding position of comfort that was born out of countless hours in the saddle. The bike and I melded back into adventure partners. Looking down at the haggard sticker on the chain stay, I smiled thinking, Yes, I am an adventure cyclist once again.
Turning off of the pavement, I set my sights on the myriad of colors above, each pedal stroke propelling me further into Fall. Grasping the bars with a light touch, I pushed the cranks over reveling in the feel of my heart pumping oxygen to my hard-working muscles. I climbed ever upward, stopping whenever I felt the urge to shoot a photo or just take in the stillness around me. I needed this. We needed this.
At the top of the climb I found what I had been seeking. My mountain road was engulfed by autumn’s golden light. I was riding into the daydream I had been visualizing for weeks as I toiled away at my profession. The colors were beginning to peak. The aspens shimmered in gold as a light breeze caressed the mountainsides. The vibrant red and orange scrub oak provided a stark contrast against the cobalt blue sky. Clicking shutter after shutter, I struggled to capture nature’s beauty, knowing that my processed photos would pale in comparison to what I was currently witnessing.
My camp was in a high mountain meadow overlooking the expanse of the Southern San Juan mountains. As the last rays of the day faded into the western horizon and the surrounding colors were extinguished for the night, the lone bugle of an elk echoed across the dark sky. He too seemed to mourn the ever-shortening days. If only for a few more rays of light to be able to absorb more of fall’s beauty. But such is the way of the changing seasons. With the plunge into darkness, the temperature began to drop. It was time to retreat into the embrace of my down tomb. With consciousness fading, I discerned the faint hoot of an owl awakening for the evening hunt. Good luck Mr. Owl. It won’t be long before these mountains will be dormant under a blanket of white. Old man winter is coming.
I lingered at my camp the next morning waiting for the warmth of the sun to melt away the evening’s hard frost. The sound of something plodding through the wilting grasses awoke me to action as I looked over to find a skunk heading into camp. It was time to get on with the day and let the creatures of the land get to their business, their work hours were dwindling with each passing day.
Turning south I pointed the Fargo towards home. During this time of year, the sun begins its migration to the southern horizon as it strains to take its place high overhead. With its brightness in my face, my rocky double track slowly fell away to a single ribbon of dust perched along a steep hill side. The Fargo demonstrated its versatility, as fully loaded it absorbed the ruggedness of the terrain. Without a suspension fork I bounced towards home on the rigid frame. My familiarity with my old friend, allowed me to be in control and press the pace. I rode in a kaleidoscope of color punctuated by the charred remnants of the once proud ponderosa pines. Fall seemed to fly by in a blur.
Descending the final paved miles to the house, I reflected upon my escape from the busyness of life. I had accomplished my goal of riding right out of my front door and into a season that I had been watching transform from the confines of my office. Though it was a quick get-a-way, the intimate exposure to this profound season of change, would be enough to sustain me through the next extended period of work. With gratitude, I unlocked my front door and as if on command, my phone began to ring. It was time to get to work.